The other day I was riding back home from Costco in a cab (like you do, when you don’t have a car…) and the radio started playing OneRepublic’s Good Life. The DJ talked about what a happy song it was and I thought… well, sure sort of, if you take it out of context and don’t listen to it very closely. Because it’s from an album that tells a story, and this song, while not the lowest point, is not honestly happy either.
I mean, aren’t these lyrics at the beginning a little creepy?
Woke up in London yesterday.
Found myself in the city near Piccadilly.
Don’t really know how I got here.
I got some pictures on my phone.
I love albums that tell stories. This is the story in Waking Up, as far as I’m able to interpret it:
- Made For You - “Everybody wants you to make it; it’s all yours [...] Can you feel all the love? Like it was made for you.” An artist decides he’s destined for success and embarks on a career.
- All the Right Moves - “I know we got it good, but they got it made [...] They got all the right moves in all the right places, so yeah, we’re going down.” Reality sets in. There’s a lot of competition, and there are more talented, better connected artists out there.
- Secrets - “Thought you saw me wink? No, I’ve been on the brink so tell me what you want to hear. Something that will light those ears. [...] I’m going to give all my secrets away.” Time to get some publicity through scandalous confessions.
- Everybody Loves Me - “Flashes in my face now. All I know is everybody loves me.” Stardom achieved!
- Missing Persons 1 & 2 - “I wonder where you are?” Except that someone important has been forgotten in the climb to fame…
- Good Life - Now we get to this supposedly happy song. Artist has decided to not worry about this missing person and enjoy this new life of fame, even if it’s all kind of a blur, and all his “friends” are strangers.
- All This Time - “I don’t know what day it is, I had to check the paper. I don’t know the city, but it isn’t home. [...] Straight in a straight line, running back to you.” It’s New Years Eve, and the artist realizes it’s time to go home to the person he loves, and pay attention to what really matters.
- Fear - “No sleep today. Can’t even rest when the sun’s down.” Of course, the idea of going back and facing real life at this point is difficult.
- Waking Up - “We don’t lose. We might bruise.” Determination to change, but realizing that it’s going to hurt.
- Marching On - “There’s so many wars we fought. There’s so many things were not. But with what we have I promise you that we’re marching on.” The real happy song on this album. Back with the one he loves and determined to make a life together. Not the waking up drunk in strange cities song!
- Lullaby - “As the night comes in, dreams start their drifting and you hear a lullaby. You and I.” Happily Ever After. <3
What albums do you like that tell stories?
Mirrored from Amberdine.