March 3, 2018
How to Save a Life Analysis
Do you know someone who has struggled with an issue they could not overcome by themselves? Did you have the chance to help them, but may not have realized it or known how to? The song “How to Save a Life” written by Isaac Slade and Joe King presents a story of a mentor, or a friend, trying to ‘save a life’ of a troubled youth. In the chorus, the singer explains that he himself was unable to save a friend, because he did not know how. The use of pathos in the lyrics and the images used in the video, which was created for the lyrics, of “How to Save a Life” work together to create an effective argument. These two aspects working together not only create an effective argument, but it also persuades the audience to act on the issues presented. “How to Save a Life” was released September 12, 2005, being part of the album with the same name. The song has been certified 3x Platinum by the RIAA, and has sold 4.7 million downloads as of January 2015. “How to Save a Life” is the fourth best-selling rock song in digital history (Slade)
According to Isaac Slade, songwriter and lead singer, this song was inspired by an encounter at a camp for troubled teens. Slade was working as a mentor at this camp, when one of the troubled kids was paired with him. The troubled teen had been struggling with many problems and it seemed as if no one at the camp knew how to help him. Slade claims that the song he wrote was about all those people trying to reach out to the teen, and being unsuccessful. Slade explains how the teen’s family and friends approached him with harsh words and negative conversation instead of using support and caring gestures.
This song’s lyrics pose a very compelling argument regarding the issue of losing a loved one. In the first verse, it sets a scene with two people trying to possibly talk about the problem. This is shown in the stanza “you say set down, it’s just a talk” (Slade), which implies someone trying to reach out to the troubled person. But as the lyrics go on it mentions ‘fear and blame”. This may be because the two of them are afraid of giving the blame to anyone. The song then explains how the person wonders why they even sat down and tried to talk in the first place.
The first verse sets the scene for the second one. like the first verse, the second one is presenting a mentor or friend trying to provide help for a troubled person. The second verse is telling the mentor that they need to remember they are the one that knows best and they may be the only one that can help. The third and fourth stanza of the second verse reads “try to slip past his defense, without granting innocence” (Slade), this explains that the mentor needs to keep pushing if the troubled person tries to put up a defense. However, the mentor does not need to agree that what the person is doing is innocent or blameless. This verse then says “lay down a list of what is wrong… ...