Love is quite a difficult concept to grasp at times, especially when another person is involved. Looking at it in the simplest of terms, to be able to love something or someone, they must bring you to a heightened level of happiness or euphoria that can only be matched by a few things. The subsequent love and appreciation for that euphoria will result in a desire for its constant presence and recurrence, forming a repeating cycle that continues until something goes wrong.
Kyle Dion goes through this exact cycle on his sophomore album, SUGA. Hesitant to allow himself to be vulnerable, he finally lets down his guard and experiences the feeling of heightened happiness as a result. However, the cycle comes to an abrupt end as things go left bringing Kyle right back to where he started. Supported by four singles, “Brown,” “Spend It,” “Not All The Way” and “Glass House,” the thirteen songs on SUGA give us the full emotional experience of this cycle.
SUGA is a walking double entendre that sees Kyle progressing through two journeys that share similar beginnings, progressions, and endings. We have one journey that sees him navigating romance with a certain love interest, led by the feeling of euphoria. The other, inversely, finds him approaching a climactic level of euphoria caused by a certain substance. This euphoria stays due to the appreciation he has for it that develops throughout the album. In the end, both journeys come to an end for similar reasons.
Embarking on the first journey, in order to avoid any distractions from his daily obligations, we see Kyle go from putting off any romantic activities till the nighttime on “Hands To Yourself.” Soon, he gives into the idea of a real and true love (only if they move at his pace) on “Not All The Way.” After a feeling of rebirth and renewal overcomes him on “Cherry Blossom,” Kyle is now ready to dive into this new love.
Moving forward, his new love has become a high, on “Fly Little Bird,” bringing that wave of euphoria, that seemingly repairs the broken areas of his life. Unfortunately, in patching up the broken area, new ones are created. Essentially it becomes a neverending game of tag. He describes the type of clarity he receives as a result of his new love on “Glass House,” a clarity only he can see as he’s the only occupant of the glass house.
Jumping over to the substance-driven journey, much of the same can be applied here. Subbing out for his love interest, “Hands To Yourself” portrays Kyle saving a drug-like substance use for the night when he is not occupied with work-related things. However, this changes when he decides to cautiously give it a chance on “Not All The Way,” again, so long as he gets to move and dive in at his own pace. As we progress from “Fly Little Bird” to “69 Camaro,” Kyle leans towards euphoria, obtains a climatic-type high, and experiences a subsequent come down.
On both journeys, things take a downward dive as we approach the end of SUGA. Both see Kyle dealing with detachment, withdrawal and finally, acceptance. He speaks of detachment both literally and figuratively on “No Strings,” things have come to end and the glue-like string that held them together no lowkey exists. Drowning in sadness and pain on “White,” Kyle deals with withdrawal as he’s forced to take on life alone. Even though he admits that he is at fault for the string breaking, reality still hits him full-force as a cloud of devastation hangs over him. Next, fitting to its title, “Somethings Can’t be Done,” he begins to pick himself up to continue on with life. Becoming “comfortably numb” to the pain, he continues onward as best as he can, somewhat accepting reality.
“You gon’ get this high, you gon’ feel real real good/ For X amount of time/ But if you don’t keep taking that sugar/ You eventually gon’ get low/ You gon’ get real low”
These few lines are a short summary of the narrative we see throughout the album. Kyle eloquently and gracefully stresses that without euphoria, a certain high that comes to mind, love will not survive. In addition to this, we must also love the recurring feeling of euphoria. If the feeling is not continuously enjoyed, its presence will become less and less appreciated until the unappreciated presence turns into absence.
SUGA impressively tackles the relationship between love and euphoria, examining the effectiveness and stability of the relationship when one of the two is missing. He beautifully displays how the relationship is elevated when both elements work together, invoking equal amounts of emotion to the high and low points. Despite winding up alone in the end, learning to love, as he so desperately wanted to on “Teach Me,” stands as the biggest benefit of all.