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  • Writer's pictureRDO

LifeInLyrics - Beyond the Pale

For me, this is one of the most haunting songs on the Kaden Hollow album. Like many songs that I write, it's about more than it is "about". I guess I feel like that is true of all media, but that's a different discussion. I recently went on tour to play the Kaden Hollow album for people, and one night I found myself talking a bit about this song to the audience and explaining to a certain degree what it is "about". I stated that it is a song about a man trying to protect his home and his livelihood from things outside his realm of control. He is thinking about his past and past generations and trying to navigate the complex human condition as we often do, finding some middle ground between what we have learned and come to understand, and where we are going with what we have to work with.

Then I completely stopped myself and said, "No, wait, this is about a man living in constant fear". And it is. It is about a man suspecting that everything outside the walls of his house is trying to get him, to harm him and his family, and he has nothing to base that fear on but the frailty of his own innate desire to keep it all together. The "young men who rattle their swords" are the warriors and soldiers that go off to battle and never return. The "armoire that stands in the hall" is where he keeps his weapons locked up, constantly ready to fight everything, certain he has to get "it" before "it" gets him, never realizing that this behavior is what creates the "it" he fears. "Straw flowers" are rigid, almost paper-like flowers that keep their color when you dry them.

The chorus of this song is focused on his desperate love for his wife and how he is embarrassed by his own vulnerability. As we have all been trained in western culture: men aren't supposed to be vulnerable, they're not supposed to cry and be afraid...ever. For the record, I think this is bull!*?# and a major part of what is wrong with the world, but again, that's a different discussion. The reference to tearing robes is from the Old Testament when people would sometimes tear their robes to express extreme grief or emotion.

Overall, for me, this song is swirling with ghosts. It is creeping with voices and dusty, musty smells. The spacious, haunting guitar swells at the beginning and between the verses (played by my friend and band mate, Cameron Agan), and the airy female vocals in the chorus (sung by my good friend Lindsey) are symbolic of this crossover between the physical world and the world of the afterlife. Enjoy.

Beyond the Pale

Gone are the young men who rattle their swords; they think we'll remember their names.

Have no fear darling, just hold on to me when our bones are all wrapped up in flames.

If I cry, and if I wail, if I call out in anguish and nobody is there,

Think me not beyond the pale, my only love.

Where is the key to the lock on the door of the armoire that stands in the hall?

I've seen all their faces aglow in the dark; I swear I'll lay waste to them all.

If I cry, and if I wail, if I call out in anguish and nobody is there,

Think me not beyond the pale, my only love.

Lay your head down where the straw flowers grow. Their hues will remain in the end.

All we receive when the cold gales blow is born of the rows that we tend.

If I cry, and if I wail, if I call out in anguish and nobody is there,

Think me not beyond the pale. Think me not in contention; I have no robe to tear.

And if I try, and if I fail, if I reach through the darkness to find you lying there,

Think me not beyond the pale, my only love.

music/lyrics by Ryan David Orr

Everybody Everywhere Music, ASCAP

All Rights Reserved

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