Maybe you’re unfamiliar with this song. If that’s the case, no problem, I have it right here for you.
In order to talk about everything that makes this video/song amazing; I’m going to break it down to different aspects laid out below.
- The visual aspect
- The musical aspect
- The lyrical aspect
But before I get into that there is one other reason that I believe that this song is doing so well in particular. Because it’s real. In a time of auto-tuning and superficial songs topping the charts, this brings back something we have been missing. A song writer putting his heart and soul into a song and laying it bare for the world to see. We like that. We respect that. And we are drawn to that.
The Visual Aspect
Atmosphere is what makes a scene. If the atmosphere is wrong, it ruins the feeling that you are trying to convey to the audience. First, we must acknowledge that the man had been diagnosed with Lyme Disease. This disease can lead to an inability to walk depending on the severity. I believe this may be why he starts in a wheelchair.
Then there’s the brilliant setting. A rundown room with poor lighting. A man in a wheelchair, wearing a hospital gown, being pushed into the room by a person, covered in blood, wearing a pig mask. An excellent subtle commentary on the state of the medical field today. He has another song that goes into that a bit deeper called “Sick Boi”. Also worth checking out.
Finally, the use of the two different lights during the song was brilliant. I loved how they used the lights going back and forth to emphasize or maybe illustrate the instability of his mind. But the most important visual aspect was him standing in defiance to what the other side had just laid out. Something so simple and yet so powerful. Especially if you consider it as also a triumph over the disease that may have put him in a wheelchair.
The Musical Aspect
First we’ll start with the singing. There isn’t really much of it. This is more of a rap conversation. The bookend vocables do an excellent job to open and close the conversation that Ren has with his other half. But when he finally does sing at the end of the song it is a beautiful climax to the lyrical journey that we had just been through. Which emphasizes the most important part of the song. It really is a masterful use of tone.
The guitar part is perfect for the song and the finger picking is well done. He makes it strong when it needs to be but it doesn’t overpower the rest of the song and forms an excellent foundation for the two different sides of the conversation. He does this by using some excellent aspects of music theory but you don’t need to understand that to be able to hear it. Just listen to the two different tones he uses to represent the different voices inside his head.
The Lyrical Aspect
This is why the song is so easy to relate to. Now, we don’t all have the same level of mental issues that Ren has had to go through but I think that most of us can agree that we all have arguments with ourselves. From something as meaningless like what to have for dinner to things that are far more life changing. So in that respect we can at least somewhat relate to what he’s saying.
Also, I think we all have a darker side that we struggle against on a daily basis. For some people the struggle is a relatively easy one. For others it’s almost crippling. I think that’s important to remember that. Not everyone struggles the same, but we all struggle. Depression is up. Suicide is up. Drug and alcohol use is up. This song speaks to this. It is a voice to the voiceless. Those who don’t know how to express what they’re feeling. I think that’s why this song is resonating so well.
One thing that I found very interesting about Ren was how he implied that the dark side of himself was not of his own creation but a reflection of an evil that has been around since the beginning of time. Not only that but was something that can not be destroyed but must be accepted as something that will always be a part of you.
I think, sometimes, people forget that we need darkness in order to understand what light is. Without that stark contrast, you can’t truly understand how good good is. But I digress.
The ending or pinnacle of the song is the most important part of it. Because, what this song is, fundamentally, is a beacon of hope. A battle cry for all of us to rally around. I love the way he lets us know that he’s been through the fire but he will stand firm and sing at the top of his lungs to inspire the meek to be strong. I can’t help but think that that is something that people need right now. It is a song of perseverance. A song of defiance. A song of inspiration.
That’s what makes this THE song of our times. All of these things, working together in harmony, to bring a story of hope. Something we need today. A song that tells us we must not deny darkness. Darkness is there. It is a part of all of us. But that doesn’t mean we should give into it. We must take a stand, as Ren so vigorously does in this song, and stand shoulder to shoulder with him. That is why I love this song. It is the song of our time. A song of our struggle. But, ultimately, a song of aspiration. That is what I take away from this song, but tell me, what do you think?