The Band Perry – “If I Die Young”

Jim Malec | May 26th, 2010


The Band Perry’s debut single “Hip to my Heart” was a sprightly, effervescent sliver of youth-laden pop country–a pleasant sounding droplet so light that it quickly evaporated into the ether. For its follow up, the sibling trio delivers a track with significantly more narrative volume: Written solo by lead singer Kimberly, “If I Die Young” is a weighty, introspective take on life’s evanescence.

Fittingly, the song opens to the sound of Kimberly taking in a breath. Gentle fiddle and guitar accompany her raspy, almost-hushed delivery of the song’s chorus up until a banjo and drum track join in for the first repeat of the refrain. “If I Die Young” remains mostly acoustic throughout, boasting a series of delightful arrangements that underline Kimberly’s beautiful vocal performance–she has a rich, slightly weathered voice that really brings home the song’s melancholy.

In addition to that great vocal, Kimberly’s songwriting demonstrates a command of language and craft that allows her to construct thick, interesting lyrics. “Lord, make me a rainbow,” she pleads in the song’s opening verse. “I’ll shine down on my mother/She’ll know I’m safe with you when she stands under my colors.”

Throughout the song, Kimberly shows that she has a unique perspective and a knack for resonant phrasing. So it’s unfortunate that “If I Die Young” loses its way a bit as it tries to be two songs at once—either one of which, alone, would have made a more powerful and less disorienting statement.

At the outset, the song’s narrator seems to be presenting the hypothetical situation outlined in the title. “If I die young,” she sings, “Bury me in satin/Lay me down on a bed of roses.”

But by the second half of the first verse, Kimberly employs such strong language that it’s hard to tell whether or not the song is meant to ponder the hypothetical or to speak prophetically. Lyrics that refer to the ring on the narrator’s “cold finger,” the image of a mother burying her daughter, and morbid lines about earning respect after she’s “a goner” make it seem like the narrator actually expects to die.

And that’s quite a bit different that the “what if?” rumination set up by various parts of the song. We’re left to wonder exactly what’s going through her head—what’s causing these thoughts of death? And what’s the ultimate point she’s trying to convey to us? The concept is murky, at best, and although many of the individual pieces are well drawn the whole is difficult to follow.

Without a sense of direction threaded throughout the narrative, “If I Die Young” offers neither hope nor resolution–what’s left is a series of exceedingly dark, loosely connected statements.

Still, it’s a surprisingly interesting and creative entry from a band that at first appeared to be aiming for very little. Here’s hoping this is only the beginning of Kimberly’s songwriting journey–and that future efforts bring all of these pieces into alignment.

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Listen: The Band Perry – “If I Die Young”

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  1. Lucas
    May 26, 2010 at 10:59 am

    I’m left confused… by everything.

  2. Rick
    May 26, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    Musical construct is always a lot more important to me than lyrical content, and I really like the melodic flow of this song! I consider good lyrics icing on the musical cake, and although “If I Die Young” has less than ideal icing the cake itself is very well prepared and tasty. I’ll likely be spending a buck to download this song from Amazon, and there aren’t very many new country songs that motivate me to take that plunge these days…

  3. Jon G.
    May 26, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    I can’t get the link to work…

  4. Jon G.
    May 26, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    The message I’m getting is definitely not that this is merely a hypothetical but rather that she does, in fact, expect to die young.
    I agree that the part about an artist’s work being worth more after you die is odd.
    It’s at least better than “Hip to My Heart,” if nothing else.

  5. Vicki
    May 26, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    I’m still at work but I still can’t get the link to work either.

  6. Jim Malec
    May 26, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Link is now working.

  7. Felipe
    May 26, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    What impressed me most was that she said it was the countriest song of the band and blah blah blah. Maybe Kellie Pickler will have to teach them what is country with her next album…

  8. Leeann Ward
    May 26, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    I know it’s out there, but I wonder if her thoughts starts with “if”, but turns into “when” the more she thinks about it? Sometimes, dwelling on something dark kind of makes the idea seem even darker and more likely to occur.

    John G said: “I agree that the part about an artist’s work being worth more after you die is odd.”

    Oftentimes it is.

  9. Leeann Ward
    May 26, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Oh yeah, I forgot to say that I’d probably like this song better if not for the background vocals.

  10. idlewildsouth
    May 26, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    I really enjoy this song, though I do admit it seems a little disconnected from line to line. The part about the rainbow kills me every time. If nothing else, it certainly shows a good bit of promise.

  11. Thomas
    May 26, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    …no doubt they are a talented trio. i really enjoy kimberly perry’s singing. morbid but remarkable country.

  12. Momin
    May 26, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    I must say that the song is quite a different one compared to other songs released by upcoming country artists. Moreover, if this song would have recorded by an older group or solo artist, it would have had a bitter-mood to it, whereas the Band Perry being young-adults convey the message is a bitter-sweet manner that highlights the senses of the not-very-well-developed young minds of such a situation, which is a good thing since the song makes it fit to their age-group. I do agree with the disconnected lines, but it is still a really good effort, considering it is very country and melodically brilliant. I love it when she says, “Funny when you’re dead how people start listening”, then there is silence for a fraction of a second, and then a soft music for about three seconds where the listener starts to ponder over such a situation, almost deep in thought due to the reality-check, and starts to say, “Yeah, this is so true!” when Kimberly again starts singing the chorus.

  13. Nicolas
    May 26, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    This song is good, and I quite enjoy her voice <3

  14. Stephanie Rehder
    May 26, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    I don’t really care for this song, it sounds like a fresh faced little girl trying to be melancholy and convey something she’s never felt before. Not my cup of tea.

  15. WAYNOE
    May 26, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    10 down & 4 up for Malec year-to-date. Come on Jim, where’s the love?

  16. Rick
    May 26, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Stephanie Rehder said: “I don’t really care for this song, it sounds like a fresh faced little girl trying to be melancholy and convey something she’s never felt before.”

    Well Kimberly Perry is 26 years old, so she’s a bit outside the “fresh faced little girl” age bracket at this point…

  17. Leeann Ward
    May 26, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Also, this song could easily fit the “fresh faced” angst without feeling unnatural.

  18. Stephanie Rehder
    May 26, 2010 at 8:15 pm


    I didn’t say she is a “fresh faced little girl” I said it sounds like a fresh faced little girl singing about things she doesn’t know about. You could be a “fresh faced little girl” and sound more honest than this song does.

  19. Jon G.
    May 26, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    And, Rick, wouldn’t whether or not a 26 year old sounds like a fresh faced little girl depend on the age of a listener?

    And I didn’t mean that an artist’s work being worth more after said artist’s death is strange-it happens all the time. I meant that Kimberly saying that in the song was odd. It almost made me wonder if she actually was dying, which may be part of what Jim was trying to convey.

  20. BRIAN
    May 27, 2010 at 12:36 am

    I don’t get it. I never listen to lyrics and try to decipher the meanings behind them. I had enough of that crap when I was in school with English Lit. and stuff. I listen to the music for the melodies. Guess that’s why I’m not a critic! It must suck to have to be so cynical when listening to what the rest of us just simply get to enjoy. I think this song is great. In fact, I already had it downloaded and have been listening to it quite a bit. It was the iTunes free download a couple weeks ago. It never crossed my mind that it “lacked a sense of direction”. Just a beautiful voice over a good melody. Remind me to never become a critic, I’ll just continue to enjoy the music for what it is.

  21. karen
    May 27, 2010 at 4:02 am

    I’m with the review.. great sound, very upbeat but the lyrics are dreary and murky, very depressing.. they don’t go with music or vocal.. it’s just strange at best..

  22. Stormy
    May 27, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Brian: That is exactly how one of my best friend’s wound up thinking that Sublime’s Santeria was a fun song, and how she wound up being horribly disappointed when I pointed out it was actually about a guy wanting to kill the guy his girlfriend is cheating on him with.

  23. BRIAN
    May 27, 2010 at 9:50 am

    STORMY: Did that knowledge ruin the song for your friend? It’s guite OBVIOUS what he’s singing about it that song anyway….. “Stick that barrel straight down Sancho’s throat, believe me when I say that I got something for his punk-ass” Doesn’t exactly take a rocket scientist to hear the meaning in that!

  24. sam (sam)
    May 27, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Brian says, “It must suck to have to be so cynical when listening to what the rest of us just simply get to enjoy.”

    But for me, thinking about words and their meaning brings me great joy. So it doesn’t “suck” at all for me, though maybe it does suck to someone who didn’t like the high school “English Lit crap” (I didn’t like English lit either, though). I enjoy music, art, literature, and non-fiction more when I “try to decipher the meaning” than when I read uncritically.

    Also, I don’t think the fact that one is interested in analyzing the meaning of words suggests in anyway that one is cynical. As I understand it, cynics are people who believe that selfishness is what motivates humans to act. I think there are many people out there who enjoy analyzing language but do not adopt a cynical attitude.

    I will say though that I enjoy many songs that have stupid or inane lyrics that do not withstand the scrutiny of the critical analysis. Lyrics are just part of what makes a song enjoyable to me and I do enjoy some songs whose lyrics I find sub-par.

  25. Jim Malec
    May 27, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Lyrics are especially important in this genre.

    To be sure, there’s some excellent instrumental country music out there. But a song like this–as well as, I would argue, the vast majority of contemporary country music–is produced from a narrative, lyric-centric standpoint. Because of that, I think it makes sense to consider the lyrics as being somewhat more important than the track when reviewing the whole.

    That should come as no surprise to anyone who had been reading my reviews for very long.

  26. Lucas
    May 27, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    What are the chances Coca-Cola paid for the name drop? Seriously. Labels have done it before.

  27. M.C.
    May 27, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Jim–While lyrics can be an important part of country music–storytelling and narrative are part of what sets it apart as a genre–I don’t know that I agree that they’re more important. I do disagree that the “vast majority” of contemporary country music is produced “from a narrative, lyric-centric standpoint.” I’d say the productions and arrangements are considered at least as important by those working in the studio, and by radio programmers and the like. If Lady Antebellum or Taylor Swift cut their lyrics to shuffles or old-time swing, or if they rocked too hard or had the wrong guitar or drum sound, they wouldn’t get played on country radio or be considered contemporary country in the first place.
    A long list of recent hit artists are as identified by their music and arrangements as they are by their lyrics: Urban, Aldean, Big & Rich, Miranda Lambert, Gretchen Wilson, Jamey Johnson, even Carrie Underwood and Swift…each have a pretty distinctive sound that is as much a part of who they are as their lyrics, even if it’s not as obvious on first listens or as easy to write about in reviews. Brad Paisley obviously spends a lot of time on his lyrics, but take away his hooks and his guitar solos and the way his band plays together, and those songs wouldn’t be nearly the same.
    I recently read an essay on Dwight Yoakam that credited his music, and how smartly he made traditional music sound fresh and contemporary, as being more responsible for his success than his words. Even though I think he’s a strong lyricist, I thought the writer made a good point.
    I think the best some of the country songwriters, guys like Hank and Willie and Monroe, understood how important the sound of their songs were, and sometimes this isn’t credited enough.
    On the other hand, I think journalists and writers are obviously attuned to words and lyrics, and that’s why they often get more of a focus in reviews than the music.

  28. Jon
    May 27, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Yeah, what M.C. said. Nicely done.

  29. Jim Malec
    May 27, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    I think, however, that the “sound” of the song works only subordinately to the lyrics. If the lyrics don’t make sense, the fact that the song has a particular sound won’t matter. I think that when people listen to country music, they generally hear the lyrics first and the music second.

    There are exceptions. I can remember writing a handful of reviews for this publication where I’ve noted that the instrumentation, arrangement or production of a song created a positive listening experience in spite of weak lyrics. But there’s a difference between “weak” lyrics and lyrics that have substantial issues in logic or construction.

    And I think that in country music it’s pretty difficult to save that kind of song, no matter what it sounds like.

  30. Jon
    May 27, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    People remember melodies, signature licks, and even arrangement touches while forgetting lyrics all the time; how often do people remember lyrics while forgetting the melodies to which they’re attached?

  31. cynic
    May 27, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    I will listen to this song once a day if it means I never have to hear “Hip to my Heart” again.

  32. M.C.
    May 27, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I understand your point, and most listeners are going to cite lyrics as the reference point for why they like or don’t like a song. But, in most cases, I don’t think one is subordinate to the other. The arrangement and sound of a record is as important in identifying it as a country song as the lyrics are. I could rephrase your statement to say, “If the music doesn’t work, it doesn’t matter what the lyrics are.”
    Saying that people hear the lyrics first and the music second doesn’t quite make sense. They obviously have to hear them both at the same time. In country, they may notice the lyrics more, but that doesn’t make the music any less important, because if someone didn’t like the way it sounded, they wouldn’t bother listening to the words.

  33. Jon G.
    May 27, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    I think that part if it is just the individual.
    I, for one, remember lyrics at least as much as I do melody. It’s just how my brain works. Music without lyrics, for me, is shallow.
    I agree with both Jim and MC; lyrics are more important to the genre than music, as even though country music evolves, country has remained the most narrative-based genre and that is part of how people identify country, but that doesn’t mean sound is not also important, especially when it comes to an artist defining his or her own niche.

    And Sam (Sam), nicely put. I was going to say the exact same thing.

  34. Jim Malec
    May 27, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Sure, melodies are what make a song singable and memorable. I agree with you absolutely. But I still think that country songs aren’t primarily about that. I think country songs need that, but the first building block is almost always a story with characters that listeners can relate to in some way. If a listener can’t follow the logic of a song, can’t understand what the song is about, or can’t relate to the song, they’re probably going to gloss over it.

    I think really good example of this is the Americana genre. So much Americana has this wonderful, interesting melodies and arrangements…but the lyrics are often so complicated and/or abstract that the stories are somewhat inaccessible.

    I just don’t think people come to country music because they’re looking for great musicianship first.

  35. Jim Malec
    May 27, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    @M.C.: I could rephrase your statement to say, “If the music doesn’t work, it doesn’t matter what the lyrics are.”

    Maybe my view of this is tainted, but I would argue that most mainstream country music doesn’t strive for interesting music–only music that “works” in the context of the format. Which makes evaluating the music in-depth sort of a moot exercise a lot of the time. Half of what on country radio amount to a carbon copy of the song before it. And when you write a lot of reviews, pointing out the one original four bar guitar lick sort of takes away from the broader analysis.

    they may notice the lyrics more, but that doesn’t make the music any less important, because if someone didn’t like the way it sounded, they wouldn’t bother listening to the words.

    But there’s a difference between liking the way something sounds and being really excited or inspired by. That goes back to the point I just made.

  36. Bob
    May 27, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    MC said “… In country, they may notice the lyrics more, but that doesn’t make the music any less important, because if someone didn’t like the way it sounded, they wouldn’t bother listening to the words.” For me this is not limited to how the guitars, etc. sound. It’s very much how the singer sounds. The lyrics and the musical arrangement could be identical. If the singer’s voice make me wince I’m not buying the song.

  37. nm
    May 27, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    M.C., don’t forget Yoakam’s jeans. I’m just saying.

    I think lyrics are more important in country than in, say, metal. I think they’re not more important in country than in, say, emo. I don’t think country lyrics must make sense (I mean, “You Can’t Roller-Skate in a Buffalo Herd” is a thing of genius) but if they’re going to make a claim to narrative truth they’d better, and if they’re going to make a claim to emotional evocations, they’d better.

  38. nm
    May 27, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    how often do people remember lyrics while forgetting the melodies to which they’re attached?

    Ooooh, me, me! And the other way around, of course. But if there’s a tricky chord change or modulation, the lyrics help me out a lot. Not that anyone but my shower-head ever wants to hear, so maybe it’s moot.

  39. Tara Seetharam
    May 27, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    “Sure, melodies are what make a song singable and memorable.”

    I think we’re probably just two different kinds of music listeners, but this to me is a gross understatement. I firmly believe there are instances when melodies speak more meaningfully than even the most well-crafted lyrics. There are plenty of melodies that are written with such poignancy and attention to mood, theme and emotion that they alone can make a listener deeply understand a song. These kinds of melodies, like you said, excite and inspire me, perhaps more than anything else in music.

  40. Jim Malec
    May 28, 2010 at 2:25 am


    Not meaning anything by this, but I’m just curious: what are some examples of that, for you, in country music?

  41. Bob
    May 28, 2010 at 6:50 am

    There was an article in the Tennessean by Peter Cooper a few months ago saying that co-writing is king in Nashville. I wonder if there are any well known country songwriters who strictly compose music and leave the lyrics to a co-writer like Elton John and Bernie Taupin?

  42. Leeann Ward
    May 28, 2010 at 6:56 am

    For me, the first example that comes to mind is Gillian Welch’s “Orphan Girl.” I have two versions of it, hers and Crooked Still’s. Both versions are incredibly good, but Crooked Still changes the tempo and even the structure of the melody. As a result, both have the same lyrics, but Welch’s conveys the emotion through melody better than Crooked Still.

  43. Max
    May 28, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    This band is one of few that gives me hope for the future of country music. I loved their last single and I enjoy this one too.

    Did you mean “the beginning” of her songwriting career in the last paragraph?

  44. Ben Foster
    May 28, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    This review made some good points about the song’s lyrics – they were a little hard to understand, and there were a few loose ends. But overall, I thought it was a strong single. I haven’t heard production like this in a long time. The Appalachian fiddle is just gorgeous. I also like that the Perry siblings are showing us an entirely different side of themselves after having marginal success with the cute-but-frivolous “Hip to My Heart.” I also have to give them some credit for daring to release a melancholy ballad at the beginning of summertime – a time when most people only want to think of suntans and string bikinis. True, the lyrics could have been better, but it sounds to me like the Band Perry is trying very hard to give us something worthwhile. I will likely be writing my own review of this song when its release date draws closer, and it may be slightly more positive.

  45. Bobby P.
    May 30, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Admittedly, I didn’t touch quite as deeply on the lyrics in my review, but I can see where Jim’s coming from. I think that the lyrics are supposed to represent the imperfectly focused view of a younger adult, and I would say that there are enough strong lines to make up for the lesser ones.

    But I liked “Hip to My Heart,” so what do I know. :-P

  46. Tara Seetharam
    May 31, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    Jim, to clarify, the melodies I’m referring to are obviously best served when they’re accompanied by expressive voices. So to answer your question, I’d offer Vince Gill’s catalogue as one of my favorite examples: “I Still Believe in You,” “Whenever You Come Around,” “Tryin’ to Get Over You,” etc. I wouldn’t say “I Still Believe in You” has particularly interesting or telling lyrics (“I still believe in you/With a love that will always be/Standing so strong and true/Baby, I still believe in you and me”), but the melody is so incredibly emotive, and Gill sings the hell out of it.

    Personally, if I had to choose between songs like that, where the “story” is more embedded in the voice/melody/production than it is in the lyrics themselves, and songs that are superbly written but are lacking elsewhere…I’d choose the former. Like I said, I think we’re probably just two types of music listeners, and I’m likely the minority when it comes to country music.

  47. Jen
    June 1, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    No doubt about it, it does leave you confused. But great music cannot always be explained, by the critics nor the songwriters. Music is an expression of your feelings and emotions and we all know that those can often be contridicting and we are confused with them as well.

  48. courtney
    June 3, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    I’m with Tara and Jen 100% on this. I came away kind of confused, especially after the lyric in the bridge, “what I never did is done”. Unless I misheard it, does that not hint at suicide to anyone else? Even more confusing, the rest of the song seems to suggest had the narrator died young, it would be a sharp knife… an accident… too soon.

    And I can’t explain it, but just the way Kimberly sings the word “well” in this chorus is so haunting to me. Damn.

    (Cut me some slack, I’m new to country music and this site! :)

  49. Brooke
    June 5, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    This is a really stupid review. The author has obviously never listened to comtemporary bluegrass (newgrass, if you will) music before. It does not have two themes–it’s about one overarching theme that this reviewer doesn’t see. It’s a gorgeous song–one that would top Taylor Swift on the charts any day if more people had taste.

  50. Stormy
    June 5, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Brooke, newgrass is a specific genre that has nothing to do with Taylor Swift. If you are going to talk about them being new grass it would be more meaningful if you talked about how they stack up next to The Duhks, The New Riders of the Purple Stage, Yonder Moutain String Band, OCMS, and bands like that.

  51. Jon
    June 5, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    If you are going to talk about them being new grass it would be more meaningful if you talked about how they stack up next to The Duhks, The New Riders of the Purple Stage, Yonder Moutain String Band, OCMS, and bands like that.

    Hmm, let me think…nope, that’s utterly, totally wrong. None of those are newgrass acts. Nor bluegrass, neither. And, in fact, if you actually listened to them, you’d know that their music doesn’t have very much in common at all.

    Whereas The Band Perry has at least been using some actual bluegrass musicians…

  52. J.B.
    June 5, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    I agree with Tara, above. Even though country music, and subcategories thereof, tend to have a structured format, I think it is a bit *too* artistically limiting to say that the most important aspect of a certain song type must ALWAYS be lyrics or melody or vocal interpretation, etc.

    But be that as it may, I’m a very abstract person and had absolutely no trouble “deciphering” the lyrics. They’re actually pretty straightforward for me, and I found this song as a whole to be a fairly honest rendering of a musical impulse. Not my favorite, but not bad.

  53. merlefan49
    June 5, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    I don’t hear bluegrass of any kind in this song.

  54. Jon
    June 5, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    I don’t see how anyone could miss the bluegrass influences.

  55. merlefan49
    June 6, 2010 at 10:20 am

    What I am I listening for what are the bluegrass influences?

  56. Jim Malec
    June 6, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    “Whereas The Band Perry has at least been using some actual bluegrass musicians…”

    AKA how many of Jon’s friends and acquaintances played on the track/record…

  57. Seth
    June 7, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Why does every thread end up in an arguement? I hear people hating on a band that has made it somewhere. Why? If you don’t like the sound then that is your deal. Doesn’t mean that it “sucks”, it means YOU don’t like it. Calm down people. TBP’s sound isn’t really my favorite genre, but they sound good in their own way.

  58. Kyle
    June 7, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    I don’t love this song, but like it infintely more than Hip To My Heart, which I thought was one of the dumber bubble-gum-pop-country songs in recent memory. I mean, has anyone even used the phrase “hip to” in the last 20 years?

    It’s not perfectly written, but I appreciate that they’re taking a risk here and trying to hit on something deep and moving. I also think it’s nice musically – really fits the haunting tone. I’ll take an imperfect but ambitious effort over a cliche, pandering one every time.

    Here’s hoping their future releases more closely resemble this single than their first.

  59. Jon
    June 8, 2010 at 7:47 am

    What I am I listening for what are the bluegrass influences?

    Listen to the interlude after the first chorus at :18; the backing behind the second chorus at :55; the harmonies in verse 2 and the fiddle (or maybe viola) backup; listen to the solo at 2:00; listen to the little interlude at 2:44 before it comes back into the chorus/outro, and to the backup in the whole closing passage. It’s hard to imagine any arranger coming up with stuff like that (and more) without a familiarity with bluegrass rhythms and textures, and that’s what “influences” pretty much means.

    “Whereas The Band Perry has at least been using some actual bluegrass musicians…”
    AKA how many of Jon’s friends and acquaintances played on the track/record…

    In this case, no – I have no idea who played on the track/record; I was referring to something else – but given how many actual bluegrass musicians I know, that would be a reasonable “AKA.”

  60. merlefan49
    June 8, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Thanks Jon.

  61. Kat
    June 8, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    i think the song is ment to put an easier meaning to the poem “the lady of shalott” by tennyson. the poem is shown in the book at the end of the music video and it speask of a woman trapped in a tower with a window she can’t look out of or she’ll recieve a curse. when launcelot rides by her tower she looks out the window and recieves the curse, which is to die young. i think the song was just speaking of the girl who chose a couple minutes of real life than an eternity in a prison.

  62. Drew
    June 9, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    The female vocalist here sounds just like Canadian artist Jessie Farrell, right down to the little “uh-oh, uh-oh” at about 20 seconds in.

  63. Adriana Joy
    June 14, 2010 at 2:11 am

    Wow. I don’t know that I can analyze a song down to the pieces that those before me have, but, when a song is so captivating…fresh and unique, that you park your car, and cannot imagine turning off the engine for fear of missing one second…THAT’s when you know it’s touched something that people can relate to. When it makes you wonder, (and you know that you have thought about DYING…because everyone does), it’s already caught you. The music or the lyrics, both which are unique, (and THAT’s what is refreshing), are undeniably what questions and feelings mom’s and daughters, and those who have lost loved one’s wonder and imagine and hope for. I think that if you do wonder if you might die young or old, you wonder who would care, and how you might like to be remembered…she does all of this. I think it’s totally focused in all of it’s dimensions…a topic such as death can bring up so many emotions, and she covers most…the image of how she wants to go, the person who she wants to find peace in it (although she still has to “bury her baby”), the place where she hopes to go, the things that she wants people to hear that they don’t in life, and she even brings in the lost or lack of true love in the midst…totally amazing to hear country on the radio that IS NOT familiar or commom in ANY way. I know that not everyone will agree with me, but, that’s okay…like some have said, music is meant to make a connection, between people. it’s expression and communication, and I fully felt it, in a good way when i heard it on the radio. I love the author’s critique for a new perspective that I never even halfway would have thought. I see how he might have thought those things…then again, he’s not a girl in her mid-twenties with musical talent running through her veins…I am, and I get it. I learned it on guitar the same night, and posted it on my FB for all my friends to check out. They are amazing. Thank God they decided to pursue music!

  64. Deb
    June 15, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    For heavens sake, why overthink everything.
    Lovely voice. Lots of promise. Period.

  65. Stormy
    June 15, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Not all of us hating thinking. One of my pet peeves is when someone says “I like that book/song/movie/TV show because you don’t have to think about it.”

  66. Deb
    June 15, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    Oh, I don’t have a problem with looking at lyrics and trying to understand what the message is. But, there is thinking about the lyrics, and then analyzing them to the point where you totally overlook the fact that this person was just writing a song, and sings it well. My pet peeve is when someone anayzes every word you say & write to find out every minute meaning behind it all.

  67. klark
    June 18, 2010 at 6:02 am

    yeah.. this is the 2nd time that I will disagree with the 9513.

    I think it’ll work better in the charts if it was written as an emo song. LoL.

  68. Dennis
    June 20, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Are you joking me!!! This is one of the best songs of 2010… This song could be viewed in many ways.. which is what songs should be all about… I feel this song is amazingly beautiful…

  69. Shannon
    June 21, 2010 at 1:06 am

    I do not agree with this review nor do I agree with the statements that the lyrics are confusing or disconnected. While I might be convinced to see how it could confuse those who haven’t seen the lyrics, I would not make that same statement to someone who has. In my opinion once you have seen the lyrics the song is easily understood. It does require a little thinking on the part of the listener but I for one appreciate the thought that goes into this song.

    Recently a very good friends teenage daughter passed away after a long illness. I think all the time spent in and out of the hospital made her much more mature then any 16 year old should have to be. She chose what her “Celebration of Life” would be like. She wrote her own Eulogy and chose the scripters to be read as well as the music she wanted played. This was the last song that she chose and she chose it to be the last song played. I said she was a smart girl and I don’t honestly think she could have chosen a more fitting ending. Some songs are meant to make you think outside of yourself. I love this song for being one of them and I do appreciate the meaning of it for what it is.

  70. Alexis
    June 29, 2010 at 12:24 am

    Very captivating song. Great video. Reminds me of the movie Anne of Green Gables.

  71. Ashely
    July 1, 2010 at 10:36 am

    i really like this song. great tune. great meaning. great voice

  72. Dan
    July 2, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Where is the originality? Sure she has a great voice and the musicians are able to play flawlessly but after I hear this song there is nothing to make me think, “Wow, I’ve never heard that before.” It’s generic perfection like most extremely popular music. It lacks character. What happened to taking a chance and making something interesting???

    I do like the line “the sharp knife of a short life.”

  73. Indiana
    July 2, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    look up Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shalott” on sparknotes. If you watch the video, it’s the last think you see.

  74. Li
    July 6, 2010 at 12:43 am

    I recently lost a friend in a car accident. She was the most loving and beautiful girl and is missed by many. At only 20 years old she was taken away from us and went to be with the Lord.
    Honestly it does not matter how much you can criticize the lyrics or melody; this song has its own meaning for those who have lost someone young. This song tells her story as if it was written for her. It is comforting. The value of this song lies not in the structural integrity of its lyrics but rather in its appeal to human emotion.

  75. Stormy
    July 6, 2010 at 7:50 am

    One of my childhood friends died when she was 13 and this song doesn’t speak much about her.

  76. Li
    July 7, 2010 at 1:15 am

    I suppose it means different things to different people in different situations – an aspect that makes it all the more beautiful and valuable.

  77. Braidynn
    July 7, 2010 at 3:16 am

    I agree LI I listened to this as a song being sung by someone whose already passed partly in their life and partly in their death tied together as one mind. Anyone remember Darryl Worleys “If something should happen” video? hes singing about if he dies while in the video hes like an angel watching down. That’s sort of how I see this song. Love it I think its beautiful.

  78. Li
    July 8, 2010 at 12:15 am

    That’s a very good comparison! I think its hard for us all to wrap our minds around the concept of death so this double perspective Braidynn speaks of is confusing but fascinating. It is a part of the beauty of the song.

  79. Kirsten
    July 12, 2010 at 12:28 am

    If you watch the music video of this song, Kimberly is floating down the river in a boat–reminiscent of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Lady of Shalott. She is actually holding a book that says “Tennyson” on the front cover, and the very last shot is of the poem “The Lady of Shalott.” The whole poem, Tennyson’s, that is, is about a woman who sings and makes beautiful music but is cursed to stay in a castle and never look toward Camelot. When Lancelot rides by, she is mesmerized by his shiny glare, and so she looks, inviting the consequence of breaking the rule, which is death. So, she gets in a boat with her name on the front, and sings as she goes down the river and eventually dies in the boat. Then, Lancelot finally sees her as she drifts by, and everyone knows who she is (her singing is known throughout the land), but she is dead. So, it seems Kimberly might have been inspired by this poem of Tennyson’s, since it is referenced so heavily in the video. If you read the lyrics from the point of view of the Lady of Shalott, it becomes more poignant and though it still isn’t a perfect fit, it makes sense that at first she says “if” and then switches to “when.” Possibly, then, Kimberly has melded herself with the Lady of Shalott, and this idea makes the lyrics more remarkable than at first glance.

  80. Kirsten
    July 12, 2010 at 12:30 am

    Sorry, I didn’t see that Indiana had mentioned “Lady of Shalott” previously. Didn’t mean to steal his/her thunder. :)

  81. Vickie
    July 21, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    This band I like and I love that song if I DIE YOUNG it is beautiful and I don’t try to figure out meaning behind it I just listen every chance I get.

  82. WAYNOE
    July 28, 2010 at 8:23 am

    The more I listen to this the more I like it. Who gives a hoot about the “deep underlying” meaning of the lyrics? We get that crap all the time from these self-anointed blogger/critics or whatever one calls them.

    I like the harmony, the subtle musical arrangement, and the overall presentation of the song.

    Regardless of what “thumbs down” Malec says.

  83. Billy Beergoggles
    July 30, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Can you say career defining song! After the first song released by the trio with it’s pop-laden sound I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear more from them. I was ever so pleased to hear this song. From the mostly acoustic Blue-Grass styled instrumentals and Powerful but Heavenly Vocals and Harmony to the Philosophical Lyrics this song is destined to be one this group is remembered for throughout their career IMO.

  84. danika
    July 31, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    I enjoyed this song. I think The Band Perry is very promising and will have a succsesful career. The song is pretty and the lead has an amazing voice! As to the lines about selling her thoughts for a dollar after she’s a goner, I think she is trying to say that after someone dies specially someone young and famous people often listen/pay attention to them more (James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Kurt Cobaine, Heath Ledger… On and on) Anyway it is a great song and everyone has different oppions I believe music is what you make it out of your imagination and it is a powerful song I’m excited to hear more from the band.

  85. Emily
    August 5, 2010 at 12:06 am

    i love the song regaurdless of what other people think. in my opinion, i think that kimberly wrote this song hypothetically. i mean we never know when we are gonna die. you know. i think she wrote this song to say that if she were to die young that she is prepared and she wouldnt want the people she cares about so much to worry about where she is. and she says in the song “lord make me a rainbow to shine down on my mother” because she obviously cares about her mother worrying about where she went after shes past. and i think she put the “sink me in the river at dawn with the words of a love song” because thats probably what she wants to be burryed with. i know i want to be buryed with pics of my family and a blanket that my grandad gave me before he died. shes probably already planned what her last wishes will be. we all plan for certain occassions that may not happen for years. for example, baby names. sure it may sound like she is planning to die young but no one can really plan these things. whenever god wants you back home with him is when you will be relocated to heaven. she doesnt mean that she is planning to but just if she does die young. and i think what she is trying to get by to everyone with this song that if she were to die young…. she knows where she is going and that doesnt bother her. not that she wants to be dead. obviously she loves her life here but when god wants her back home that she is ready and prepared for when he does make that decision.

  86. Emily
    August 5, 2010 at 12:13 am

    and another thing, things in the celeb world do sell for more after the celebrity has past. for example, elvis. i guaruntee you that anyone who still has one of his records can make thousands off it from someone who really enjoys his music. when he was alive it would just sell for a 20 dollar cd just like now. yeah maybe kimberlys thoughts are worth a penny or a dollar today but when she passes someday, alot more people are gonna want to read in a book or hear from one of relatives what her thoughts were and to her thats what she would think as “worth more after im a goner”

  87. Emily
    August 5, 2010 at 12:23 am

    and in the song the part where she says ” shell know im safe with you when she stands under my colors” she wants her mom to think of her whenever there is a rainbow outside.

  88. Deseret
    August 6, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    To me this song is what we never stop and think about untill it hits us in the face. when I found this song for the frist time I was struck. So deeply I drew a pictor for it.
    I think that any one that dose like fine. But songs like this shouldn’t be slamed. There is too much heart behind it. Any one that has lost a child or solder can understand this song.
    It truly moves me heart and soul. People put to much on what the singer is looking and acting like. I say what an artest looks like and acts like has nothing to do with weather I like there song. If I like something its good. If not everyone has there own say in what they like. But I belevea people shouldn’t slame others. Just because you don’t like the way they do things.

  89. Josi
    August 8, 2010 at 1:44 am

    Personally I enjoy the song very much. I actually first heard about it from my friends who all love it just as much as I do.who cares if the lyrics don’t make any sense to you becuase maybe they do to someone else? I completely agree with desert when he/she said “songs like this shouldn’t be slamed. There is too much heart behind it. Any one that has lost a child or solder can understand this song” When I first heard this song I was brought almost tears because it made me remember a co worker and friend of mine who graduated from high school this year with me and who passed away tragically just one day after graduation. Its wierd to think that while my parents are sad bc im moving just three hours away where I can visit at anytime her parents are crushed bc they won’t ever get to see her again. At least not here on earth. So while maybe this song is garbage to some its not to people like me who can relate to a song like this.

  90. Cheyenne
    August 8, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    This song I believe is very lyrical and i think the lines go well together. I beleive they are saying no matter what happens to me I will have done what ive wanted to do, although nobody has been listining to me but maybe if im dead they will pay more attention to what i have said and what i have done. but this song is verry appealing to young people everywhere. especially to the kids who have lost someone close such as a freind who was taken by the “sharp knife of a short life”. great song i believe

  91. Casey
    August 9, 2010 at 10:25 am

    The 9513 barely knows a good song when they come across one. Even one that sort of slaps you in the face, like this one.

    The lyrics are soothingly bittersweet, but let sink in the realization that this could happen to anyone. How do we want to be remembered?

    Kims vocal on the song is soft but commanding. She catches your attention right off the bat.

    Look at what The 9513 says about most of Carrie Underwood’s releases, and look at how well she charts. Obviously the masses disagree with this site.

    And I think they will send this song to the top of the charts. It’s an excellent. You don’t get a vocal matched with a lyric like this very often. It brings back memories of “Strawberry Wine.” Such vulnerable songs.

    The Band Perry are the next big up-and-comings!!!

  92. Casey
    August 9, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Sorry ^^^5th paragraph “It’s an excellent song.” Typos, ugh. lol

  93. Casey
    August 9, 2010 at 10:32 am

    I’d LOVE to hear what the reviewers at this site have to say about Taylor Swift’s new song “Mine.”

    That’s all :)

  94. Stormy
    August 9, 2010 at 11:02 am

    1. Of course people are going to negatively review a song that slapped them.
    2. “The Masses” have no say is chart position.
    3. The reviewers of this site gave Mine a thumbs down.
    4. Matraca Berg called–she wants to respond to you invitation to a buttwhooping.

  95. Kristie
    August 9, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    This song is clearly based on The Poem by Tennyson “The Lady of Shalott”. Read the poem, pick up the obvious hints in the video then re-write your review.

  96. MisterOriginal
    August 13, 2010 at 6:28 am

    I love the song and happen to have two thumbs, BOTH of which are up!

  97. Brandon Hardy
    August 17, 2010 at 8:43 am

    I think this song is amazing…I lost a close friend last month, and for this song to be out now is eerie. I dont think she was speaking to an artists worth after death but anyones worth. When we die those around us suddenly appreciate our lives. We miss someone, and loss makes it clearly evident, even when we dont show that enough in life. To me this song is full of hope for what comes after. The lyric about entering is kingdom wearing white brings a lump to my throat. Losing such a good person so young is a hard thing to go through. But the thought that there is a greater plan for all of us, and that there was some purpose in a seemingly senseless and early death is as hopeful as one can be in this instance. All in all an amazing, hearwrenching song, that touches me to the core.

  98. Sheila
    August 19, 2010 at 10:33 am

    I love this song. Critics have to remember the writer is young and is expressing a myriad of thoughts from “if I die young” to “what I want if I die young” and maybe her personal observations of people who have lost a young child. Lots of important and deep thoughts going through a young woman’s head in my opinion. It’s not meant to be a thesis… just some thought put to words which some may or may not find comforting. It’s an important topic approached at a new angle and I think it is very creative and beautiful.

  99. Gina
    August 22, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Im 18 was in my room listening to this song my mom walks in and slaps me and say “dont u dare”

  100. Leeann Ward
    August 22, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Your mom is not nice.

  101. sabrina
    August 31, 2010 at 11:59 am

    i love this song. you all did a good job

  102. Brittney
    August 31, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Have y’all never seen the music video? In the video, she has with her a book of poetry by Tennyson and at the end it shows the poem, “The Lady of Shalott.” If you look that up and read a quick analysis of the poem, it explains pretty much the entire song.

  103. Stormy
    August 31, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    So basically its a good thing that she couldn’t come up with her own idea for a song?

  104. Jooliann Huff
    September 2, 2010 at 9:56 am

    The BP’s if i die young is a really great song, I think yall are digging too deep. Kimberly Perry is a great writer, yeah she’s a little left of the middle on some of her lyric choices, but only in a way that makes her songs more interesting. I do agree, that “if I die young” isn’t the most direct song, but you know what she’s saying and get the idea. If anything I think her writing style leaves more to the imagination, making the song more universal. Dig too deep in any song and you’re gonna find it’s rarely worded perfectly, you have to read between the lines a little in this one, but I think it’s pretty straight forward.

  105. Regina George
    September 2, 2010 at 10:06 am

    The Band Perry is a breath of much needed fresh air. They are creative, unique, and they stand out. “If I Die Young” may not be the most direct in their message, but srsly, just read between the lines. The Lyrics are so different and innovative that it’s not only acceptable but completley necessary. and that’s totally okay, with all the shit on the radio these days. I agree with Joolian in that it’s a universal song, and seeking for some kind of perfectly outlined plot is pointless because that’s not the intention of the song. I love these guys. See them live, it will change your whole opinion.

  106. sydni
    September 2, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    The song If I Die Yonge is amazing!!!!!!!

  107. Brandi
    September 3, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    I really love the song, but it is confusing too. The music video doesn’t help either. One of the parts that confused me was that at the beginning she seems to be dead, and then comes back alive. She talks about her mom burying her baby, but then, in the video comes walking back in at the end.

    As with many people, I was confused if this was a “if I die young” song or “when I die young” song, which are two totally different things. Originally I thought at was literally plans on what to do if she dies.

    It just seems like the whole song keeps going back and fourth to random things and it left me a little confused. That being said, I still love it.

  108. Jon
    September 3, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    2. “The Masses” have no say is chart position.

    True for airplay charts, manifestly untrue for sales charts. Hope you haven’t given up your day job for a career in music journalism, Stormy!

    So basically its a good thing that she couldn’t come up with her own idea for a song?


    I’d love to read your one-sentence review of _Ulysses_.

  109. Sad
    September 9, 2010 at 12:29 am

    I’m still deciding how I really feel about this song. It’s certainly catchy and thought provoking. But the main thing I get out of it is suicide. I have lost 2 young (15 and 29) people to suicide in the last 3 years and I’m pretty damn sensitive about the topic. The lines: “A penny for my thoughts, oh no, I’ll sell them for a dollar” “They’re worth so much more after I’m a goner” “And maybe then you’ll hear the words I been singing” “Funny when you’re dead how people start listening”

    On the one hand, maybe these are good lines to help people think about listening to young people in their lives, but yet for me these lines also validate a dark train of thought that sometimes leads people to a huge mistake.

    And, I also see the Tennyson/Anne of Green Gables connection. Not all that original.

  110. CountryBoy
    September 13, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    I agree, the musicians are talented, but those lyrics are iffy. The band can say that the lyrics mean whatever they want to say they mean… but that doesn’t mean that the people who listen to the music will have the same opinion of what they mean.

    On some websites I have seen comments, often attributed to the artist, where they claim the lyrics to be about carpe diem and living life to the fullest.

    I do not see how “Penny for my thoughts? / No, I’ll sell them for a dollar. / They’ll be worth so much more after I’m a gonner” fits in to their version of carpe diem.

    I don’t see at all, anywhere in the lyrics where she is saying “live your life to the fullest” or “seize the day” or even “be optimistic and cherish it” It seems more like she is planning or even glorifying dying young.

  111. sled
    October 3, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    When I heard this song I thought maybe it meant that her husband beat her to death from the lyrics “I’m as green as the ring on my finger” ” I never knew the loving of a man” and ” maybe now you’ll hear the words I’ve been singing ita funny when you’re dead how people start listening” idk that’s just what I thought. Anyone else? I absolutely love this song and her amazing voice. I’m definitely a fan of the band perry.!

  112. what i think
    October 7, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    i want to know if someone really deied and what happend can u tell me

  113. Mike D.
    October 9, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    I read a lot of the comments along with the post, and I don’t understand why the song seems so confusing or even “disconnected” to some. She introduces the hypothetical idea in the beginning of the song and then goes on to paint a picture of what events might take place if she had actually died, hence the change in language. She mentions her mother and how she might feel, she mentions the boy that had feelings for her, and even makes reference to being an artist and how it would be sort of bittersweet that if she did die young her art (or music) would be worth more. It’s all very connected: don’t take loved ones for granted, enjoy romance and love while you have it, and follow your dreams because you never know how it may turn out – all these to say live life to the fullest. This song is about living, not dying. And it is actually very well written. I like it!

  114. m.a.c.
    October 13, 2010 at 8:34 am

    i love you song it makes me think of my life listing to your song

  115. Dan E
    October 14, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    I’m loving this song more and more. It’s very well written and the music video for this song is outstanding.

  116. WAYNOE
    October 14, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Actually this song could be career-defining. I now list it as one of my favorites for the year. Sorry that you don’t agree Malec. You are entitled to be wrong.

  117. Jerry
    October 14, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    I heard them live at the CMA fest at the riverfront.They are very talented and the crowd loved them.All in all,isnt that what they have to do? Lyrics aside,they had the people eating out of their hands.If you dig into the lyrics,I am sure you can find a dark message if you want,but live and in person given the environment,its just plain entertaining and that will make them some serious cash.

  118. Kevin
    October 17, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Ok, who in their youth thought they would make it past 18? Be honest please, because most of us don’t plan to make it past certain points in our life. Depending on the person that will also effect the way you live, so to say she is trying to wrap two songs into one is a lucrative statement. The reason I’m attracted to this artist is because she doesn’t use the little teenie-bopper lyrics you see in 95% of new songs. If you actually take in the song and listen to it I think that you will realize it’s more than some cheap lyrics with background music. Also watch the music video and pay attention to the imagery, I doubt that you are capable of taking this all in at once so watch it a couple times.

  119. Erick
    October 21, 2010 at 1:53 am

    She’s cute though LOL

  120. stormy
    October 21, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Ok, who in their youth thought they would make it past 18? Be honest please, because most of us don’t plan to make it past certain points in our life.
    Who didn’t, elsewise why do we all plan for careers to have when we grow up?

  121. Miki
    October 21, 2010 at 10:21 am

    I read most (not all of the comments). I like the tune, and the voice, but the lyrics make me think of a young person who has lost hope and is contemplating suicide. She has never known the love of a man but it felt nice when he held her hand.. her mother burying her baby, and wanting to come back as a rainbow so her mother would know she is okay. She sounds as if she feels that once she’s dead, people will finally understand all the pain she is in.

    That’s my take on it.

    And yes, I was quite certain I’d live past 18.. lol. If anything, I think when you’re young you think you’re going to live forever– hence all the risky behavior without regard to consequence.

  122. Cutting the Treacle
    October 21, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Miki: “yes, I was quite certain I’d live past 18.. lol. If anything, I think when you’re young you think you’re going to live forever– hence all the risky behavior without regard to consequence.”

    Me: Completely agree. At 18, I was invincible. I understand that I could be walking down the sidewalk and get run over by a dump truck that’s run off the street. But assuming I avoid that fate, I’m expecting to hit my Biblical 70 years.

  123. nobs
    October 22, 2010 at 10:31 am

    HATE THIS SONG. I don’t know why everyone thinks this girl has a good voice. The song is okay, but disturbing. But what gets me the most about people is the fact that you can throw an interesting melody and a mandolin in there and suddenly.. TA DA.. it’s bluegrass. Please.

  124. Susan
    October 25, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    From a critical songwriting viewpoint this song has it shortcomings…. as a listener this song hits a homerun from several perspectives…the strongest being some of the clever, precise and unique phrases written. The group has a solid place in country music and I welcome. First time out kudos and keep maturing!

  125. Courtney
    October 28, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    My friend, Alicia DeBolt was murdered 2 months ago.. This is her song because it was one of her last Facebook statuses and describes everything. She also was bright, like a rainbow. Coincidentally, she wore white on her last day here with us. It’s horrible what happened, Please pray for everyone here in Great Bend. Thank you and God bless♥

  126. A.H.
    October 29, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    I have uncovered the true meaning behind the song If I Die Young. The song is based on a poem by Tennyson called The Lady of Shallot. She is a young girl put in a tower. She is told that if she leaves the tower or looks out the window, she will be cursed, but she doesn’t know the curse. One day, Lord Lancelot from King Arthur’s round table comes to her tower. She looks out the window and then knows the curse. It is that she will die young. She floats down a river in a boat towards Camelot and dies on the way there. A young death. In the music video, the girl floats down a river in a boat almost identical to the one in a painting of the Lady of Shallot floating down the river. The song also portrays Christianity. The girl sings “And I’ll be wearing white when I come into your kingdom” meaning she will get into Heaven. “Funny when you’re dead how people start listening” signifies when Jesus died and came back is when people started listening. “The ballad of a dove” is the Holy Spirit. In the music video, the girl floats down the river and dies. In the video something happens that doesn’t happen in the poem, She comes back to life. This signifies Jesus’ resurrection. Also, in the video, the girl’s mother is holding a lily, which is the flower of the resurrection. Basically, there is a choice you must make. Either to stay locked up in your “tower” for eternity or living life for a short time. If you don’t believe me, review the lyrics and watch the video. In the video, the girl is holding a poetry book while floating down the river. The book is titled Poetry: Tennyson. At the end of the video, the book opens to the very poem The Lady of Shallot. Jesus knew he was going to die and didn’t want to. “If I die young” isn’t a hypothesis. It is a story. A mix of Christianity and poetry.

  127. maddie
    October 30, 2010 at 11:01 am

    i love love song if i die young it rocks and so do u i like 1 of the boy i your band hehe well by!

  128. maddie
    October 30, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    i love you well not love love but u rock

  129. dallas
    November 10, 2010 at 9:28 am

    I loveeee this song.
    everything about it makes so much sense.
    could listen to it all day everyday. ;]
    GOOOOOOOOOO the band perrry!!!

    funny when your dead how people start listening. <3

  130. Tiff
    November 11, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    I love this song. What she’s singing about is so real. It happens everyday. Someone’s life getting cut too short. It’s absolutely amazing, I’ve listened to this song so much and still haven’t gotten sick of it.

  131. VoiceOfReason
    November 13, 2010 at 5:26 am

    The song I reckon is trying to paint a picture kinda like Rascal Flatts “Why” I cant really listen to it to much I listen to it twice and I just cant shallow it I know the song is letting off some pretty emotion lyrics and I dig that but for some reason I cant listen to the song much to often. Dunno..

  132. nikka
    November 13, 2010 at 8:44 am

    i luv the band perry they are so cool i luv all of their songs they are so pretty <3 nikka

  133. Mike Parker
    November 22, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    I shake my head every time I listen to this song. Such a strong melody, such a nice vocal… but such maudlin/silly lyrics. I haven’t read the source material (Tennyson poem) pointed to in this thread, but I’m willing to bet 99.999% of the population hasn’t either. So, starting a song out with the image of sinking a young woman in the river at dawn is a) way too “Twilight” (ironically) and b)completely unsanitary. From there it’s like one of those “what if” stories that just goes on and on to the point of being awkward.

    And then… after the one decent verse about young love, we get the “penny for my thoughts” verse. It takes a sideways leap from the somewhat formal sounding language of the rest of the song and rhymes dollar with goner. And from there it becomes almost an emo ego trip… people just don’t understand me… nobody listens to me, but I’m a genius… if I were dead, then you’d listen, then you’d understand…

    I guess I’m out of the demographic for this (35-year-old male), but it seems they could have written the song for 18 to 25-year-old women, but they decided to write it for 13-year-old girls.

    I still don’t turn it off. Like I said, such a strong melody, such a nice vocal. The arrangement reminds me of something from the Dixie Chicks “Home” album. But the lyric… IMO… a huge mess.

  134. Aleacha
    November 22, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    I love this song its the best!!!

  135. maddy
    November 26, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    i love the song if i die young ssooooooooooooo much

  136. Rossco
    November 27, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    see Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Lady of Shallot”, that will give a good explanation of the meaning behind the song, his poem actually inspired this song i heard

  137. Bo
    November 29, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Sounds like this blogger should’ve just said “Can I please be excused… my head is full.” Apparently he forgot that music is poetic.

  138. Chris
    November 30, 2010 at 12:21 am

    I disagree with the original evaluation. Yes this song harder to understand than most but like poetry you really have to dig and analyze the meaning. I really do believe its what she was trying to do with a poetry book being in her arms in the music video. I enjoy the song when i hear it and more after i looked at the lyrics closer.

    The song is basically talking to god in a hypothetical stand point if she ended up dying early from a current position in life and how she would want it to be in the after math.
    Everything is really summed up and shown in the middle as shes talking to god.
    When she says shes as green(earthly) as her ring shes stating her innocence in being so young. she also talks about how she barely loved just having crushes and is just getting into that more serious relationship part of her life but would be taken away unexpectedly.

    “I’m as green as the ring on my little cold finger
    I’ve never known the lovin’ of a man
    But it sure felt nice when he was holding my hand
    There’s a boy here in town says he’ll love me forever
    Who would have thought forever could be severed by

    The sharp knife of a short life”

  139. sarah
    December 8, 2010 at 11:10 am

    this song is awsome but sad

  140. Brooke Nichols
    December 9, 2010 at 5:04 am

    I Love this song tho I do cry every time i hear it!I had a guy that i was extremely close to die at the age of 19 jan 3 of this year and so this song just really hits at home with knowing how hard it was for his close friends and family to watch him be lowered into that cold hard ground and i’ve honestly never seen so many rainbows in one year that i have this year!Thank you so much for this amazing song that is so true

  141. Moo
    December 14, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    It might be because I’m only a teenager, but I find this song beautiful. I’m sorry for those of you who think the song is disconnected. I think it shows the thought process of dying young extremely well. All around me I have seen people die at my age from illness and depression. It does make you think about dying young, and this song expresses those thoughts so well. She says “funny when you’re dead how people start listening.” I feel like when people commit suicide, this is why. Because they feel no one hear’s them in the world. She expresses the loss of opportunities in “I’ve never known the loving of a man, but it sure felt nice when he was holding my hand.”
    A lot of her song refers to happy images of deaths, to show it’s not always terrible. It doesn’t have to be a woman burying a baby. It can be a beautiful rainbow in the sky.
    I also enjoy her references to Tennyson’s poem The Lady of Shalott.

  142. Stormy
    December 14, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    Except that when a teenager dies is really is a woman burrying her baby.

  143. Kara
    December 15, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    I love this song, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the reviewer has a problem with it. Malec states that lyrics are especially important in the country genre…yeah I see his point. I mean just listen to “Hillbilly Bone,” “Achy, Breaky Heart,” not to mention, “She thinks my tractor’s sexy.” Give me a break!

    Yes, Kimberly references Tennyson, but then a lot of country fans aren’t exactly English lit buffs, so I understand why a lot of people miss this.

    This band is awesome. Kimberly has a beautiful voice and the family harmony is impeccable. They have tremendous music ability, and they are genuinely NICE people. If this band doesn’t take off like a rocket, I believe it says more about the audience’s poor taste than the band itself.

  144. Stormy
    December 15, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    No one thinks that Hillbilly Bone, Achy, BReaky Heart or Kenny Chesney are good country.

    If she had to reference Tennyson, why not the infinately superior In Memorium? If you read that you will find that Tennyson did not respect death for the young or old:
    With such compelling cause to grieve
    As daily vexes household peace,
    And chains regret to his decease,
    How dare we keep our Christmas-eve;

    Which brings no more a welcome guest
    To enrich the threshold of the night
    With shower’d largess of delight
    In dance and song and game and jest?

    Yet go, and while the holly boughs
    Entwine the cold baptismal font,
    Make one wreath more for Use and Wont,
    That guard the portals of the house;

    Old sisters of a day gone by,
    Gray nurses, loving nothing new;
    Why should they miss their yearly due
    Before their time? They too will die.

  145. Confessor
    December 18, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Lyrically, the song does seem disjointed to me as well, but it is musically accomplished and vocally damned near perfect; I love the embellishments she makes at the end of the choruses that bring the melody up to the high D# and E.

  146. anthony
    January 3, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    This song may not offer a resolution as the author stated, however i think it does offer hope and comfort to those left behind. “lord make me a rainbow, ill shine down on my mother. She’ll know im safe with you when she stands under my colors” Those are words of comfort. Saddest song ever though!!

  147. Peter Ponos
    January 6, 2011 at 12:11 am

    Well, that’s just like your opinion man.

  148. Thomas
    January 6, 2011 at 3:35 am

    …smart move to drop that character, peter

  149. Chad
    January 7, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    At first I wanted to bash all the negative comments, but hey, wer’e all entitled to our opinions. I love this song and would not change anything about it. It is what it is, a girls suicide. Hopefully, it’s not interpreted by youth as a glamorous thing.

    When I hear it I feel as much as I hear and it’s simply a fantastic piece .

  150. hope
    January 13, 2011 at 10:32 am


  151. Moo
    January 27, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Chad, I don’t interpret the song as a girl’s suicide. I think it’s more of a death from an illness or an accident that just ends the life of a young one.

  152. Nikki
    January 31, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    People, do your research before you judge. This song is the writers interpretation of the poem Lady of Shallot written by Alfred Tennyson…see the “Tennyson” book she’s holding the entire video, “the ballad of a dove” lyrics…there are several little hints in the video that would make an inquizitive person ask questions! Published articles like this should be required to check facts and actually research further than; plenty of people probably think this girl is a manic depressant because of this article…I hope your journalism teachers are ashamed of this!

    Everyone – if you have a question, research it, don’t read a blog and take someones answer for it! Google can find ANYTHING, plus you get really good at Cranium…lol!!!

  153. jade
    February 13, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Thank you to NIKKI!! its about an old poem, reflecting the teme of living with no regrets, that love is the most important thing and that you should make the best of what you are given. It really has nothing to do with death. Its an inspirational poem, not a sad one.

  154. Moo
    February 23, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    I mentioned the Tennyson poem a while ago ^^^^^^^^^

  155. john
    March 23, 2011 at 12:57 am

    I am a writer in nashville. I write pop, country, and soul. It gets me so tired listening to critics worrying about lyric choices.. Everything right now on country radio sounds EXACTLY the same.. It gets so old.. all those guitar licks, predictable lines, gets soooo old.. To me this song is what it is.. it’s catchy and mysterious. Who cares. I listen to a lot of van morrison, stevie wonder, Elton, ect.. there are tons of their songs that don’t make complete sense, and they are legendary songs, some of them. It’s like superstition, or tiny dancer, no one really knows what is going on exactly, but you can’t help but love the way the tune makes you feel. I would much rather hear a song like this than a song that mentions beer or picking ticks again.. please.

  156. kitty
    March 31, 2011 at 2:42 am

    I don’t know why it made me think she’s talking about her wedding rather than dying. wedding is always associated with satin, roses, love songs, ring, white… when she says “lord” she metaphorically referred to her husband. It made perfect sense to me when i thought about it in that sense. She’s having to marry some one else than the boy who had feelings for her. She had her time of the life (just enough) and now she’s willing to sacrifice her life (die) or in other words marry. Isn’t she asking her husband to bring his best men (best boys) and she will wear perl too! You can give tons of meaning for this song. that’s what makes it special. <3

  157. Chad Crowe
    March 31, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    over-analizing can obscure the obvious meaning. Shit, just love it for what it is.

  158. Joe
    April 4, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    “Green as the ring on my little cold finger” is one of the best lines I have ever heard in a song. It’s very simple and subtle, but packed with meaning. As said before, “green” is referring to her youth ( a fairly common term for something young or new), but the part about the ring is actually quite visual and touching. I believe it refers to those cheap, bubblegum machine rings that young children love to wear. They eventually turn the skin green. It’s a sad reality that children this young do pass on.

  159. Tauty
    May 30, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    I think that this is an amazing song ! :)

  160. Emma Martinez
    June 8, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    i love this song it reminds me of my father.and it is very nice and it is very slow

  161. amy
    June 17, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    How dare any of you write or listen to a song that is about the death of a child, and make it glamorous…or make a hit single. I HAVE been through this and there are no satin linings, roses or whatever the hell you think comes with burying your loved one. YOU ARE SO SHALLOW and I will continue to change the station when your music plays. Try another gimmick, you wannabe musicians

  162. Kat
    August 4, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    I don’t think the song is about the death of a child, but rather a young woman (the singer is in her mid-20s). I also don’t think that the song glamorizes death in any way.

    I like the lyrics “forever could be severed by the sharp knife of a short life”. Very powerful imagery.

  163. Timmy Tommy
    August 9, 2011 at 7:33 am

    I am staying in a hotel in the south right now and it is a redneck hotel and so trashy. Guys without shirts walking in the lobby (no pool at all). Groups of men by the entrance in wife beaters smoking and propping open the door. Trashy Trashy Trashy. Some of the cars in the lot are really banged up.

    I only had to stay here cuz i was traveling by car and it was the only place i saw when I was suddenly tired. But the point is it shows how all those “Country Pride” songs are mistaken. The country isn’t this glamourous place that they make it out to be, its a place of uneducated shirtless men and smoking females who don’t have all their teeth.

    I never really realized just how trashy lower class southern culture was until I stayed at this hotel tonight. Now I know just what liars the singers of the “Country folks have it so good” type songs are.

    The Band Perry is cool, and the song is about a virgin who dies.

  164. Lacey
    August 9, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Hate this song. What a horrible topic to sing about. As far as I know they aren’t dedicating the song to someone they have lost or another valid cause to rocket such a tragic topic to the top of the charts. It is unfortunate that so many people like the tune. Personally I cannot stand country music so when a semi-country hit sneaks into my Top 40 world it makes me scowl. It would be easier to like if it weren’t so depressing.

  165. Carol
    December 22, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Loved the video and words to this song. The entire song and lyrics were very deep……
    She thinking and says “If I die young” I’ve had enough….I’m satisfied with my life, it’s OK.
    Major point is that: No one listens to you when you’re alive….as the video is shot, they frame her in a frame as she sings words to the effect that “No one listens when your here, they start listening when your dead.” Best Part!!
    Then…..she wakes up…..realizes she’s not going to die….and says….save your tears…..I’m no dying, I’m going to live….and it’s a happy reunion….

  166. Timmy Tommy
    December 25, 2011 at 9:13 am

    I like the song but unlike Carol I do not think the “lyrics were very deep.” And the idea that people “don’t listen when you are alive but do when you are dead” is neither deep nor even necessarily true. Its more likely to be false, anyhow. I like the song and I also liked “Hip to my Heart.” I hope the Band Perry does well.

  167. caitlyn
    April 30, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    this songs seems to be about suicide; about how a teenage girl is looking back on her life and seeing how suckish it was. she is saying that she is going to kill herself because that is the only way to get people to see that she was hurt, is hurt, and always will be hurt. she is finally letting herself remember all the bad. the teen is loooking back and seeing that when she was younger she thought people cared but now she sees that they didnt, that they were just telling her it was a phase; they didnt try to help her through it. this girl also sees that when she does leave the living everyone will be okay without her, no one will suffer to long. they will finally see she was hurt but they will still be able to go on with their lives. i’ve been through all of this…. except the actual dying part of course… and even though i know kimberly probably doesnt acually feel all these feelings i still feel bad and sad knowing that she might be going through the same thing i am.


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