Ultimately, it is up to the listener to interpret each song for themselves.
One of the treasures of art is its ability to speak to us on an individual level. Art gives us a view of the world which can be similar to what others see but which is also unique and from our own perspective.
The following interpretations of the AWNTK songs are from a single (the writers'), and evolving, point of view, and are only meant to provide a starting point for further discussion.
The difference between "Song Interpretations" and the Synopsis section is that:
The Synopsis section is meant to show how each song works with all of the other songs of AWNTK to tell the overall story of the entire project and tie all the parts together.
This section on song interpretation gives viewers an idea of the stories and ideas that influenced the writing of each song.
Some lyrics were written to tie the themes of AWNTK together. In these cases, you will find that the song description in the Synopsis and the song Interpretation are identical.
If you would like to provide comments or your interpretation for any of the songs, please do so in the comment section of the forum page of the song you are interpreting.
As humans, we are continually discovering new things which often disprove our current knowledge. The only thing we really know is that there is much that we do not know. The best we can do is to apply the knowledge we do have in the best way we know how to ensure future generations can continue to benefit from our accumulated knowledge, and that it does not die off with us.
There are those who, motivated by their own greed or ego, do not have the knowledge or experience to deserve any position in power. To compensate for their inadequacies they fan the smouldering embers of racial hatred and of religious dogma and conflicts that are thousands of years old to create false crises that are intended to frighten us and motivate us to support their illegitimate place in power. Meanwhile, attention is diverted away from applying existing answers to solving the most significant problems of the day, such as climate change, poverty and gun violence.
Today's media, cable news, social media and government publications all do their best to present their own versions of the truth and ultimately mask reality from us as effectively as the puppet-masters did in Plato's "Allegory of the Cave".
Often only the passage of time will reveal what the truth was in a certain situation, and often it consists of many nuanced components and grey areas. We should be aware of absolutes, and those who paint our world in shades that are only black and white.
When considering the vast expanse of time and space that surrounds our existence there must be a reason for us being alive and self-aware in this precise moment and in this specific place. If we start to think of ourselves as a part of the living universe and not merely as an ego-centric atom of carbon with no attachment to anything, we open ourselves to begin discovering the gifts we each have inside of us.
Whether we are strings of energy, or of a divine construct, our lives are defined by what we chose to believe. The origin of our existence may forever be beyond our ability to understand, however, it is important for us to learn from our past and to strive for a truer understanding of ourselves and who we are.
Pursuing the truth is an important process, but, has little value unless a purpose can be derived from the truth that is discovered.
What we believe and what we believe we are both contribute to the truth of our existence, but, as important, or possibly, even more, important in determining the reality of who we are is the life that we live and the choices we make and the actions that we take.
Finding meaning is a part of the process of transitioning from who we are into whom we have the possibility of becoming.
The process of becoming never ends, as we continually strive to become the freest, best version of ourselves.
We find the greatest meaning by accepting whom we are, using what we have and maximizing our potential while striving for freedom.
Love can have an incredibly powerful influence on our perspective. It can help define what we see as beautiful, the pleasantness of odours and even how we remember certain situations.
It can fill us with hope and even improve our own self-esteem, give us purpose and help us identify the gifts we have to share with the world.
This song was inspired by a feeling of sublime peace and belonging that overcame me during a trip to the Hawaiian Islands with my family. While in Maui we rented a car and went on the beautiful, undulating, narrow, coastal drive to the seaside town of Hana. The route was treacherous with steep drop-offs, switchbacks, blind corners, and deceptively dappled light patterns caused by the canopy of jungle covering the road for much of the way. The scenery was indescribable, varying between lush tropical hillsides and the endless green-blue expanse of the majestic Pacific Ocean. Captivated by this transcendent beauty, I completed most of the drive barely noticing how tightly I had been gripping the steering wheel until I pulled the car to a stop at a narrow cliff-top pull-out just a few miles from our destination. Our parking spot was a few hundred feet above where the turquoise waters of the Pacific crashed into the shores of Nua Ailua Bay. I got out of the car and stretched. It was early afternoon and there wasn't a cloud in the sky, just a hint of the timeless tradewinds that carry with them the smell of salt and sea and the taste of history, freedom and adventure. Leaning over the guardrail that ran along the pull-out, I could see a shoreline of secluded beaches, verdant flora and rocky outcrops stretching up the coast to a point where land, ocean and sky intersected, and I wondered to myself if much, if anything of what I was looking at, had changed since Captain James Cook sailed past here in 1778. At that moment I felt my existence transcending the endless expanse of ineffable beauty that lay before me into a consciousness I did not recognize as purely my own. This feeling was beyond any empirical measure of sensory perception that I have experienced before, or since, and is something I can only describe as an overwhelming connection of belonging and love, and it is the closest I have ever felt to comprehending eternity.
This song is about discovery. It is about realizing how incredible life is, and how rare and valuable the true connections we make with one another are. It is about sharing and communicating and feeling the power of the universe flow through you once you realize that we are all connected to it in some way.
Life is inspired by love, by self-awareness and by discovering meaningful connections with others. Of all the gifts we have to give to ourselves, to each other and to the world, love is the greatest.
All of the songs in this project, and pretty well all the ones that we write together follow the same pattern. I will write a lyric, and send it to Jim Shaw, the musician, singer and composer of our two-person songwriting team, and he will create an amazing melody for it, sometimes with a tiny bit of input from me.
I often have a melody, or at least a cadence or rhythm in my head as I'm writing the lyrics but I have learned not to share that with Jim unless absolutely necessary, as his musical ideas have proven to be far more creative and multi-dimensional than anything I have imagined.
Jim and I had recently written a few songs inspired by a melody he had created, and which I had written the lyric to. One of them, "Van Gogh", a short biography of the tortured artist, had turned out quite good, so, I started practicing re-writing lyrics to existing famous songs.
Originally, "Love Is All We Need To Know" started as a road-trip game with my family, to see if they could guess which song's melody I had re-written a part of the lyric for. The new lyric for the old famous song went:
"TC Berryman was a lonely ferryman
Living by the shore,
He'd never travelled more
Than his own front door,
Took a trip to Derry Then
He met a lovely girl
With lots of golden curls
She completely changed his world...
When I recited the above lyrics to my children, using the rhythm of the original song, they identified which song it was inspired by right away. Without hearing the rhythm it is far more difficult to identify which song's melody inspired these lyrics. If you want to know which song it is, visit the Forum Page for "Love Is All We Need To Know"
After re-writing the complete lyric for the original song I sent the new lyric to Jim, giving him no clue that I had written them to another, famous melody. Jim created a great melody for "TC Berryman" however, his Nova Scotian accent made singing the staccato-like lyrics very difficult, so, the verses were difficult to understand and they sounded rushed. The chorus worked great and the melody was really strong, so, I decided to rewrite the lyric for all the verses and the bridge to work with Jim's melody. At the same time, we were writing Love Is All We Need To Know, the London Subway Bombings had just occurred. We are both inspired by using our talents to help make things better in the world, so, when I'd heard about a selfless British woman who had been injured by the bombs who had asked her government not to retaliate, because, at some point in every conflict, someone has to be the last victim for the conflict to finally end, and because she said she would rather be the last victim and have her government look for ways to build bridges and love between cultures than to look for vengeance and retribution. Her thoughts fit perfectly with the chorus we already had for TC Berryman, and her ideas and forgiving nature provided all the material we needed to rewrite the verses to better match the chorus and fit with the melody.
Love is All We Need to Know to free our world from lies, fear, revenge, greed and tyranny.