Singer/songwriter Ashe’s tracks about toxic relationships show just how common these situations are.
Music conveys many messages and Ashe has put out two songs that capture the reality of being in a toxic romantic relationship. I have been in a few toxic ones myself and “Moral of the Story” and “Not How It’s Supposed To Go,” both released in 2019, struck me with many emotions. I wish I had these songs when I was going through tough times.
In “Moral of the Story,” I found the lyrics to be poignant and relatable. The opening lyrics are “So I never really knew you / God I really tried to / Blindsided, addicted / Felt we could really do this / But really I was foolish / Hindsight it’s / Obvious.” When hearing these words I was instantly brought back to how I spent way too much time thinking about all the things that could have been done differently in the toxic relationships. The mention of addiction is also relevant because toxicity can become addicting. Often, in bad relationships, we spend too much time thinking about what could have gone differently, rather than moving forward. This song captures this perfectly.
There is another set of lines in the song that resonated with me; something that we often get told is that “They say it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Ashe chose to include “That could be a load of shit,” and I agree with that sentiment. This perpetuates the idea that even if the love was bad that it’s better than no love at all. I have sadly believed that lie, and hearing this song drove home just how easy it is to fall deep into unhealthy relationships.
“Not How It’s Supposed To Go,” really stayed with me for days after my first listen, as it reminded me of many of the same pressures I felt during these relationships. The opening lyrics are “Be a good girl, pretty housewife / Need to have sex every night.” As a woman, this is so powerful, and sadly expected of many of us. Women are expected to be perfect for men. I have had many conversations with both women and men on this topic, and have heard the general opinion that women should just be readily available for their husbands. This perpetuates such a negative idea for the expectations of consent when it comes to women’s feelings, and Ashe does a great job of calling it out.
The chorus of the song is “I was filling up my head with those lies / Tryna tell me everything’s fucking fine / I wanted love, you know I wanted it so right.” Sometimes we push the idea that because we want love, we should just accept it no matter what the circumstances are. I have put up with things because I just wanted to be loved, and Ashe is calling attention to it, which is important.
“Moral of the Story” and “Not How It’s Supposed to Go” are two songs that help to rethink how we view the role of women in relationships. These two songs are provocative in their messaging, and give women — myself included — hope that we will move to a much better place.
Graphic by Lily Cowper.