When I was 6 years old a band called “The Fray” released “How to Save a Life.” At the time, I was beginning to develop my own taste in music and started to distinguish which instruments and styles of music I liked. The heavy, piano-based track set in B flat fit my newly developed taste in music and I always enjoyed hearing it play on the radio.
However, in the past couple of years, I kept coming across this song during a time when the words being sung were words I desperately needed to hear.
As the years have passed, I came to terms with the meaning of “How to Save A Life.” The song is told from the viewpoint of a person who has lost a friend and was never given the chance to help them. This person would have given everything they possibly could to this friend in order to fill whatever emptiness or lack thereof their friend was suffering from. Since I can remember, I also gravitated towards the kid in on the sidelines or the kid in the corner. I always thought I could help them and save them from whatever kept them closed off from the world.
However, around junior year of high school, I heard this song when I was losing a friend who once again would not let me in. Even though I had tried so desperately to mend their wounds and help them fight their demons, I learned the hard way that you cannot join a fight unless you have a willing teammate. This was the last friend of many that I went out of my way to make and try to “save.”
Since then I must admit, I found that I can focus on my own problems and issues and not have to suffer through this sickening cycle that I put myself through for so many years.
See, “How to Save a Life” focuses on the “what ifs” or “what could have beens” of a friendship or even a future relationship for that matter.
It has become a constant reminder in my life that no matter how much you want to save someone you can’t always be the person who saves them. Timing, distance, and sometimes just life can change people and their relationships with each other. I have now learned that I cannot play a role in people’s lives that I am not meant to play. I now believe there is a reason people fall apart, but I also believe that it is a little more than fate that brings people back together.
I chose to focus on these lyrics not only because of the impact they have made on my life but because I am a songwriter at heart. Bands like “The Fray” who write songs like these have inspired me to write about personal matters like those expressed in “How to Save a Life.” I truly hope that I can continue to learn and grow as an individual through not only other people’s work but through my own as well.