Amaya Santos – “Carousel”: When Love Feels Like A Cage

I love you, I hate you
But no matter what I do
I just can’t forget you

The New York-based R&B/pop artist Amaya Santos welcomes 2022 with a brand new single. She released “Carousel” on January 28th.

The singer/songwriter got inspired by the story of her friend’s unstable relationship. Listening to her struggles made her reflect on relationships of any kind. She concluded that sometimes we’re way too deep into it to realize someone might not be for us. That’s how someone can “fail to distinguish the never-ending cycles of unhealthy friendships or remain in one-sided relationships”, Amaya Santos says.

Amaya Santos Mélanie Domergue

You’re supposed to have fun when you’re on a carousel. It’s spinning and it’s shiny. People usually attach great memories to it. That’s why it’s a good metaphor to represent a relationship that’s supposed to make you feel good but doesn’t.

The music mimics the sounds of a carousel, with its accelerations and slowdowns, its ups and its downs. They’re as numerous as the turbulences of a relationship. The guitar and the synth produce a melody that gradually becomes worrying; “You trapped me in your games / And tangled me in your cage”.

Golden Cage Syndrome: Spinning in a never-ending wheel

A golden cage is an intriguing way to see how a carousel works. Once it started, you don’t know how long it takes to stop. That’s fine if you feel great and comfortable, but several rides can be redundant and make you sick to your stomach. In that case, the attraction becomes something you endure, just like a relationship that doesn’t fit you anymore, despite all its tricks.

A relationship can quickly turn into a vicious cycle if you don’t express your feelings towards a situation that makes you feel off. The soulful R&B track perfectly captures the feeling of unease that slowly grows. Harmonies and chorus reinforce this feeling. The top line “We go, we go ‘round” almost makes you feel dizzy. This moment in the song is like a click: you have to go out before it’s too late.

The following line “We go-‘round and around” sounds like a cry of distress. It pierces the music as Amaya Santos realizes she has to do something to stop this automatism.

Identify your Relationship Blind Spots.

When you feel trapped in a relationship, you may express defense mechanisms without knowing. Such mechanisms blur your vision so you lack of lucidity.

Psychologists such as Dr Abby Medcalf pinpoint 3 to 7 ways to identify your relationship blind spots from the denial, the projection, the sublimination, to rationalization to mechanically ignore red flags in a relationship.

“I think sometimes when we are in a situation like “Carousel”, we are blind to it. I would hope this song could be a wake-up call to anyone who is in a similar situation and that it could help to know they aren’t alone and that there are other people feeling the same way or going through similar situations. I also hope it would help them realize they can move on from them”

“Carousel” is a message of hope. While the song ends, you can hear footsteps walking away. She found a way to escape in this narrative by going out of the carousel. She took back control over her life and her decisions. This ending means anybody can do the same.

“Carousel” is Amaya Santos’ 4th single, following “Hmd”, “Late Night Thoughts” and “Run”. The song has a 90’s vibe, probably because her inspirations are icons such as Lauryn Hill, Mariah Carey, Aaliyah, and Amy Winehouse. The East Coast artist is also still influenced by the Caribbean music she grew up with.

Amaya Santos’ velvety voice covers hip-hop sonorities. It makes the songs she interprets sound both comforting and moving. Her lyrics are relatable, and so do “Carousel” ones:

Mélanie Domergue

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