LISTEN: Chelsea Cutler - how to be human

Written By: Gabe Szymoniak

It’s currently way past my bedtime but Chelsea Cutler released a new single, and as a writer for this magazine, I felt obligated to you readers to share  my earlier bedtime as well as what the latest and greatest song is by a rising and shining star. “how to be human” is Cutler’s second single of the year, and what I can only imagine, foreshadows a mind-blowing album within the next couple months.

On her Instagram, Chelsea shares how “how to be human” came into existence and her words there alone blew my mind. She opens up about a recent conversation she had with her therapist about existentialism and where meaning should be derived from in life.

She says, “Most animals on earth live guided solely by their desire to survive, an instinctual will to make it to tomorrow. Humans do not have that luxury. evolution is a double-edged sword, our complex brains give humans the ability to construct cities, create art, discover planets. but, we also have the ability to think beyond our survival instincts, to question meaning and purpose, to question what exactly we are surviving for.”

Following up with how, after the releases of her 2018 debut albums, sleeping with roses and sleeping with roses ii, she found herself in an all too relatable place. She often found herself standing securely on her own two feet, “just to have them knocked out from under her again”. She then adds a short anecdote about how she used a boogie board as a kid in the ocean and getting caught in the surf zone, just to have the waves roll in and knock her off. So she has to repeat this cycle of needing to “get back up again, after being knocked down”. This past year reminds her a lot of those times as a kid.

She also talks about life after college and entering the “real world,” that “being in your early twenties is weird,” by giving all of these examples of decisions that need to be made and pressures that need to be figured out in a new decade of life.

Concluding with how in the last year, she’s ridden “the highest of highs and fallen to my lowest of lows.” Chelsea references the boogie board story turned life metaphor again to explain how she’s “learning to remember them when she’s underwater, tumbling in the powerful motion of a crashing wave, she will eventually surface again. And she’ll breathe again.” Her last line of this beautiful composition is, “I suspect that life always exists somewhere in the surf zone and i’m learning to be okay with that.''  

Now let’s jump into the track itself!

“how to be human” starts out with a very Chelsea Cutler-esque sounding tone (upbeat and unique to her alone). The song flows seamlessly from verse to pre-chorus to chorus to verse. I may be totally wrong in saying this, but I’m still going to do it because this realization has hit me: I feel like Chelsea Cutler has this upbeat, almost anthemic sounding instrumental perspective, but gets lyrically paired with the opposite.

Is this the piece where I delve into my theory? Maybe it should be, but I’m just here for “how to be human.” The song delves into the aforementioned decisions and pressures. I feel like even the placement of each line of the lyrics was meant to be; Because each line cohesively exemplifies a universal idea that Chelsea Cutler succeeded in bringing to light in her newest single. She really does say it best, “I hope that no matter how old you are, you can join me in figuring out what the hell this life is all about.” Because at the end of the day, we are no different than our family members, neighbors, or that stranger you see passing on the sidewalk for the first and probably last time. There are roughly 7.5 billion of us waking up each and every day going through our routines, we may occasionally slip up (which is totally okay by the way), but at the end of the day, we go to bed and try again the next just to figure out how to be human.