Almost Home by Alex & Sierra

"It's About Us" by Alex and SierraTrack: Almost Home
Album: It’s About Us
Artist: Alex & Sierra
Genre: acoustic, folk, indie, pop
Music Rating: 8/10
Lyrics Rating: 10/10
Overall:
9/10
Sounds Like: Oh Honey, Phillip Phillips, Us The Duo
Interesting Fact: Alex and Sierra won “The X Factor” in 2013 and are a very cute couple.
Best thing About this Track: The rhyme scheme of this song is cruel brilliance that leaves us on the outside of the joke in mental anguish, leading to even stronger emotional implications in context of the lyrical content.
One thing I wish was different: I like this song so much that I kind of don’t want to mess with it. It would’ve been pretty cool to hear Alex sing the melody on the second chorus and let Sierra do some harmony there. I guess that might’ve been weird though, since only Alex sang on the second verse.
Website: Alex & Sierra

This song, you guys. I can’t even. It’s one of those beautifully, frustratingly genius pieces of art that just sits there and laughs at you (but you like it). I still vividly remember a beautiful October day in 2014 which was spent in unintelligible ranting about evil genius and trying to convince everyone I knew to listen to this song. It has now been two years, and I can’t say the effect that this song has on me has lessened to any discernible degree. I shall try to retain my coherence, but this song just gets the best of me!

Whoo. *Deep breath* Okay, the rhyme scheme, y’all. We’ll start there. The human mind is a beautifully predictable creature of habit. Until it isn’t. That’s what art does. Art interrupts the monotony of routine and makes your brain take a different path. Good art makes you painfully cognizant of this.

When listening to music or prose, the human mind (to whatever conscious or subconscious degree) is anticipating. That is why you can sing along to some songs that you have never heard before. Your brain automatically analyzes patterns and assimilates it to your way of thinking. This song is counting on that weakness, and it will use that against you to beautiful effect. I’ll take you through a mind-map of a first listen of this wonderfully malevolent song.

Verse 1:
The musical introduction has preceded and shadowed the vocal melody with guitar, so your brain immediately understands that this song will show its hand early on. You hear the first two lines, and assume an ABAB rhyme pattern (if you’re feeling sluggish or not paying attention, it may take up to line 3 to make this assumption). The fourth line begins, and your mind starts singing along, “All these miles apart” — but wait, what!? Right when you sang “apart” in your head, Sierra said “together”. Okay, that was a mean prank, but a clever twist. It’s a little rude, but also funny. You can be in on that joke. We’ll let it slide. On to the second half of verse 1! Lets, go, Alex. (You know he’s singing next.)

He does his part for the first three lines, and you notice that his assonance is parallel to Sierra’s. That’s cute! But your brain is smart, and has learned. The fourth line has you on guard. He’s going to say a random thing that’s the opposite of what you thought and has no structural tie to the built foundation. You shan’t be fooled again! You start congratulating yourself for seeing this coming a mile away and prepare to laugh along when — 😳 — “fade into forever”! *face palm* It was a misdirect! OF COURSE he’s going to rhyme with Sierra’s unpaired lyric. She doesn’t make any sense without him, and he doesn’t work without her. That’s why when you think they’re completely “apart”, they’re actually “together” . . . “forever”! Okay, I’m slow. That was cute and mean. They make you feel like you’re part of the inside joke, but you’re actually just the third wheel in this song. They even told us that in the third line! Only they know where they’ve been. Okay, shake it off. Here’s the chorus. I’m awake now. I got this.

Chorus:
Okay, now they’re just mocking us. Yep, this is a wild ride. Hold on for dear life. Yep. Where’s the twist? Did they just acknowledge making me cry, and then call me a baby about it. Rude. Okay, where’s the shocking rhyme scheme switch-up? Oh my gosh, this whole chorus is about how we’re on the outside of the joke and we’ll never get it, because we don’t share the Alex & Sierra connection. Wait, what?! THERE WAS NO MISDIRECT??? That’s not fair! How can you possibly write such a straightforward structural chorus after that verse? I could’ve easily predicted that had I not been so on edge about its nonexistent deceit! Hmph. I really am on the outside of this song. Okay, no more playing around. I see their game now. It’s so on, second verse, here I come! You’re mine this time.

Verse 2:
Okay, first and third lines hit a reset on the ABAC rhyme scheme, but they’ll know we’re expecting that. Hmm. The second line is so easy; there’s no way “stars” isn’t a setup. They’ve already pulled the “predictable rhyme” stunt in the chorus, so…I’m thinking they’ll do another iteration of the first verse. Yeah, that’s it. I feel strong about this. Fourth line: “the good, the bad, the . . . better!?” Are you freaking kidding me?! Well, I mean, okay fine. I was half right. He won’t call Sierra ugly, but that would’ve been the perfect misdirect. They’re misdirecting misdirects now? They already reset the rhyme scheme! That’s cheating to go back and rhyme with the unpaired lines of the first verse! That is so mean. But unendingly clever. She’s not ugly. She’s not pretty. She’s better. Huh. Together, forever, better. Okay, I don’t care how sneaky Sierra is, the fourth line of the next stanza is MINE! There’s no way Alex can leave her hanging, so it has to rhyme with his. I got this. Come on, Sierra. Let’s go — WHAT ON EARTH DO YOU THINK YOU’RE DOING HERE, CHORUS????? Wait your stinking turn!

I give up. They are escaping to a place we’ll never know. The second chorus is over and, ohMyGoodness. They are literally laughing at us with music! That was a musical taunt at 2:08 if ever I’ve heard one! Okay, I had resigned, but just for that, I’m not giving up yet. I will eat this bridge for breakfast. Here we go.

Line 1 = A
Line 2 = A
Line 3 = B
THIRD LINE’S GOING TO BE “A” AGAIN! BOOM, I CALLED IT!!! . . . and. . . it’s a B. Of course. AABB. Why didn’t I think of that. They’re holding it out and raising it tonally. I just got my trash kicked and my brain handed to me in a pile of mush.

Well, played Alex & Sierra. You are a worthy opponent, and I am happy to fall by your sword.

P.S. The lyrical content of this song is clearly much deeper to me than a silly mental game of wits, but its discovery and the pathway to its unfolding is incredibly clever and tickles me to no end, so I decided to write about my experience with that. There is obviously much more depth to be had here, and it was not my intent to make light of it or take away from the overall emotional impact. To me, this is not a destination song; it’s a journey song. This was one facet of the journey for me.

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Lyrics:
Lost in innocence
Take this fragile heart
We know where we’ve been
All these miles together

Fall into my skin
Crash into these arms
We know how this ends
Fade into forever

The road is wild
We’re holding on for life
Like a child
Who’s not afraid to cry
We’re escaping to a place they’ll never know
Just you and me, love
We are almost home

Lost inside your eyes
As brilliant as the stars
Show me every side
The good, the bad, the better

The road is wild
We’re holding on for life
Like a child
Who’s not afraid to cry
We’re escaping to a place they’ll never know
Just you and me, love
We are almost home

Promise you I’ll be
The promise you can keep
Till the end of time
And on the other side

The road is wild
We’re holding on for life
Like a child
Who’s not afraid to cry
We’re escaping to a place they’ll never know
Just you and me, love
We are almost home

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2 thoughts on “Almost Home by Alex & Sierra

  • April 8, 2017 at 12:49 pm
    Permalink

    I believe your analysis is the best proof I’ve seen of the playground mantra “takes one to know one”.
    Of course, this time it is applied to musical genius.

    You rock, Anie!

    Reply
    • April 8, 2017 at 1:01 pm
      Permalink

      Wait, by that logic, I think you just complimented yourself. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I’m not going to argue there.

      Reply

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