James recommends “You Know What I Mean” by Cults

It’s from this album.

It’s the best song never played at the Roadhouse in Twin Peaks.

It’s further evidence that the best things happen in 6/8 time.

It’s perched on the diving board of space-aged pop gorgeousness, staring into the abyss (nevermind that the video features a very different diving scene).

Cults’ “You Know What I Mean” starts with a waltzy simplicity: a precisely stepping bassline, watery guitars and snaps that echo into infinity. Madeline Follin’s voice steadies us with a sixties-ish remove; she feels it, but with a cool distance that’s betrayed by the less-hinged lyrics: “Tell me what’s wrong with my brain, cuz I seem to have lost it.”

I stumbled on this song while watching Russian Doll (which if you haven’t by now (and I’m sure that you have), come on). It was the end of episode six, and by that point, I was used to my mind being blown by Natasha Lyonne’s death-resetting timeline, but my heart wasn’t used to being ripped open. Lyonne’s character, Nadia, runs from her origin party (and those opening chords begin) to the home of the only person who knows what shemeans. When he opens the door, Nadia bursts in and looks at Alan with a raw need, and his response is so nakedly unguarded — stripped like…well, like what happens at 1:36 in the song, where everything drops out (save the bass and those cavernous snaps) as Follin pleads, “Please, please come and save me.” Those dizzying keyboards flurry and swirl as she echoes the titular refrain with an urgency that suggests that No One knows what she means, like she just needs someone else to shout back that they know, like saying “I love you” for the sole purpose of having the other person say, “I love you, too.”

And as those last snaps bounce around in my head, and as no one else echoes back, I hit play again. And again. And again.

You know what I mean.

It’s seriously a bizarre video. Just hit play and then close your eyes.

(Song recommendation by James W. Moore)

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