Focus on the Lyrics Friday: The Words

Earlier this week, I walked into my roommate watching this beautiful music video, but having not heard the song or watched the video before, I walked in at the wrong time (2:10). After some lighthearted teasing, we watched the full video together, and I decided to analyze the song for my weekly column.

Today, then, we’ll take a look at the words of Christina Perri’s “The Words.”


Lyrics of “The Words” by Christina Perri

All of the lights land on you
The rest of the world fades from you
And all of the love I see
Please please say you feel it too
And all of the noise I hear inside
Restless and loud, unspoken and wild
And all that you need to say
To make it all go away
It’s that you feel the same way too

And I know
The scariest part is letting go
‘Cause love is a ghost you can’t control
I promise you the truth can’t hurt us now
So let the words slip out of your mouth

And all of the steps that led me to you
And all of the hell I had you walk through
But I wouldn’t trade a day for the chance to say
My love, I’m in love with you

And I know
The scariest part is letting go
‘Cause love is a ghost you can’t control
I promise you the truth can’t hurt us now
So let the words slip out of your mouth

I know that we’re both afraid
We both made the same mistakes
An open heart is an open wound to you
And in the wind there’s a heavy choice
Love has a quiet voice
Still you mind, now I’m yours to choose

And I know
The scariest part is letting go
Let my love be the light that guides you home

And I know
The scariest part is letting go
‘Cause love is a ghost you can’t control
I promise you the truth can’t hurt us now
So let the words slip out of your mouth

Analysis

Let’s take a moment to admire the presence Colin O’Donoghue, who you might recognize as Captain Hook in Once Upon a Time.

This song is essentially someone in love crying out for the person they have feelings for to say they feel the same way too. But as usual, Perri has a beautiful way with words.

1) “All of the lights land on you / The rest of the world fades from you / And all of the love I see / Please please say you feel it too / And all of the noise I hear inside / Restless and loud, unspoken and wild / And all that you need to say / To make it all go away / It’s that you feel the same way too”

Though I don’t like the repetition of “you” at the end of the first two lines, I love the images they create. It focuses my attention on the song, not just on the love interest, so that the “rest of the world fades.” The speaker’s plea for reciprocation is most evident in these lines, setting the scene for the rest of the song. She asks him to “say” he can “feel” the love she sees to banish all the “noise [she can] hear inside.” I think the other noises she’s hearing inside are her own doubts and questions.

2) “And I know / The scariest part is letting go / ‘Cause love is a ghost you can’t control / I promise you the truth can’t hurt us now / So let the words slip out of your mouth”

Despite all the doubts and questions she has, the speaker understands how difficult it can be to express feelings. What I find most interesting about this part is the metaphor “love is a ghost you can’t control.” Not only is it strange to think of love as a ghost, but Perri mentions ghosts in “Jar of Hearts” when she says “don’t you know I’m not your ghost anymore?” to the speaker’s ex.  Just a side note. Anyway, it seems like the speaker or her love or both have been hurt by opening up in the past, as indicated in saying “the truth can’t hurt us now.” Sometimes opening your heart can be painful, but it is also sometimes necessary.

3) “And all of the steps that led me to you / And all of the hell I had you walk through / But I wouldn’t trade a day for the chance to say / My love, I’m in love with you”

“Steps” and “hell” allude to the afterlife, reminding me of that “ghost” line again. Outside of that, I think the meaning of these lines is pretty clear; the speaker and her love have gone through a lot, but now they’re together and she wouldn’t trade anything for the chance to profess her love.

4) “I know that we’re both afraid / We both made the same mistakes / An open heart is an open wound to you / And in the wind there’s a heavy choice / Love has a quiet voice / Still you mind, now I’m yours to choose”

I love this part of the song! Perri wraps her song up nicely in these lines. Both characters are afraid of getting their hearts broken again and feel the “heavy choice” between loving and leaving weigh down on them. The love interest believes “an open heart is an open wound,” meaning he believes he will get hurt if he opens up (but “an open heart is an open wound” sounds much stronger; props to Perri on her metaphors here). The speaker tries to convince him he’s in love by declaring “love has a quiet voice” that he will only hear when his mind is “still.” The last two lines of this section remind me of an above line where the speaker says she hears “noise…restless and loud” that his love can wave away if he says “the words.” Both characters are distracted by all the loud voices in their minds; they need to speak the words in order to focus on one another and see what they have.

I don’t normally try to explain the music videos, but this one interested me (and not just because it featured O’Donoghue). I did some research on white orchids and, wouldn’t you guess, they’re symbolic of strength and love. I think the concept of love having a quiet voice and being like a “ghost” might be why Perri follows O’Donoghue around without him acknowledging her. His love for her haunts him, but he’s unable to express it until the end, when he runs into the actual Perri (rather than just his thoughts of her) and gives her an orchid, which, as we said, is symbolic of love and strength.

I could be completely off there, though. What do you think? Comment your interpretations of the video below!

(Are you suggesting I totally forgot to write a post on Friday and just changed the WordPress date to look like I remembered? Of course not, that would be completely unprofessional of me…)

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