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Paperweight by Smallpools

A Reflection on Letting Go

In “Paperweight,” Smallpools encapsulates the bittersweet journey of moving on from a past relationship, blending energetic alt-pop with introspective lyrics that resonate deeply with listeners. This track, a standout on their latest album Ghost Town Road, not only heralds a new era for the band but also draws a poignant line to their earlier work, reflecting growth and transformation both musically and emotionally.

The song opens with a vivid scene: “Counting the steps between the street lights / Trying to match them every time.” This imagery sets the tone for the narrative, depicting a mind seeking distraction to stave off the emotional weight of the present moment. The lyrics paint a picture of someone walking further than ever before, symbolizing the distance growing between the protagonist and their past love. In contrast, the imagery of the ex in another’s car with “feet on the dash” juxtaposes the stagnation felt by the narrator against the carefree movement of the other person.

A recurring theme in the song is the paradoxical nature of missing what once was, despite its flaws. The chorus captures this sentiment beautifully: “It’s kinda twisted but I’m missing that / It’s like a paperweight riff off of your back.” The paperweight metaphor here is powerful, suggesting that while the relationship was a burden, its absence leaves a hollow void—a lightness that is, in itself, heavy with memories.

Smallpools’ ability to blend catchy, upbeat melodies with reflective and sometimes melancholic lyrics is on full display in “Paperweight.” The line “It’s a god damn kinda thing / Saying things that you don’t mean / When you know there’s no turning back” encapsulates the regret and irreversible nature of hurtful words spoken in the heat of the moment. The repetition of “right off of your back” reinforces the process of shedding old burdens, even when they were once integral parts of one’s identity.

The bridge of the song introduces a haunting reflection: “Like shattered glass / Bottle up and fractured / Broken past / Beautiful disaster.” This sequence of images evokes the fragility and beauty of past experiences, acknowledging their role in shaping the present while also highlighting the necessity of moving beyond them. The concluding lines—”One more wasted song / Washed out conversation / My head twisted off / No more desperation”—signal a cathartic release, a final acceptance that brings peace.

Musically, “Paperweight” is characterized by its energetic and epic mood, qualities that have become synonymous with Smallpools’ sound. The band’s signature blend of vibrant instrumentals and anthemic choruses ensures that even a song about letting go carries an infectious, uplifting energy.

“Paperweight” not only marks a significant chapter in Smallpools’ discography but also serves as a relatable anthem for anyone navigating the complexities of moving on. It’s a reminder that letting go is not just about releasing the past but also about embracing the freedom and potential that comes with unburdening oneself from old weights.