Song of the Week
The song “Cigarette Daydreams” by Cage the Elephant is written by the lead singer of the band Matt Shultz. The song overall is about a girl struggling with depression. Shultz tries to help her but she pushes him away. What brought me to write about this song for song of the week was the fact that I have been listening to it for a year and only realized exactly what it was about a few weeks ago. I would also recommend the music video on YouTube that goes with it because it helped me understand the meaning better and is made very well.
The first verse sets the scene describing things he notices about her and how that tells him she is depressed. “I can see you standing next to me / In and out somewhere else right now / You sigh, look away / I can see it clear as day.” Continued, The title is commonly overlooked and seen as a simple aesthetic when in reality it does deepen the meaning of the song. She uses smoking cigarettes and daydreaming as a way to isolate herself from others. She knows how bad smoking is for her and it is a self destructive tendency that can be seen as a form of self-harm. She is in and out of somewhere else right now and what better thing to do when you are having traumatic flashbacks then find an activity you need to do alone that allows you to let your mind wander to its darkest places. Furthermore, a sigh is a big tell that somebody is going through it. Scientifically, sighing allows and extra burst of oxygen to enter the lungs which is proven to lower stress. If someone is sighing a lot it is inadvertently exposing them as stressed out.
He then goes on to say in the chorus “You can drive all night looking for the answers in the pouring rain / You wanna find peace of mind / Looking for the answers” People struggling with depression are constantly searching for these “answers.” Usually there are no answers that will satisfy them if there are any out there at all. The need to go on drives has to do with the need to keep moving when your depressed. It is you trying to outrun your own problems even though accomplishing such a thing is extremely unlikely. Driving is also something that requires little brain function and for a lot of people going on a drive can help them recharge.
Shultz continues with “You were only seventeen / So sweet with the mean streak / Nearly brought me to my knees.” He kept trying to help her and she kept pushing him farther away. He does imply that even when helping a friend you need to take care of yourself. If it is too painful to help, you should take a step back from the situation.
The reason for writing this song is to help those with depression feel less alone and give them hope. That is made clear in the lyrics. He asks the right questions to trigger people with depression and convince them make change. Lines like “If you could find a reason, a reason to stay / Standing in the pouring rain” Basically, he is saying that you should try and say one good reason why you are in this place because most of the time it is a hole you can’t get out of and the thing that sent you there is long gone. That’s my perception! What do you think the song is about?