The Story in the Lyrics

Why songs that tell stories are the best.

The lyrics of Empty Space written by James Arthur.

Emma Fischel

The lyrics of Empty Space written by James Arthur.

Emma Fischel, Staff Writer

A song is any beat mixed with a melody that ranges from soft to rocky to express a certain emotion throughout the lyrics. A song could be about anything, but the ones that tell a story, I believe, are most certainly the greatest.

For example, take James Arthur, a renowned artist with hits such as “Say You Won’t Let Go” and “Naked,” which both relate to an all-consuming, heart wrenching love. Both have wonderfully soft melodies and pretty words, but his best song by far would be “Empty Space.”

“Empty Space” is a song that begins lightly, opening with an empty and careless voice. The lyrics are straightforward and demeaning, saying “I don’t regret the day I left, I don’t believe that I was blessed.” He is singing about a lost lover that he does not seem to care much about. Or so we think.

The second the song hits the chorus, his voice erupts into a longing, heartbroken rasp, the guitar picking up, and with newfound drums in the back. His lyrics follow, saying “Looking for love in a stranger’s bed, but I don’t think I’ll find it, cause only you could fill this empty space.” 

The song tells the story of a man who tries to deny his feelings and pretends not to care. However, no matter how many layers he piles on himself, he remains sad and “alone in my head,” as the song states. 

Sasha Alex Sloan is also a master of expressing emotions in many of her songs, such as “Dancing With Your Ghost” and “Older”: the former discusses the loneliness of losing a loved one and the latter explores the struggle of growing up and realizing the world isn’t as perfect as you thought.

Her best song would have to be “Hypochondriac.” It starts off with lyrics explaining the way she never cared for her life, saying, “I abused my kidneys, knew I had two so I didn’t think twice.” She was reckless, reflecting on her self-destructive tendencies: “Never ate breakfast, then I’d get stoned and eat too much.”

However, she tells the story of the change in her, which is when she fell in love. She uses her lyrics to show her new awareness of her life, singing, “The second that you called my yours, I had something worth living for.” She admits she is now scared of things she wouldn’t have been scared of before she met her lover because she knows that if she dies she will never get another chance with them.

Sloan becomes a “hypochondriac,” a person who is constantly anxious about her health. It is a lovely story, and she  uses cute ironies along the way.

Both these songs represent an actual story, one to listen to carefully which actually makes the music more enjoyable.

Though all songs have their own fun qualities, I believe the best is the narration of the lyrics.