Quite a few things in life have “unwritten rules.” They most frequently come up in sports, where they’re used to police the etiquette of players in ways the official rulebook cannot. They come up in other situations as well, again mostly having to do with etiquette in certain settings. Dating has these rules, too. “Don’t text until however many days have passed,” “Don’t double text someone,” and so forth. Here’s the secret: most of these rules are dumb. As long as you’re not hurting anybody, it’s often better to just throw these rules out the window and be yourself. Ottawa pop singer Emma Lamontagne agrees. She’s throwing caution to the wind with her new track and video “Love Games,” premiering on Substream today.

Lamontagne wastes no time venting her frustrations with these games on the track. From the beginning she sings about the labyrinth of rules we’re expected to go through in order to express interest in someone. As the production swells around the piano that makes up the foundation of the song, she decides to dispense with all of the runaround. As the music crests into the chorus, she plainly lays out that she’s interested in the subject of the song, and asks direct questions about their interest back. It’s refreshingly honest and earnest, expressing the dating anxiety many get in a way that can empower them to stop thinking and act when they listen.

The music video finds Lamontagne wandering the city while she sings. The footage switches from black and white to vibrant colors as the music rises and falls, creating an eye-popping visual contrast. As she gets into the chorus and really lets loose on the dumb rules, dating profiles and apps pop up on the sides of buildings and walls, surrounding her. It’s the perfect visualization of how these apps and rules can make people feel trapped.

“Love Games” comes from Lamontagne’s own personal frustrations with these rules. She says:

“How many times have you lost your chance with someone because you waited too long and they moved on? You’ve got nothing to lose – I want this song to empower at least one person to say f*ck it to the unwritten dating rules. ‘Love Games’ is about the realities of the online dating world. A year ago, I was going through a breakup and my friends signed me up for Tinder, so that I could ‘get myself back out there.’ I think I swiped ‘no’ to almost everybody in Ottawa but inevitably I ended up matching with someone I knew and we hit it off. Just as it was leading up to that first date, I was ghosted. The moral of the story? Be yourself and tell it like it is. Engage in meaningful conversations and don’t hide who you are. It’s a big ocean out there and I am my own captain.”

Check out Emma Lamontagne’s video for “Love Games” below.