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Anyone notice the themes running through his albums?

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I've become sort of stuck on this idea, theory(whatever you want to call it) about David's albums. I feel like he picks a recurring theme and sprinkles it throughout the lyrics in his albums.

Analog Heart had the recurring themes of fists, bleeding, wounds and circles. For DCTR it was atmosphere, air, breathing. For TLM it's ocean, blue, sinking.

I may be reading too much into the lyrics and over analyzing things a bit(okay maybe a lot). But this idea has been stuck in my head for days. I REALLY want to know if these recurring words/themes are intentional or not.

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Barb, you missed the theme of "letting go" in AH!

In TLM, I also see, and they appear not just in the lyrics but in two song titles each, "goodbye" and "believe". And the line between dream and reality. I'm sure I'll see more as time goes on.

I do wonder like you, too, how much of it is intentional and how much just his state of mind leaking out.

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I totally see what you're saying. Tomorrow I'll come back and tell ya'll what I think. Great discussion theme, Barb Great

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I see this too, Barb. And I agree with Stacy that belief and goodbye (letting go again?) are a huge part of TLM. I do think a lot of it is his state of mind leaking out, but some may be intentional, especially with TLM where he has said he wanted to keep this loose theme going, and make an album where the songs can tie together rather than a loose group of singles.

I'm still on my first cup of coffee, so I'll be back when I'm a bit more awake and coherent. lol Love the idea of this discussion!

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So I've thought a lot about this today. The most apparent theme in this album is the one you mentioned of the ocean/water.

Another I noticed while listening on repeat today was the idea of "falling." Nine of the fourteen songs either contain the word fall, or words that evoke images of falling. Which all kind of fits with the "loose theme" of the album he mentioned, since it's about falling asleep and dreaming.

Here are the references to falling I found:

Circadian –“ the fall of who we are is getting closer” (though this could be autumn/fall but also mean the fall from where we were/what we are.) “It’s all coming undone and falling apart somehow.”

Right Here With You – “Never let the sun go down and fall to pieces.” “If the sky keeps falling and the night keeps calling.” “Never let the stars burn out and fall to pieces.”

We Believe - “And If we stumble at the finish line” – not quite a fall, but when we stumble we often do fall.

Fade Into Me – “Let go, fall in”

Hard to Believe – “Tell me the story again, how it all fell apart in the end.” “When stars fall, and ground breaks.”

4 Letter Word – “Or we’ll be destined to fall like the sun did tonight.” “Crumbling down ‘til we both hit the ground” – not the word fall but invoking the image of falling down and hitting the ground.

Goodbye To The Girl – “I’m leaning on the edge, of jumping off the ledge” Not really falling yet – but close. “just another moment, watch it fall into the ocean blue."

Rapid Eye Movement - “Close my eyes and start descending” “We keep floating toward the floor” – slow motion falling?

Let Me Fall - “Let me fall for you” “Let me fall like a stone in the water” “Let me fall like out of the sky”

I'm about to ramble here while I try to get some coherent thoughts together, so forgive me. Falling asleep is... I don't know who this quote is from, but I've always liked it... "The conscious act sending of oneself into the unconscious." It's giving away control of your thoughts. And when your unconscious mind takes over, you get dreams. Sometimes they are beautiful and fun; sometimes they are nightmares. And they can change quickly from one moment to the next. Just like the ocean, which can be calm and beautiful one minute, and crashing huge and powerful waves over you the next. And really just like life - where one day we are on top of the world, and the next day we might hit one of our lowest lows. Life changes, dreams change, the ocean changes. We're riding high, and then we fall.

Okay, enough rambling. I'm not entirely sure where all I'm going with this, but I see a connection there.


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I noticed that too Barb. I will come back on here on Tuesday with my input on that too. To be continued until Tuesday....

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LOL flag Jeannie, Do you want to kick me yet for posting this? I can't let go of this whole "recurring phrase/theme" idea. It's stuck in my head, stuck in my head!

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I love discussions like this! Haha. I'll have to come back when I am a little more coherent. But I have always noticed themes with his music, even with Axium. It's interesting to see how he's evolved each time. It's like the younger Dave that used wounds, bleeding, etc. has gotten more in touch with his sensitive side. He's past that angsty, physical phase. Now he's older and more mature, and can show his feelings in a different way. He's not afraid to appear vulnerable. Personally, I really relate to the "drowning" themes of This Loud Morning. If you keep emotions bottled up, it can start to drag you under ("mayday, somebody save me"). The same way with him using oceans as a metaphor.

Jeannie, I love what you pointed out about the use of falling. As a whole, I see this album as him losing himself a bit, succumbing to all the feelings he's been carrying around (that drowning theme again). And then towards the end, he's finally learning how to let go, how to deal with it all. Like he's coming up for air.

I hope this makes some sense, lol.

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Guest dawtreecookie

I like this idea. ^ I feel like it may be an indication of where he's at mentally/emotionally in his life at the time of each album. For this one, if he's feeling overwhelmed, emotionally charged, the need to expel his feelings lest they bury or "drown him", etc. then I think that vibe would transfer onto his songs.

Of course, the repetition of the same words/imagery could mean he just needs to pick up a thesaurus.. (kidding!)

This new album is so damn passionate! The way he sings, it's like he's singing for his life. Whatever my opinion of the album and individual songs, you can just feel the passion in every line. Well, except maybe in "If you hear this on the radio, then we've already said our last goodbye..... I wonder if he holds you like I did" Razz

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Painting is also used multiple times in TLM.

Can't flesh that thought out now so I'm leaving that remark as a note to myself. A paint-by-numbers I'll come back and fill in, lol.

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I am loving all of your input. I think you're all probably right in that the "themes" in his albums are more an indication of his current state of mind and level of maturity than a conscious effort to include certain phrases/ideas.

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Another theme I've noticed in TLM is the use of "light" that appear in six of the songs but when you look at the word as hope the theme runs almost throughout the whole album:

"We Believe" - "we're all looking for a guiding light"

"Right Here, With You" - "and all they ever wanted was the light you gave them" and "And all you ever wanted was the light to save you"

"Circadian" - "The light pulls me under and I keep on caving in."

"Goodbye To The Girl" - "And watching the night do what the light never could"

"Rapid Eye Movement" - "And kill the blinding lights of day"

"Paper Heart" - "overhead the lights come on and suddenly I see"

Now what I find interesting is the use of the word, with the exception of "Circadian" and "Rapid Eye Movement" which is the beginning and the end of the album and I'll get to it latter, the word is being used as guide, as something that show you the way and gives hope while he is looking to hide/escape from it when the story (the album) begins. I think hope is a huge part of the album, that despite everything, despite the fact he feels the wight of the world oh him, that it pulls him down there is always hope. I see it as the complement (I hope I'm using the right word here) to the falling theme Jeannie mentioned earlier. I think this is the core of the whole album, he is falling, losing himself in the pain, in the desperation but at the same time he does eventually sees the light/hope that helps him pull himself together and start to heal. As for the use of light in "Circadian" I see it as the it is the beginning when he's in his low point and the "light" is something he can't even see as hope since he can't see hope at all at the moment, he only see the brightness of it that blind/hurts him. And in "Rapid Eye Movement" he needs to "kill the blinding lights of day" so he could see the hope and with it his way out.

Ok done rambling, I hope it all make sense.

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Excellent points, Anat! In an interview months ago, he described the (then in progress) album as being about the "hopeful side of loss." Hope as light makes a lot of sense metaphorically.

In PH, the line you mention about light goes on to say, "That glow is gonna guide you home, wherever that may be." Light as hope... the light is going to lead you out of the despair and to whatever comes next.

Stacy hasn't sussed out her thoughts yet on pictures and paintings, but all of this is starting to come together a bit in my mind. We have oceans, falling, pictures, and light so far.

Looking at this line in GTTG,

"Take another picture off the wall
Just another moment watch it fall into the ocean blue
Take a look at where we used to be.
Now I'm just a vessel lost at sea
I can't get over you."

Pictures are ways we keep our memories of moments in our life. When we're in despair, when we feel lost, we can look at them to remember the good times. But when we're totally in despair, that isn't always a good thing... because those memories may be holding us back from moving on. So take the memory off the wall - take one last look at it, realize it's holding you back, and then let go. Let it fall into the ocean of time and sink away, to give yourself the chance to see the light, the hope, of what comes next. Let go of the past to move on to the future.

Barb, I'm glad you started this topic. It's fun to talk this all out.

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Anat, It makes perfect sense to me. To take this discussion one step further... Letting go and hope seem to be ideas that run through ALL of David's music. I don't know if he's convinced himself to let go yet, but he did convince me.

Even in his younger writing days back with Axium(and even a bit in AH) when the lyrics tended more towards anger, blood and wounds there was an underlying theme of moving past it all.

I think there are dozens of ways to interpret the lyrics, ideas and themes that run through his albums. But whether the theme is anger/violence, pictures, water, air/atmosphere, falling or something we all have missed, the main idea seems to be that life and love hurt, we have to let go and find something better.

I think the lyrics are what will keep me an avid David fan for life. Sure I was first attracted to him by his ability to change up old songs and of course by his personality and pretty face. But I will stay a fan because his music speaks to me in a way that very few current artists' music does. So many popular artists/songs focus on shallow things like throwing your hands up in "da club". When I find someone like David I'm thrilled. I would suggest that if any of you haven't already, you check out Adele's album 21. I don't even know if she writes her own songs, but they are deep and have the ability to make me feel just like David's songs do.

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when I have the money, I will have to get Adele's CD.

I love everyone's input into this discussion. My mind has not yet formed any coherent thoughts to post.

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I always noticed that his albums have themes in them. I love all your ideas, they definitely reflects what I think are the main themes. He also uses Break and Broken a lot.

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Sarah, Yup that review pretty much sums it all up!

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When I first listened to "This Loud Morning", I was struck by the way David interspersed somewhat violent images of being "broken" and "falling apart" throughout the record. But after a few times of careful listening, I realized that the strongest recurring image in the record is water.

David has said many times that writing the songs for TLM was therapeutic for him, so the use of water as its predominent image is not surprising. What is more cathartic, more restorative, than water?

What's interesting is how David embraces the dual nature of water. It purifies, it purges, it absolves....but it can do so with the gentleness of a spring rain, or with the violence of a tidal wave. The devastating force of the ocean isn't always bad ("Like an ocean, I feel you crash over me" and "Drown in the moment with me" from "Fade into Me") and can even be comforting in its predictability ("The tides will always change/The waves will always break" from "Right Here with You").

In "Time Marches On" the ocean is vast and endless (and terrifying?) but "full of pearls". In "Paper Heart", he's "stuck in the rain", and it's a blessing and a curse: the image of a pouring rain punching a hole in a fragile (paper) heart vs. the relief of his emotions "washing away" when he's "so tired of feeling everything".

I also get the impression that David was feeling a bit adrift while processing all the the events of the past few years and writing these songs; he was "just a vessel lost at sea" , watching the moments of his life "fall into the ocean blue" ("Goodbye to the Girl"). But again, he flips the coin and we see the good the water has done for him. In "This is Not the Last Time" the ocean takes "it all away", but he's not afraid, and even welcomes it. And in "Let Me Fall for You" he has to fall "like a stone in the water" before he can "learn to fly".

It's also interesting that one song that doesn't make any reference to water is "The Last Goodbye".....but we have the video! There had to have been a hundred other ways to work his disappearance into a storyline, but what do we get? "David Cook, Feared Drowned". I can't think of a more apt metaphor for these last few years of David's life than when he plunges into the water, gets pummeled by the waves, and emerges unscathed.

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DP, This isn't the first time he's used the water theme. A few of his early pre idol songs include the idea of washing away emotions. I am a pisces and a true water person. I grew up between the beach and a nature preserve with ponds. The sights, sounds and smells of water have always been an important part of my life. The line from Stitches "Let it wash away" is my daily mantra. It reminds me to focus on the good things in my life and let the bad things wash away.

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I'm sure it's not the first time he's used the water imagery, but it's really dominant on TLM. Interesting because I remember hearing somewhere that David didn't actually like the water, or didn't like the feeling of being submerged in/surrounded by water. Of course, that could just be internet BS, like his favorite word is "plethora" or his favorite sport is wrestling, LOL.

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I agree that there are some recurring themes on all of David's songs and that some are more ingrained in some albums that in others. But I absolutely agree with what you say, DP. This album's theme is water exactly as you have described it. The highs and lows of these past years in David's life depicted as the good and evil of water, so to speak.

There are so many layers in this album and in each song! Although it grabbed me at first listen, it'll take time to process all the feelings, thoughts, sentiments and experiences it hides. Genius. That is all.


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