SLS

Song Lyric Sunday – Comparisons

The prompt from Jim:

Today, you will select two songs and discuss some type of relevant association between them.  You may want to focus on the similarities and the differences between your chosen songs.


When I read this week’s prompt, for some reason my mind went directly to mental health and addiction. After the long year (plus) we all experienced during the pandemic, experts predict the mental health and addiction impacts will impact society for a decade or more.

I decided to feature two songs that view these issues from different perspectives – one as the person who experiences addiction or depression themselves and one from the person on the outside who wants to help but may not know how.

The songs I chose [“Hate Me” and “How to Save a Life”] each tackle the same problem from a different point of view. The lyrics that caught my attention, each from a different song, had a similar message.

From “Hate Me”

In a sick way I want to thank you
For holding my head up late at night
While I was busy waging wars on myself,
You were trying to stop the fight

From “How to Save a Life”

Where did I go wrong?
I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

”Hate Me” was written by Justin Furstenfeld – the lead singer of Blue October. He suffered from drug addiction and depression and it took a toll on his personal relationships. The video starts with him listening to an actual message from his mother who was concerned for his well being. It is a powerful starting point for the song and introduces the duality of his addiction and illness and its impact on those around him. You can hear the pain in his voice as he realizes just how much his addiction and depression has hurt those that loved him and only wanted to help him in his recovery. The pain Is evident in his voice and in every line in the lyric.

“Hate Me“
Lyrics from Songfacts.com

I have to block out thoughts of you so I don’t lose my head
They’re crawling like a cockroach leaving babies in my bed
Dropping little reels of tape to remind me that I’m alone
Playing movies in my head that make a porno feel like home
There’s a burning in my pride,
A nervous bleeding in my brain
An ounce of peace is all I want for you
Will you never call again?
And will you never say that you love me
Just to put it in my face?
And will you never try to reach me?
It is I that wanted space

Hate me today
Hate me tomorrow
Hate me for all the things I didn’t do for you

Hate me in ways
Yeah, ways hard to swallow
Hate me so you can finally see what’s good for you

I’m sober now for three whole months,
It’s one accomplishment that you helped me with
The one thing that always tore us apart
Is the one thing I won’t touch again
In a sick way I want to thank you
For holding my head up late at night
While I was busy waging wars on myself,
You were trying to stop the fight
You never doubted my warped opinions
On things like suicidal hate
You made me compliment myself
When it was way too hard to take
So I’ll drive so fucking far away
That I never cross your mind
And do whatever it takes in your heart
To leave me behind

Hate me today
Hate me tomorrow
Hate me for all the things I didn’t do for you

Hate me in ways
Yeah, ways hard to swallow
Hate me so you can finally see what’s good for you

And with a sad heart, I say bye to you and wave
Kicking shadows on the street
For every mistake that I had made
And like a baby boy,
I never was a man
Until I saw your blue eyes crying,
And I held your face in my hand
And then I fell down yelling,
“make it go away!”
Just make a smile come back
And shine just like it used to be
And then she whispered,
“How can you do this to me?”

Hate me today
Hate me tomorrow
Hate me for all the things I didn’t do for you

Hate me in ways
Yeah, ways hard to swallow
Hate me so you can finally see what’s good for you
For you
For you
For you

The opposing song  I selected is “How to Save a Life” by The Fray. The Fray started as a Christian rock band, but steered away from making only Christian based music. This song was inspired by a young man that songwriter Issac Slade worked with at a youth camp. The young man was lost suffering from addiction problems and depression. The song spotlights the struggle a friend or family member has when trying to help someone they know is in trouble but not having the tools or knowledge to help.

One must ask, “Who suffers the most?”

“How to Save a Life”
Lyrics from Songfacts.com

Step one, you say we need to talk
He walks, you say sit down, it’s just a talk
He smiles politely back at you
You stare politely right on through
Some sort of window to your right
As he goes left, and you stay right
Between the lines of fear and blame
You begin to wonder why you came

Where did I go wrong?
I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

Let him know that you know best
Cause after all, you do know best
Try to slip past his defense
Without granting innocence
Lay down a list of what is wrong
The things you’ve told him all along
And pray to God he hears you
And I pray to God he hears you

Where did I go wrong?
I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

As he begins to raise his voice
You lower yours and grant him one last choice
Drive until you lose the road
Or break with the ones you’ve followed
He will do one of two things
He will admit to everything
Or he’ll say he’s just not the same
And you’ll begin to wonder why you came

Where did I go wrong?
I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

Where did I go wrong?
I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

How to save a life
How to save a life

Where did I go wrong?
I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

Where did I go wrong?
I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

How to save a life
How to save a life

NOTE: Both Justin and the young man at the youth camp triumphed over their problems. Not everyone is so fortunate.


Song Lyric Sunday is hosted every Sunday by Jim Adams. If you would like to join in the fun, check out his blog for the rules and to take in all the other music posted by other bloggers.