Opinion: Jonas Punched Me in the Gut and Not in a Good Way

By Anna Jirgal

Have you ever watched the Super Bowl? You know, your family and all your friends are gorging themselves on burgers, dip, and whatever concoction Aunt Sally made that looks super suspicious but tastes amazing. Besides, let’s be honest, half of you are only there for the food anyway. The food and one other thing: commercials. Because billions of dollars look fantastic on the screen. The first one rolls on. It’s probably the story of some orphan child with polio who gets bullied and run over by a bus and then struck by lightning but it’s okay because he is strong with the force: he can overcome anything and so can you. For a split second, you think you’re watching the next Emmy award winner and then the product shows up and it feels like a punch in the gut. That is exactly what Nick Jonas’ new hit, “Find You,” felt like to me.

My first impression was decent: here we have a pretty good-looking celebrity guy who can sing. Yay for him. I was honestly expecting another angsty song about love. I wasn’t entirely wrong to suspect that. But for the sake of all the work they must have put into this song, I’m gonna tear the lyrics apart because I’m assuming there’s got to be some sort of meaning to this. Please don’t let me down man.

I looked for you in the center of the sun

I took a pill but it didn’t help me numb

I see your face even when my eyes are shut

But I never really know just where to find you

I chase the words that keep falling out your mouth

You got a logic I’ll never figure out

If I could hold you then I’d never put you down

But I never really know just where to find you

First of all, what on earth would you find in the middle of the sun? Light, energy? What do we think of the sun? It’s warm, we need it to live, it gives life to everything, lights stuff up. When it sets, the world is cold and dark and dangerous. Whatever he thinks he is going to find there, it must be amazing because if it can literally be the source of energy for the entire world, govern time itself, hold our freaking solar system together and basically keep us all from instantaneously becoming frozen corpses, then by golly he must be looking for a miracle.

Moving on, the line about seeing the person in his head really stuck with me, partly because it’s creepy but mostly because it’s relatable. The same kind of thing happened to me when my grandpa passed away, except I would see his face in other people or hear his voice coming from crowds. It was really hard. He must have been around this person a lot. Yet he doesn’t know where to find him or her, which is strange because I get the impression this person hasn’t really left.

Sometimes it feels as if he is talking to two different people: one is sitting right in front of him, the one he’s chasing the words for and figuring out the logic of, and the other person is whomever he is looking for. I’m getting the impression that whoever he’s with right now isn’t someone he necessarily wants to be with and instead he’s going on this crazy goose chase for something that feels more like an ideal than a real person. More on that in a second.

You think you know how to get under my skin

It’s okay for now but it’s never permanent

Knock on the door but there’s no one listening

And I never really know just where to find you

You look for love but you never really try

You say it’s not but it’s always on your mind

Keep chasing gold but you lose the silver lining

And I never really know just where to find you

In the second verse, he completely switches gears. He spends all this time whining about things he’s tried and failed to do: he’s tried finding, ignoring, not seeing, understanding, and reaching this person. But he can’t. Up to this point, it sounds like all he wants to do is find this person and get them back. The tables have turned though, and now the other person is trying to get to him but he’s having none of it. Out of context, one would think that he’s not really into whomever this person is. Gone is the obsessive stalker quality. Now he’s commenting on how transient this relationship is. He makes it look like the other person is the creepy stalker and how he’s just rolling with it for now. The line “knock on the door but there’s no one listening” is especially icy. Considering he’s putting all this time into whining about not being able to find this gal, or understand her or get in her head or whatever, you’d think the guy would be more open, but no.

He may have a good reason for this, looking at the latter half of the second verse. Whoever this chick is, she’s not in it to last. She’s not reaching whatever ideal concept of love this guy has. She’s not really trying in his book. She’s chasing a utopia while he’s just trying to find someone who will just see the silver lining in this often miserable thing we call life. So at the end of the story, he’s looking for love. Surprise! Bet you didn’t see that one coming. He just wants to get inside this person, because he thinks he will find some match to the ideal gal in his head.

I think this speaks a lot of truth about what we as humans do. Imagine he has this crush, and before he mounts up the courage to actually talk to said person and actually get to know them, a lot of the time is spent just thinking about them. And thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking and before he knows it, he’s thought up this whole person, and he already knows what their favorite color is, how they feel about him, their deepest darkest secret, whatever. Time goes by and he eventually talks to the real person, maybe he gets really close. He doesn’t realize how dangerous all that thought was until he wakes up one day and the person he sees in real life isn’t the person he met in his head.

Truth be told, the people in our heads never exist, but often we fall in love with them anyway. The people we fantasize about and the real people we meet on the street are two separate. There’s no way you can know everything about someone without actually knowing them and there’s no way that they’re going to fit into whatever mold you’ve fitted out for them. There is no ideal person. You’re not going to find a demigod in this world of faulty humans. You’re not going to find a knight in shining armor; you’re going to find a knight, in mostly polished armor with a few dings, probably a couple scratches and then that dang armor has to be re-cleaned and re-buffed and fixed incessantly. So sorry Jonas, looks like you’re gonna be chasing geese for a long time.

A little bird once told me that being married (or being in any relationship really) isn’t about “figuring out” the other person. Let’s face it, none of us are going to suddenly become telepathic just because have been with a person for one to even fifty years. We might get close, but we just don’t have that physical capacity. It ain’t gonna happen. What you do instead is just understand them, just listen and process and remember and observe and think and retain.

So although I think Jonas is noble in believing that there is a better person in whoever this gal is, if he hasn’t found her yet, there may be a good chance that she isn’t there. As much as we’d all like to believe that if we just look hard enough, we’ll find perfection in anyone, I think the reality is that no one is perfect and no one’s ever going to be. The best we can do is just try. But then again, this is probably all wrong. If you watch the music video, it makes it quite clear that this is a song about Jonas losing his car. It’s probably because of all that dancing—terribly distracting stuff—especially in a desert. He practically dances away from his car in a barren wasteland that looks the same everywhere. And you thought Walmart parking lots were impossible. No, this is the story of how Jonas lost his Jaguar in the sand and he’s just really bad at looking for stuff so he finally gives in and gets a Lyft… in a music video…

The gut is punched. Peace Out.

(Lyrics from https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/nickjonas/findyou.html)