Constant Craving

Album: Ingenue (1992)
Charted: 15 38
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Songfacts®:

  • "Constant Craving" was co-written by k.d. lang and her frequent collaborator, Ben Mink. Mink is best known for his musical partnership with lang, though he also holds producer credits with other well-known artists such as the Barenaked Ladies, Bruce Cockburn, and Ann Wilson of Heart.
  • In an interview with the Buddhist publication The Shambala Sun, lang (a devoted Buddhist) said, "'Constant Craving' is all about samsara."

    Samsara, as defined within Buddhism, is the continuous cycle of birth and death while one moves within the six realms of existence. Each realm can be either physical or psychological, marked by a specific type of suffering.
  • The chorus leaves a lot of room for interpretation:

    Constant craving
    Has always been


    Even lang didn't get it. In a 2017 interview with NPR, she explained that the song "felt like it was incongruent to the rest of the record," but that it recently became clear. "It's an acquiescence," she said. "It's a summation of human desire. It's like yes, OK, we all are heartbroken. We're all nervous. We're all vulnerable. We're all hopeful, but at the end of the day, constant craving has always been. And it really, emotionally, just surfaced for me, the purpose of that song."
  • Ingenue, the album on which this track appears, marks a departure from the more classic country style of lang's previous albums. The album pioneered the lush adult-contemporary style later adopted by artists such as Paula Cole and Shawn Colvin.
  • "Constant Craving" earned lang nominations for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Female (which she went on to win) at the 1993 Grammy Awards.
  • k.d. lang and Ben Mink share writing credits with The Rolling Stones on their 1997 single "Anybody Seen My Baby?" due to the striking similarities between the refrain of that song and "Constant Craving." Keith Richards explained in his autobiography that the similarities were brought to his attention by his daughter just prior to the single's release. To avoid a lawsuit, The Rolling Stones gave lang and Mink writing credits, a move that made lang feel "honored and flattered."
  • The single was released the same year k.d. lang came out as a lesbian to LGBT publication The Advocate. The next year, she joined Melissa Etheridge and Janis Ian at the first ever presidential inaugural ball (for Bill Clinton) honoring gays and lesbians. Dubbed "The Triangle Ball," lang used the occasion to affirm that she was gay and in a relationship.
  • On the hit show Glee, the cast covered this song in the Season 3 episode "I Kissed a Girl." The Glee Cast version went to #89 in the US in 2011.
  • Though lang was lauded throughout her career with multiple Grammy nominations, and even induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, "Constant Craving" marked her only Billboard Hot 100 hit until her 2010 cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," which she originally performed for the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
  • k.d. lang elaborated on the song's Buddhist meaning during an interview with Mojo magazine:

    "I wasn't a Buddhist when I wrote it. I've been interested in Buddhism since I was 18, when I first kind of started pondering reincarnation and my own existential journeys, but I didn't become a practitioner until 2000.

    Constant Craving just popped out of my head. It became super clear, when we performed the first few shows of the Ingénue Redux Tour, that at the end of all this internalizing and trying to figure out what a relationship is, it really is the acquiescence into the Constant Craving that it has always been."

Comments: 3

  • Tea from UkZabadak it reached #52 in 1992, but on re-release in 1993 it reached #15.

    I love KD vocals, and reading the deeper meaning makes it even more moving.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhOne of the most hauntingly beautiful songs with some of the most poetic lyrics ever:
    "Even through the darkest phase, be it thick or thin
    Always someone marches brave, here beneath my skin"
    The instrumentation of an accordion adds a melancholy, timeless sound to these simple yet profound words. k.d. lang's voice conveys the longing, the yearning.
  • Zabadak from London, EnglandThe single reached #52 in the UK
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