The Lyrics Of “Labour” By Paris Paloma Speak To Women Everywhere

CW: This piece discusses a song with lyrics that allude to domestic violence, sexism and neglect.

If you don’t know who Paris Paloma is, you’re missing out on some powerful music. The 23-year-old singer from the United Kingdom delivers lyrics that carry a lot of meaning.

Paloma’s song “Labour” is drawing attention for its powerful symbolism. Every woman who’s experienced love, heartbreak, and the painful dance between them can relate to the lyrics because it’s not a typical love song. “Labour” doesn’t discuss the happy, lighthearted feelings a love song usually conveys but rather the emotionally complicated messes that relationships often become.

Paris hits us from the beginning of the song as she croons, “Who fetches the water/From the rocky mountain spring?/And walk back down again/To feel your words and their sharp sting?” Being single feels much like finding cool, fresh water, but falling back into the trap of a toxic relationship instead of quenching your thirst for freedom is torture. A fresh start can be invigorating for women who free themselves from harmful relationships.

If we had a daughter

I’d watch and could not save her

The emotional torture

From the head of your high table

She’d do what you taught her

She’d meet the same cruel fate

So now I’ve gotta run

So I can undo this mistake

At least I’ve gotta try

Later, we see Paris entertaining the idea of a future with her lover, singing, “If we had a daughter/I’d watch and could not save her/The emotional torture/From the head of your high table.” She speaks to the need so many of us have to protect future generations from the ongoing cycles of abuse and toxic masculinity. Paloma also encapsulates the helplessness we feel when we know we’re with the wrong person but are still planning a future with them because we can’t escape.

The capillaries in my eyes are bursting 

(All day, every day, therapist, mother, maid)

If our love died, would that be the worst thing? 

(Nymph, then a virgin, nurse, then a servant)”

When Paris sings about the grueling physical effects of being “therapist, mother, [and] maid” to a partner who doesn’t care, the moment touches every woman’s heart. As women, we often give so much of ourselves to our partners, fulfilling many roles that we don’t necessarily want to have. When we get nothing in return, we question, “If our love died, would that be the worst thing?” just like Paloma does in her song. She fully understands that she needs to leave, but she also beautifully conveys how difficult it is to walk away after investing everything in a relationship and how painful it is to learn what to avoid in future relationships.

“Labour” may feel like a dramatic portrayal of a toxic relationship, but in some ways, it’s realistic enough to captivate us. Paris Paloma uses the song to encourage people to set boundaries in their relationships, but more importantly, she shines a light on the positivity on the other side of an abusive relationship.

photo credit via Jamal Thomas



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