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February 07, 2011

Vampire Diaries Meaning Through Music: "Daddy Issues"

TV: The Vampire Diaries

I've been wanting to write some sort of Vampire Diaries recaps, but there are so many great ones out there that I felt like most of the ground had been covered. But I realized that none of them focus on the lyrics to the many wonderful songs used on the show, so I thought I'd try that out. For each song in the episode, I'll give you a link to where you can hear it, a little context, some particularly meaningful quotes from the lyrics, and a few thoughts on how the song fits in with what's going on in those scenes and/or the themes of the show in general.

Adele - "Don't You Remember"
While it's playing . . . Alaric and Jenna talk in the Grille; John joins them; Damon and Elena arrive and have their first "Be the better man" conversation; Damon starts to talk to John.
What it says . . .

But I know I have a fickle heart and bitterness
And a wandering eye, and a heaviness in my head.

But don't you remember, don't you remember?
The reason you loved me before,
Baby please remember me once more.

I gave you the space so you could breathe,
I kept my distance so you would be free,
I hope that you find the missing piece
To bring you back to me.

How it fits . . . Some of this - "fickle heart and bitterness / And a wandering eye" - sounds like John acknowledging his mistakes, and hoping that his daughter/niece and his ex-girlfriend/sister-in-law can find room for him in the family eventually. Isobel is discussed in these scenes, and "Don't you remember / The reason you loved me before . . . I hope that you find the missing piece / To bring you back to me" could echo Alaric or John's thoughts about her. And, of course, all of this reflects Damon's feelings for and about Elena as he struggles to "be the better man" for her - and realizes that part of that is giving her space and letting her be free to be with Stefan without (as many) complications.

Alex Band - "Only One"
While it's playing . . . John and Damon talk in the Grille; Caroline talks to Matt.
What it says . . .

My eyes are painted red
The canvas of my soul,
Slowly breaking down, again

One life to live
One love to give
One chance to keep from falling
One heart to break
One soul to take us

You say you want it all
But whose side you fighting for?
I sit and wonder why

How it fits . . . Anything about red eyes recently must, of course, bring Damon to mind, and the "Whose side you fighting for?" question is one I would very much like John to answer. But this song in general is so, so Caroline and Matt and their possibly doomed love. Oh, the poor things. I just want them to be happy.

Hurts - "Stay"
While it's playing . . . Damon meets and blows off Andie; Damon tells Elena he's steering clear of all women and gives her various Meaningful Looks; Stefan calls Elena.
What it says . . .

All right, everything is all right
Since you came along
And before you
I had nowhere to run to
Nothing to hold on to
I came so close to giving it up.
And I wonder if you know
How it feels to let you go?
How it fits . . . Actually, both Salvatores see Elena this way: she gave them both a reason to literally stay in Mystic Falls and also to build lives and try to keep themselves under varying levels of control. In this scene, of course, it shows how Elena is the reason why Damon has sworn off women, at least for the next twenty minutes. Damon sees Elena as the only one who can see his humanity, and his only option for someone to hold on to if he tries to be "good."

Natasha Bedingfield - "Strip Me"
While it's playing . . . John stops Elena from leaving the restaurant; she tells him she'll never be his daughter.
What it says . . .

Every day I fight for all my future somethings
A thousand little wars I have to choose between

Take what you want
Steal my pride
Build me up
Or cut me down to size
Shut me out
But I'll just scream
I'm only one voice in a million
But you ain't taking that from me

How it fits . . . Elena spends most of her time trying to protect all the various people she loves, while most of them seem convinced that they know what's best for her and try to deprive her of her agency in the name of protection. In this scene, John is joining the list of people telling Elena what she can and can't do without really thinking about how much credit she deserves for what she's accomplished already.

Ryan Star - "Losing Your Memory"
While it's playing . . . Stefan delivers a slumber party to Caroline; Damon and Andie take a bloody bubble bath.
What it says . . .

Call all your friends
And tell them you're never coming back
Cause this is the end
Pretend that you want it
Don't react
The damage is done

You're losing your memory now

How it fits . . . Caroline is still dealing with the fact that her life as she knows it is over, and she, Bonnie, and Elena all have to let go of their previous lives in order to move on and become friends again. Andie, of course, is literally losing her memory and being forced not to react to what's going on, and while Damon doesn't actually kill her, yet, a point of no return is passed when he confides in her and drinks from her. Damon himself isn't literally losing his memory, but is using Andie to seek a sort of hopeless oblivion.

Posted by Kat at February 7, 2011 06:42 PM

Amazing!! My thoughts & feelings are depicted succinctly and absolutely right on the head in your review. Please tell me you will continue these reviews on a weekly basis for the rest of the season, coz I love the music (huge fan of alternative/rock)and finally someone has a review from that point of view. I definitely think the music on the show is chosen carefully and is very telling in the way it describes all the feelings and struggles of the characters. Thank you! Can I have the permanent link to your site so I can check up regularly??

Posted by: shaleen_k at February 8, 2011 10:27 AM
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