Say Something

From the first time I heard A Great Big World’s song, Say Something on the radio (yes… I still listen to the radio), I had a driving question: What happened?

In case you haven’t heard it, here’s the video, and here are the lyrics:

Say something, I’m giving up on you
I’ll be the one, if you want me to
Anywhere, I would’ve followed you
Say something, I’m giving up on you

And I am feeling so small
It was over my head
I know nothing at all

And I will stumble and fall
I’m still learning to love
Just starting to crawl

Say something, I’m giving up on you
I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you
Anywhere, I would’ve followed you
Say something, I’m giving up on you

And I will swallow my pride
You’re the one that I love
And I’m saying goodbye

Say something, I’m giving up on you
And I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you
And anywhere, I would have followed you
Oh-oh-oh-oh say something, I’m giving up on you

Say something, I’m giving up on you
Say something

This song, these lyrics… This is storytelling. This is jumping into a life-changing moment in a character’s story, trying to figure out how we got there and where we’re headed.

Is it a toxic or abusive relationship? Is the singer the one person who still stood up for the person being addressed in the song, and now finally even “the one that I love” is just too far gone or too far over the line to hang onto?

Is this a case of “You can’t receive love if you don’t love yourself” and the person in question is locked in a spiral of self-destruction? Are we dealing with an alcoholic or drug addict who can’t stay away from their addiction? Or something less obvious but equally painful, like self-loathing or inability to cope with the demands of life?

Is this the last time the lover reaches out to try to help? What is the backstory to this?! I need to know, because my mind demands an answer, and every time I hear the song, it starts writing a story to figure this out.

Which may not be a bad thing. Creativity sometimes needs a spark of motivation. A song like this does that well.

The writers explain their motivations in this interview, and tell a touching story from a comment where someone had a brother in a coma, who they kept hoping would “say something.”

But hey, maybe you don’t want to know. Maybe it can just mean whatever you want.

And that’s the power of the song. Without any doubt, it says something.

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