Why Songs Will Always Mean More Than You Think They Do

With the example of what losing a friend really means

Finneas O’Connell in the video of his song

Have you heard of Finneas O’Connell? Maybe you haven’t heard of him yet, but you’ve most likely heard of his sister. He collaborates music with the now very well-known artist Billie Eilish. In interviews they have mentioned being both best friends and siblings. But now I want to focus on just Finneas. He wrote a song that I call a great meaning masterpiece (you’ll find a link to the song on YouTube at the bottom of this post), and I want to talk for a moment about why I call it that.

Why is this song important?

He lost a friend. And he wrote a song about it.

Why is this anything unusual? People make friends and lose them all the time. Close connections and acquaintances come and go in life. Everyone has these kinds of experiences. It’s a part of life. So, what’s special about this song then?

In interviews you’ll find him talking about the meaning of the song, and saying it’s, quite literally, about losing a friend.

Here are a couple of videos of an artist explaining the literal meaning to a supposedly very literal song.

And when I first heard the song, I listened to those literal lyrics and thought, yes, he lost a friend.

But then I listened to the song again. I listened to it until I knew every line by heart. Then I connected with it. And then I knew it wasn’t just about losing a friend.

It was about losing yourself.

Among many other things.

The way I saw it, it talked about an even bigger idea: that everyone is their own friend first. You have to be friends with yourself before you can be friends with others. And that’s the most important friendship you can lose. If you lose that, then you lose everything else too.

While listening to the song for the hundredth time, I thought, maybe he’s talking about himself. Maybe he wants to shed light on the most important relationship you will ever have in your life: the one with you.

Let me break down the song based on my interpretation of it.

I lost a friend,
Like keys in a sofa
Like a wallet in the backseat
Like ice in the summer heat.

The first few lines of the song bring up very beautiful imagery. They activate the imagination, comparing losing a friend to misplacing everyday household objects. It brings up the idea of just how easy it is to lose a friend, how easy it is to let a friendship slip away if you’re not careful about maintaining it. And the same goes with yourself. If you don’t maintain a strong identity, you can fall away into the crowd and lose yourself in what others want you to be.

I lost a friend,
Like sleep on a red-eye
Like money on a bad bet
Like time worrying about
Every bad thing that hasn’t happened yet.

The whole first verse brings up this idea of it being too easy to lose a friend, and this second part now adds overthinking to the mix as well.

I know I’ll be alright, but I’m not tonight.
I’ll be lying awake counting all the mistakes I’ve made,
Replaying fights.

There are many times we fight with ourselves, over what course of action to take, what to do in a certain situation, wondering whether we had made the right choices in our past. It’s easy to second-guess ourselves and to ruminate on these decisions our past selves have made.

I know I’ll be alright, but I’m not tonight.
I lost a friend, I lost a friend,
I lost my mind.

Losing yourself means losing your mind.

And nobody believes me,
Say, “I know that he don’t need me
’Cause he made a little too much money to be 20 and sad”.
And I’ll be fine without ‘em
But all I do is write about ‘em
How the hell did I lose a friend I never had?
Never had.

This part of the chorus is the hard-hitter of the whole song, in my opinion. Let me break it down further.

And nobody believes me,
Say, “I know that he don’t need me
’Cause he made a little too much money to be 20 and sad”.

If well-known artists such as him (or Billie) are recognized, generate plenty of income, and seem successful on the outside, people might not believe they can still possibly have any reason to be sad.

I had the interpretation that the individual he was singing about was losing themselves as a friend as they were growing in fame and fortune. Maybe they were selling themselves out for what others wanted of them, to please the masses.

And I’ll be fine without ‘em

And then they were in denial, singing about how they don’t need themselves. They are fine without knowing who they truly are inside. They can get by without it.

But all I do is write about ‘em

But then when they are in their deepest moments, their true selves resurface, out from their hidden subconsciousness. That every time they pick up the pen to write, that’s where they know and can connect with the truth of who they are.

How the hell did I lose a friend I never had?
Never had.

Had this individual ever formed their own identity in the first place? Or had it always been shaped and moulded by the people? Did they ever know who they were? Or did they never know?

I’m on the mend,
Like I’m wearing a neck brace
Like I’m sleeping in my own place
Like I’m pulling all the stitches out of my own face.

I’m on the mend,
Like I’m icing a new sprain
Like I’m walking on a new cane
Like it’s been a couple days
Since I slipped and said something sorta like your name.

The writer then goes back to the same style of beautiful imagery invoked by everyday ideas as they started with in the first verse. Here in the second verse, he compares getting over losing a friend to starting again after an intense, painful injury.

I’d apologize if I thought it might make a difference
Or make you listen
I’d apologize if it was black and white
But life is different
Just try to listen to me now.

This one is pretty clear. Life isn’t black and white. Life is more like a roll of dice than a flip of a coin, there are many more sides you can land on. It reflects how the meaning of this song isn’t black and white either. It can be about many things. And why can’t it? Why can’t it be about both losing a friend and losing yourself? Why can’t it be about anything?

I’m of the belief that a piece of work can be whatever you want it to be, whatever resonates with you, whatever meaning you ascribe to it. Anyone can tell you what to believe, what to think is truth, but it’s ultimately up to you to decide what the truth is to you.

Artists don’t always tell you what they think their work is about. They sometimes make you work for it. And that’s good. You should be working for it. It’s your job to derive meaning however you see fit, in whatever way is true to you.

And I’m of the opinion that only you can keep yourself as a friend. Only you can maintain that relationship.

But you can have many other opinions regarding what the song is about, what it means to you. And so can everyone else. There are an infinite amount of meanings that can be derived from a single set of lyrics combined together. Songs will always mean more than you think they do.

And that’s why they are so powerful.

I Lost A Friend by “FINNEAS”

Little Red Bird, flitting around to deliver words to the page | Creative Thinker | Content Developer | Lifelong Learner

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