The first time I heard this song on the radio, I pulled over so that I could find it on my mobile and listen to it a second time. You may have had a different experience during your childhood and high school years, but I can personally relate to these lyrics in a big way. The music is fantastic, too – It’s written by Yann Tiersen, who is the composer behind the Amélie soundtrack.
Here’s some background on the song, from sagefrancis.net:
I listened to the instrumental repeatedly waiting for images or words to pop into my head. Nothing came. As a last ditch effort I referenced an old letter I had written to my girlfriend while I was touring Europe a few years back. The first line in that letter was, “It’s been a long and lonely trip but I’m glad I took it.” I borrowed that first line for my song and the rest of the song flowed from there. I didn’t have time to filter much. What resulted was a string of raw and revealing moments from my upbringing that seem to have molded my adulthood. Vulnerable and embarrassing tidbits of info that sit in the back of my head at all times. Fuck it. That was my mentality. Fuck it. When all was said and done I felt very satisfied with the outcome. In fact, the thesis of the song seems to be about how we tend to fool ourselves into thinking that the tough and embarrassing moments of our life are much bigger than they actually are. Especially as kids, when we believe that every obstacle we encounter seems like the end of the world. That’s probably the greatest lie of our lives. It’s a lie that is so convincing that some of us kill ourselves over it. It’s important to remember that when all seems lost it really isn’t. As the old credo goes, “This too shall pass.”
And my favorite lyrics, from the end:
“Don’t listen when they tell you that these are your best years. Don’t let anybody protect your ears. It’s best that you hear what they don’t want you to hear. It’s better to have pressure from peers than not have peers. Beer won’t give you chest hair. Spicy food won’t make it curl. When you think you’ve got it all figured out and then your universe collapses…trust me, kid…it’s not the end of the world.”