Kississippi | photo by Megan Thompson | courtesy of the artist

Every day leading up to Valentine’s Day this year, The Key is recapping 14 songs that scream “love” just as strongly as they scream “Philly.” The Essential Love Songs of Philadelphia continues with “Easier to Love” from Kississippi’s 2018 album Sunset Blush.

Kississippi cycles through almost countless emotions over the course of the stark and vulnerable “Easier to Love.” Coated in a synthy sheen, the song takes a careful look emotionally draining aspects of a not-quite-right relationship as the narrator reflects on what happens when you change yourself to make things easier for someone else, and how trying to “exist better for two” can make you forget who you are.

Philly native Zoe Reynolds is the singer-songwriter behind Kississippi, and with “Easier to Love” she crafts a song so nuanced in its tone and lyricism that it’s just as emotionally complicated as real-life so often is. The song begins quiet and resigned, a subdued moment on last year’s album Sunset Blush, Reynold’s most pop-focused work yet. Moments of darkness are rare for Kississippi, who embraces candy-colored branding and named an album after a fruity boxed wine. “Up to now I’ve given all I’ve got / you could always keep it if you want, I’ll make myself easier to love” Reynolds sings, the words escaping her like sighs.

But the heavy and the heartwrenching soon fade, as Reynolds replaces the downer vibe with a sun-soaked sense of growth and optimism. Frustrated with prioritizing someone else’s convenience, she confronts what went wrong: “I made myself believe it / I found my weakness when I finished.” Doubt and unease are ushered out as a newfound confidence and self-love seeps in, transforming the song so drastically you can almost feel it.

Kississippi doesn’t have any more time for heartbreak, instead realizing the potential for strength and possibility — instead of imbalance, there can be compromise; instead of losing sight of yourself you can thrive. It’s all sunshine (and boxed wine) from here on out.