It takes a truly special song to wash over you completely, to infiltrate every part of your mind and make you feel something deeply. ARIZONA’s “Cross My Mind” has that power, laced strongly into every note.
Formed during their time at Boston’s Berklee College of Music and Emerson College, ARIZONA (stylized “A R I Z O N A”) consists of vocalist Zachary Hannah, keyboardist David Labuguen, and guitarist Nathan Esquite. While the band was created years ago, it was not until 2016 that the group began releasing tracks, “Cross My Mind” to be one of two gaining major attention due to Spotify playlists.
I know I haven’t been perfect, but give it some time
Cause not a single day goes by where you don’t cross my mind
And we spend our lives looking for things we can’t find
Oh, but not a single day goes by where you don’t cross my mind
Listen: “Cross My Mind” – ARIZONA
“Cross My Mind” is a lovesick lullaby dedicated to a former lover. It’s not a breakup song. It’s not a cry for reconciliation. It’s a simple ode to someone who has left an impact that can’t be forgotten.
The lyrics “Not a single day goes by when you don’t cross my mind,” are repeated many times throughout the track and can sum up the main emotions portrayed in each verse. It’s a song that tells a story. Four a.m. conversations are referenced in which the other party explains he or she “wants something different.” The song is unique in that it takes a perspective far down the road from a split, exclaiming that while being together would be amicable, it’s not what would work. It’s an anthem for those who are happy moving on, but have learned to live with a constant reminder of someone from their past.
The lyrics themselves are vague enough they can be related to may areas of life. The song may be found relatable to people who miss a past significant other or friend, as well as someone in a long-distance relationship. There is enough room for interpretation with some undefined lyrics and lack of detail.
All the hours we’ve spent on the line
All the times that you’d say that I never listen, I never listen
Through the conversations we’ve had ’til 4 AM
You say you want something different, want something different
The song’s strength, though, is not in its lyrics. Though compelling in story and rhythm, the song’s main draw is in its production. “Cross My Mind” lives in a space between electronic and slow pop-production. It starts as an almost lullaby ready to sooth and sedate listeners in an embrace of emotion. As the chorus picks up, the tune rises, creating a metaphorical echo between the passion felt in the narrator’s lonesomeness and the key lyrics of the song.
The second pre-chorus is carried by an underlying chant, which, if played at the right volume, has the possibility to overtake a listener’s senses. It’s the intense competing sounds with the singer’s perfectly passionate voice, displayed here and found throughout, that create for an extremely overtaking listening experience. It’s crafted beautifully and is sure to leave a lasting impression.
It’s all of this that coddles “Cross My Mind” so exquisitely. The melody is one with the power to carry listeners into a deep train of thought. It’s background music that encourages nostalgia, yet it’s intricate enough to inspire sing-alongs and full digestion of each note. “Cross My Mind” is a one of a kind piece in the band’s repertoire that would be difficult for the band, let alone any other artist, to replicate.
ARIZONA’s other songs don’t follow suit in calm collectedness. They tend to border on electronic dance tunes more so than anything else. “I Was Wrong,” the band’s most successful release with close to 16 million listens on Spotify, has been subject to an equally-successful remix, labeling it as a party hit. Though the original track plays on more of an artificial acoustic sound, it still holds the qualities of an upbeat radio hit.
Listen: “Let Me Touch Your Fire” – ARIZONA
The only other of the band’s remaining three releases comparable to “Cross My Mind” is “Let Me Touch Your Fire,” a sultry confession of lust and love. The song displays another side to the band, similar in sound to an early track by The Weeknd. Still, “Let Me Touch Your Fire” holds a completely different message from the honesty in “Cross My Mind” and takes the band in an entirely different direction.
ARIZONA are currently working on their first EP, expected to be released sometime this year. The band’s current collection tosses their sound in several directions, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It leaves an incredible amount of space for future experimentation and definition. The wide variety just enhances “Cross My Mind” as a clear individual, not succumbing to any pre-determined sound. It’s a beautiful rendition of lost love, free of clichés and harsh realizations. It’s simple, honest and not trying to be anything it’s not. It’s an incredibly special song because of that.
cover photo: ARIZONA © Jimmy Fontaine