You Make Me Better

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By: Gabriela Yareliz

Today’s song is a No Doubt classic, “Underneath It All.” We start out with Gwen Stefani admitting that she sometimes thinks she needs someone more like her, but then she says that despite their differences this special person is lovely and loves her, “underneath it all.” This person sees the colors in her like no one else, she sings.

It’s a song where we are diving deeper and past appearances and the “dark glasses” people wear, and we look at who they are “underneath it all.” It’s about the sides we know of people that others do not know or have access to. Intimacy. I read that Stefani wrote this song after a day at the park with Gavin Rossdale (before he was her husband). Apparently, after the excursion she wrote in her journal: “You’re lovely underneath it all.” (Source)

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Underneath it all, Stefani says she is lucky. As it seems to be a relationship where there are a lot of differences, they are both putting in their effort. She refers to the relationship as an incomplete “dress rehearsal”. Still, Stefani recognizes his efforts, singing, “But lately you’ve been trying real hard, and giving me your best” and remarks that “when it’s really bad, I guess it’s not that bad.”

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I find this to be a song of recognition and true appreciation. It acknowledges that things aren’t perfect, but they are worth it. That’s love. The song makes clear that the highlight of the subject relationship is that this person makes her better.

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What counts are the people who are around when things are hard; the ones who make the effort. The person that, despite the fact that you have seen “many moons” together, still makes you feel lucky. It’s about looking at the one you are with and feeling like enough when they’ve “used up all their coupons” and all they have left is you.

One of my favorite aspects of the music video is how Stefani’s appearance morphs as the video progresses. She starts off looking stunning and glam on a couch wearing a huge coat and tons of makeup. A VIBE. The video ends with Stefani dressed in a simple white stripped down outfit looking very bare faced minimal. A nice touch for a song that celebrates what is underneath it all.

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Who makes you better? Who do you love without all the frills, underneath it all? Who sees the colors in you like no one else?

Published by Gabriela Yareliz

Gabriela is a writer, editor and attorney. She loves the art of storytelling, and she is based in NYC.

2 thoughts on “You Make Me Better

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