It’s weird that the phrase ‘taken care of’ has two opposite meanings. The nicer of the two suggests security and comfort. If someone is taken care of, they are loved and looked after, surrounded by people who will keep them safe. The alternative meaning is much darker. In this sense, someone who is ‘taken care of’ might find themselves face down in a swimming pool or killed in a car crash in Paris. There are sinister, mob-like connotations to the phrase that are totally opposed to the original meaning.
On her new track, Suzi Wu interprets the phrase in its kinder sense, though there is the distinct suggestion she might not be as taken care of as the title suggests.
‘Taken Care Of’ is a crunchy, bratty pop song, Wu’s tone at once defiant and somehow injured as she sings over a jangle of glass bottle clinks and lazy beats. There is something distinctly lonely about the track, the arrangement disjointed and alienating in its uneven mix of craggy, irregular sounds, Wu’s voice suggesting a yearning to be loved hidden beneath a hard exterior.
“Mama papa love me, I think so anyway,” she pines, permitting her voice to lose its hard edge just for a moment. She goes on to distract herself by bragging about her ‘brand new shoes’, though winds up back at the same chorus, the hard-girl outer shell less convincing each time as she asserts “I am so beautiful” over an unsympathetic, isolating backing track. As the track progresses, Wu’s opening statement of “I take care of me” begins to feel less like an assertion of independence and more like a plea to be looked after.
On her offbeat, swaggering new tune, Suzi Wu navigates the complexities of being a beautiful contradiction, at once independent, while also eager for the warm, validating embrace of home.