Sinking Like a Stone

I’ve had a sketch of this song hanging around for a few weeks now. I think it started with an Evernote dictation that said, “We all want to be loved, but we’re afraid of being known.” (Does it count as texting and driving if you’re writing song lyrics?) I’ve been chewing on this idea that humans have a simultaneous desire for intimacy and fear of the vulnerability it requires. I kept coming back to words like “void,” “abyss,” and “chasm” as metaphors for the emptiness we fear in a life without love. At first, the chorus was going to be, “We’re all holding on, slipping into the void.” But in the end, I decided “sinking like a stone” was the best way to name the bottomless pit from the rock’s point of view.

But the draft lay unfinished until yesterday when someone told me that humans possess three fundamental fears: abandonment, being smothered, and ceasing to exist. With that, I knew the way forward, with a verse addressing each fear.

As noted elsewhere, I find it very effective to pair depressing lyrics with chipper music. Not only does it save the whole thing from self-indulgent pity, but it creates an artistic tension that sneaks up on you. The existential angst suddenly reveals itself while you’re bopping your head to the beat. The harpsichord and accordion seal the deal.

1. We all want to be loved,
but we’re afraid to be alone.
We offer up our souls,
but still it’s not enough.

Our need, it only grows.
We’re terrified
of being left alone
with nothing but this hole:

Sinking like a stone.

2. We all want to be loved,
but we’re afraid of being known.
Naked and exposed,
we’ll always hide ourselves.

So don’t get too close;
the intimacy’s too much.
We’re vulnerable to touch;
it opens wide the soul:

Sinking like a stone.

3. We all want to be loved;
We’re afraid we’ll disappear.
Love, and pain, and fear
are better than nothing at all.

We all feel the void.
We’re all hanging on
For dear life, lest we fall
Into those dark jaws:

Sinking like a stone.

We all want to be loved,
But we’re afraid..


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