July 27, 2014

"Sail" (Awolnation) - Song Review

This is how I show my love (for music)...I made it on my blog because...I blame it on my ADD-wait, what was I saying again?

Reviewed By: Kyle van Rensburg

Artist: Awolnation

Release Date: January 2011

Genre: Electronic Rock

Verdict: 14+ For Mature Themes

Areas of Concern:


Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive


--A line refers to suicide. "Maybe I should cry for help. Maybe I should kill myself..."

Music Video:

--The video features the singer running through a building from a mysterious force, which blows papers around and eventually drags him through the building as he desperately tries to break free from it's grip.


Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive



Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive



Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive 

--One of the interpretations of the song is that the line "I blame it on my ADD" refers to Alcohol and Drug Dependency and not Attention Deficit Disorder.

Spiritual Content:

Mild Moderate Heavy Very Heavy Extreme Offensive 

--An unknown force kidnaps the lead singer in the music video and we briefly see the one-eyed pyramid symbol.


Slightly Downbeat: The song is a bit of a downer song, telling the tale of a man who lost something (most likely a relationship) and seeking to explain why it happened. The song is not dreadfully depressing, and the melody isn't sad per se, just moody and foreboding.

The Lyritical Analysis:

Overview: "Sail" by AWOLNATION suggests that it's about a broken relationship more than anything else, where the man in question tries to explain to his ex-girlfriend why things got so out of control, finding something to blame in the place of his own actions.

The music video, however, takes a much different route, deliberately evoking conspiracy theories such as the Illuminati, UFOs and possibly Mind Control (Albeit in a very subtle manner, if at all.)

"...It was a dark and stormy night..."

Analysis: The video starts off with AWOLNATION frontman and lead vocalist, Aaron Bruno, running fearfully from an unseen pursuer and taking refuge in his house. He closes the blinds and dives under his bed to get a tape recorder.

He holds it up and starts singing into it as he stares out the window anxiously. We see him look over at his wall and we see a very interesting picture, which the video deliberately focuses on for a second or two:

The wall of a conspiracy theorist. Could it be that he was investigating shady activities and got in over his head? And what about the song he sings? Is it all about him trying to show people what's wrong with him, AKA some kind of mental disorder caused by a secret government project?

Whatever the case, the light outside is clearly unnatural, made clear when it basically blinds him by shining through the window, causing papers to fly around in his room with it's powerful force. 

He then takes a moment to himself and stares in the mirror, weighing his options as he reflects on his broken state and his "condition". He wonders if he should cry for help or kill himself, as the lyrics suggest. (The force outside stops his train of thought before he can make a decision.)

The music video might carry that implication that he's been part of a government conspiracy and he was involved in some kind of mind control experiment. He doesn't know how to explain it, so he describes it as ADD. (Come on, ADD is not THAT big a cause of problems.)

The house's front door opens as the mysterious force enters and scans the house for Aaron Bruno. He dives into bathwater in order to take cover from it, but it finds him anyways and drags him away.

At this point, the video segues into a piano solo where Aaron Bruno sings the chorus. The whole scene is dragged backwards towards an open door, the house shaking violently as the force "abducts" him.

The video ends with Aaron Bruno drifting up into the sky as we see stadium lights shining brightly in his face. We never clearly see which force dragged him away, but we do see one last visual...

The tape recorder, leaving behind a message which few will understand, but hopefully will decipher and find out what really happened to the lone abductee. 

His tale ends on a downer, but with a glint of hope because of the one piece of evidence the force failed to erase: This very song, which tells the tale of a man who was in a hopeless situation without the words to describe it or any way to get out of it.

Review of Song:

Years ago, AWOLNATION, a relatively unknown Indie band at the time, released an ambitious song simply titled "Sail" into the world. After spending the most time in the Hot 100 radio charts next to Imagine Dragons' Radioactive, Sail has truly left its mark in the world of music.

The song is a melancholy mixture of blaring synthesizers, a heartfelt piano chord and screaming vocals. The lyrics tell a story of loss, denial, depression and (hopefully) freedom. Aaron Bruno screams his vocals in a decidedly un-Metal way, showing us the deep agony his character wallows in.

SAIL is a very affecting song, reaching straight for your heartstrings with its edgy melody and dreadful atmosphere, yet still managing to end on an ambiguously uplifting note. The cry for "Sail" is not immediately understood, but after many listens, I can safely conclude that it's about SAILing away from your problems.

A whispered "Take me to the pond" by a female voice is also heard amongst the screaming vocals near the messy ending. It could be the strangest cry for help you've ever heard, or the girl in question just wants to go to the freaking pond something bad!

Quality Verdict: Great (B+)

Awolnation shows that sometimes simplicity is best, delivering a slow, yet very effectively moody song which delivers it's message with genuine impact.


Say what you want of the conspiracy angle (although I don't know why you would look at it any other way), it makes the most sense to me personally. And heck, it makes the music video even more interesting than it already was. (Only moderately.)

Secondly, the song is a bit edgy and contains a reference to suicide. This may be a deal-breaker for some who are easily triggered and struggle with a suicide problem.

Otherwise, the song is okay for those who can handle heavier material. Personally, I would say this song should be okay for mature teens, 14 years and up.

Content Verdict:
For Mature Themes.

Outro: And there you have it! The second review on Lyriticus "sailing" off into the world wide web...or at least onto my website feed. Whatever. Hope you guys enjoyed the review, tune in next Sunday for another one right here on The Truth Machine!

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