TODAY’S SONG: “ Who We Were With” – Paradise Fears

Our Rating

Yesterday, Popdust premiered pop-alternative band Paradise Fears’ lyric video for the band’s new single, “Who We Were With.” I’m not usually one for lyric videos, but the graphics and clever, constantly moving and changing design of this one caught my attention, and even more importantly, held it for the duration of the song!

On the outset, “Who We Were With” seems like a sad song, its ‘settling’ theme feeling like something out of an unhappy marriage in an early to mid-twentieth century American household (or really any household up through the 1960s, and many households still today), where divorce was not an option and couples had to learn to love each other lest they hate their lives. Consider some words out of the third verse:

We never looked for anybody else, we figured once was good enough / You know you’ll only hurt yourself, just learn to love who you are with

Rather than breaking out of a bad relationship, the narrator describes sticking with the same old flame. The video’s graphics help to express the full strength of the lyrics: Sketched depictions of chains, keys, drifting hearts and more resonate with the visual sense after the song’s conclusion.

Is this a sad song?

Visual and lyrical content aside, the real question I cannot wrap my head around is whether “Who We Were With” is actually a sad song. Is it possible that the melancholy I perceive is a product of bias? Can a song about settling, while certainly somber, be at all celebratory? After all, they did find love, right?

Paradise Fears

“Who They Were With” is an upbeat song, with an explosive musicality just shy of the magnitude in Imagine Dragons’ “I Bet My Life.” The song’s introspection cuts deep and seems juxtaposed against the big, American Authors-y, arena-style music. I want to  bob my head and can easily see myself swaying back and forth to this song, but the lyrics hold me back. It’s like Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The USA, where melancholic words are masked by a major tune. (Don’t believe me? Listen closely when the Boss plays it acoustic.) I can never truly jam to “Born in the USA,” and I don’t think I could do it to “Who We Were With” either – perhaps because I would never settle like that. To forego a lifetime of happiness by learning to love and not taking firm, direct action is slowly becoming a thing of the past in the Western world, and with “Who We Were With,” Paradise Fears have perfectly captured the confusion and doubt going through those trying to find love in a loveless situation.

Perhaps “Who We Were With” is not a ‘sad’ song, so much as it is a scary song.

Watch: “Who We Were With (Official Lyric Video)” – Paradise Fears

Screenshots

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“Who We Were With”

lyrics

Verse 1:
Oh we started out on our own.
We learned to love who we were with,
we tried to love who we were with,
yeah we set out trying to find a spark.
Two broken homes and a little dark,
searching through the dark,
but we still loved who we were with,
we still loved who we were with.
Sometimes we feel so scared and sick
that we just love who we are with.

Verse 2:
We started drifting for some common ground,
and as the earth was spinning,
we could feel that someday we’d be found,
and we couldn’t love who we were with,
no longer loved who we were with.
Sometimes we feel so scared and sick
that we just love who we are with.

Pre-Chorus 1:
And my young eyes can see it,
but your heart can feel it.
My parking lot princess,
I found Mona Lisa.
Feels like we’re something,
something that’s lasting,
yeah I thought it was love,
but I guess it was passion.
Now that you’re right there
but so far for so long,
but he’s gone smoking a match.

Chorus 1:
We fall that far out of control,
and when you’re living living living
through somebody else’s soul,
we learn to love who you are with
we learn to love who you are with
we learn to love who we are with
we learn to love who we are with.

Verse 3:
We never looked for anybody else.
We figured once was good enough,
you know you’ll only hurt yourself.
Just learn to love who you are with,
learn to love who you are with,
Sometimes we feel so scared and sick
that we just love who we are with.

Verse 4:
And as the years and years went by,
and we fell less and less in love,
we slowly stopped complaining about
what our parents did to us
’cause they couldn’t love who they were with,
no longer loved who they were with.
Sometimes we feel so scared and sick
that we just love who we are with.

Pre-Chorus 2:
You know we wanted the real thing so bad
we could taste it.
We’ve wanted the real thing so bad
we could make it.
The story unwinding,
the thunder the lightning,
yeah I though it was love,
but I guess it was timing,
and I guess if the time’s right
then somewhere and somehow
that we’ll know before now.

Chorus 2:
We always love,
we never learn.
It’s love and comfort,
sex and wondering
if this could be our turn.
We learn to love who we are with,
we learn to love who we are with,
we learn to love who we are with,
we learn to love who we are with.

Learn more about Paradise Fears here

The Breakdown

Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com