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Johnnyswim, 'Devastating'

As Johnnyswim, Amanda Sudano-Ramirez and Abner Ramirez write songs that soar dramatically, with an emphasis on maximum uplift. As a married couple with three kids, they've also spent a fair bit of time reflecting on the joys and hardships that go into a lifetime romantic partnership. In the bittersweet "Devastating," those two sides of their lives come together, as they sing about one of the central ironies of love: that doing it right means setting yourself up for the savage pain of incalculable loss at the end of your lives. "Ring on my finger, tag on my toe / That means we made it," Ramirez sings, in a neat summation of love and death's profoundly intertwined nature.

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Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)