Lyrics Post: “Surface Pressure”

Another gem from Encanto. My youngest daughter relates to this character, enjoys talking about her story…

“Surface Pressure”
(from “Encanto” soundtrack)

[Luisa:]
I’m the strong one, I’m not nervous
I’m as tough as the crust of the earth is
I move mountains, I move churches
And I glow, ’cause I know what my worth is
I don’t ask how hard the work is
Got a rough, indestructible surface
Diamonds and platinum, I find ’em, I flatten ’em
I take what I’m handed, I break what’s demanded, but

Under the surface
I feel berserk as a tightrope walker in a three-ring circus
Under the surface
Was Hercules ever like, “Yo, I don’t wanna fight Cerberus”?
Under the surface
I’m pretty sure I’m worthless if I can’t be of service
A flaw or a crack, the straw in the stack
That breaks the camel’s back
What breaks the camel’s back? It’s

Pressure like a drip, drip, drip, that’ll never stop, woah-oh
Pressure that’ll tip, tip, tip ’til you just go pop, woah-oh-oh-oh
Give it to your sister, your sister’s older
Give her all the heavy things we can’t shoulder
Who am I if I can’t run with the ball?
If I fall to
Pressure like a grip, grip, grip, and it won’t let go, woah-oh
Pressure like a tick, tick, tick ’til it’s ready to blow, woah-oh-oh-oh
Give it to your sister, your sister’s stronger
See if she can hang on a little longer
Who am I if I can’t carry it all?
If I falter

Under the surface
I hide my nerves and it worsens, I worry somethin’ is gonna hurt us
Under the surface
The ship doesn’t swerve, has it heard how big the iceberg is?
Under the surface
I think about my purpose, can I somehow preserve this?
Line up the dominoes, a light wind blows
You try to stop it topplin’, but on and on it goes

But wait, if I could shake, the crushing weight
Of expectations, would that free some room up for joy
Or relaxation, or simple pleasure?
Instead, we measure this growing pressure
Keeps growing, keep going, ’cause all we know is

Pressure like a drip, drip, drip that’ll never stop, woah-oh
Pressure that’ll tip, tip, tip ’til you just go pop, woah-oh-oh-oh
Give it to your sister, it doesn’t hurt and
See if she can handle every family burden
Watch as she buckles and bends but never breaks
No mistakes, just
Pressure like a grip, grip, grip, and it won’t let go, woah-oh
Pressure like a tick, tick, tick ’til it’s ready to blow, woah-oh-oh-oh
Give it to your sister and never wonder
If the same pressure would’ve pulled you under
Who am I if I don’t have what it takes?
No cracks, no breaks
No mistakes!
No pressure!

Writer: Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda has revealed that “Surface Pressure” (Luisa’s song) was inspired by his older sister and serves as a love letter and apology to her. He explained to Variety, “I’m the baby of the family. I have a sister who’s six years older, and she got a raw deal. […] I watched my sister deal with the pressure of being the oldest and carrying burdens I never had to carry. I remember my parents woke my sister up to put together a He-Man playset for Christmas before I woke up. They wanted it to be fully assembled when I woke up on Christmas morning. I put all of that angst and all of those moments into Luisa.”

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