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Passenger, ‘Let Her Go’ – Song Meaning

Passenger
Ben A. Pruchnie, Getty Images

British folk singer Passenger — born Michael Rosenberg — is like his fellow countryman Ed Sheeran in that he wears his heart on his sleeve with his compositions. He is a little folkier than the ginger kid, and his song ‘Let Her Go’ is an emotional heartstring-tugging song, where his achingly beautiful voice is backed by a piano, some strings and acoustic guitar.

The song is rich with meaning, and we’re analyzing that element to find out what the song is all about.

“Well you only need the light when it’s burning low / Only miss the sun when it starts to snow / Only know you love her when you let her go / Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low / Only hate the road when you’re missin’ home / Only know you love her when you let her go / And you let her go.”

Okay, where do we start, since these phrases are dense with meaning? First, it ponders an age-old dilemma when it comes to love. If you love someone, let them go. If they come back, they’re yours. If they don’t, then they never were. Passenger just said it in a fresh, new way, using polar comparisons.

He also expands on the notion that you tend to not realize what you have until it’s long gone. If you only hate the road when you miss home and only love her when you let her go, it means you are taking things for granted and you recognize things too late. But there’s also the idea that it takes the sun and the rain to make a rainbow and you can’t enjoy sun-splashed days of summer unless you deal with the brutal bitter chill of winter. Complicated, we told ya!

“You see her when you close your eyes / Maybe one day you’ll understand why / Everything you touch surely dies.”

Easily the most aching line in the song, which sends volts of heartbreak through our bodies, these words unveil a deeper pain. Letting her go is necessary, perhaps for HER survival. He seems to think he is no good for her, or not good enough. Sigh. Self-sacrifice — isn’t that the ultimate act of love?

“Same old empty feeling in your heart / ‘Cause love comes slow and it goes so fast.”

Overall, you can only truly appreciate love when you have experienced loss, but hold on to it. Cling to it. Appreciate it. Because love is not like a bus, with another one coming around the corner in five minutes. He hit on a universal truth regarding love and that’s the fact that it’s not bound by time.

There you have it — our read of Passenger’s ‘Let Her Go.’ Are you in agreement, PopCrushers? Or are you absorbing the song in a whole other way? Tell us in the comments below.

Listen to Passenger, ‘Let Her Go’

Next: Get More Song Meanings

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