Winter of Our Youth

Narrative analysis tells of a specific story. In his essay, Walter Fisher explains that narratives aren’t just stories or about stories, but the way stories are told. Fisher in this essay, is pushing for the reader to accept that narration is a relevant paradigm, as opposed to being a mode of discourse. He introduces the concept of rationality, and how humans tend to be rational beings. In the essay, Fisher wants the public to view narrative similar to those who are experts. Within the public, there are segments of people who are rational and can participate in discourse and those who cannot.

Fisher tells of “narrative fidelity” which is a theme describing a compelling story because of how relatable or realistic it is. He explains, “We learn these truths by dwelling in the characters in the story, by observing the outcomes of the several conflicts that arise throughout it, by seeing the unity of characters and their actions, and by comparing the truths to the truths we know to be true from our own lives. In other words, the story exhibits narrative probability and fidelity across time and culture.” A narrative also includes components such as characters, conflicts, plot, theme, and scene.

In the song, “Winter of Our Youth” Bastille illustrates the fear of growing up. This storytelling functions as Narrative Fidelity due to the fact that this fear is common. No one wants to “grow up” and face responsibilities.


It’s 4am here comes the fear

I’m not prepared yet

And when we pick over the past we

Glorify it

I found this song to be compelling because Dan Smith accurately captures what it feels like as we grow older. Many relate to feelings of anxiousness as well as feeling the need to grasp onto anything nostalgic.

The setting of the song takes place in the intermezzo taken from the film Act Your Age:

So the question is, why doesn’t he grow up

Why does he still behave as a child

How can we help him get rid of these leftovers from childish behavior?

Dan Smith is his own character in this story. He regrets how he spent his “younger” years and feels as though he has let the people around him down. His inner-conflict is that he has constantly dwelled on the past and he let himself go “too far.” I think he feels that he never allowed himself to live in the present. He continuously lets himself become consumed with comparing the past and now – the past always seems to outshine what is currently happening and he cannot figure out why.

I let myself bathe in the past for way, way, way too long

And now it seems I’ve drunk too much to give you what you want

His mentioning of “pedaling backwards” gives me the illusion of Dan being in a dream. I have had those weird dreams where I am trying to run somewhere and I can’t move no matter how hard I try. I picture the scene sort of like that. He is pedaling as hard as he can but can’t get anywhere. Bastille, yet again, creates a story that allows to reader to easily follow along because it is realistic and authentic.



Fisher, Walter R. ” Narration as a Human Communication Paradigm: The Case of Public Moral Argument”. Communication Monographs, 51. (1984) : 290-312.




Metaphorical analysis creates an image in the audience’s mind. We typically understand a metaphor as one thing that represents another. In the text, Osborn mentions about the five functions, the process of how rhetoric, including metaphor, has influence on the audience. Within the five functions, the rhetoric would manipulate people’s mind, unify, stimulate them to participate in the activity, and make its specific parts universally well known. These functions would be related with each other and make a circle throughout the history. There are two pieces to a metaphor; the first is is called tenor, which essentially is the concept and how we (the audience) understand it. The other piece is the vehicle, this takes something that is difficult to understand and makes it concrete.

For instance, in the song “Snakes,” Bastille utilizes the animal to symbolize anxieties. In this track the snakes are a metaphor representing the concerns that torment Dan Smith (the lead singer). Because snakes are typically something to be feared (similar to anxieties) we can assume that the “snakes” act also as a simile. A simile compares two items that are already similar, which makes it easier to connect with the text. I mean, no one wants to be chased by snakes!

Snakes are biting in my heels

The worries that refuse to let us go

I’ve been kicking them away

And hoping not to let them take control

Dan Smith explains the “worries” that are consistently chasing him and not wanting them to take over his life. The song begins with him repetitively saying, “Ooh, I’m not ready.” He is not ready for his mind to be tainted with negative thoughts. The first time I listened to this, I made an instant connection to one having a panic attack. Having experienced panic attacks in the past, I know that I felt a wave of anxiety that washes all over you until you are flooded with it. The time it takes consuming you, you are filled with dread and you truly are not ready. 

In the intermezzo, a man’s voice says, “Come on, boys. Let’s go tear this place apart!” I understood this to be the “snakes” speaking, ready to take control of Dan’s mind. They are just about to infiltrate his mind with anxiety.

Yes, it’s easier to bury

My head in the sand sometimes

And I know, I know, I know

It’s not the right way to go

But I pray for the ground to swallow me whole

It is a struggle to deal with problems head-on and much easier to avoid and refuse to deal with them altogether. Dan is absorbed in his insecurity that he will not be ready to face his problems as they arise. Note how he explains that the “days feel dark” and he fears turning on the television due to things that add to his worries. (I am sure we can all relate to that at the moment.)

Ooh, I’m not ready

Drink to escape their bites

Show me distraction

Even for just one night

Bastille tells of constantly trying to avoid these fears and anxieties that chase and bother them daily. Dan tries other attempts to take his mind off of what is bothering him the most. He turns to various “distractions” like alcohol, partying, or even burying himself in people. He continues by admitting that these tactics for evading his problems won’t fix them but he still hopes to disappear. Bastille understand that these snakes will always chase them for as long as they are alive. They discuss understanding that things would be easier if they didn’t care at all.

However, is that really a life worth living?


Osborn, Michael. “The Trajectory of My Work with Metaphor” (2009): 79-87. Southern Communication Journal Vol. 74

Smith, Dan. Bastille. “Wild World”. Produced by Dan Smith & Mark Crew. Retrieved 2016-09-15. Virgin Records Ltd 2016.


Good Grief

Close Textual analysis describes the subject in depth – it asks how the subject in question functions as well as what makes it work. The song that I will closely analyze is “Good Grief.” The lyrics overall discuss loss and the emotions and hardships that come with it. Here we will look at the lyrics as well as the various videos that are associated with the song.

Watching through my fingers

The singer cannot believe that that he is in this situation. He can’t look and doesn’t want to because he is afraid; the lyrics that come after mentions him closing his eyes and counting. Could this be because he wants to ignore what can come next? He hopes that whatever it is will pass. He doesn’t want to listen to anyone as it “goes in one ear out the other.”

In my thoughts you’re far away

And you are whistling a melody

Whistling a melody

Crystallizing clear as day

Oh I can picture you so easily

These lyrics begin to give the listener song context on what is going through the mind of the songwriter. He has lost someone and imagines them there next to him. He is reliving a memory.

Bastille asks the question:

What’s gonna be left of the world if you’re not in it?

He feels his life coming apart and wonders what he will do. They person that he lost was a big part of his life. What will there be left? He questions life without, perhaps, a significant other or family member.

Every minute and every hour

I miss you, I miss you, I miss you more

Every stumble and each misfire

I miss you, I miss you, I miss you more

To me this tells the listener of the longing for that someone that the songwriter misses. In every minute and every hour. The beginning process of mourning a relationship or person is difficult. In the rough time that he goes through that is when he seems to miss them the most. Maybe that someone was someone that he could rely on and they could console him.

Caught off guard by your favourite song

Oh I’ll be dancing at a funeral

Dancing at a funeral

Sleeping in the clothes you love

It’s such a shame we had to see them burn

In instances where he is reminded of what he lost he is “dancing” which I believe is not necessarily happy but is forced to pretend and do whatever it takes to get through this. He clearly still cannot get over this loss because he won’t let go of the memories even though the physical reminders are gone.


If you want to be a party animal, you have to learn to live in the jungle

Now stop worrying and go get dressed

The voice essentially “puts him in his place.” He needs to get himself sorted out and keep moving, especially if he truly wants to ever be happy again. It is important for him to “lean to live in the jungle” if he “wants to be a party animal.”

You might have to excuse me

I’ve lost control of all my senses

And you might have to excuse me

I’ve lost control of all my words

So get drunk, call me a fool

Put me in my place, put me in my place

Pick me up, up off the floor

Put me in my place, put me in my place

The bridge is an apology for resorting to drinking and other outlets in order to get over the loss. He needs someone to help him get out of his emotional downward spiral. He feels as though he needs to be lashed out at in order for him to have some sort of revelation (“get drunk, call me a fool”). He begs for someone to “put him in his place.” His “place” might represent being the person that he once was before dealing with the break-up or loss of a loved one. In a live version of “Good Grief,” during the bridge, the lead singer pretends to be drunk and stumbles around. Dan is the embodiment of what the bridge represents. This symbolizes his desperateness for closure and progress.

The music video works as an accompaniment to the song. It is bizarre (as it is mean to be), and is similar to a dream-like sequence. The band wanted something surreal and wanted to take visual tropes to create a “mad rubik cube.” The video contains interesting and provocative scenes like: a house on fire, a naked woman, a bank robbery, a game show, people being chased for an unknown reason, and the lead singer’s decapitated head. Throughout the video the scenes begin to intertwine and overlap. In the end it all somehow ends up work out okay even though there is chaos. Representing emotional distress, the video captures the chaos that one can feel when dealing with something heavy.

Bastille wanted to create a song that was happy/ sad/ yet euphoric. This song is uplifting even though the lyrics are sad. They mention that progress can be messy like in any emotional situation, similar to feeling oddly happy in a sad situation or sad in a happy situation. When asked about this song in particular, the band said that they wanted a song that could capture the “weird, complicated mess” that comes with loss.



The Currents

According to Edwin Black, the second persona refers to the implied audience. In the text that is being discussed you don’t have know the actual audience because the text will tell you. Essentially, the second persona exists to ask the question: who is there to judge the work? In order to pinpoint exactly how the second persona is working with a certain subject, is it imperative to know: who the audience is, are they aware that they are being directed, and what is it doing to the audience.

In this instance, the song “The Currents” is an excellent example when discussing the second persona. The song focuses on the impact of “bigoted opinions” held by people who are in a position of power. It is meant to reach out to those who are exposed to hurtful remarks made by those around them. In an interview with a magazine, Bastille discusses the song being about overhearing people express opinions that are unfathomable and difficult to comprehend. The band continues and say that the song is not there to offer a solution, but exists as a reminder to find comfort and separate yourself from the situation. Like how the song goes:

I’m swimming to the surface

I’m coming up for air

Cause you’re making me feel nervous

I need to clear my head

I can’t believe my ears

I don’t wanna believe my ears

I’m swimming to the surface

I’m coming up for air

I would like to believe that the song not only adds to the discussion, but also encourages it. In the intermezzo, a line from the 1948 cartoon short “Make Mine Freedom” mentions someone trying to take away our freedom and individuality.

“When anybody preaches disunity, tries to pit one of us against the other … you know that person seeks to rob us of our freedom and destroy our very lives.”

This serves as a push to listen to what other people are saying – this could be positive ideas or negative remarks. Today there is an enormous amount of people who feel they are being discriminated against because of their skin color, sexual orientation, religious practice, and nationality (just to name a few). This came about because someone in power can’t comprehend the power of words. When hate is spewed it leaves the waters dangerous for the rest of us.

How can you think you’re serious?

Do you even know what year it is?

I can’t believe the scary points you make

Still living in the currents you create

Still sinking in the pool of your mistakes

Overall, “The Currents” gives the audience a pen and paper to allow them to create their own currents, and serves a reminder that we are all swimming in the same ocean.



Black, Edwin. “The Second Persona.” The Quarterly journal of speech 56.2 (1970):109. Web.