Devon Again is a Los Angeles-based, American singer-songwriter, who gained traction on TikTok in June of 2022.  She came out with her first EP: PEE this past November, but began releasing music in 2021. 

Her song gum v9.1, captivated me once I heard a short snippet on TikTok, due to its layered production and guarded lyrics. 

Devon starts by singing “Again, again, again, again,” which can be heard in backing vocals throughout the rest of the song. She sings, “bad timing, I’m falling in love while we’re driving,” referring to her quick-paced feelings for this other person. Devon thinks these emotions have bad timing, possibly because the path for them is unknown.

She then mentions wanting this other character to leave their “phone on the dashboard,” singing “you’ll be back for it, I pray you’ll never find it.” Devon is imagining a way to keep this person coming back, phrasing it as having them forget an item. Her saying “I pray you’ll never find it,” is a covert way for the listener to divulge just how much she cares about the other character. She doesn’t want to say how she feels outright, so she’ll just create these scenarios in her head, where this person won’t leave her. 

The first verse ends with the lines “but I needed you more than you asked for,” “and I don’t know when to be quiet.” Devon feels like she is asking a lot of this person, identifying her reliance as a burden for them. Referring to the fact that she doesn’t “know when to be quiet,” empasizes her insecurity within this situation. She recognized that maybe she has a problem with how much she shares, never realizing when it becomes too much.

The pre-chorus further introduces the listener to the dilemma Devon is facing. She sings “spilling how I feel for you,” “ always say too much too soon,” and “I bit off more than I can chew.” Devon is facing the reality of her confession of feelings, she views her emotions as something she can’t help from “spilling” out. She thinks she “says too much too soon,” maybe referring to the fact that her feelings were so strong for being so early in this relationship. The reference to the phrase “I bit off more than I can chew,” brings us back to the title of the song. 

The chorus is where I feel Devon really shines, her lyrics transporting the listener through time. She sings “I feel like a kid with gum in my hair,” and “I feel like I did when my mom got scared.” Devon is reflecting back to a moment in her childhood when gum got stuck in her hair. Her mother’s reaction was so strong she remembers it even now, that pit of emotion relating back to the situation she’s in.

She goes on to sing, “that the gum wouldn’t come out,” and “had to shave my head down to the scalp.” The only remedy to get the gum out of her hair was to take a very drastic measure and just cut all of her hair off. In that case, that is the only solution to the problem, one that probably had a huge impact on the singer as a child. The gum getting stuck quite literally left her with only the most extreme option.

In the middle of the chorus she drops the climactic line “should learn to keep my shit in my mouth.” When I first listened to gum v9.1, this lyric really spoke to me. Taking the listener along on this journey of insecurity in love and relating it back to such an integral moment of childhood, encapsulates what it is like to be young and in love, to still be making mistakes. Through Devon singing “should learn to keep my shit in my mouth,” she is acknowledging how “spilling” her feelings is her making the same mistake again.

Devon reiterates that she hasn’t learned her lesson when it comes to “keeping shit in her mouth,” as there is simply too much emotion and impulse to stop her from acting further. I think this can also represent her always having to take the most extreme approach. She had gotten the gum stuck so badly, that shaving her hair was the only option, and she finds herself having the same experience falling for this person. The only course for her to take is to completely shut up, and learn that sometimes she should completely keep how she feels inside. 

Devon continues with “I think I regret the time that we shared,” and “I wish that we had met when my head was all there.” She is rethinking the course of their relationship, regretting her actions, words, and the time that she gave over. In the chorus, she also acknowledges that maybe her not being in the best mental state had taken its toll. 

The chorus then ends with the lyrics “would’ve never let you down,” and “should learn to keep my shit in my mouth.” She knows in a sense she failed this person and what they had. To Devon, she “let them down,” through her words or what she has done. She knows what can happen when things get into places they aren’t supposed to be. In her case, good things get ruined because of an impulse or hasty decision and everything has to get thrown out, i.e., her hair or her relationship. 

Devon again on Spotify Photo by: Spotify

The second verse allows the listener to see more into the mind of Devon and how she is feeling on a regular basis. She mentions her skin being “sticky” this feeling we know is not something you can be easily rid of. Devon is uncomfortable in her body and is slowly cutting off contact with the people around her. The second verse ends with the line “is it bad to think that this time we could last?” This question is a bit cynical, knowing that this isn’t good for her but still clinging onto the last bit of hope. 

Gum v9.1 ends with Devon singing the chorus once more, reiterating the fear that she felt. The line “should learn to keep my shit in my mouth,” is a very climactic part of the song and chorus in general. There is so much regret and feeling interlinked with that phrase. She is falling for someone who likely doesn’t feel the same way, her words spilling out before she is able to protect herself. 

In this case, Devon is losing this person and their situation is breaking apart at the seams. She regrets her words and hopes that one day she will stop being so vulnerable. These moments of fear and uncertainty push her right back into her childhood memories and bring the listener along. The song ends with the word “gum” being repeated, almost like she is trying to remind herself of this vision, solidifying it as the focal point of the song. 

The production of this song is heavily layered, with beautiful and repeating harmonies coming in on important lyrics. Devon has a hypnotizing voice, one that entrances you and begs you to listen further. Her ability to story tell and convey emotion through this song is something that gets me every time I listen to it.

I think this song has a deeper meaning than is first let on, that lets it get overlooked. The feeling conveyed in the song is also very relatable, every person can think of a time when they opened up too much. Regret is something everyone experiences and can allow the listener to relate to exactly how Devon feels. 

I definitely recommend checking out Devon Again’s other music, specifically Head, or any of the songs from her latest EP PEE, which I believe was expertly named.