Have you ever worshipped someone? Not a spiritual figure, but an actual person just like me and you. If you have, you’ll relate perfectly with Coast Modern’s infectious song “Guru” – and if you haven’t, you’ll understand a little bit of what it’s like while listening to the song. In a tune that screams “summer” from its first second, the LA-based duo’s new song tells the story of a man who is so in awe of, but so different from, his loved one that he finds himself torn between changing for her and staying his true self.
Baby’s on the road
Tryin’ to find what’s golden
Never gonna hold her down
I’m chillin’ on the sofa
I don’t wanna yoga
I don’t want to life right now
Listen: “Guru” – Coast Modern
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The dynamics of this relationship are the following: The woman is the hardworking, serious, moneymaker of the pair and the man, who sings the song, stays home not doing much. She is presented as the ambitious and active one in the relationship, being “on the road” and “tryin’ to find what’s golden,” while he introduces himself as her passive, sluggish counterpart, “chillin’ on the sofa” and “burning all [his] daylight sleepin’.” In doing this, Coast Modern is not only presenting to their listeners a personal dilemma, but is also subverting the standards of what was once expected from a man and woman’s relationship since the traditional male and female roles are reversed.
You see through my bad, you know I have my moods
When I’m super low you pull me higher
(Baby, be my guru)
We’re miles apart, but not at heart, my guru
And even if I’m slow she’s patient with the pace I grow
(Oh you know she is)
And when I am alone she’s with me every place I go
The relationship also seems to be based upon the singer’s adoration of his girlfriend, who he refers to her as his “guru.” Despite their differences, she seems to be his sole source of support, “pull[ing] [him] higher” and helping him through his bad phases. He refers to her as one would refer to a mentor, speaking of her patience while she watches him slowly grow – like a professional or spiritual mentor would watch his or her apprentice slowly grow professionally or develop spiritually. It is evident to the listener that the singer has put his loved one on a pedestal. And that is where, essentially, the conflict resides.
Got some scruff goin’, gotta shave it
Get my diet up, no more eating bacon
Get a bathe in, bet it’d feel amazin’
Climb up from the cave I created in my basement
Good vibrations swirlin’ ’round me
So why does changing hurt so badly
Watch: “Guru” – Coast Modern
The singer’s idolization of his girlfriend is such that it leads him to want to become her, changing the way he looks and what he does. Since he is going to see her soon, he has to look good (shaving his scruff and “get[ting] a bathe in”), eat healthily (“no more eating bacon”) and essentially give up all of his habits. However, who he wants to become is so disparate from who he is, that he is faced with a dilemma: does he change for the one he loves, or does he stay as the same and risk living this inert life forever? The song is centred around this debate, since even though “good vibrations” surround the singer when he starts to change, “changing hurt[s],” and he finds himself at a fork in the road.
The song’s melody also reflects the singer’s dilemma and indecision: it mixes different genres, hinting at psych pop, hip pop, and reggae, to name a few, just like the singer presents various facets of himself. The song’s overarching genre is hard to put a finger on, just like it is difficult to determine who the singer will become after he has made his decision. One thing is certain, though: “Guru” is an addictive track that is terribly reflective of the atmosphere of summer – light-headed and carefree, but at the same time introspective and thought-provoking.
Coast Modern, keeping true to their name, deliver a song which perfectly reflects its California heritage while also perpetuating a growing and current trend of lacking one unique, defining genre. Coast Modern’s Twitter page describes them as “America’s Newest Band” – and if “Guru” is any indication of what is to come, it is most definitely right.