“Puttin’ my defences up, cause I don’t wanna fall in love. If I ever did that…” – here’s a look at Demi Lovato’s Heart Attack.
I’m a big fan of a number of YouTube cover artists. I’ve enjoyed a lot of the covers done by The Piano Guys, Ahmir, and Alex Goot. Anthem Lights and Boyce Avenue are way up there for me, and their original work also contains a lot of great standout tracks. I also hear a few other great covers every now and again if I’m looking for a song I really like. I don’t listen a lot of big pop bands or artists directly – most of my exposure to them is through these other bands and arrangements I really enjoy. A lot of them even change the lyrics of the song in question to match their own tone or perspective.
In listening to bands like these, I’ve heard a number of different renditions of the song Heart Attack. Some are a straight up cover of the original song, from the perspective of a
person who is terrified of letting the defences down; some put a spin on the lyrics from the perspective of the pursuer; and some spin the lyrics from the perspective of a male in the same boat.
Demi Lovato’s Heart Attack is one of the biggest hits in recent years. The single reached double platinum status in the US and Canada, platinum in a number of other countries, and gold status here in Australia, Mexico and Ireland. The official YouTube music video has had just shy of 312 million views at the time of this writing. We’re talking about a
massively popular song here.
When I first heard the song around the time it came out, I knew I wanted to write about it at some point. It’s a pretty honest song. I think the honesty of it is what draws so many people towards it. She’s not really keeping any secrets here. Given its popularity, there’s obviously a lot of people who are affected by her story, either as the protagonist or as one on the other side.
So let’s have a look at some of the themes she’s getting at and find out exactly why Demi Lovato’s Heart Attack is so relateable to a wide variety of people.
Keeping the love inside
The very first line of the song is, “Never put my love out on the line”. This line seems to set the precedent for the author’s whole struggle conveyed throughout the track. Towards the end, the idea is sandwiched back in again when her feelings get lost in her lungs. It conveys the struggle of someone who has something inside that they just can’t get out. Or more accurately, they don’t want to.
Love costs a lot. It usually involves the deepest decisions of the heart. Emotional involvement is at its peak, and it requires complete life change in a lot of ways. You
were used to doing things for one, now you’re doing things for two. Even moreso when young ones are involved.
It’s funny how we can care so much for people and yet it never leaves our mind. That is to say, so many times, we’re the only one who ever knows. In these simple refrains we see perhaps a fear of rejection that causes desire to burn but never be spoken.
Or perhaps there’s a fear of what happens if it does eventuate. What if you reveal your heart, and you’re received? Maybe that’s a more terrifying outcome for the subject. One to revisit later.
Not able to handle what you really want
I gotta say, the title character here must have a lot of swag. She goes straight into her ability to get whatever she wants from people. She’s used to everything being easy for her – she knows what to say and how to play to go exactly as far as she wants to with the guy she’s focused on.
Except this one.
She’s never said yes to the right guy, or the guy has never said yes or gone for the right girl, but now here comes potential. A person you could see a future with. You know that
list you’ve got? Here comes a match. Sometimes they come with boxes ticked you didn’t even realize you held important.
And for so many of us, such a person causes us to lock up. In the case of Demi’s number, there’s a resistance to an explosion from within.
What do you do when what you want is in front of you?
“You make me feel like a girl”. Very traditional sorta lyric there. But it’s getting at something deeper than just being aware of your gender.
It’s a sense of value.
There’s something beautiful about someone who makes you feel valuable. Because you are valuable. All the time. But so many times we’re not aware of the things that are valuable about ourselves – all we’re usually looking at is our failings and our faults.
In your life and in my life, are we doing things that make people feel as valuable as they are?
An endearing quality indeed.
The walls we hide behind
The defences. The walls we throw up when someone is getting too close. The walls we encounter when we are getting close to someone. Often the main reason a relationship is hindered or does not proceed.
The tragedy of this song is that the main character actually really cares about the person she’s singing about. It really doesn’t make much sense on paper. “I really want him, but
I’m keeping him out”. “She’s great, but I just don’t want her to get too close”.
I’ve had some friends before describe the guy or the girl they’re interested in. Then they’ll describe how they act when he or she is around. “I just can’t talk to him, I can’t
look her in the eye, I avoid conversation when he’s around, I don’t reply to her messages, I’m always trying to make sure they don’t know I’m interested”.
I then usually ask how they treat a stalker or someone they don’t want to get the wrong idea.
“Well, I ignore them, I don’t really talk to them, I don’t get back to them… OH! They think I’m not interested!”
Made to glow, but covering up and not letting it show.
The real question is what the walls are for. Perhaps it is as we talked about at the start – to protect a broken heart. You’ve been here before. Someone else has been here before too. Perhaps the artefacts and the destruction of their last visit is still there. And so, for fear of it happening again, the walls go up.
Or perhaps we don’t really like ourselves. All of us want friends and family and those closer to know who we really are. I mean, we “want” that. But so many times when the
reality of what we want comes closer, we shut ourselves away. Why? Maybe because we’re afraid of what they’re going to find out. They’ll see the real you. They’ll know what you know.
The perception that love is a bad thing
“Cause I don’t wanna fall in love”.
Like I said, sometimes it’s the fear of past hurt or of being close to someone. Obviously if you’re not interested in someone and it’s not something you see any future in
whatsoever, maybe it can be understood. There’s a billion songs about the unrequited love.
But how sad that this song is about someone who cares about someone but won’t take the step or open up to them. And sadder still to think of how many of us may be in that boat with her.
What a great asset love and intimacy can be to our lives. You’re going to the party – who are you going to know? Well, you’ll know them. Who are you going with? Her. Him. You’re going together. Who will you have dinner with tomorrow? Who can you share what’s going on in your life with? Who can have the opportunity to be a support to you? Who can you have an opportunity to be a support to?
There are many great elements to the love in our lives. Even beyond romance, the level with which our friends are respected and invested in. The way we look after our families. The way we love our church or our colleagues. The network of support that love brings.
Or how about falling in love with someone you’ve already been in love with? When the love has grown cold in your marriage, many of us refuse to allow ourselves to do the things that will lead us back to a place of adoration of our spouse. Instead, we’d rather live with the pain and the silence of our past disagreements or our personal frustrations. Why is that?
I think a view against love is a great tragedy indeed. Sure, there are responsibilities and considerations and challenges that it brings, but there are so many great things that love brings as well.
Love was the original answer to the loneliness of mankind. Even today, love is the answer to most of our problems. We can’t let the wrong things hold us back from the right things.
If we ever did that…
An interesting song indeed. Lots of issues and lots of reality.
How about you? What do you think about the ideas put forward in the song?