“Dancing with the Dead” by 10 Years is not only a great piece of musical art, but the song provides introspection on what living in the past really means.
In 2011, an alternative metal band from Knoxville, Tenn., released a single, “Fix Me,” that caused their name “10 Years” to gain momentum in the metal music lover crowd.
Instead of just making noise, as is assumed of metal bands, 10 Years brings a unique sound to the genre with heavy guitars, clear and melodic vocals, with meaningful lyrics that might cause someone to believe they came from a philosophy professor.
“Dancing with the Dead,” their 2014 single, is no exception, a song with multiple meanings that are held by fans.
Some can perceive this song to be about suicide and death, and others can see this song as a friend questioning a friend about living in the past; I prefer the latter interpretation.
Throughout the song, lead singer Jesse Hasek sings of confusion with a friend who can’t let go of the past.
“Blaze rage red is the color of youth / Be careful what you do / Another dead, color bled, blue is new / Be careful what you choose,” he says.
What Hasek aims to communicate through these lines is that the past is dead and one needs to be careful when making the choice to live in the past or the present.
Hasek tells his friend to be aware of him “Fallin’ like a stone again.”
“Dive in, deeper down you go,” he sings.
Falling into the past, Hasek finds himself frustrated with his friend’s inability to live in the present.
The chorus sums up his frustration perfectly: “Take me all the way to the end / Show me how you want it to end / Keep dancing with the dead / Go ahead / Keep dancing with the dead.”
Hasek begs his friend to let him help separate his current life from the past.
What this song really speaks to is the moment we all have when we cling to something in our past, whether it be a person, moment in time, or possession.
What we fail to realize is that sometimes this “dancing with the dead” leads to the wounding of someone close to us.
Being aware of this problem, we can afford to let the dead stay dead and move on to different moments in our life that will provide more fulfillment.
Dwelling in the past and thinking of what was and could have been only causes stress to ourselves and others around us.
Life is full of tombstones; each one represents some part of our life that has died. But, the graveyard is not our whole existence and the living requires our attention more than ever.