Twice, both a song and an example of poetic brilliance, is only 4 stanzas long (two of which are a refrain) yet carries the weight and depth of a thousand stories. The poet within me is absolutely mesmerized by the artistry of pieces that are concise and poignant, yet engorged with layers of meaning. Almost anyone can find and/or lose themselves within the words because they’re ubiquitous in nature.
Each time you listen to this song you could take a different meaning from it based upon where you are in life. Once you add the instrumentals, a simultaneously soothing and gripping arrangement of soulful and ethereal sounds, the weight of that meaning is intensified. The foundation of it is a set of rich, deep and somber tones accompanied by lighter airy tones that make you think of water and bird song. Couple the track with the creative imagery of ‘Dreams from the Woods’ by Johannes Nyholm, and the song morphs into an experience. The counterbalance of it all is enchanting, haunting and yet heavily reminiscent of life. Each listen has the potential to touch you on a deeper level.
“Twice I turn my back on you
I fell flat on my face but didn’t lose
Tell me where would I go
Tell me what led you on I’d love to know”
Disappointment cuts the deepest when the person that’s disappointing you is yourself. Although the words point to an external person or entity, I consider this song to be a self-reflection piece. There are times in life when, ironically, we defy the very core of who we are and what we believe in an attempt to figure out those very same things. We fall short of our expectations and sometimes are ridden with guilt or shame for not amounting to what we have imagined for ourselves. This verse exemplifies a person grappling with the balance between the weight of their decisions and the consequences. Even further, it shows the wonder that ensues in the event of an unanticipated result.
“Was it the blue night
Was it both men?
In wonder steady goin’ under
Was it the light ways
Was it a two wills
One mirror holding us dearer now”
This second verse delves into possible answers to the questions the first verse provoked. Men, as in humankind, are eternal seekers of love, knowledge and power.
From my perspective, the first two lines speak to the aspect of love. Love manifests in how we feel about ourselves, how we feel about others, and how others feel about us. Usually, night time is when people feel the most alone. That loneliness (blue night) can leave us in a fragile state and lead us to do things that we normally would not.
The rest of the verse delves into the aspects of knowledge and power. Struggle is one of the most commonly used paths to attain power. Knowledge is another. These remaining lines symbolize a struggle between two entities or maybe two very distinct sides of a person as they seek answers. This quest for understanding consumes and frightens them.
The theme of duality is blatant throughout the entire piece. I personally ascribe to W.E.B. DuBois’ thoughts on double consciousness, “two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body”. The last two lines of this verse, “was it a two wills, one mirror holding us dearer now” reminds me of that ideology and resonates deeply within me since I view the song as a self-reflection piece.
“Thought I had an answer once
But your random way swept me along
Colossal signs so I got lost
With so many lovers singing songs”
Most people have at least one experience in life where they feel like they’ve figured everything out. The third verse shows how at that very moment, or shortly thereafter, something proves to us how misguided that thought was. Realizations that we’ve only been noticing a small part of an immensely larger picture set in, and although we try to see the bigger picture for what it is, other distractions win over our attention.
The song as a whole is a cycle of questioning and discovery. Twice is definitely one of those songs that can leave you deep in your feelings and bring out your inner “emo kid”, but in the best possible way.
– Indigo B
If there are any songs you would like to see featured in “The Lyric Review”, let us know in the comments below.