Don’t Let Me Die Young
I really like when songwriters let song develop musically before starting in with the lyrics. Many of Taylor’s songs do this, including this one. The guitar establishes a clear musical theme during the nearly minute intro. The lyrics in this song are a bit better than “I Might Lie” despite their somewhat vague nature. I can picture the speaker driving, contemplating his own existence, “Fields of fire burn in my sleep / I hear screaming and thunder and cries / Devils crown under my feet / Scream so loud / Under here lies a different face / In a hungry lonely soul / I guess it ain’t easy / When you don’t know which way to go.” He has his full existential view on display here. Like all of us, he is aging and seems to be on that cusp of entering older adulthood when we are all forced to formally and completely leave our youth behind. It is at this time that we being to question what we are doing and where we are going. We can’t keep wandering around; we need to establish a life – but where? doing what? I think he wants to keep exploring and see all that there is to see and experience as much as possible. To do so this he needs time, therefore the desire to live a bit dangerously for as long as needed until he discovers all that life has to offer. This song reminds me of what Mr. Keating (Robin Williams) is teaching his students in the film Dead Poet’s Society. Keating is using Robert Herrick’s poem “To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time” and Thoreau’s Walden urging the boys to live their lives to the fullest while there is still time – carpe diem. To make this song just that much better, it has a great solo.
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