Music You Should Know: The Beths’ “Jump Rope Gazers” Might Be the Best Love Song… Ever?

The Beths © Amanda Cheng 2020
The Beths © Amanda Cheng 2020
The title track off New Zealand indie rock band The Beths’ 2020 sophomore album, “Jump Rope Gazers” caught the attention of artists like Phoebe Bridgers — and rightfully so.
Stream: “Jump Rope Gazers” – The Beths

Music by The Beths is a welcome addition to Spotify’s “undercurrents” playlist, with the New Zealand-based rockers building a reputation in the alternative scene. Recently, the artists earned praise for 2022’s Expert in a Dying Field.

Jump Rope Gazers - The Beths
Jump Rope Gazers, The Beths’ sophomore album, released in July 2020

As the title track of The Beths’ second album, “Jump Rope Gazers” took a life of its own. The band highlighted this song in their NPR Tiny Desk concert, (complete with a clarinet solo from Benjamin Sinclair). “Motion Sickness” songwriter Phoebe Bridgers identified herself as a fan during an interview with Charli XCX. The rest is history.

So what, exactly, is a “Jump Rope Gazer?” As described by vocalist Liz Stokes, the term references the visceral imagery of two people holding a jump rope. Although they’re connected by the string, there’s a distance that separates them.

That physical and emotional separation is further emphasized by lyrics like, “I’ve never been the dramatic type, but if I don’t see your face tonight, I, well I guess I’ll be fine.”

In the first verse/internal monologue, the narrator bounces back and forth — between yearning to see this other person and recognizing the problems already apparent in the relationship and in themself.

“Hide my heart behind a brighter light
So you struggle straining eyes to find
Why we made it this way
My hopes are prone to elevate
But the way your mind and mine relate
It breaks the patterns we make.”

This narrator confesses they loved this person “the whole time,” also comparing previous relationships to waves crashing on the beach. Stokes sings that in the past, she waited for the “grazes on my hands,” or the emotional scars left by previous lovers, to mend.

“I was afraid of the sting,” she added. In the final chorus, even if there are complications, the singer concluded they want to give this their “best try” — the love these “Jump Rope Gazers” found is stronger than whatever obstacles stand in their way.

The Beths © Frances Carter
The Beths © Frances Carter

Lyrics aside, this Beths song is adjacent to “Ghosting” by Mother Mother, resembling something that belongs to Taylor Swift’s Fearless. The dreamy pop-rock vibes are so different from other heavy, rock-driven tracks in the band’s discography. (In a good way!)

Even if “Jump Rope Gazers” lingers on childhood imagery, Stokes (and the other members of The Beths) prove to be wise beyond their years with this original. The song is insightful and almost poetic — a welcome addition to any breakup or “late-night driving” playlist.

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Stream: “Jump Rope Gazers” – The Beths

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Jump Rope Gazers - The Beths

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