One Direction, ‘Story of My Life’ – Song Meaning
One Direction‘s ‘Story of My Life’ is their most mature song to date. In addition to its acoustic, 1D and Sons-like neo-folk construction, the song breaks with standard teenybopper lyrical conventions. Instead, it’s a grown up song about love that is fading. We’re here to break down the song and its deeper meaning.
“Written in these walls are the stories that I can’t explain / I leave my heart open / But it stays right here / Empty for days / She told me in the morning / She don’t feel the same about us in her bones / Seems to me that when I die / These words will be written on my stone.”
Ouch with a side of ouch. The song opens with the narrator (in Harry Styles’ voice) revealing the situation. His heart is there, waiting for her to occupy it, but she doesn’t. She instead reveals that she’s checked out of the relationship, emotionally speaking. When someone says they can feel something in their bones, that’s pretty, well concrete and as deep as marrow. His response is that her reveal has socked him. In the gut. We know it’s hard to suspend disbelief and think anyone could turn their back on Hazza or any member of 1D, but it happens.
“And I’ll be gone, gone tonight / The ground beneath my feet is open wide / The way that I’ve been holding on too tight / With nothing in between.”
That’s a huge acknowledgement, as well. There’s no net and no limit once he leaps away from this relationship, even though it’s not by choice. He also recognizes it’s his fault, since he was clinging, leaving little room for anything else. That’s never a good thing.
“Written on these walls are the colors that I can’t change / Leave my heart open / But it stays right here in its cage / I know that in the morning now I see us in the light upon a hill / Although I am broken, my heart is untamed, still.”
Despite the agony, there’s still hope. The heart may remain in its cage, for now, but like a bird in a cage, it will sing again and allow itself to roam and find love. As for being broken but untamed, that’s a major step forward. The heart may ache and be broke, but it is not beyond repair. It (and he) will love again. Whew!
“The story of my life / I take her home / I drive all night to keep her warm / And time is frozen / The story of my life / I give her hope (give her hope) / I spend her love / Until she’s broke (Until she’s broke inside) / Inside / The story of my life.”
Love is the biggest of sacrifices, and the narrator sacrifices himself for her. He’ll drive all night and catch a chill as long as she is safe and warm. It’s as though he is resigned to the destiny of love — it’s the story of his life that he’ll be doing this for anyone that he loves, be it past, present or future. But in this moment, time…stops.
Directioners and PopCrushers, that’s our lovelorn assessment of One Direction’s ‘The Story of My Life.’ How do you read it? Sound off in the comments below. Let’s talk about the meaning of ‘Life.’
Listen to ‘Story of My Life’