abanana77 revisits Falling: What makes a song ‘inspirational’?

Inspirational songs. David sings them a lot. David seems to talk about them even more. But really what defines an “inspirational song”? What is it that makes one song “inspirational” and another one not? Mushy gushy lyrics? Verses full of optimistic clichés? Does it have to have a title like Lean On Me, Gotta Get Through This or Things Are Gonna Get Better for it to qualify? As soon as a negative or selfish lyric comes into a song, is it automatically thrown out of the “inspirational” box? And really who gets to decide what’s inspirational and what’s not? A song one person might find really inspiring and motivating, another just might not get at all. So who gets to make that call?

Whoever gets to decide, I think we can all agree there’s at least one song of David’s which wouldn’t be considered an “inspiration song.” Falling. Remember that bonus track from that first album which no one ever seems to talk about and David never sang (except for that one time at that ASCAP EXPO). Probably the only song of his that anyone would ever qualify as “depressing.”

I remember hearing rumours at the time that David didn’t even want it on the album because he thought it was too depressing (and that’s when the last few lines were added, to make it a little more uplifting). No idea how true that rumour turned out to be, but you can’t deny the song doesn’t really fit with the rest of the songs he’s ever written. I mean, it was written about a suicide. Not anything anyone would ever classify as “inspirational.”

… Right?

Well, I was re-listening to some older David music the other day (something to do while waiting for August 7th 🙂 ), and when I got to Falling it felt like a totally different song than I remembered it. I saw it in a completely different way than I ever had before. I hadn’t listened to it in ages and I guess a couple more years of life experience gave me a new perspective. But what I used to see as a purely depressing song, I now saw as an anthem of sorts for people struggling, fighting, and battling hard for their mental health.

David really manages to capture the person’s fight and will power in the lyrics. This is not just a song about someone being sad about the position they’ve found themselves in and complaining about the state of their life. Upon first glance it may seem that way, but look a little closer and you’ll see how it’s really about a person trying their hardest to get past it. This person is living through hell but they are fighting with everything they possibly can to get through it. They are at war with themselves and they are trying desperately to survive. Just check out the lyrics:

Feels like my life’s been passing by
With happiness just being a lie
How did I get here, where am I going?
One more day without knowing

Struggling for one more breath
As I’m drowning in a painful death
Can someone reach out for me?
In this dark and dreary sea
‘Cause it seems like no one can
Hear the voice that’s calling
Try to take the most I can stand
But I keep falling

Chorus:
I try to chase the memories away
But they haunt me everyday
I hope I get over this phase
‘Cause I’m stuck inside this haze
All I need is a simple lift
Such a sweet and precious gift
So I don’t lose it all before / What I have left is nothing more

In my isolating misery / I feel like the epitome
Of darkness and despair / Just leading onto nowhere

Will I be able to win this race? / I’m runnin’ at a slow pace
Trying hard to press on / But the motivation’s gone
‘Cause it seems like no one can / Hear the voice that’s calling
Try to take the most I can stand
/ But I keep falling

[Chorus]

It may not have to be this way / Waiting for me there could be a new day
Maybe I can revise / And escape from the lies

[Chorus]

There could be something more
To what my life may have in store
I’ll move from where I began
Keep on pressing through to the end

The person David is creating with his lyrics here is a fighter, not a quitter. Everything is going wrong for them and yet they are trying more than anything to “win that race”. They are “trying to take the most they can stand” even when their world is falling apart around them. Day by day they are fighting an internal battle, with no real end in sight. And yet they are still battling it out. How can that not be inspirational?

Inspirational doesn’t have to be happy-go-lucky. It doesn’t have to be all sunshine and rainbows. What it has to be is real. relevant. relatable. To me, the best inspirational songs will give you a feeling of “I get that. I can relate to that. I understand exactly what this person is going through… and maybe, just maybe, I can get through this too.”

— abanana77

P.S. So what do you guys think makes a song “inspirational”?

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44 Responses to abanana77 revisits Falling: What makes a song ‘inspirational’?

  1. ray says:

    abanana, i agree with you love that song and what you said is just what i thought when listening for the first time ,well said

  2. MUNK_MA says:

    I had a very personal experience with this song… I won’t go into the details here but this song is very “inspirational” to me.. Two words.. Validation and motivation… feeling validated that someone understands what you are going thru and then motivation to push forward.. that things will work out and you will be ok.. It has a special place in my heart. Thanks for the great post!

  3. Kizzi says:

    Abanana. Such a thoughtful post. You are right about the many ways one can receive inspiration. Doesn’t have to be from sunshine, hearts, rainbows and flowers. Sometimes the package it comes in is astonishing. David’s “Falling” has that message through a description of struggle. I think any song or life experience for that matter that carries a “message” that I need at that moment is inspiring. When I was early in my professional career full of dreams and vigor, it was working with end stage terminally ill, listening to their thoughts and knowing their families that inspired me. It was their valiant stuggle and the sharing of such that was exquisitely inspirational.

    • Kizzi says:

      And just wanted to finish by saying music therapy is so under rated. Music reaches deep into one and we used music a lot when I was in that phase of my career to provide solace.

      Thanks abanana for triggering those memories. 😀

  4. TOfan says:

    awesome post, abanana! And thanks for getting me to listen to Falling again, esp. the one at the ASCAP event where he sang a bit live, love the host’s reaction …”breathtaking” … and this comment on the youTube: “I didn’t know about the background of this song, either. I’m so stunned. Falling has always been, for me, one of the most special songs by David. It helps me when I feel my absolute worst. The way he sang it just now, transcends every terrible feeling, and induces some kind of glimmer that someone understands.
    It’s a beautiful creation.”

    & tbh, I didn’t actually realize some of the songs D. picked for BEGIN. were “message” or “inspirational” songs, I just liked the originals because they were such great songs… maybe I was feeling the meaning subliminally… maybe that’s what all great songs do. 🙂

  5. dangitdavid says:

    What a wonderful post!! I have to admit that I have not listened to this song after hearing it the first time and skip over it every time. I do find it very depressing and had heard that David wrote this song when he was 14 when a cousin committed suicide (not sure if this is actually true or a rumor) . As I had a close cousin who committed suicide as well, this song hit close to my heart and I was not interested in ever hearing it again! Because of your post, I will listen to the song on my way home from work tonight and will keep all of your words in mind when listening to it…..you have shed new light on a song that I did not give a chance 🙂

  6. annmargaret318 says:

    When I read of the circumstances Falling was written about, I was astounded that a fourteen year old boy had the capacity to delve into such a dark painful place. David is exceptional in so many ways. Although I am much older than David, I’m thankful to be here on this earth while David is here.

    • abanana77 says:

      “I’m thankful to be on this earth while David is here.” >>> have never thought about it like that before but that’s so true!

  7. Silverfox says:

    abanana77,

    This song was my “Anthem” for a long time after the first time I heard it. What came across as “depressing” to some, actually the majority of David’s fans was comforting and inspirational to me and my heavy heart after losing my son at 16 years old to suicide. I don’t know or understand how David at 14 years old, was able to put himself in the shoes of those who find themselves in dark places so deep they feel there is no way out. All I know is that “Falling” made me feel as if David knows and empathizes with those struggling to climb out from the abyss of despair & wants them to know there is something more to what life has in store. Amazing song and I’m so happy to see it highlighted here because the lyrics are beautifully honest and powerful. I made this video shortly after I heard Falling which is my interpretation. It’s about being hopeless and in despair so the photos I chose depict the lyrics until the end when there is HOPE…

    • Kizzi says:

      {{{{{{SF}}}}} I remember your review of “Falling.” So beautiful.

    • abanana77 says:

      (((((SF))))) Thanks for sharing that>> Truly a beautiful video I think you really captured the emotion behind the song <33333

      And yes, I also have no idea how David was able to write that song at only 14 years. Most adults find it difficult to put themselves into those shoes, really have no idea how David managed to do it so young. And I think he really did an amazing job of understanding what that must be like. <333

    • TOfan says:

      {{{{{{{{{SF}}}}}}}} how is it that I’ve never seen your beautiful video??? I do remember that you were able to tell David in person that you felt the hope in “Falling” … so glad you got the chance to do that! <3333

    • refnaf says:

      SF, thanks for sharing your vid again……(((hugs)))

    • Thanks for sharing again SF! I thought of you first when I saw this article and remembered vividly how helpful this song was to you and others suffering loss.
      The song ends with a hopeful message to those struggling.
      Bless your heart and those that have lost someone through suicide. Telling their story and offering hope to others is so inspirational.
      David is so gifted in not only his talent but his understanding of human suffering. Bless his heart.

    • tawna21 says:

      Beautiful, Silverfox ♥

  8. emmegirl14 says:

    abanana, such a thoughtful, insightful post. Love every word.
    Thank you so, so much for sharing this. ♥

    SF, so very sorry for your loss.
    ” the lyrics are beautifully honest and powerful.”…..they revealed a compelling depth of understanding and comprehension, despite his age. One of our first glimpses of how special he is.

    kizzi, loooved your last article. “The covers are raw emotion on the grill, flaming up with bursts of beauty, rare, tender giving, open, vulnerable, and so melodiously real for all to view and consume.”…could you pleeease write a review on itunes, amazon and the like. It can’t be better stated. ♥

    I was going cold turkey till Aug 7, then the longer snippets reared their beautiful heads. I folded like a lawn chair. No regrets.

  9. annmargaret says:

    Silverfox~I am so sorry about your beautiful son. Please accept my condolences. Your video is very beautiful. We met very briefly at a restaurant in Gilbert, AZ. I look forward to seeing you again at David’s homecoming concert.
    Best regards, Mimi

  10. peppertara says:

    abanana, really love your very well written and wonderful post, thanks for sharing this. Have always been very touched by David’s song ‘Falling”.
    Such a sensitive song written by a very sensitive and very young David. I guess I never really found it depressing although deeply moving…. but rather a beautiful, compassionate song coming from David’s own compassionate heart. Your words about hope and inspiration in the song I think are very true.
    I think we can find inspiration in songs that reflect our own personal experiences and feelings….or the experiences of others we have observed and taken to heart. Loved everything you wrote.
    Silverfox, I’m very sorry for your loss too. I can see how David’s song could be comforting and inspirational. Your video is very heartfelt. ❤
    I agree with Kizzi, music therapy can be very beneficial. I think music (the right kind) can be a
    very powerful healing force. We know one young man who has that special gift.
    Lovely post here all around. ❤ ❤ ❤

  11. SandyBeaches says:

    Abanana…I read your writing when it was first published and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was trying to think of how to comment and even though the song is emotional in a sad way, I find it all very refreshing and inspirational.

    ‘Falling’ is beautiful and shows us once again how phenomenal David is and was at such a young age.

    SF, I had not seen your lovely video before, so thank you for bringing it to us at this time!

    I almost left without mentioning how good it is to be able to look at the lyrics written out. I have read them a few times and they keep telling more of a story each time. You also added my all time favorite picture….

    SB

  12. SandyBeaches says:

    annamargaret…I love the mere mention of a ‘homecoming concert’…

    SB

  13. refnaf says:

    “Upon first glance it may seem that way, but look a little closer and you’ll see how it’s really about a person trying their hardest to get past it. This person is living through hell but they are fighting with everything they possibly can to get through it. They are at war with themselves and they are trying desperately to survive.”
    Bingo Abanana!!, I love your take on this….. Songs that deal with the difficulties of life, and yet give hope always help me. My brother took his own life as well, and it is incredible how well David expresses the what it must feel like to be in that dark place……….
    BEGIN.

    • TOfan says:

      {{{{{{{{Ref}}}}}}}} “Songs that deal with the difficulties of life, and yet give hope always help me” … so true! I remember David saying in an interview that he was able to help a friend through a tough time and that’s when he realized why maybe he’d had to go through the same thing. So that he’d be able to relate to what his friend was going through and offer support from someone who’d been through it. Reminded me of something I read today: “Often it is the very people who have experienced the most suffering—physical and emotional—who are the most abundant providers of encouragement to others.”

      Also wanted to say that if I hear a song that feels real & true (even if I’m not experiencing the same situation), that is inspirational to me, because it helps me put myself in their shoes and carry that empathy with me, and remind me we’re all struggling with something.

      • abanana77 says:

        “I remember David saying in an interview that he was able to help a friend through a tough time and that’s when he realized why maybe he’d had to go through the same thing. So that he’d be able to relate to what his friend was going through and offer support from someone who’d been through it.” >>> I remember that too and that has always stuck with me. What a great way to think about hardships in your life. I try (don’t always succeed haha) to adopt that attitude whenever I can because it’s such a wonderful way to look at life >

        Also love that quote! “Often it is the very people who have experienced the most suffering—physical and emotional—who are the most abundant providers of encouragement to others.”

    • abanana77 says:

      (((((hugs))))) Ref! It really is incredible how well David expressed how it must feel like. I think he managed to capture those thoughts and emotions so well, I honestly don’t know how he did it.

  14. tawna21 says:

    abanana77….’What makes a song inspirational’?…. exactly what you’ve said in this wonderful post. Thank you for your words, and the lyrics to the song. Although I’ve not really listened to it a lot, I’ve found new meaning with your post. 🙂

  15. TOfan says:

    Off-topic 🙂

  16. Silverfox says:

    Going back to the topic, another song I found very inspirational and helpful to me at different times these last four years is “Somebody Out There” which David co-wrote. It was the bonus track ONLY on the WalMart purchased album. Many fans were hearing it for the first time in in his solo concert. IMO, it was one of the best tracks on the album. The emotion he put into the song was a beautiful sight to see. Here’s David in the solo tour finale in Utah…Sublime vocals aimed to mend a broken & hurting heart…

  17. Silverfox says:

    BTW, my sister & I shared a 9th row seat with TOfan & refnaf at David’s Solo Tour Finale in Utah. Being the loyal Canadians they are, they lifted the Canadian Flag during the concert! 😆

    So many wonderful memories these last four years! Even with all the ups & downs, along with the frustrations of wanting more for David and not getting why everyone did not “get” him, I wouldn’t trade the last four years for anything. Looking forward to what David has in store, whatever that may be, when he returns!

    • TOfan says:

      SF, when we all did the wave there before David came on is one of my fave concert memories ever!!! 🙂 … and totally agree about SOT. Back then I didn’t have an iPod 😯 and my hubby had to download from iTunes for me at work (wasn’t it the pre-order bonus track or something?). When he came home he said, all excited, “Have you heard this one???” and played it first, and still loves it btw, as do I.

  18. happpydance says:

    Great article! I’ve always considered Falling to be a song about fighting your depression and not giving up. The song shows off David’s voice beautifully! I agree that it’s an inspirational song. I’m so sorry to hear about the losses some of you have had in your families. I guess David can relate, and as usual does so with song.

    I’d like to know what meaning David gets from Somewhere Only We Know. To me that song sounds depressing at first listen. What do the branches of the tree represent to him? Who or what is the simple thing? Who does he talk to and where does he go for the place “only we know”? And what is the “everything” that could end? I looked up the song online and from what I’ve read most people think this song is about a couple breaking up. There are many interpretations, and even Keane doesn’t say and leaves it up to the listener to deciide. In David’s case, I’m trying to see it in a spiritual way. I’d love to know his interpretation of the lyrics. Maybe I’m just over thinking it.

    Thank you for the article. I enjoyed it very much.

    • TOfan says:

      welcome, happpydance! You bring up an interesting point! I had a discussion with another fan recently about the way David describes some of his songs… whereas they felt David could explain in more detail about what his songs are about, I’m with Keane … although I’m curious as to the inspiration for songs (or books or poems, etc.), I prefer that the artist leave some mystery there, so we can all find our own special meaning. Also gives us something to blog about! 😆 😆 😆

      Can’t wait to hear SOWK btw! 🙂

      • happpydance says:

        Thanks TOfan. It’s funny how I’m okay with Keane and other artists leaving some mystery, but in David’s case I really want to know what HE is singing about. idk why… maybe because I’m interested in David, so much more than other artist. ummmm ODD :\

      • emmegirl14 says:

        I sometime find myself wondering that too happydance, but like tofan, I like the mystery. It means what it means to you. Interesting reading youtube comments how many different meanings people interpret from one song.

        For me, with this album, David is singing about the beauty, the value and worth we each have as an individual – we individually all experience loneliness, pain and sorrow, despair – but that we are not alone, we are a part of something more – be it spiritually or simple humanity – don’t give up, believe in yourself, keep going.

  19. abanana77 says:

    TOfan – love the “just cuz”! <33333333 Sooo much! lol

  20. betsy says:

    abanana, sorry it took so long to comment. I loved your article. I remember the night you were listening to Falling; all you had to do was mention it and I I fell into the Falling vortex. I cannot listen to it ever and not cry. It’s just beautiful. I’m glad you decided to write about it. ♥

  21. TOfan says:

    Just fyi 🙂

  22. TOfan says:

    New post/thread!

    🙂

  23. djafan says:

    abanana,

    Loved your thoughts on Falling and inspirational songs. TY

    “Inspirational doesn’t have to be happy-go-lucky. It doesn’t have to be all sunshine and rainbows. What it has to be is real. relevant. relatable. To me, the best inspirational songs will give you a feeling of “I get that. I can relate to that. I understand exactly what this person is going through… and maybe, just maybe, I can get through this too.”

    I felt connected with Falling from the first listen and when I learned the back story made me so sad that David at 14 was writing these lyrics, thinking these thoughts. The more I listened the louder hope yelled at me. I have the Ascap interview on my ipod and watch often. The only live version we have and I treasure it. I

  24. pabuckie says:

    I just found that post now. Loved what you wrote. That’s exactly how I feel about this song too! The person is fighting not to be depressed and is looking for someone to reach out to them. Thank you for this.

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