Essential Lyrics #5: Wake Me Up

By way of serendipity I ended up reading the Wiki on Avicii the other day, and thought what a sad story his is. He had enormous success and was loved by fans in so many countries but, in the end, it all became too much for him to bear. The lyrics of Wake Me Up speak to his emotional searching and longing – thoughts and fears we all share.

Avicii, born Tim Bergling was a renowned Swedish musician, DJ, remix artist, and record producer. Born in Stockholm in 1989, he became one of the most popular DJs in the world. Avicii topped charts and toured many countries with his music. The single Wake Me Up was incredibly successful – it reached the number 1 position in over 20 countries across the globe, including Avicii’s home country of Sweden. Wake Me Up was written by Avicii, Aloe Blacc (who delivers the track’s powerful vocals) and American guitarist Mike Einziger.

Avicii released his first studio album, True, in 2013. The album earned him recognition by reaching the top 10 on the international charts and ranking number one in several countries. Wake Me Up, the lead single on the album, topped the music charts of over 30 countries. It reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts and has received a six-time platinum certification from the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America).

Sadly, Avicii committed suicide on April 20, 2018, at age 28; so young. His mind and body just couldn’t take any more of the pressure and stress his incredible success had generated.

Wake Me Up

Feeling my way through the darkness
Guided by a beating heart
I can’t tell where the journey will end
But I know where to start
They tell me I’m too young to understand
They say I’m caught up in a dream
Well life will pass me by if I don’t open up my eyes
Well that’s fine by me

So wake me up when it’s all over
When I’m wiser and I’m older
All this time I was finding myself, and I
Didn’t know I was lost

So wake me up when it’s all over
When I’m wiser and I’m older
All this time I was finding myself, and I
Didn’t know I was lost

I tried carrying the weight of the world
But I only have two hands
Hope I get the chance to travel the world
But I don’t have any plans
Wish that I could stay forever this young
Not afraid to close my eyes
Life’s a game made for everyone
And love is a prize

So wake me up when it’s all over
When I’m wiser and I’m older
All this time I was finding myself, and I
Didn’t know I was lost

So wake me up when it’s all over
When I’m wiser and I’m older
All this time I was finding myself, and I
I didn’t know I was lost

I didn’t know I was lost
I didn’t know I was lost
I didn’t know I was lost
I didn’t know

Songwriters: Tim Bergling / Michael Aaron Einziger / Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins
Wake Me Up lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Essential Lyrics #4: The Last Song

The Last Song marked the first of Elton John‘s American singles to benefit his AIDS foundation. In an interview with the gay magazine The Advocate, Elton remarked: I was crying all the time as I wrote the music… and it was very hard for me to sing it. The song tells of an estranged father coming to terms with the sexuality of his gay son, who is dying from AIDS. The song is beautiful and haunting, with only piano, vocals and a bit of synth.

The Last Song

Yesterday you came to lift me up
As light as straw and brittle as a bird
Today I weigh less than a shadow on the wall
Just one more whisper of a voice unheard

Tomorrow leave the windows open
As fear grows please hold me in your arms
Won’t you help me if you can to shake this anger?
I need your gentle hands to keep me calm

‘Cause I never thought I’d lose
I only thought I’d win
I never dreamed I’d feel this fire beneath my skin
I can’t believe you love me
I never thought you’d come
I guess I misjudged love between a father and his son

Things we never said come together
The hidden truth no longer haunting me
Tonight we touched on the things that were never spoken
That kind of understanding sets me free

‘Cause I never thought I’d lose
I only thought I’d win
I never dreamed I’d feel this fire beneath my skin
I can’t believe you love me
I never thought you’d come
I guess I misjudged love between a father and his son

Songwriters: Elton John / Bernie Taupin
The Last Song lyrics © Wb Music Corp., Hst Publishing Ltd., Cow Dog Music Inc.

Essential Lyrics #3: Stamp Your Feet

Here’s the third installment in a series of posts on song lyrics that have lifted or inspired me. This one’s from a true musical veteran – Miss Donna Summer:

Stamp Your Feet

S-T-A-M-P Stampin’ on the ground
S-T-A-M-P Stampin’ on the ground
S-T-A-M-P Stampin’ on the ground
S-T-A-M-P Stampin’ on the ground

Woah, yeah

I’ve been round so many times before
Broke my back, been split open so oft
Tried to make it to the finish line
Been knocked down, get up every single time
They’re up in your face, they don’t think you belong
Man, you got it, you got it goin’ on
What breaks the weak just makes you strong
You got game, baby bring it on, bring it on

I said stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud, make the biggest sound
You ain’t goin’,
Stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud
You ain’t going, you ain’t goin’ down
Stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud, make the biggest sound
You ain’t goin’,
Stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud
You ain’t goin’, you ain’t goin’ down

Rain comes in every player’s life
Gotta stay in the game, not on the sidelines
Gotta throw down, you gotta stand and fight
Keep your eye on the prize, don’t get caught up in strife
Go, go for the shot boy, make that play just right
Braggin’ about your swag won’t get you through the night

I said stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud, make the biggest sound
You ain’t goin’,
Stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud
You ain’t going, you ain’t goin’ down
Stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud, make the biggest sound
You ain’t goin’,
Stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud
You ain’t goin’, you ain’t goin’ down

S-T-A-M-P You got game
S-T-A-M-P You got fame
S-T-A-M-P You got name
S-T-A-M-P Do that thang
We ain’t going down, oh no!
Make me proud! Stand up and fight!

I said stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud, make the biggest sound
You ain’t goin’,
Stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud
You ain’t going, you ain’t goin’ down
Stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud, make the biggest sound
You ain’t goin’,
Stamp your feet on the ground
Make it really loud
You ain’t goin’, you ain’t goin’ down

Stamp your feet, stamp your feet
Stamp your feet, stamp your feet

S-T-A-M-P! No, no, no, we ain’t goin’ down
S-T-A-M-P! No, no, no, we ain’t goin’ down
Right till the ending, we’ll make it through life
Better stamp your feet on the,
Stamp your feet on the ground

Songwriters: Danielle Brisbois / Greg Kurstin / Donna Summer
Stamp Your Feet lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Essential Lyrics #2: Lovers In A Dangerous Time

These are my favourite lyrics from Bruce Cockburn: Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight / You gotta kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight is just brilliant. Lovers… was also later covered by Barenaked Ladies, who did a beautiful job:

Lovers In A Dangerous Time

Don’t the hours grow shorter as the days go by?
We never get to stop and open our eyes
One minute you’re waiting for the sky to fall
Next you’re dazzled by the beauty of it all

Lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

These fragile bodies of touch and taste
This fragrant skin, this hair like lace
Spirits open to thrust of grace,
Never a breath you can’t afford to waste

Lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

When you’re lovers in a dangerous time,
Sometimes you’re made to feel as if your love’s a crime
Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight
You gotta kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight

Lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers in a dangerous time

We were lovers in a dangerous time
We were lovers in a dangerous time
Lovers, Lovers, Lovers
Ohhhhhh
Lovers in a dangerous time

Songwriter: Bruce Cockburn
Lovers in a Dangerous Time lyrics © Rotten Kiddies Music Llc, Bro N Sis Music Inc.

Essential Lyrics #1: Being Boring

This is a first in a series of posts on song lyrics that resonate with me, have inspired me in some way, or that I just simply like. To kick things off, here’s one of my favourites from the Pet Shop Boys:

Being Boring

I came across a cache of old photos
and invitations to teenage parties
“Dress in white” one said with quotations
from someone’s wife, a famous writer
in the nineteen-twenties
When you’re young you find inspiration
in anyone who’s ever gone
and opened up a closing door
She said we were never feeling bored

‘Cause we were never being boring
We had too much time to find for ourselves
and we were never being boring
We dressed up and fought then thought make amends
And we were never holding back or worried that
time would come to an end

When I went I left from the station
with a haversack and some trepidation
Someone said if you’re not careful
you’ll have nothing left and nothing to care for
in the nineteen-seventies
But I sat back and looking forward
my shoes were high and I had scored
I’d bolted through a closing door
and I would never find myself feeling bored

‘Cause we were never being boring
We had too much time to find for ourselves
and we were never being boring
We dressed up and fought then thought make amends
And we were never holding back or worried that
time would come to an end
We were always hoping that, looking back
you could always rely on a friend

Now I sit with different faces
in rented rooms and foreign places
All the people I was kissing
some are here and some are missing
in the nineteen-nineties
I never dreamt that I would get to be
the creature that I always meant to be
but I thought in spite of dreams
you’d be sitting somewhere here with me

‘Cause we were never being boring
We had too much time to find for ourselves
and we were never being boring
We dressed up and fought then thought make amends
And we were never holding back or worried that
time would come to an end
We were always hoping that, looking back
you could always rely on a friend

And we were never being boring
We had too much time to find for ourselves
And we were never being boring
We dressed up and fought, then thought: “Make amends”
And we were never being boring
We were never being bored
‘Cause we were never being boring
We were never being bored

Songwriters: Neil Tennant, Chris Lowe
Being Boring lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.