Music and Lyrics: Week 3

October 1, 2012

Last week I went to see Florence and the Machine in concert.  Florence is amazing.  Truly incredible.  And her music is haunting, atmospheric, electrifying and when you listen to it outdoors, the music literally surrounds you, it’s that big.

One of the songs that stands out to me is somewhat less gothic and elemental than many of her others, but it’s potent lyrically.  The song is called “Shake it Out.”

The stand out lyric:

“It’s hard to dance with the devil on your back so shake him off.”

The whole song is in the vein, with lyrics like “it’s always darkest before the dawn” and “I’m always dragging that horse around…tonight I’m gonna bury that horse in the ground.”

We all have devils.  Demons.  Darkness.  Everyone does.  We accumulate them as we move through life.  It’s a part of the experience.  Florence is pretty clear in the song.  It’s *hard* to dance with the devil on your back, but not impossible.

But because dancing more freely is ideal, we have to learn how to dismantle the demons that we carry around and remove them from our backs piece by piece.

How do we do this?

First we have to recognize that the demons are us.  We took them on.  They are as much a part of who we are as the flashier, sparkly, light-filled aspects of ourselves.  By acknowledging the demons we actually get to know ourselves more fully.  More realistically, too.

Second step–we have to stare those handsome devils down and say, “I ain’t afraid of no ghost.”  Or demon.  You get the idea.

We tend to like to pack our demons away.  Storing them in the basement or the attic along with the weird serving dish Aunt Frances gave you when you got married.  Or better yet, we hide them in our bodies, which becomes a bullseye for all future injuries.

So rather than ignore them or hide them, we confront them.  Which doesn’t banish them forever.  But it does something even better.  Confronting your darkness, staring down the devils–it gives you power.  Going toe to toe with your demons make you stronger and the demon, weaker.

Eventually that particular devil will diminish so much that it becomes a part of your history not part of your present.  And while there will be another devil waiting in the wings to take it’s place, you’ll still be able to kick up your heels and take a spin on the dance floor.

Listen to this song and dance your heart out!

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