A tough-talking “love letter”
WORDS BY KENDRICK GO
“Precautions,” a song by Hayce Atienza, contains lines like “I’ll kick you hard until you’re bleeding;” it is also actually a love letter.
This, at least, was confirmed by Atienza herself. Inspired by the relationships she witnessed in the past, the artist—now in her twenties—wrote the song as warning to her future partner: be unfaithful and you’ll get your ass kicked; fool around and “I’ll give you a big hard beating.” There’s some tough talk going on in this song which she describes as “musical-inspired indie pop track.” And with lyrics like the one it has, it is exactly as its title suggests. But like a lot of heartfelt warnings, it comes from a place of affection. And this is an ironic reality that the she hopes to explore.
“The warnings that were fired throughout the song are all metaphors,” she said. “[They] represents the character’s attempt to keep that strong, independent woman façade in the eyes of her partner and make him cautious about the idea of cheating on her.” But at the same time, she added. “[It] is also cover up her inner anxiety of his possible infidelity.”
Written when she was around 18 years old, “Precautions” is song that mixes somewhat contradictory elements. It has the starting pace of a sentimental ballad before its lyrics verge on being outright hostile; it is a more than three minute session of crooning occasionally interrupted by bits of speech-singing, and its accompanying artwork, a product aptly created by Poi Baron, features an intricately drawn frame covered by a not-so-intricate caution tape. The end result therefore is an indirect confession of love and the insecurities that come with it disguised partly declarations of strength; it is also a character profile—one that she shares as the newest stage of her evolution as an artist.
“When I was starting as a songwriter, I had nothing but mundane love songs that I’d sing to my elementary classmates, ones whose music and lyrics might seem like rip-offs from Britney Spears hits,” she confessed. “But as my craft matured, the storyteller in me realized how I can use songwriting as a way to tell― or better yet, sing― stories in less than 5 minutes.”
And apparently, she’ll be attempting to do more of that. Influenced by Sugarfree, My Chemical Romance, Lana De Rey and Mitski, Atienza is looking to create more songs that make use of “Precautions’” brand of story-telling to share her stories.
“I plan to release a couple more singles this year,” she shared, “to further introduce myself to the scene until I am ready to release my dream concept album.” And with that said, it appears that “Precautions” is more than just a warning or a love letter. It is also a preview of what’s to come.