Ava Max’s “Sweet but Psycho” dropped a few years prior to the album that it later belonged to, Heaven & Hell, seemingly coming out of nowhere and smashing the charts in multiple countries. With that success came a tiny bit of controversy over the usage of the word ‘psycho’, but what is the song actually about?
Ava Max’s ‘Sweet but Psycho’ is about any woman who is strong and independent, despite being told otherwise, and is not afraid to show it. The meaning of the song has been spoken about at length by Ava Max herself.
Although some might label the usage of the word ‘psycho’ as a provocation towards mental health issues, Max has stated numerous times that the intended meaning of the word was nothing to do with those issues.
Whether it’s due to the controversies surrounding the song, the fact it was not only her first big studio release but her first hit, or that she simply has a close connection with the lyrics of the song, Max has been very informative about the meaning of the lyrics.
She and her hit song have been the subject of many an interview, where she speaks in detail about the overall meaning of the song. The song is not about one person in particular, even though at times it can sound like the lyrics are a warning about an individual who is dangerous.
Danger or instability is far from what the song’s lyrics are trying to portray, and despite sounding as if they are targeting one specific individual, it’s certainly not intended that way. Max says that it’s more of a love-letter to a nameless protagonist, a woman who is outspoken or misunderstood.
There is a clear divided line in the lyrics themselves and the way that Max talks about them that possibly implies there is some gaslighting going on in the relationship, but that ultimately the woman is all the more powerful for her fierceness.
Specifically, the feeling of being outspoken is the one that resonates with Max the most and prompted her to write the song in the way she did, as she states herself that she feels as if the lyrics describe her perfectly.
The Word Psycho
Each and every person will likely have had different experiences with mental health issues, whether it be personally or through a loved one. Part of the controversy surrounding both the title of the song and the lyricism contained within it related to this, through the usage of the word ‘psycho’.
Of course, hearing Max talk about it, and reading the lyrics for yourself, it’s fairly clear that the purpose of the song wasn’t to have some sort of unnecessary jab at sufferers from mental health issues.
Regardless, a variety of organizations and media outlets were at the song’s throat over the apparently harmful or negative content of the song, interpreting the lyrics far differently than what their author had intended.
The complaints never really took off or did much to dissuade people from enjoying listening to the song or make any real dent in the number 1 spot that the song had managed to achieve in multiple charts.
One of the other main gripes with the mental illness theme that detractors had was in fact not with the actual song itself or the lyrics, but with the music video that accompanied it.
Though the anger is still misplaced, it’s a little easier to see why the music video raised more concerns. Max said she wanted it to be a theatrical experience, and she definitely delivered on that front.
The music video is like a slasher movie that accidentally had a pop song spilled into the mix. It opens to a romantic black and white shot of a woman and her boyfriend, before slowly devolving into more and more madness punctuated by Max assuming the role of various horror-movie-inspired characters.
Although the video is certainly outlandish, especially the ending scene where Max goes Reservoir Dogs on her tied up boyfriend, setting both him and the room alight in a gasoline fuelled blaze, it’s in a sort of complementary juxtaposition to the brazenly generic pop sound of the song.
It definitely delivers the message that is intended, however, and was not only a successful outing for the singer but an enjoyable one by the looks of it.