During the latter half of my college years, I thought to myself, I need to expand my horizon with something more than One Direction. Through clicking on random YouTube video after YouTube Video I stumbled onto “Sadie Hawking Dance” by Relient K. I gave it a shot, not expecting much. (The hipster inside me was triggered.) But “Sadie Hawking Dance” reminded me of my high school days with all its awkwardness and lighthearted moments. And I fell in love. Soon enough Relient K became one of my favorites.
So for this post I’m going to talk about one of my favorite songs by them, “Savannah”, and its lyrics. I remember I listened to it so much that my roommate would groan whenever it played on my phone. Its upbeat tone always brightens my mood. (After doing these blogs I realize I am a sucker for anything cheery.) Not to mention it sounds great! Anyway, I think this song goes along with the upcoming holiday, you know, family and friends coming back together for Thanksgiving. People have changed, for the better or worse, and everyone is nervous if they will get along. And those feelings, the anxiety, fear, and hope of coming back together, are one of the themes of “Savannah”. The narrator is nervous if he and his girlfriend, Savannah, will connect after a long time without contact; however, they reconnect due to their love and commitment to each other.
From the beginning, the narrator introduces his excitement about seeing his girlfriend, but fear is also present. In the first verse, the narrator reveals some of his background. He’s a native from Georgia, has a girlfriend there, and has been away from his home and girl. As the sun begins to pour its light into the sky, he feels hopeful about seeing her again. He says:
Yet I know you’ll be there cause you’ll know I’ll want you to be there
And we’ll say hello as you’re smiling in love
And we’ll sigh so relieved I believe…
A picture of Savannah Georgia’s riverfront at sunrise (thanks to the courtesy of the Internet).
Yes, he is hopeful that everything will work itself out naturally. The music at this point gives off a hopeful and excited mood with its upbeat and quick pace about the reunion. His imagination plays out for him a wonderful scene. He returns to Georgia and is greeted by his smiling girlfriend. And when they finally see each other, the worry melts from them. But his realistic and worried side cuts off that fantasy. He continues to say:
Because we will both know by tonight we’ll feel normal again
But not until then…
The pace of music during these lines drags compared to earlier. The mood is now somber. Also the singer’s voice also becomes slow, distant, and even sad, which adds to the sudden change in mood. These two things also reflect the narrator’s feelings. I’m thinking he doesn’t want to get his hopes up. If he allows himself to become seduced by a fantasy, then he might become disappointed with the reality. Plus he feels unsure about their reunion. What if Savannah isn’t happy to see him and indifferent to his arrival, or she’s not looking exactly perfectly like he imagined? Oh the things that can go wrong. But he doesn’t allow himself to be stuck on the awful possibilities. He continues his trip regardless of his worries and pictures the good possibilities in the next verse.
The narrator also overcomes his anxiety by reminding himself of how much Savannah means to him. He confesses:
I spent my life wondering
Wondering when I’d find you
I searched for all these years and now you’re right here…
According the narrator, it has been a struggle to find true love. He has looked high and low, wondering if there would be a special someone for him. But after so long he finds her. I think that his search for Savannah makes her more special to him.
I just feel so warm and fuzzy thinking about how much he loves his girl. It’s so cute!
For example, everyone has lost something important to them. Maybe a card from a friend, a book, or whatever. Usually everyone experiences a set of emotions when they lose important something. A stubborn determination sets in. We think, “Now, I know I put it in my bedroom drawer after I got off the phone.” So we look in the obvious places but—nothing. Panic strikes. We begin to think of the worst scenarios of where our prized procession is.
Was it left on the bus with that creepy guy or in a friend’s car who lives a thousand miles away? Then something pokes out from underneath the covers and guess what it is? The thing! Relief sets in, and we promise we won’t lose it again, of course, until the next time. But in that moment, we value our possession so much like it’s the last one on earth. How would we live without it? I think the narrator has similar feelings for Savannah. He knows the loneliness without a special someone. So he values his current girlfriend even more due to his past loneliness.
The narrator also uses these feelings to stifle his fears. It’s good strategy to be honest. Instead focusing on fear, he remembers how important she is because he says, “I need you to know that/ Everything makes sense when you’re with me”. The narrator focuses on his need and want for Savannah, which shuts out his fear. Say, someone just broke up with his girlfriend. He remembers the little things about her like how she would cut off the crusts of his sandwiches. In a few words he mopes around. BUT, if he starts to do stuff like volunteering or taking artsy classes, then the misery drifts away. It’s the same case with the narrator. His anxious feelings are pushed away and replaced by his want and need for Savannah.
The last (and most powerful) verse concludes with the long-awaited reunion of the narrator and his girlfriend; despite the fear and worry they reconnect due to their commitment to each other. That moment is described as a “sultry evening” as the sea winds play with Savannah’s hair. Here, the music is quiet giving a mysterious and intimate mood. It’s like stepping in on a love confession. Somehow the two don’t notice you. So you stay and watch something mega cute because who would miss something so adorable?
I literally would be in the bushes like a creeper watching and quietly praying, “Please get together! Please get together!”
Then, she holds his hand like it is the first time. Her loving gesture is, in a way, acceptance. She doesn’t back away in disgust because he may seem a little different; instead, she accepts him, changes and all. And he says, “[a]nd all the feelings that our hearts find/ Will be just what we expect”. Regardless of all the worrying, they still feel the same way about each other. Why? Because of their relationship. Their narrator’s and Savannah’s relationship had a firm foundation before the distance. They built it on trust, commitment, and love to each other, especially commitment. It is easy to lose the lovely-dovely feelings when a person’s special someone isn’t around for a period of time. There are those moments of loneliness and fear that they won’t return. Not to mention there is always Shady Sam who is persistent with their advances. However if that person has a strong sense of commitment to their special someone, then they shouldn’t fall into these traps. They will remain strong. And that is, I believe, how Savannah and the narrator can reconnect to one another.