So this week all I could think about was how well written Porcupine Tree's songs are (and my dear Blackhawks, god help us get that cup!) and I felt I needed to analyze at least one of them here, so we're going with the easy one: Arriving Somewhere But Not Here
The song starts with dreamy noises that go back and forth and what to me sounds like a clock, there's a whole reason to the "dreaminess" of this song, as we shall discuss.
The main riff comes in to bring the first verse, this riff is a sweet but repetitive sound, like a comfortable struggle.
Never stop the car on a drive in the dark
Never look for the truth in your mother's eyes
Never trust the sound of rain upon a river
Rushing through your ears
As the riff repeats we get our first bits of information, this verse being about trust, fear and really it makes me think of rain. So here's what we know so far, something may be wrong and this guy has to watch out for something.
Arriving somewhere but not here
Now we have our first clue that this may be about death.
The, again, sweet sound of the "aaaAAAAaaaAAAA" really feels like something you would sing to represent heaven, and the words are continuous as if to fade "arriviiiiiing somewheeeeeere but not heeeeeeeere".
Did you imagine the final sound as a gun?
Or the smashing windscreen of a car?
Did you ever imagine the last thing you'd hear as you're fading out was a song?
So we get into how this person died and what we usually think of death. Maybe it's all of what he says or just the song part, the video has cars on the background so I imagine this person dies in a car crash but with the radio playing in the background. I like how it ends with "as you're fading out was a song" and then goes into the chorus with the nice "aaAAAAaaaAAA", this guy is dead and we don't know where he's going, that's basically it.
Chorus part II
All my designs, simplified
And all of my plans, compromised
All of my dreams, sacrificed
The repeating riff stops, he's realizing something.
So this is all he's lost in the crash, as he ascends to "somewhere" he sees everything staying behind and fading into time. This jumps to a more chaotic solo, with the same riff still repeating in the back but with small changes, feels like he is going somewhere but not without suffering through it, as if the ascension itself was a chaotic passage and he was stumbling on something in the way. The same chaos appears again later, this song shows both sides of death, the sweetness of heaven and the peace in the end where everything stops but you keep moving outside yourself but also how hard it is to actually get there and how confused this person is.
Ever had the feeling you've been here before?
Drinking down the poison the way you were taught
Every thought from here on in your life begins
And all you knew was wrong?
So we've experienced a sort of death in life, of course not the same, but more like he felt dead before and this is just a bit more of the same. Of course before you actually die you have no idea what comes after and it is possible you may get a greater view of life seeing it from outside, that's why all we know is wrong.
It goes back into the chorus just like before and another solo comes in. This one with a harsher rhythm guitar and more violent than the first one, like he's fighting his way through but also feels fast like a car. It all feels like he's flying upwards. The repeating riff comes back and it's like he's finally reaching it - the guitars stop. Comes back with a mellow-y and much more peaceful sound but we go back for another verse
Did you see the red mist block your path?
Did the scissors cut a way to your heart?
Did you feel the envy for the sons of mothers tearing you apart?
I suppose this is either about the violent second solo or what was happening on earth during the ascension. I can imagine a surgery in this.
The song ends calmly with the same repeated riff. There are many other interpretations if you go to lyricsmeaning but i believe should feel the instrumental more than the lyrics to really feel out what this song is about, or any PT song, this is what I wanted to show here, how they worked on the music and the idea in every part of the song, this is how any song should be made not just thrown out riffs that sound good together but truly an idea being expressed or a story being told.
this band gets a
Worthy of the Commando Award and a box of Green Beret Cereal
And I just had to make this: