Lately, I have been trying to negotiate my conflictual feelings regarding two similar songs.The first is an oldie by The Crystals titled, "He Hit Me (And it Felt Like a Kiss)." The second is "Kiss with a Fist" by Florence + the Machine.

The latter song is more upbeat, but includes similar lyrical imagery, such as the pairing of violence with intimacy/sexuality. Florence Welch's lyrics are ferocious, but sung almost flipantly. She sings:

You hit me once/I hit you back/You gave a kick/I gave a slap/You smashed a plate/Over my head/Then I set fire to our bed

Later, she sings, "A kiss with a fist is better than none." I really enjoy the beat of this song and, in some ways, I like the lyrics. I like how apathetic Florence Welch sounds in this song. However, liking this song also makes me feel somewhat uncomfortable and gross.

Back to The Crystals, "He Hit Me (And it Felt Like a Kiss)"--this song is so haunting and sung so clearly. The lyrics are aboslutely horrendous:

He hit me/And it felt like a kiss/He hit me/And I knew he loved me

Even when this song came out in the 60s, it was confronted with negative publicity and was not played much. It's currently difficult to find the original recording of this song. I'm not sure what I like about it. I don't like the lyrics, but the music is so elegant and The Crystals' voices are beautiful--it's a beautiful/ugly dichotomy.

Listen for yourself...

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