Upset With Me appreciation post



There is SO much emotion and power and general amazingness to talk about with this song, that it took two of us. 🙂 Me and the lovely and amazing Ms. Janey.

I’ll go first:

Like many of you, I was blown away when I first heard Upset With Me.

It was just so raw, so real, like a spike to the heart.

It felt like David ripped open his soul and let us climb inside for 4 minutes, 53 seconds.

And the fact that it was the one song on the album he wrote completely solo made it the most personal.

After listening a while, one thing that really struck me about it was its point of view.

Even though the lyrics say things like, “You scream so loud, so I hide from you,” the title of the song is “Upset With Me” … not “Upset With You.”

The person who’s afraid and being screamed at has every right to declare, “I am upset with you,” but no … it’s framed the other way around. “I’m sorry if I’ve done anything
That makes you feel that I hurt you.”

To me, this beautifully reflects how complicated core relationships can be. How those you love can often hurt you the most. How difficult and painful it can be to assert yourself and set boundaries while trying to heal a fractured relationship.

I totally related to this song, for my own personal reasons, and was so moved by the way David was able to express his own feelings of hurt and betrayal while acknowledging, “I still love you.” Not easy. Not by a long shot.

I’ve heard lots of speculation about what the bridge could be about:

Painted eyes reaching for the sky
As we reach the moon
Busting clouds
Oh, you scream so loud
So I hide from you

And the first time I heard it, I immediately felt it was like a dream sequence in a book or a movie, with flashing images that don’t always make logical sense … like one of those recurring nightmares you have as a child… my own always featured bears or wolves trying to break through our doors and windows to get into the house and have us all for lunch, lol.

Here, I pictured a doll with painted eyes sitting in the corner staring out the window at the moon and clouds while everything else is going on. But I like some mystery in a song, so I’m okay with David never specifically spelling it out.

One of the most powerful sections to me is when his voice rises up at the end of the line, “For now, it’s something I needed to dooooo ahhhh,” which felt like a spirit breaking free into a bluer sky, if that makes sense. And by following that with, “I need to keep me safe from you”… BAM. Like a gut punch.

But beyond the emotional rawness and turmoil of the song’s subject matter, it’s still just a really good song that I love listening to because of the haunting melody, the sound of his voice, the layers of sound, the depth of feeling it evokes … everything.

How brave of David to include this song on the album. He’s said he’s not in that place anymore. From his blurb about it on his Insta post, it sounds as though writing and recording the song helped him process it all. I totally get that.

To me, the final lines are classic David. Reaching out with encouragement to others who may need it. But also ending on a high note… quite literally.

~ TOfan

And thanks to the lovely and amazing Janey for remembering this early sneak peek of Upset With Me:

Speaking of Janey… I asked her to share her thoughts on the song and she kindly did, here’s her take on it:

Maybe someday
You’d take the chance to listen to me
And then you’d know
That I still love you

From the beginning, it’s laid out that the author is coming from a very grown up place, not putting blame on either party for what has transpired in the past and is willing to let the other person know, this is coming from a place of love and wanting to make the relationship better.

I’m sorry for the way
We might have behaved
It leaves you up and down
I fell to the ground
Had to escape
“I fell to the ground, Had to escape” 

Here come my tears. 

I know you’re upset with me
But you can’t keep hurting me

The author is taking responsibility for their future relationship.

If you disagree
With every word I speak
I told you what I feel
You say it’s not real
So I’m leaving

Again, the future will be determined by the author’s actions.

I know you’re upset with me
But you can’t keep hurting me

If I’m not enough
To show you who I am
After all I’ve done
Then it’s too tough for you to understand

I’m taking back what’s mine
We both sacrificed
Gave everything we had
But I don’t have to give you my life

Stating how it will be from now on. A declaration of independence.

I know you’re upset with me
But you can’t keep hurting me

I’m sorry if I’ve done anything
That makes you feel that I hurt you
I’m not sure what I’m running to
For now it’s something I needed to do
I need to keep me safe from you
You still can’t see
Why can’t you see?

The first time I heard “I need to keep me safe from you” I felt my heart breaking. This song is about someone very close to the author and the author is questioning why the other person is so far removed from his point of view, from his need to grow up and grow away.

Painted eyes reaching for the sky
As we reach the moon
Busting clouds
Oh, you scream so loud
So I hide from you
I never said a word to you
So I hide the truth
What did I do?
What did I do?

This strikes me at my core like no other set of lyrics ever have. I remember listening to the song for the very first time and was in tears from the beginning. By the time I got to this I was full on bawling.

I have to be honest, I don’t know the literal meaning of this, I only know how it makes me feel. It takes me back to my childhood when my young neighbor was often beaten by his mother. I think I remember seeing it happen once or perhaps I have conjured up the image in my mind based on the screams I heard. To this day, I feel guilty having done nothing, but as a child in the 1960s and with parents who insisted it was none of our business, what was there to do? I’m glad there has been some improvement in that area.

If I had to put into words what images these words evoke, what comes to mind is painted eyes reaching for the sky as we reach the moon, reaching out for help and it’s not there, reaching out more, but still no help. Someone is verbally or physically abusing someone and they try to hide.

“What did I do?” tells me a child is blaming themselves for the actions of their abuser. It is the most poignant part of the song and the most gut wrenching. I want to take that child and say, as Robin Williams says to Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting, “It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.”

chords and background vocals
this is where the emotion hits the hardest for me. listen to the wailing in the background. If that doesn’t hit you in the gut, nothing ever will.

If there is someone
Who needs to know
Protect yourself and find the help
To let you go
You can let yourself be heard

As always, in true David fashion, he tries to reach out to those in need, letting them know what they need to do to help themselves get to a better place.


A few random thoughts on production and such:

I find the single piano note disturbing in that it creates tension but essential in that it adds angst to the song. It is a brilliant way to showcase the lyrics. I also find that depending on the sound system in use it can sound strikingly beautiful (the rental car in Nashville in the hotel parking lot) or not the best to my overly sensitive ears (my dated volvo).

The album placement is also noteworthy:

  • I’m Ready starts off the middle set – David readying himself to go on his mission.
  • Other Things in Sight – “Who do you think you’re talking to,” I can’t add anything to that. Go David, go!
  • Say Me – he’s finding his voice.
  • Upset With Me, he’s using his new found voice and independence to clarify and mend some old wounds.
  • The lovely Up All Night finishes up the transition with David finding acceptance and a new place he can call home:Hear my heart, and there’s an answered prayer
    Feel the magic in the midnight air
    Breathe it in, I wanna pass it on
    The strength of fighting somewhere you belongHere so small but I am safe and sound
    Where I stand it feels like solid ground
    No where else that I’d rather be
    No greater gift than what you’ve given me

~ Janey

From Tina’s illustrious Tumblr *all the praise hands*


How about you guys?? How did the song make you feel?

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20 Responses to Upset With Me appreciation post

  1. passwrdtaken says:

    I haven’t posted anywhere but twitter for years but this finally drew me out. This song feels cinematic to me. I know that sounds odd but it has a story and a conclusion and with the layers, it has more almost tangible feelings to me than most songs. I never want to sing along with it just so I can hear all the nuances.

    I enjoyed and agreed with both of your opinions. Thanks for the post!

  2. enchiladalover says:

    Just a thought of mine on the line “painted eyes reaching for the sky as we reach the moon”…I thought it might refer to a facade that David felt he was living…painted eyes representing the false image, the eyes that were representing what everyone was telling him he should be but weren’t the real him…the eyes reaching for the sky (wanting to escape) as they reached the moon (success in his career). Just what I got from it..could be totally off base but that is the beauty of the song…it speaks to everyone on different levels. Brilliant in my opinion. My favorite line is when he sings..I never said a word to you so I hide the truuuth…something about that just socks me in the gut.

  3. tawna21 says:

    Thank you for this post. You’ve both given some amazing thoughts on this song. I love what you’ve said. ♥♥

  4. oliveoil says:

    Thank you everyone for your insightful breakdowns of Upset With Me. This song stands out from all the others for me. There is something so beautifully heartbreaking about it and yet we can hear the hope and freedom in those beautiful layered chords. First that single repeating note, like being trapped in a place you desperately want to escape from.And then soaring harmonies that express the place where you are yearning to go. I agree with the painted eyes relating to the phoniness that David felt about who he was trying to be in order to become famous. I sometimes wonder if the screaming could refer to the screaming crowds and how all the attention was difficult for his introverted self. My favorite part, “we both sacrificed , gave everything we had, but I don’t have to give you my life”. I am so grateful that David included this song in his album.

    • TOfan says:

      “First that single repeating note, like being trapped in a place you desperately want to escape from”… what a great way to describe it, hadn’t thought it about it like that.

  5. Spirit says:

    TOfan and Janey…I enjoyed reading your perspectives on Upset With Me. I also found it to be one of the most interesting and compelling songs on the album. When I first heard it, it immediately made me think of David’s January 2015 blog (where he was trying to explain his decisions and behaviors) and his I’m Still Alive vlog from May of 2014. These were during the time that David was struggling so much when he first returned from his mission. I remember both of these causing frustration among many fans who had been waiting eagerly for David to return to his career, and there were many negative and angry comments left on both the vlog and blog. I feel that this song may have been written during that difficult and painful time. I actually tend to interpret the lyrics in a literal way.

    One line that really struck me was, “We both sacrificed, gave everything we had, but I don’t have to give you my life.” This seems to speak directly to the numerous fans who inferred that David owed them for all the support, tIme, and money they had invested in him and his career. The lines, “You still can’t see. Why can’t you see?” seem to show the hurt and confusion David must have felt when he tried to express his feelings and was criticized and misunderstood. “Oh you scream so loud so I hide from you.” reminded me of David’s need to isolate himself and decompress after a concert, and also the breaks he took on social media at that time when some fans reacted negatively to his posts. The lyric “painted eyes” always sounds like “pain in eyes” to me, so I’ve interpreted that to be David looking toward the heavens for guidance when he was feeling sad and unfulfilled as everyone wanted him to “reach the moon”. Lastly, the beginning of the song, “Maybe someday, you’ll take a chance and listen to me, and then you’d know, that I still love you.” really speaks of the hurt and confusion also felt by many fans during that same time period.

    I’m grateful that David has finally worked through the many painful issues that he’s had in the past and is so happy and content. David 2.0 is such a joy and was definitely worth the wait. Looking forward to where the journey takes us!

    • janey79 says:

      Spirit, thank you for your thoughts. It’s a painful song in so many ways. He was extremely brave to have included it on the album.

    • TOfan says:

      Really interesting take on the song, Spirit, thank you… since David said, “The rest of the story for now is still personal and I need my space and time with it,” he may never share the full story behind the song, but that’s okay… I love that we can each get our own meaning from it. And as oliveoil said above, really grateful he included it.

  6. TaterZen says:

    Currently out of town and relegated to a temperamental iPad, but I just needed to say thank you to TOfan and Janey, as well as to the commenters, for this beautiful and thought-provoking post. So many thoughts of my own, but no time. Truthfully, this song deserves it’s own symposium. Love to all of you for sharing. ❤️

  7. Pepper says:

    Thanks so much TOfan and Janey for sharing your well expressed thoughts and feelings on this beautiful and sensitive song. Love everything you shared. Honestly, I think I have had all of the thoughts shared here by everyone regarding this sweet, sensitive song.
    I am glad he included this song on the album too, such a personal and private revelation from his heart. It will probably remain mostly private for David but the essence of the song speaks loudly in so many ways to those who may be having their own struggles or have dealt with difficult, personal situations in their lives (which is most of us I would guess).
    I can’t imagine this song being expressed more beautifully than the way it is shared by David through his voice, sensitivity, melody and everything else that is included in this lovely song.
    Really enjoyed reading everyone’s thoughts on this, I give this song an award for being the most poignant, sensitive, beautiful and courageous piece of music. Love to listen to it. ❤

    • janey79 says:

      “I give this song an award for being the most poignant, sensitive, beautiful and courageous piece of music.” So, so true.

  8. Poof says:

    I have already commented about “Upset With Me” several times, but I guess i don’t feel done quite yet! I agree with everything you two said. This is without a doubt the most powerful song I have ever heard. Yes, the first time I heard it I was crying and by the end sobbing, it was so raw, beautiful and True.
    This song took me “up and down” and still does. In part because David takes us on the rollercoaster of his emotions. Looking at the lyrics, I counted fourteen times he said such strong statements it made me wince. And yet woven through these jarring thoughts were the six “ups” ” I still love you”, “Find the help to let you go”. My emotions rolled right along with him, up and down, forgiving and hurt. Then you add the fiercely gorgeous melodies and I am permanently “done in”.
    I am frustrated I can’t say how this song makes me feel. I guess I could say, it just makes me “feel” like I can’t remember feeling before.
    When he says, “What did I do, What did I do.” Oh Lordy.

    • TOfan says:

      Beautifully put, Poof… reading your comment, it struck me that listening to the song almost feels like you’re eavesdropping on a private, very personal, conversation. For I, too, had those “wince” moments … you’re right, SO many feelings with this one.

  9. janey79 says:

    poof, yes, the song is powerful beyond words. i hope someday it is used in a way to reach those in need, more so than just having David put it out there.

  10. refnaf says:

    Beautiful post guys….. I can’t with words, but you two sure can ❤️
    I don’t know how I feel when I listen to it…. such a wide and wild range of emotions….
    It is a song “that knows his heart” and I feel blessed he shared it with us

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