Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rave: 'Ana's song' as a representation of pain

As I said in my post yesterday, 'Ana's Song' by Silverchair has been in high rotation for me lately, partly because I have noticed (and been saddened by) the food issues in society around me, but probably partly also because I'm in that kind of mood. Whatever the reason though, it is an incredibly clever song.

It's well known, I guess, that the song was written by Daniel Johns in the throes of his own struggle with anorexia and other mental illnesses so the pain is very real. The song is about anorexia nervosa, though, and while I was never anorexic, it certainly resonates with some of the less-sane coping strategies I have witnessed, and used myself.

There is an incredibly clever pairing between the quiet, high, stripped down first verse and the description of the destruction of anorexia that it offers: Even as Johns asks it to 'please die', and talks about it's sharpened nails, he sounds like he is singing about love and lust. The rhythm section of the song kicks in with the chorus, and adds the tension to the music between the open fire that burns, and needing that same fire. The verse is once again soft, talking about the seductions of a coping strategy that fails and hurts every single time, until describing the damage done, where the tension again becomes evident. The third verse is positively ragged, and while it is the most "sane" of the verses in terms social perception, it is the place in the song where the music is roughest, one could almost say angriest. The song closes with two repeats of the chorus with slightly less tension, but tense nonetheless.

The pairing of the "least sane" lyrics with the most seductive parts of the song, and the "most sane" with the angriest, most ragged, least stable parts of the's clever. It reflects obsession from the inside so cleverly that the listener becomes sympathetic with insanity without even noticing.

I am truly in awe of what was done here, and I think the world is a more beautiful (if sadder) place for the existence of this song.

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