Friday, December 7, 2018

Atlas:Touch, A True Experience of Feeling Pain

The song I chose was "Atlas: Touch", which is a song that is part of a musical project led by artist Ryan O'Neal (who was born in Wheaton Illinois!). The song "Atlas: Touch" is part of a concept of songs about a specific theme, which is a series of singles that each focus on a human sense (i.e. his other songs: Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste). Sleeping At Last started as a group that released a few traditional albums and even signed to a recording label, but once the group split, Ryan O'Neal chose to become independent once again, and to focus on releasing singles and short EPs, like "Touch".

This song has become one of my favorites within the past year, although it is not new. I first heard it in an episode of Grey's Anatomy, and though I know the show is considered cheesy and not regarded as a "phenomenal" show (though I think it is), they do have an amazing soundtrack and make great choices for the songs they play and the moments they play them for. This song appears when the infamous couple "Jackson and April" are going through the process of divorcing, and it really caught my attention.

The central idea of "Touch" is not as clear as the author's (O'Neal's) purpose of writing it, which was to focus on the sense of "Touch". The artist created the meaning of this song for the purpose stated in the sentence prior, but along the way he decided he wanted it to be a much more intimate and vulnerable song, one that exposes what it would feel like to lose your sense of touch. In the song, he questions his sense of touch in the first lyric by asking:
When will I feel this
As vivid as it truly is,
Fall in love in a single touch.
And fall apart when it hurts too much.
I found the beginning of the song super real, because it is most definitely how most people who have lost someone they love would feel (either to death, a breakup, etc.). It is the tuning out feeling, shutting off your emotions in order to not feel completely lost at the moment it happens. While feeling things in full immediately after a loss is heart wrenching and painful (and not completely necessary), eventually you will want to feel your emotions again, in order to process what has happened. Like O'Neal describes in this stanza (it is poetry!!), he is having a hard time feeling again, or allowing himself to experience the emotions he had been pushing away. Again O'Neal discusses his attempts to turn back on his emotions before he permanently cannot, stating that:
All I want is to flip a switch
Before something breaks that cannot be fixed.
Here is an article I found about O'Neal's writing process.

I love this song so incredibly much because it has so much meaning behind the lyrics when you truly listen to them. At first I had a hard time understanding the meaning of the song by just listening to it, so I would highly recommend listening to the song while reading the lyrics. It will give you a better understanding all around. My favorite stanza in the song is:
I know, I know - the sirens sound
Just before the walls come down.
Pain is a well-intentioned weatherman
Predicting G-d as best he can,
But G-d I want to feel again.
Once again, O'Neal describes pain (and here as a simile, another poetic term!!) as a physical thing, discussing the fact that he wants to turn his emotions back on, and feel the things he had been avoiding for so long. For me, the simile is my favorite line in the song, because he speaks on pain in such an interesting way, exploring that the way pain is designed is an important warning sign to your emotions. Pain attempts to tell you what is going to happen and how you are going to feel about something, just like a weatherman predicts the weather. Pain also helps keep us safe, giving us a warning when we need to protect ourselves, both in physical and an emotional sense. And I'll leave you with that! Hope you enjoyed the song as much as I do, and maybe got a little emotional because it truly touches at something that most songs aren't able to. 

1 comment:

  1. I love this analysis that you did with this song. I'll definitely have a listen to it because it sounds interesting. When I was reading your analysis about pain, I couldn't help but to think back to The Stranger and think about how throughout the book, Meursault was pretty emotionless and couldn't really feel pain, which may have had great contribution to his death in the end because one of the evidence that proved him guilty was the fact that he didn't really feel emotional pain when dealing with his mother's death. So since he didn't really feel pain, he wasn't able to protect himself from being guilty after killing the Arab.