Single - Ernest - Kiss Of Death
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‘Kiss Of Death’ by Ernest - Lyrics & Meaning

October 26, 2023 11:01 pm GMT
Last Edited December 19, 2023 10:40 am GMT

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Ernest - ‘Kiss Of Death’

Label: Big Loud Records

Release Date: October 27th 2023

Album: TBC

Producers: Trent Willmon

Songwriters: Ernest Keith Smith, Andy Albert, Ryan Vojtesak

The Background:

Ernest has spent much of 2023 challenging Zach Bryan for the unofficial ‘Most Prolific Artist of the Year’ award, with the Nashville native having already dropped his Flower Shops: Two Dozen Roses deluxe album, his ERNEST & The Fellas Unplugged live project and a Mother's Day single by the time he announced ‘Kiss Of Death’ in October.

Though his heartfelt May ballad, ‘Takes After You’, seemingly signalled the beginning of his next album rollout, Ernest billed ‘Kiss Of Death’ as the true start of his “New Era” of music.

Although his eagerly awaited Flower Shops follow-up is yet to have a title or release date, it's expected to arrive in early 2024, with previously teased tracks such as ‘Summertime Flies’ and ‘Hangin’ On’ set to feature alongside ‘Kiss Of Death’ and ’Takes After You’.

The vast majority of Flower Shops was built around the titular persona, with Ernest deftly weaving together a moonlit tapestry of agonising heartbreak, alcohol-fuelled mistakes and hopeless romance.

Despite ‘Kiss Of Death’ being coloured by dark, sultry undertones, the song still consolidates Ernest's noticeable shift in direction away from the despairing protagonist of Flower Shops.

While ’Takes After You’ was a deeply endearing tribute to his wife, Delaney, following the birth of their son, Ryman, ‘Kiss Of Death’ is a sensual ode to a fiery, one-off night of passion with a woman Ernest knows will end up destroying him.

The Sound:

When Ernest shared the artwork for ‘Kiss Of Death‘, which features the ‘Wild Wild West’ songsmith standing pensively alongside a banjo, many fans speculated that this might signify an impending transition towards a folkier, sparser sound.

However, upon the release of ‘Kiss Of Death’, listeners were glad to see Ernest staying true to the smooth, infectious melodies and witty lyricism that propelled him into the mainstream.

Throughout the opening verse, the stormy, driving drum pattern coalesces with the yearning cry of the steel guitar and the subtle, joyful strum of the promised banjo.

When Ernest launches into the hook, the instrumental heightens in intensity to mirror the protagonist's decision to give into his temptation. Ahead of the final chorus, an incisive electric guitar slices through the hazy euphony, bringing the track to its stirring crescendo.

The Meaning:

“Do me like you say you will and drag me ‘cross your coals
Addicted to the way your mind so dark and heart so cold
I see behind them eyes and girl it ain’t all baby blue
But I want all of it, I want you”

Ernest begins by setting out the key juxtaposition that underpins ‘Kiss Of Death’ - that of pain and pleasure, with the song's protagonist asking her to metaphorically ‘torture’ him by dragging him across her hot coals. Although not to be taken literally, of course, this symbolises the dark streak that courses through their romance.

He proceeds to highlight that this isn't a relationship based on sweet, loving connection, with the protagonist describes how he's hooked on the woman's “cold heart”.

Then, Ernest cleverly flips a classic country description of one's lover as having charming ‘baby blue’ eyes, a portrayal popularised by George Strait's iconic track of the same name. In ‘Kiss Of Death, though, when the protagonist stares into his partner's eyes, he sees the furthest thing from innocence - and he can't resist this allure.

“‘Cause I feel like dancing with the devil
Take my heart and rip it out my chest
When I’m with you I’m good as gone girl
My angel in a fire red dress
My kiss of death
Kiss me, kill me”

In the hook, Ernest succumbs to his desires, as he decides to throw caution to the wind and ‘dance with the devil’, even if this means she'll tear his heart right out of his chest.

He follows this up by explaining that, whenever he's around his partner, he has not control over himself, so he's willing to accept whatever fate his ‘angel in a fire red dress’ flings him towards.

‘Kiss Of Death’ is pervaded by tempestuous and incandescent imagery, with Ernest utilising a vibrant palette in order to vividly convey the extent of his irrepressible passion.

The recurring contrast between pain and pleasure symbolises Ernest's desire to surrender to his emotions and, in turn, to his lover, with the depiction of this as a ‘painful’ experience representing the torment of being on the verge of being able to give in to her ‘Kiss Of Death’.

“Go on dig a hole and cut the stone if you’re gonna love me
Tell me there ain’t poison in them fingertips, there must be
Don’t mind me I’ll be alright
I think I like the pain
And if it ends tonight that’ll be okay”

In the second verse, we see more imagery surrounding death, with Ernest outlining to his lover that she can go ahead and dig his grave and carve out his headstone - he's willing to embrace the throes of their tumultuous, feverish romance.

He accentuates this feeling by wondering whether she has ‘poison in them fingertips’, before admitting what he's hinted at throughout the track so far - ‘I think I like the pain’. Ernest concludes the verse with a reiteration of his wish to satisfy his lust and submit to the woman's powers of seduction - even if it's the last thing he does.

What has Ernest said about ‘Kiss Of Death’?

Ernest has so far remained tight-lipped on this song in particular, apart from stressing that ‘Kiss Of Death’ marks the beginning of his exciting ‘New Era’ of music.

Earlier in the year, the ‘This Fire’ crooner delved into what this ‘New Era’ will consist of via X (formerly Twitter), “Growth. Not abandonment. [There are] a lot of songs I’ve written and a lot more songs I wanna write and I don’t wanna feel pigeon holed out of cutting em”.

Ernest expanded on this, “My life is pretty damn good. [I'm] thankful. I wanna sing about it… At the same time.. I deal with depression and battle with the dark side of life as we all do sometimes.. I wanna sing about that too…” before paying homage to his most visceral muses, “I got a beautiful little boy and an amazing family… I wanna sing about that…. I wanna write all of my story.. past, present and future”.

For the full lyrics to Ernest's ‘Kiss Of Death’, see below:

“Do me like you say you will and drag me ‘cross your coals
Addicted to the way your mind so dark and heart so cold
I see behind them eyes and girl it ain’t all baby blue
But I want all of it, I want you

‘Cause I feel like dancing with the devil
Take my heart and rip it out my chest
When I’m with you I’m good as gone girl
My angel in a fire red dress
My kiss of death
Kiss me, kill me

Go on dig a hole and cut the stone if you’re gonna love me
Tell me there ain’t poison in them fingertips, there must be
Don’t mind me I’ll be alright
I think I like the pain
And if it ends tonight that’ll be okay

‘Cause I feel like dancing with the devil
Take my heart and rip it out my chest
When I’m with you I’m good as gone girl
My angel in a fire red dress
My kiss of death
Kiss me, kill me

‘Cause I feel like dancing with the devil
Take my heart and rip it out my chest
When I’m with you I’m good as gone girl
My angel in a fire red dress
My kiss of death, kiss me, kill me
Kiss me, kill me”

For more on Ernest, see below:

Written by Maxim Mower
Author - Ernest
Ernest
Artist