Unearthing Emotions Through Music: Carter James’ Can’t Help Myself

by Marcus Adetola

15th October, 2023

Unearthing Emotions Through Music: Carter James' Can't Help Myself

Music, they say, is the language of emotions. It possesses the uncanny ability to dig deep into our souls, unearthing feelings we never knew even existed. In the case of Carter James’ latest offering, Can’t Help Myself, this sentiment rings truer than ever.

Imagine a robotic creation, born from cold, lifeless metal and carbon, given a heart and named art. This is the intriguing premise behind the song, inspired by the art installation of the same name by Sun Yuan and Peng Yu. Carter James takes this captivating concept and spins it into a heartfelt ballad that’s part ambient vocal storytelling, part hard-hitting pop-electronica.

The lyrics speak to the core of human emotions. “How many sounds I gotta make for you to see I’m not okay,” James sings, encapsulating the feeling of longing for someone to truly understand our inner turmoil. The song beautifully captures the desire for acknowledgment, the yearning for someone to say, “I care.” It’s a raw and vulnerable moment, set against a backdrop of lush electronic beats.

Can’t Help Myself isn’t just about human emotions; it’s about giving life to something that shouldn’t have it. The transformation from a cold, mechanical being to a creature with feelings and a heart is nothing short of poetic. The song paints a vivid picture of this journey, where “rusty metal” and “dusty carbon” evolve into something more profound and fragile. The robot becomes human, not in its physicality but in its ability to feel, and that’s where the heartbreak begins.

The chorus, with its haunting refrain of “You’ll never be okay,” carries the weight of unrelenting despair. It’s a reminder that sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we continue to stand in our own way. When hope flickers on the horizon, it’s often eclipsed by life’s unpredictable storms. James’ metaphor of looking at the weather and seeing rain perfectly captures this sense of relentless disappointment.

The real heart of the song lies in its commentary on cruelty and unfairness. The robot, given an impossible task as a form of punishment, is a poignant symbol for the way society sometimes treats its own. The song cries out for justice, asserting that “you deserve so much better than that.” It’s a powerful message wrapped in a melodic and hypnotic sound.

Carter James Can't Help Myself song cover
Carter James Can’t Help Myself song cover

Carter James, from Boston, Massachusetts, has crafted Can’t Help Myself with an artistic finesse that blends electronic pop with a touch of the ethereal. His production skills shine as he marries storytelling with hard-hitting instrumentation, creating a sonic landscape that mirrors the emotional journey of the song.

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