What Is Alicia Keys' "In Common" About? It References A Complicated Relationship
I've been so distracted by the embarrassment of riches that is Beyoncé and Drake's new albums that I totally forgot to keep my eye on everybody else, and the world has kept spinning. Now I don't know what Alicia Keys' new song "In Common" is about. Is there some kind of pause button I can press? Because there are only so many hours a day that I can listen to new albums and songs nonstop, and we're really pushing it. "In Common" is really good, too. And absolutely worth some of your time. It's been a minute since we heard from Keys — her last album was Girl on Fire in 2012 — and she's really proving she was worth the wait with this new material.
One thing that's clear from the get-go is that "In Common" is a moody, contemplative look at a complicated relationship, of the type that I'm betting a lot of us will recognize. One of those hookups that start out casual, and then get more serious somehow while you're not paying attention. Check out these lyrics.
Said I'd be gone by fiveBut it's sun rise and I'm still in your bedGoodnight usually means goodbyeMe re-playing memories in my headLook at you, look at youLook what you made me do
Somehow against her will, it seems like Keys has let this person in, and now she almost can't decide whether she likes or hates that he's actually getting to know her, and that they're getting past each others' defenses.
How do you, how do you figure my every moveWho are you? Who are you? You look so familiarI know you, I know you, baby, I know the truth
And like most of us who go around with our guards up, Keys can think of plenty of reasons to keep the relationship at arm's length.
We got way too much in commonIf I'm being honest with youWe got way too much in commonSince I'm being honest with you
It can be really scary embarking on something new with someone who has all your same bad and good habits, and Keys does a great job of getting across that push and pull.
Who wants to love somebody like me?You wanna love somebody like me?If you could love somebody like meYou must be messed up too
I mean who hasn't asked themselves this question? Oh, a really well-adjusted person who knows their own worth? Well, bully for you — Keys and the rest of us are working through our insecurities in real time.
We used to talk 'til midnightAll those days that you stayed at my houseWe were just passing the timeWhen we were young and we ain't had no vows
OK but wait, this "no vows" reference makes me feel like Keys is looking back on her younger self, on less mature relationships that she had before she met her now-husband, Swizz Beatz.
Now, now, now maybe later on, I'll text you and maybe you'll replyWe both know we had no patience together day and nightGetting high on our supply, yeah, we ain't satisfiedI could love you all occasions
And there's that juxtaposition again, of seemingly being relieved it's over and regretful at the way they treated each other, and then also missing the relationship and still loving the person. I wish we had a few more details about who specifically this song was about, but regardless, I like it a lot, and the mystery is part of the excitement.