The first time I heard “Drifting” by The Cadbury Sisters, I was watching the video. I thought the song was pretty enough, but mostly I loved the lighting and effects and didn’t pay much attention to the lyrics.
It wasn’t until I remembered the video a few days later and decided to check out the EP, “Sarah,” that the song really hit me. Full disclosure here: I broke up with my boyfriend earlier this year, and damn, it still stings sometimes. Even though I’m still certain it was the right decision and even though I’m out there and engaged with the world, my mind goes crawling back to those dark, painful moments every once in a while.
One of the worst stages in a relationship is right toward the end, when you both know it’s ending, but the last thing you want to do is admit it, especially if there’s still a lot of love and friendliness between you. My mind rejected that our relationship—something I’d put so much into—could really and truly be ending. I kept asking why, why, why? Why doesn’t he care about going out with me anymore? Why don’t I care how his day went? Why don’t we hug each other as much as we used to? My heart is breaking over here, but why can’t we stop this?
That dead feeling, all those hard questions, that’s what “Drifting” is about.
The song starts with this wavy, warbling tone that sounds like a synth, but then as it crescendos, it becomes more like a human voice. Before you can decide what it is, though, the sound retreats and the first line of lyrics comes in. The first verse is mellow, and the vocalist takes her time explaining what’s wrong, but toward the end, leading into the chorus, she makes it very clear. “When I talk, you switch off.”
The catchy, heartbreaking chorus comes in. “We can’t be drifting apart. It would break our hearts.” The lyrics are supported by strong, resounding chords on the piano, and the sisters hit beautiful, power-chord harmonies with their voices. She goes on to describe each of the moments of disconnect, each time she finds it harder and harder to ignore what’s going on, and at the end of the bridge, she has to face it. They both do. “Well, darling, I think I’m done.”
So yeah, this is a breakup song. And yeah, there are lots of breakup songs out there. But this one sticks out to me (and trust me, I’ve listened to a lot since the big B.U.). It feels different somehow. I like that it’s regretful rather than angry, wishful rather than bitter. The end is gentle rather than harsh, but painful, nonetheless.
If you like “Drifting” by The Cadbury Sisters, also listen to “Get This Feeling” and “Lolita.”