Crowd Surf Off a Cliff by Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton
When one turns on the radio they are hit with a barrage of bubblegum pop and sappy love songs. There are very few songs these days which manage to realistically portray human emotions without going overboard on senseless fluff. In “Crowd Surf Off a Cliff”, Emily Haines manages to write an emotionally honest love song with her unique diction and figurative, and without relying on overused cliches.
With its unique diction, “Crowd Surf Off a Cliff” sets itself apart from traditional love songs. The song doesn’t attempt to be more than what it is. The words are all kept simple. Because they are simple it has the potential to appeal to a larger audience. With simple words it will open itself to the ears of young teens and maybe even children who wish to listen. Even though the words are kept simple, the meaning behind them is so powerful it draws in the intellectual crowd.
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It is a common misconception that short and simple words do not interest the more mature crowd, but that isn’t entirely true. When simple words are arranged in certain ways they lend themselves to much interpretation as to their meaning.
Most of Haines’s lines in the song cannot be taken at face value because of the deep figurative meaning behind them. The song itself seems to be about her want for a long-distance relationship to work, and the title itself refers to Emily’s wish for her career to come to an end. Crowd surfing off a cliff takes you from your fame and fans down and off to the unknown, and relatively personal trip off a cliff. The lines “All the babies tucked away in their beds. We’re out here screaming” show the inner turmoil of her and her significant other’s relationship. Everyone else around them is completely blind to the problems Haines faces, like sleeping babies, while she is screaming to be heard. Such things are tucked deep in the simple lines of the song.
Many artists rely on cliches to make their love song relatable, but Emily Haines manages to write a unique song and still be emotional. In many other songs incredible promises are made to the writer’s loved one, there are also a lot of songs that show the breakup as a very nonchalant part of the love. Haines is realistic with her expectations and knows how her future would end up realistically. At parts of the song she fully realizes her significant other may be tired of the relationship and admits it. At the end it seems that the inevitable happened and the difficulties of keeping up a relationship overpowered the love they had. The last two lines practically shout it out, “Can’t want out, the ending outlasting the mood. I wake up lonely.”
With so many songs being used as shallow ways to make money, a real love song written for expressing emotions is a breath of fresh air. “Crowd Surf Off a Cliff” is touching in the way that it doesn’t lie to the listener. Being honest in times of hardship is the only way to slowly make your way past them. And Emily Haines makes this point loud and clear in a love song that truly touches the heart.