October 17

Uncovering the Message Behind k.d. lang’s, “Constant Craving”

k.d. lang’s Constant Craving has been tugging at the heartstrings of listeners since the day it was released in 1992. It was written by k.d. lang and her constant collaborator, Ben Mink, and was part of her album, Ingénue.

After its release, the song became an instant hit, having risen to the charts at the 38th spot on the Billboard Hot 100, while it landed on the 2nd slot on the Billboard adult contemporary chart. Meanwhile, during its first release, it was initially a modest hit in the UK. But when the song was re-released in 1993, it landed at number 15 on the UK Singles Chart during its fourth week. The song was the track that marked k.d. lang’s first Billboard Hot 100 hit, followed by her 2010 rendition of Leonard Cohen’s tune, Hallelujah.

Constant Craving also lead k.d. lang to win the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 1993, along with Best Female Video from the MTV Video Music Award. It was even nominated for Song of the Year.

The story behind the hit song from the renowned Canadian country artist was inspired by a context in Buddhism called, Samsara. According to Buddhism, Samsara is the continual cycle of birth and death as an individual traverses within the six realms of existence. Each realm is marked by a particular type of suffering, and it can either be physical or psychological in form.

At first, lang had difficulty comprehending the song’s message, particularly the line Constant craving has always been. She shared that the song left a feeling of incongruence to the rest of the album. However, once she finally gained clarity over the complexity and richness of the lyrics, that was when she realized that “it’s an acquiescence.” k. d. lang adds, “It’s a summation of human desire. It’s like yes, OK, we all are heartbroken. We’re all nervous. We’re all vulnerable. We’re all hopeful, but at the end of the day, constant craving has always been. And it really, emotionally, just surfaced for me, the purpose of that song.”

How about you, dear readers? How would you interpret k.d. lang’s deep, mesmerizing hit?


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