By MC Galang
“Currently” arrives at a time largely defined by loss, suffering, and grief. It is consummate; sometimes, inescapable. She’s Only Sixteen have repeatedly addressed growing pains in their work, most recently and especially in Whatever That Was, where complex emotions are shaped not just by relationships but also of environments. I’d argue that the band was able to mold nihilistic undertones into melodic anthems. It was a concept album on self-criticism as a way to evaluate life’s highs and lows, particularly taking all the brunt of every fallout. It was regrettably relatable, because we are conditioned to respond better, sometimes even take pleasure, to a perceived grating honesty disguised as self-awareness, rather than taking kindly to warmth, to praise, to goodness. As writer Adam Phillips puts it, “We have to imagine a world in which celebration is less suspect than criticism.”
Maybe under normal circumstances, I would be less receptive to “Currently,” but it denies me that impulse to be critical not necessarily to the song and what it is about, but how I feel towards self-hatred and being suspicious of love, joy, or kindness. “Please be kind to yourself to survive,” vocalist and lyricist Roberto Seña sings with almost deceptive simplicity. The entire song was built on self-compassion: on knowing that even as you lay still in bed, you’d get up. You’ll be up.