Today’s Song: City and Colour Confronts Shortcomings and Connects Fans With “Living in Lightning”

An earnest start to his upcoming album, “Living in Lighting” from City and Colour showcases why Dallas Green is an artist nonpareil through honest lyricism and chilling melodies.
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Listen: “Living in Lightning” – City and Colour


Dallas Green, more commonly referred to by his stage alias City and Colour, has never been one to sugarcoat things, and he isn’t going to start now. Green continues with his trend of being chillingly honest and achingly aware of his humanity with his most recent release “Living in Lightning.” The song is the opening track from upcoming album entitled A Pill For Loneliness set to debut Oct. 4, 2019. “Living in Lightning” further confirms what true City and Colour aficionados always knew to be true: Dallas Green has a magic that is intrinsic to his sound and entirely irreplicable.

Living in Lightning – City and Colour

Even though “Living in Lightning” resonates whether you’re listening to it on your iPhone, in the car, or otherwise, it feels like a song that was created to be heard live. It has a floaty guitar, intense, grounding drums, and showcases Green’s smooth, clear voice exceptionally well. The 38-year-old musician from Ontario, Canada will be going on tour in promotion of the album if you want to hear it live for yourself.

Can’t you see I’m sorry that I wasn’t better at being who you wanted me to be
I’ve been living in lightning for what seems like eternity

Green recently admitted in an Instagram post that A Pill For Loneliness wasn’t always the name he had chosen for the album. “I wasn’t always going to call this record ‘A Pill For Loneliness,’” Green admitted in the post. “It actually had another name up until the last second. I was watching the news one night and something I saw made me change it. They were talking about how researchers are trying to create an actual pill for loneliness. I thought it was pretty awful that we live in [a] world that is making it necessary for us to need a pill to cure being lonely. I realized music was like my pill for loneliness. It allowed me to feel like I had somebody else in my life. When I was younger, all I wanted to do was write a song that made someone feel the way I felt when I connected to music. ‘A Pill For Loneliness’ is the right title. It is the best way to describe this album and the band.”

I’d rather walk alone
Than stand in a row
I’d line up everything I own
Decide what should stay and what should go

“Living in Lightning” feels like a natural introduction to an album that is designed to make its listeners feel a little less isolated. Listening to the track feels like a well-timed, warm hug from an old friend. It’s candidness is what makes it memorable. Green’s music represents something so rare nowadays – a frank sincerity that has become increasingly scarce in our society – his willingness to admit to being human, to always trying his best, and sometimes, to not being able to succeed: a theme that resonates with all listeners.

Green starts the song admitting “I’d rather walk alone//Than stand in a row//I’d line up everything I own//Decide what should stay and what should go.” This isn’t the first time Green has grappled with following your heart and sometimes walking alone: his early release “Against The Grain” preached a similar message, with lyrics such as “When all your friends have come and gone//And the sun no longer shines” and “If you should wake to find you’re abandoned…” There’s a theme of being willing to stand up for what one wants and to walk solo if he must.

City and Colour © Renee Rodenkirchen

This life was mine to choose
Yearning to wander through and through
At times I’ve been battered and bruised
But I’m still breathing in my youth

He continues on, continuing to take ownership for the path he has taken, singing, “This life was mine to choose//Yearning to wander through and through//At times I’ve been battered and bruised//But I’m still breathing in my youth.” Here, Green admits that he is responsible for his decisions and that, at times, they have left him wounded and hurting, but he’s still here, “breathing in my youth.” The word ‘youth’ has positive connotations with being optimistic, perhaps revealing that Green feels that though he has experienced trials and tribulations, he still views the world through a hopeful lens.

Green outdid himself with the chorus. His tone changes slightly as he sings, “Can’t you see I’m sorry that I wasn’t better at being who you wanted me to be// I’ve been living in lightning for what seems like eternity.” Here, Green does something very few people are truthful enough to confess: that he is sorry. He is sorry for being unable to show up in the way the person the song is for wanted him to, and he acknowledges this without making excuses. He does, however, provide some clarity as to why he has been unable to do this, singing he’s “been living in lightning for what seems like eternity.” Since lightning striking is characteristic of a thunderstorm, Green stating that he has been “living in lightning” can possibly refer to the fact he has been experiencing a symbolic thunderstorm of sorts, going through a tumultuous time.

You wear these brooding ghosts
Tighter and tighter round your throat
They’re weighing you down like a stone
They might never let you go

Green is one-third alt-rockstar, one-third indie folk, and one-third genreless – that is, he makes music for anyone and everyone who simply enjoys good music. Perhaps this is why City and Colour’s tunes are magic – their importance and relevance transcend above genre distinctions. With “Living in Lightning,” Green signals to his fans an important sentiment. All lyrics in the song whisper, “I, also, understand.” With an opening track as uninhibited in its earnestness as this one, the rest of A Pill For Loneliness is poised to do precisely what it set out to do and more: making listeners feel a little more connected and a whole lot less alone, one track at a time.

Listen: “Living in Lightning” -City and Colour


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Madison Zoey Vettorino is a Journalism student at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. She is passionate about both the written word and music because she believes they have something incredible in common: the capability to bring people together.