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The song “Simon” by Lifehouse

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        The song “Simon” by Lifehouse argues that a bully picks on others in order to make himself feel better; the individual being picked on has no other means to protect himself other than hiding (I use the masculine because the song was written by a male and addressed toward a male friend).  Unlike songs such as Mark Wills’ “Don’t Laugh At Me”, the narrator further shows his understanding of why the bullied individual behaves the way he does and his certainty that he’ll be “alright” and, most importantly, that there is nothing wrong with him. While the title does not indicate who Simon is, we will assume, for the purpose of this essay that Simon is the person being picked on.

        Lines 1-8 describe Simon’s reaction to being bullied. “catch your breath…hit the wall…scream out loud…as you start to crawl” describes Simon’s reluctance to give in to his bullies. “back in your cage….the only place…where they will leave you alone” shows that Simon gives in and hides, rather than standing up to the bully. Simon’s life becomes consumed by trying to avoid his tormentors, as described by, “you lost yourself…in your search to find…something else to hide behind”. Rather than living his life, Simon’s life consists of trying to avoid being terrorized. Simon’s life is further summed up in the following lines: refuse to feel… anything at all…refuse to slip…refuse to fall …can’t be weak … can’t stand still… watch your back…cause no one will

    Those lines explain just how lonely Simon is at this point. He must concentrate on not doing anything to encourage the bullies while not trusting anyone to stand up for him.

      The narrator demonstrates his understanding of the situation through the chorus, where he repeats, “and I have felt the same”, though the lyrics show this to Simon in much greater detail. The narrator shows that he not only understands why bullies pick on others, but that they, too, are weak in this line: “cause the weak will seek the weaker till they’ve broken them”.  This line also expresses the bully’s goal, to break Simon completely. Simon might be wondering why he finds it so hard to deal with his bullies, and the narrator explains this. “fulfillment to their lack of strength at your expense…
    left you with no defense…they tore it down”. Now Simon knows that he simply doesn’t have the defenses to deal with this kind of torment. The narrator continues to show his understanding of the bully’s motivation through the following lines:

    cause the fearful always preyed upon your confidence

     the arrogant build kingdoms made of the different ones
    breaking them till they’ve become
    just another crown

    He describes the bully as fearful and arrogant and Simon as confident, which is something Simon probably hadn’t considered.

        Many people can relate to both of these positions, being the bully and the one being picked on. The word choice within the lyrics is what appeals to a listener’s emotions. The first few lines make it appear as if Simon is just mad, but when he’s described as crawling back into his cage in order to be left alone, this leads the listener to realize that Simon is being tormented by another person (or people, plural). A person who has been bullied can picture him or herself being picked on while trying to hide and trying to understand why the bully was so cruel. The one thing everyone in this position would want is someone who understands.  The word choice, the narrator’s insistence of calling the bully “arrogant”, “weak”, and “fearful” evoke an understanding of a bully’s motivation, whether or not an individual chooses to relate to the “bad guy”.  The use of metaphor exaggerates Simon’s plight. We don’t really believe that Simon is going to “catch your breath…hit the wall…scream out loud…as you start to crawl”, but picture him breathing in sharply, trying to avoid showing that he is scared of his bully. Simon would then hit a wall in his imagination, frustrated by the fact that once again, the bully is in control. He won’t scream out loud, but he’ll do so in his mind. Simon’s crawling is only literal, as a person who has subjugated himself to a bully might as well be on his knees. The best use of metaphor is in, “the arrogant build kingdoms made of the different ones…breaking them till they’ve become…just another crown” Bullies tend to build their reputations on those they have emotionally destroyed. Each victim no longer has a name, nor does the bully remember exactly why that particular individual was chosen. Rather, the victim is just more proof of the bully’s superiority.

        The music reinforces the argument in many ways. First, it starts softly with a sad tone. As the singer’s voice increases in strength and intensity, so does the music. In the stanza that begins with “refuse to feel…,” both the singer’s voice and the music reaches its most intense, loud and strong and assertive. Appropriately, the music and the tone of the singer’s voice revert to the soft, sad tone of the beginning for the stanza that begins with, “you don’t know why they had to go this far…”.

        One might read the lyrics and think that it could apply to a number of situations, for instance, a child being abused. The beauty of “Simon” is that it appeals to a number of situations where a person is being attacked or antagonized by a physically dominant, but not necessarily emotionally stronger person. I could just as easily be “Simon” as I was picked on throughout my childhood. I was never taught to stand up to the bullies; nor did anyone reinforce the idea that it wasn’t my fault and that what they were saying wasn’t true. It never occurred to me for a minute that the bullies were the ones who were weak and cowardly; I always assumed that it was me. The song “Simon” embodies everything I wished someone had said to me when I was younger and in his position.

        In conclusion, “Simon” is different from other songs about bullying because it is subtle in its execution. The singer does not ridicule Simon, nor does he chastise the bully. Rather, he chooses to understand why each is in the position he is in. Singer Jason Wade of Lifehouse had this to say about “Simon”:

    I wrote this about a friend of mine who told me about his childhood.  He was telling me how he went to school and was the outcast and everyone picked on him and called him names, and he didn’t have one friend.  I started feeling the same emotions he must have felt and just started writing these lyrics.

    Resources:

    Lifehouse Fans. 2006. Lifehouse Fans. 12 Nov 2006 <http://www.lifehousefans.com/>.

    “Simon” Lyrics:

    1 catch your breath
    2 hit the wall
    3 scream out loud
    4 as you start to crawl
    5 back in your cage
    6 the only place
    7 where they will
    8 leave you alone
    9 cause the weak will seek the weaker till they’ve broken them
    10 could you get it back again
    11 would it be the same
    12 fulfillment to their lack of strength at your expense
    13 left you with no defense
    14 they tore it down

    15 and I have felt the same
    16 as you I’ve felt the same
    17 as you I’ve felt the same

    18 locked inside
    19 the only place
    20 where you feel sheltered
    21 where you feel safe
    22 you lost yourself
    23 in your search to find
    24 something else to hide behind
    25 cause the fearful always preyed upon your confidence
    26 didn’t they see the consequence
    27 they pushed you around
    28 the arrogant build kingdoms made of the different ones
    29 breaking them till they’ve become
    30 just another crown

    31 and I have felt the same
    32 as you I’ve felt the same
    33 as you I’ve felt the same
    34 as you I’ve felt the same

    35 refuse to feel
    36 anything at all
    37 refuse to slip
    38 refuse to fall
    39 can’t be weak
    40 can’t stand still
    41 watch your back
    42 cause no one will

    43 you don’t know why they had to go this far
    44 traded your worth for these scars
    45 for your only company
    46 and don’t believe the lies that they have told to you
    47 not one word was true
    48 you’re alright
    49 you’re alright
    50 you’re alright

    51 and I have felt the same
    52 as you I’ve felt the same
    53 as you I’ve felt the same
    54 as you I’ve felt the same

    The song “Simon” by Lifehouse. (2016, Aug 01). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-song-simon-by-lifehouse/

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