Playlist: ‘Be Still’

By Rosemary Derocher

Lately, with the sun out and very few jackets in sight, I’ve been binging pretty regularly on my “SPRING” playlist. It is filled with all the catchiest, most upbeat songs I know—perfect for walking around campus when the weather is so nice that you can hardly believe you are willing to go to class. There are a number of songs on that playlist that are catchy and interesting, and that I considered for this column. In the end, though, I went with one that has gotten me through so many of the cloudy days and late nights at Club Lib: The Killers’ “Be Still,” one of the calmest songs I have ever heard. It has been very valuable to me as of late, and I am sure that it will continue to be so in the next couple weeks as I dive back into the real world after Spring Weekend.

“Be Still” is a moment of pure musical encouragement. It is a place to rest your head when everything else is rushing, and the song reflects this musically through its simplicity. The music’s tone is gentle, the tempo is standard and the chords are solid, but not innovative. Logically, this seems to build to a rather boring song that deserves no recognition. The Killers somehow pull it off expertly, creating a feeling of comfort that causes you (or at least me) to stop for a moment and take a deep breath.

Lead singer Brandon Flowers’ vocals on “Be Still” also play a very important part in building this calm atmosphere. Aside from the objectively pleasant delivery, the lyrics manage to be patiently encouraging without coddling. The song opens with “Be still / And go on to bed,” but it doesn’t suggest that you should simply stay there. Even though being in bed is generally tempting, comfy and admittedly necessary, you need to eventually roll over and get back to work. Flowers not only reminds you to give yourself a break sometimes, but that there are things to be done. As he sings “Rise up like the sun,” you realize that you may not exactly rise out of bed with brightness and enthusiasm, but you sometimes just need to do what you need to do.

“Be Still” also carries a different kind of encouragement, though—it is a kind that is less matter-of-fact and almost a little more personal. “Don’t break character,” the line goes, because “you’ve got a lot of heart.” This seems like a very simple thing to say, almost generic. It is a reminder, however, of one of the toughest things about dealing with something difficult—be it a lot of work, a tough situation or that one day of the week where the sun will not come out and somehow you cannot deal with that.

Whatever you do, you have to try to be you. Snickers has been reminding you for the last few years that you are not yourself when you’re hungry, and The Killers remind you that it can be hard to be yourself when you are overwhelmed. However, it is often the thing that will help the most. No matter what, take a breath first. Things are going to be just fine.


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