Cerebral Pantsings: Song Meanings

in Culture

We’ve all been there – you have an English paper due in the morning, and it’s so late that even God has gone to sleep, so you put on some music to help your brain stay awake. But in the middle of your typing, you start to listen more to the song than to the little man (or large woman) inside your head telling you to prove that Shakespeare was gay, and realize you’ve got no idea what the words mean. So you take the bong out of your cat’s mouth before the fire alarm goes off, brush the Pop-Tart crumbs off your now stickier-than-a-politician’s-fingers keyboard, and do a lyrics meaning search. After sifting through the comments section trying to find a probable explanation to why the artist decided to use 5 oh’s in that one stanza instead of the usual 7, you begin to write your suicide note. But despair no longer! I’ve been forced to search through the time and space to find THE MOST impenetrable song lyrics and elucidate them for you, the common stupid person. You’re welcome.

John Legend’s “All of Me”: Isaac Clarke’s Lament

If you’ve never played Dead Space and you don’t like spoilers, go kill yourself.

Right, now that’s that taken care of, you guys remember Dead Space’s insane engineer protagonist Isaac, right? Of course you do, seeing as he was so memorable with his constant dying because you sucked in your first playthrough (seriously, since when do zombie’s play dead?). Anyway, this song is totally all about him, possibly detailing a deleted scene in which Isaac gives up and dies. Inconceivable? I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

So here’s the dealio: Isaac is hallucinating his dead girlfriend Nicole, again, this time as a necromorph. How else do you explain the very first stanza?

What would I do without your smart mouth

Drawing me in, and you kicking me out

You got my head spinning, no kidding, I can’t pin you down

What’s going on in that beautiful mind

I’m on your magical mystery ride

And I’m so dizzy, don’t know what hit me, but I’ll be alright

From the get-go, it becomes apparent that the author is talking about something inhuman. That last thing that pulled me in with it’s mouth only to eject me with a firmly placed boot to the face as to make me so dizzy I couldn’t pin it down was promptly shot down by Area 52 staff, so trust me when I say I know of what I speak. Oh, and the “beautiful mind” and “magical mystery mind” nonsense? That’s a reference to the Marker messing with Isaac’s mind, irrefutable proof to the fact this is all an hallucination.

My head’s underwater

But I’m breathing fine

You’re crazy and I’m out of my mind

By this time, it’s clear that Isaac has at least unlocked the Level 4 suit with all the nodes in the breathing slots occupied. He’s been looting green boxes like some kind of lame leprechaun pariah taking revenge on his former brethren’s stashes. In essence, he’s got air for days.

‘Cause all of me

Loves all of you

Love your curves and all your edges

All your perfect imperfections

Give your all to me

I’ll give my all to you

You’re my end and my beginning

Even when I lose I’m winning

Cause I give you all of me

And you give me all of you, oh

The bulk of the chorus has to do with Isaac eventually giving up the fight and trying to accept Nicole for what she has become, the degrading, explosive-pustule ridden catch that she is. Giving “is all” means giving himself over to the Marker’s will and becoming but protein for recombination. In his mind, this is a joining of sorts between Nicole and himself, as it results in them becoming whole again. The “end” and “beginning” line has to do with Nicole ushering in both his death and joyous new life as a terrible monster with blades for bones. And, again, he sees this as a WIN, because it means he’ll be with Nicole for forever.

How many times do I have to tell you

Even when you’re crying you’re beautiful too

The world is beating you down, I’m around through every mood

This is a short description of their relationship before everyone dies. Turns out life sucked before then, too. You see, Nicole was always an emotional mess. Constantly insecure and depressed and all the rest of those things that every kid in America seems to be at one point or another. It seems like everything is going wrong in her life, to the point that she needs to lash out by cheating on the only man who’s ever loved her. But this doesn’t stop Isaac from sticking with her at all points possible and following her every order like it was a word-gift from the heavens. In fact, it’s this very undying love that informs the next few words.

You’re my downfall, you’re my muse

My worst distraction, my rhythm and blues

I can’t stop singing, it’s ringing in my head for you

You know that one escort scene where necromorphs are charging both Isaac and Nicole while she works on getting the door open? I can’t count how many times I had to sacrifice precious medpacs just so I could keep the buggers off her while hordes were chewing on my ankles. And by that point, me and everyone else with a brain had already figured out that Nicole wasn’t actually there, which made it really maddening that I had to protect her fake health bar from fakely hitting the fake bottom of her fake rig’s fake health tube. It’s this kind of dangerous situation that Nicole can easily pull on Isaac by command. This is why Nicole is his ultimate distracting downfall: her feminine wiles, affected by dripping dead flesh or no, bring Isaac through so many trials that he loses his will to live and succumbs.

Cards on the table, we’re both showing hearts

Risking it all though it’s hard

This part, along with the chorus, emphasizes that it is in fact death that grants the giving of all to a significant other. I’m no doctor, despite whatever the International Military Tribunal may say, but I’m pretty sure that when you show someone your heart, there’s a huge chance that you’re no longer alive. And if that’s not a risk, then I don’t know what is. And also, someone should probably tell the IMT.

Well that was depressing.