Guilla’s new single might be called “Sorry,” but make no mistake: It’s not an apology. Rather, it mocks a type of sentimental apology endemic to commercial romance.
“Sorry,” a fun, high-energy display of nerd-core, is about a dude racing to the airport to beg a girl to take him back, only to be shunted and humiliated when she, presumably in front of an audience of drama-deprived bystanders, washes her hands of him.
This is a classic climactic scene of generic romance movies, minus the jilting of the man, who always realizes, just in the nick of time, that he does love her and that they should be together. (It’s almost always the man who gets to make this last-minute decision.) So, putting innocent commuters at risk, he piles up the driving infractions on his way to the airport, where he will stop her just before she leaves forever.
If the movie is feigning progressive values and dramatic tension, the woman might say no just before boarding. But they’ll end up together before the credits roll. You know it. The characters know it. The writers knew it long before they wrote the thing.
Of course, this is what romance writers give us because it’s what audiences want, a happy ending, a satisfying ending. But happiness and satisfaction are relative, and the times they have been a-slowly, ever so slowly, (why so slowly?), changin’, at least until recently when things came to a dead-stop and started speeding backward.
With “Sorry,” the listener’s satisfaction comes from the fact that the woman has agency. The bridge — sung entirely by Sobe Lash, with whom Guilla cowrote the song, along with Mark Drew — contains the climactic airport scene. But in “Sorry,” the man is a blubbery scrub; the woman, however, a model of confidence and certainty.
Don’t call, don’t knock, she warns after he pleads her to take him back. She felt the sting of loneliness and rejection, and now it’s his turn: to hurt, to grow up, to get over it, to move on. She doesn’t hesitate or waver in her decision to break it off for good. She shows no remorse. The remorse is all his. The second half of the chorus is a peppering of apologies for breaking her heart and vows to stay away from her, and Guilla spits them with earnest contrition.