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.




7 thoughts on “Good Grief

  1. This is an interesting song. I have never heard it before so when I first heard it and read the lyrics, it was a trip. As you mentioned, the lyrics has this sad vibe to it yet the melody of the song has an upbeat tune to it. I should have thought of that as soon as I read the title of the song, “Good Grief”. I like how you tied in the “So get drunk, call me a fool” verse to the first video of where the singer pretends to be drunk and how in that action alone he is asking for help.

    One thing I noticed about the second video (around 2:52 to 2:55), is how you have 3 different people on an elevator. You have the blonde guy with the red jacket, Molly (game show woman), and the singer himself (cool looking hair guy). All 3 of them are doing something different.

    First I’d want to say that the elevator to me is a symbol of healing in time. The blonde guy running is a symbol of his inner self running from the pain in hope that he will heal faster. When one goes through a devastating loss whether it be the death of a loved one or a break up, there is only one clear remedy to such pain and that is time. Which would be the elevator. It does not matter how far you run or try hard to fix this, only time will heal those wounds and it can take awhile such as an elevator can going from the bottom up. Molly to me is a representation of hysteria. Like you said, part of that emotional mess where one can feel oddly happy in a sad situation or sad in a happy situation. Dan makes me think of someone who has finally accepted the situation. He is anxious to heal but he is being patient about the situation (not running like the blonde guy) and trying to keep calm and not lose his mind (Molly).

    In general, this video has a lot going on so this was a good pick for “Close Text”. Great analysis of the song Liz!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Liz you did a fantastic job analyzing this song. I’m really impressed with the detail that you took into consideration as you attacked this piece.
    I’m a fan of this song, it’s so catchy and easy to sing along to but I had never seen the music video. My reaction was: “Uhm…. what.” The music video is so not what I had in my mind when previously singing along to the song. I love the quote you included that Bastille used to explain the song as “weird, complicated mess” (that comes with loss.)

    The only criticism I have for you is to cite everything you use. I know it’s the most annoying thing ever but alas we are slaves to the rules! For instance just sighting the album, or music videos used.
    You Rock!
    – Bree

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello Liz! I am switching up the blogs I am following and so I will be following yours as well now. I think this is a great job of close textual analysis. I like how you formatted the post and broke up the song, kind of like the website we looked at in class.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well the only issues I have seen have already been addressed, so on a better note great job! This was a great example for close text analysis and gave me some insight I never even thought of when listening to this song before, keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I always wondered why this song felt weird to me but now i understand thanks to you. The uplifting beat and tempo combined with the sad lyrics is something thats not really done often but in this case is used almost perfectly. I know that if i watched the music video without reading your post i would be extremely confused about what was going on but thanks to you i can fully understand the meaning.

    Liked by 1 person

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