My brother has a blog called The Boston Diaries, where he talks about how he gets his ideas for songs, for whatever reason, I’ve decided I to do something similar. Without further ado, check it out:
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to let go of someone you really care about. With Valentine’s Day looming around the corner, there’s all this talk of love and heartbreak around the bend. A friend of mine introduced me to this band called Passenger a few months ago, and they have this song called “Let Her Go.”
I guess the thing that drew me to the song is the way chorus is written:
Well you only need the light when it’s burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know your lover when you let her go
Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low
Only hate the road when you’re missin’ home
Only know your lover when you’ve let her go
And you let her go
It strikes as an interested play on that old saying, “If love someone, set them free. If they come back to you, then it was meant to be.” To me, that’s easier said than done. We want to so badly to be ever close to the people we love, but what happens when life is starting to pull you apart? Do you split up or try to make it work?
Recently, I’ve become enthralled by Abigail Washburn’s song “Dreams of Nectar.” The song was inspired by a friend of her’s whose wife sent him a Dear John Letter. At the time Washburn was planning to move to China to become a lawyer and was killing time as an ESL tutor for some Chinese immigrants that she had befriended. One night, one of them comes to Washburn crying and holding a letter in his hands, in which his wife tells him that she and their children are moving on.
In thinking a lot about how I would feel about that type of situation, I started process the idea “When forever returns.” Initially, it struck me as a conversation between a soldier and his or her significant other. Before Saturday night, all I had was a roughly sketched out chorus. I had no concept for how I wanted the verses or anything else for that matter to go until I had dinner with an old friend on Saturday night.
She comes from a Vietnamese family and she’s getting ready to go to back for the first time in many years. She told me about her mom having mixed feelings about the trip in part because my friend loves to travel so it feels to her mom like my friend is always leaving. That’s how I came up with the first few lines in the song:
I know you’ve got the world to seeI know you want to chase your dreamsBut it feels like you’re always leaving me
There’s a lot of uncertainty and variables that you have to watch out for when a loved one has to go away for any reason. I think there’s so much worrying involved because some things are hard to communicate. If you’re the person leaving, you know that people want to be understanding of the situation, but sometimes it’s hard. Likewise, if you’re the person being left behind, you know they’ll face things that you can’t protect them from, and the distance alone is a torture especially if that person is dear to you. Irrespective of what ends up happening the long run, everyone worries about the shape of things to come. In the end, no one really knows what the answer to that question will be so there’s very distinct absence of resolution as far as the lyrics are concerned.
When Forever Returns