Death is never easy. Whether we have been anticipating it or it came as a shock, the feeling it brings is still all the same. As much as we want to, we’d like nothing more than not to deal with it. However just like change, it’s the only thing inevitable in this world.
There are plenty of ways we mourn our dead. Others write poetry in tribute, others go on a trip that the departed would’ve wanted to see through to the end. One of the most popular means of paying respect to those who have passed on is through songs.
Plenty of songs depict loss and dealing with death. One that has prevailed throughout the years is “Nothing Compares 2 U” sung by Sinnead O’Connor. It was a breakout song written and composed by pop sensation Prince, who recently passed away. It didn’t receive wide publicity at first but throughout the years, it grew to become one song that emotionally resonated throughout the world.
In an interview with O’Connor, she explained: “It’s really about emotions, it’s not about notes… I never sing a song that I can’t emotionally identify with.”
“It’s always the same thing and it always works… I always think of my mother… which is why I had the little tear in the video. My mother died when I was 17 and it wasn’t long after that that I was making the video,” O’Connor said. “I think I’m probably similar to millions of people who loved the song, and we’re all people who associated the song with a loss of some kind,” she added.
The song is a journey of loss, from one meaning to the next. Today, let’s further explore the auditory masterpiece.
It’s been seven hours and fifteen days / since you took your love away. / I go out every night and sleep all day / since you took your love away. Since you’ve been gone I can do whatever I want./ I can see whomever I choose. / I can eat my dinner in a fancy restaurant, / But nothing / I said nothing can take away these blues,
The first verse explains just how much loss paralyzes us deeply. We can move on and go about our daily lives, try as hard as we can to do the things we enjoy doing or to try and distract us from what we are going through. However, the loss of a loved one is an intense, unforgiving feeling that at times, comes with an uncertainty of refuge.
We may find ourselves doing what we are used to doing but it doesn’t feel the same anymore now that we have lost someone so near and door to us. The lines of the verse also acknowledge our feeling of helpless and lack of motivation when struggling with death. Some find it more helpful to distract themselves with worldly pleasures while others are rendered immobile, unable to get out of bed.
Cause nothing compares,/ nothing compares to you.
The powerful chorus of the song further exemplifies the sense of meaninglessness that overcomes us when we lose someone we love. We accord every feeling, every doing and every reaction to the departed, no matter what situation we are in. At some point, we lose motivation to go on with our lives.
It’s been so lonely without you here,/ like a bird without a song./ Nothing can/ stop these lonely tears from falling./ Tell me baby where did I go wrong?/ I could put my arms round every boy I see,/ but they’d only remind me of you./ I went to the doctor guess what he told me,/ guess what he told me./ He said girl you better try to have fun/ no matter what you do, / but he’s a fool.
The feeling of guilt and anger are two of the most common emotions when dealing with death. We begin to question everything, even sometimes questioning God why this person was taken away from us. We see no point as to why that person left us too soon.
Sometimes when we talk to other people about it, it feels as if no one can understand us; that we are inconsolable.
All the flowers that you planted, mama,/ in the backyard/ all died when you went away./ I know that living with you, baby, was sometimes hard,/ but I’m willing to give it another try.
Nothing will ever be the same now that we lost someone we loved deeply. There will always be that hole inside of us, that lack of color deep within ourselves because after all, we lost someone who has become a part of us.
Towards the end of the song, it tells us that while nothing will be the same, we can still try and makes something of what’s left; to allow ourselves a second chance to live life and cherish the memory of our beloved departed.