An Analysis of “Reflections of My Life” by Marmalade

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Or, “The world is… a terrible place to live.” My take on a song that should be considered anthematic, and is so in my own life.

Growing up, I was often exposed to what would now be labeled in the generic genre of classic rock music. My father controlled the radio, and if it wasn’t Outlaw country, it was classic rock-ish. Not so much on the rock end of things, just popular music from the 1960s and 1970s. I often had a visceral reaction to music, my emotions—while generally hidden—were not in check inside me. Things took me, that is the best way I can succinctly describe this situation with me and music without making it its own one-thousand-word essay.

There is one song that has stood out among all others throughout my life. I would not consider this my “favorite song,” as I don’t really have favorites. I would not consider this the “best ever” song or anything in the realm of those simplistic superlatives. It is a song that I relate to in a very odd way, I almost feel I should not relate to it, as it touches on subjects that an area in my brain that seems to concern itself with the vague tells me I should really not be open about—even silently to myself. I also wonder how, in real life, this song ever made it anywhere.

The song is “Reflections of My Life” by Marmalade. Here’s a YouTube video, contact me if it gets taken down1 and I’ll find another link. Anyway. The lyrics, some could come away from them thinking “that’s really hitting it on the nose a bit, no?” But to me, the forthrightness of the lyrics are unparalleled to any song within a traditional genre. And they matter a lot to me. Here they are in italics, with my analysis.

The changing of sunlight to moonlight
Reflections of my life
Oh, how they fill my eyes

The conflation of moving into the proverbial darkness to reflect on the entirety of life. So we’re moving right into darkness and life. Boom. That’s where we are.

The greetings of people in trouble
Reflections of my life
Oh, how they fill my eyes

Then we move on to the universe of socialization, in such a passing and nonplussed manner. People. The consideration here is they are naturally in trouble. That is a given, it needs no other words.

Oh, my sorrows
Sad tomorrows
Take me back to my own home

I tend to ignore the “take me back” part of this song, and focus on the concept of “tomorrow.” I, too, look at the future as something to dread. “Sad” is an odd word here, but it gets me thinking of the linear path from dread to sadness. I feel sadness is a “beyond” of sorts here, and that my own dread is actually a more ok way of thinking. Because sadness is resignation.

Oh, my crying (Oh, my crying)
Feel I’m dying, dying
Take me back to my own home

Yeah, this lyric is what gets me. How did this pass onto a popular song? “Feel I’m dying.” This is where I’ve tended to start to shy away from outward reaction2 to this song because I don’t want to admit I feel the same way at times. As if all of this—all of life—is merely for passing. That’s a tough one.

I’m changing, arranging
I’m changing
I’m changing everything
Everything around me

This contrasts the verses just before it but works along the same lines. So death and sadness being a “passing” of sorts, we move on to a “fuck it” attitude toward the world. However, the hollow received from this part about changing is palpable. Very hollow. Not shallow, but I look at it as—I am thinking of changing every single thing and I know I cannot and will eventually… not.

The world is
A bad place
A bad place
A terrible place to live
Oh, but I don’t want to die

This here is the absolute root of the song. This is its heart. This is what it all comes down to. The purest form of existentialism for me, the absolute purest. I take the first four lines of this verse to heart almost every day. I literally think of these lyrics, sung, as I move about the world. For someone, like myself, with a mind not made for this world—the world indeed is a terrible place to live. But I must. I, too, rarely want to die. But as the lyric above references what is above it—people like myself must, at times, think in those terms. Of death being the release. That is ideation, mind you! I am not suicidal. I ideate death when thinking about a life in a world not meant for me.

Oh, my sorrows
Sad tomorrows
Take me back to my own home

Oh, my crying (Oh, my crying)
Feel I’m dying, dying
Take me back to my own home

Oh, my sorrows
Sad tomorrows
Take me back to my own home

We repeat, but we are resigned. Whatever your reaction to this song, if you want to understand more about me and possibly others with mental disorders—this song weaves a thread of the often. This song exhausts because it says so much I feel I cannot, openly. It is both beautifully said and sadly relevant. Often. Far too often. This is my world, I could not say it better.

 

1 I didn’t post it, I just searched for it. Which I guess you could do as well, no?  [BACK]

2 Excepting that I just typed that right there.  [BACK]