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Synth Single Review: "These Games" by Decade Defector feat. Stephen Sims


Karl has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. He's passionate about music, art, and writing!


Decade Defector’s single These Games (feat. Stephen Sims) is a cautionary tale about the damage caused by falling in love with a toxic person. It begins on warm, wandering, slightly wavering notes playing a drifting melody with a darker throb of thick bass underneath them.

The smooth pulse of the beat adds form to the music as the lightly shadowed, full synth notes drift over it. Stephen Sims has a delicate, aching voice that suits the lyrics of the song. The vocal melody has a minor key shade to it as do the synths that play a revolving series of arpeggios. Sims’ voice soars and climbs to express deep emotion before the track fades out on a soft shine of chimes.

The lyrics that Stephen Sims wrote for These Games wander through the complex landscapes of love and loss that drive romantic relationships amongst human beings. They are also full of strong imagery and emotional depth. A beautiful image begins the song in the line, "My breath melts into the air with forgotten words” and the narrator talks of a “a cut but surface deep” that has hurt him the most.

There is bitterness in the lyric, “Dignified don’t make you, loyalty don’t portray you” as the narrator continues by saying he has been blamed and scorned. He adds, “You took the whole deck and you threw away the cards.”

The sense of deception pours from the line, “Spun a tale I wanted to believe, I was laughing then but now the joke’s on me” and he finishes as he says that he hates the games being played.

He goes on to say that he thought he’d “struck gold” but heard the echo of his mother’s words warning him, “play that way, you’ll get hurt.” I like the way the next line is expressed as he says, “Compassion won’t bring fractures close, they are floating all around.”

In spite of all of the pain, he still can’t stop the memories as they “whirl” in his head. He adds, “Time is ticking cos I ain't with you. I gotta remember it was all fake a darker, meaner shade of blue.”

As is so often the case, discovering the truth isn’t always ideal. The narrator concludes, “It’s toxic now I know the truth. I wish I lived in doubt.”


Ivana Divac from Serbia on February 01, 2021:

Great review!