Song of the Week: This Side

The Pax Plena song of the week comes to you from progressive blue grass trio Nickel Creek and is titled This Side.

Written by violinist and background vocalist Sean Watkins the lyrics speak of transitioning from one phase of life to another and the uncomfortable uncertainties which accompany such segues. Despite its weighty subject matter, the song’s message is ultimately one of optimism culminating in the final verse as the bard once again becomes content and at home amid change.

The song’s power comes from the unique way in which lyrics and music work together to create the final product. The melody itself is up-beat but it would lack its optimistic quality if not for the harmony of the combined instruments which meld to create a strong, light sound. Written in a series of alternating major chords with a dissonant strains sprinkled about, the score would be hard to improve. The dissonant sounds are uniformly combinations of major, sharp chords which create a high-pitched disharmony- as opposed to a more dour sound heard among smatterings of minor chords say in Johnny Cash’s Hurt, for example.

Vocally, the lead voice of the song undergoes its own transition. The early lyrics wistfully recall memories past and evokes feelings of regret and fear. But as the song progresses, the voice gets stronger along with the music and ultimately becomes a voice of optimism as he embraces a new future. Not unlike all of us in life.

This Side

One day you’ll see her and you’ll know what I mean.
Take her or leave her she will still be the same.
She’ll not try to buy you with her time.
But nothing’s the same, as you will see when she’s gone.

It’s foreign on this side,
And I’ll not leave my home again.
There’s no place to hide
And I’m nothing but scared.

You dream of colors that have never been made,
You imagine songs that have never been played.
They will try to buy you and your mind.
Only the curious have something to find.

It’s foreign on this side,
And the truth is a bitter friend.
But reasons few have I to go back again.

Your first dawn blinded you, left you cursing the day.
Entrance is crucial and it’s not without pain.
There’s no path to follow, once you’re here.
You’ll climb up the slide and then you’ll slide down the stairs.

It’s foreign on this side,
But it feels like I’m home again.
There’s no place to hide
But I don’t think I’m scared.
(there’s no place to hide)
(there’s no place to hide)
But I don’t think I’m scared.
(there’s no place to hide)
But I don’t think I’m scared…

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