Song Stories: All The Little Lights

Song Stories: All The Little Lights


All The Little Lights

This is a really unique song and obviously an important one as its the title track of the album . The concept is very different to anything else that I’ve written . 

I don't remember how and when the idea for it formed , I just have a vague memory of coming up with the guitar part in my hostel room in Fremantle , Western Australia ….  

“we’re born with millions of little lights shining in dark , and they show us the way . One lights up every time you feel love in your heart , one dies when it moves away …. we’re born with millions of little lights shining in our hearts and they die along the way , til we’re old and we’re cold and lying in the dark , for they’ll all burn out one day” 

It’s kind of a sad idea when written out like that but it doesn’t feel like a sad song to me . Reflective definitely , but I hope it’s actually a song that unifies us all within our common plight . 

When we’re young our lights are burning bright . There is a feeling that anything is possible . Everything lies before us with limitless potential . We don’t understand the world or the reality of things yet and dreams are allowed to live unabashed . 

As we grow older , opportunities come and go and life starts to get narrower . There are cut off points that are missed and with every passing year one’s trajectory seems evermore set in stone . Of course it isn’t … and the happiest people I know have a fluidity and flexibility about them . Perhaps they have managed to keep a few more lights on than most … 

The choruses are really universal whereas the verses are very specific to me . 

Looking back over my catalogue this seems to be a common theme within my writing . Quite often the verses will be really detailed and tell a very direct story and the chorus will then open up with broader brush strokes and attempt to bring everyone in with a universal theme . 

In this case , the verses are a series of snapshots throughout my life where I can pin point a “light” going out . Times that I’ve felt heartbroken or humiliated . Lessons that have stolen another inch of innocence , moments of growth that demand a sacrifice in return . 

Here I talk about leaving home when I was seventeen and realising later that it meant the end of my childhood .

 I mention my mum finding cigarettes in my bag when I was even younger than that . I lied to her and told them they were my friends and I was just keeping them for him . A moment of real shame . 

A crushing afternoon spent in a Spanish airport after realising a relationship had ended .

The most poignant lines , which still feel sore whenever I sing them , are about my uncle ben .

He lived in America and growing up I would see him most summers . 

He was one of the kindest human beings I’ve ever met . I never saw him angry or heard him say a bad word about anybody . He accepted people as they were and loved them . He really was one of a kind and is still sorely missed by everyone in my family . 

He used to take me night fishing . I remember watching the (little) lights of New Jersey sparkling on the Atlantic Ocean as the evening faded and thinking it was the most magical thing I’d ever seen …  

This song has always had a similar magic about it … for me anyway …. It’s a whispered secret . Its a tiny flickering light . 

I hope in some small way it helps to keep yours shining . 


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