Loneliness. At some point or another, everyone has felt it: the heavy, cold feeling that accompanies one’s state of solitude. It is a feeling that seems to latch on to every aching muscle and whisper hopeless promises of a bleak future.
How does someone combat this feeling that seems to take so many victims down with it? In their song, “7 Years,” released in October 2015 under Warner Bros. Records, Danish pop artist Lukas Graham recounts the advice that lead singer Graham’s parents gave him as a preventative measure against this desolate emotion. He sings about the progression of his life in a story-like way, ticking with the film reel of a home movie.
Listen: “7 Years” – Lukas Graham
The narrative begins like any child’s tale would:
Once I was seven years old, my momma told me, ‘Go make yourself some friends or you’ll be lonely.’
The words of warning Graham’s mother imparted on him set the tone for this nostalgic piece. He soon recalls the times of his happy youth and being reckless with his friends, breaking rules and hanging out with the all-too-familiar kinds of people who can be counted on for little more than to enjoy the ride when things are going well. Content as Graham was, there is always more to be learned when growing up, and his father soon warned him:
Go get yourself a wife or you’ll be lonely.
A wife; a companion; someone who would truly value Graham as a person. The right friends are always there for you, but the wrong ones will not always stick around, and that’s just how life goes. As he vocalizes the big dreams he and his friends shared, he remains aware of everything that goes hand in hand with the glory as he sings, “’Cause only those I really love will ever really know me.”
He recounts his life passing by in the blink of an eye, all of his dreams becoming realities, and a faint cheering of a crowd and a fan shouting his name can be heard. He sings about all of the exciting times his career brought him and how the friends who truly mattered stuck by him through all of the successes (save one).
After taking his father’s advice, he recalls the boundless happiness felt by telling his stories to his children he had with his wife. As he progresses with age, he expresses just how great life is when you look back on it and reflect on everything that got you to where you were.
Yet the ever-present threat of loneliness still looms as he croons:
Soon I’ll be sixty years old.
Will I think the world is cold
or will I have a lot of children
who can warm me?
Repeating the same concern, however, worry then turns to triumph as the tone of his voice changes to a more victorious one, a voice filled with the hope that his children will still visit him when he’s old because he rightfully placed his faith in the wise advice of his parents.
Watch: “7 Years” – Lukas Graham
As the song comes to a close and the ticking of the film reel slows to conclusion, the words of Graham’s mother come echoing back in full circle. The repetition of “Once I was ___ years old” throughout the song truly emphasizes each defining moment Graham recalls in his life where the advice of his parents proved true. The wisdom of those who have already lived much of their lives is invaluable, as it will guide those who listen on a path of fulfillment and happiness.
“7 Years” is a lyrical work of fiction — a sonic fable — bound together musically with very thoughtfully crafted arrangements and sounds to ultimately convey one moral; and that is, to surround yourself with those who truly care about you.