Thursday, April 4, 2013

D is for "Daylight"

Welcome to Day 4 of the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge here at Reading on the F Train.  Today's topic is "Daylight" by Maroon 5!

Now, you may all be thinking, Really?  Maroon 5?  Really?!?

But hey, I have a lot of letters to blog about this month, and I actually have a literary reason to blog about this song.

You've probably heard "Daylight" at least once, since it's been getting a lot of radio play (then again, if you don't choose your radio stations by "hey, this station is playing a Taylor Swift song 75% of the times I turn it on" then maybe it's new to you.  I REGRET NOTHING.)

Anyway, here are some of the lyrics:

This is our last night but it's late
And I'm trying not to sleep
Cause I know, when I wake, I will have to slip away

And when the daylight comes I'll have to go
But tonight I'm gonna hold you so close
Cause in the daylight we'll be on our own
But tonight I need to hold you so close

Here I am staring at your perfection
In my arms, so beautiful
The sky is getting bright the stars are burning out
Somebody slow it down
This is way too hard, cause I know
When the sun comes up, I will leave
This is my last glance that will soon be memory 

Ok.  If you're like me and you read a lot of dystopian/post-apocalyptic/avoiding-death-while-falling-in-love YA, then these lyrics might leave you with a weird sense of deja vu.  Go ahead, right now.  Think of your favorite book that fits one of the categories I just named.  I'm willing to bet that at least 85% of you can come up with a scene from that book, probably about 75% of the way in, where the protagonist and love interest find a brief respite from the g-men/zombies/bloodthirsty fellow children who are hunting them.  They play house, feasting on a recent windfall that eases the pain of their meager supplies (or perhaps they simply finish off whatever supplies they've gathered.)  There is probably kissing, but if not, then at least there's some serious cuddling and feelings.  Almost invariably, the protagonist's narration is basically the lyrics I've quoted above: "I know we can't stay here, and that the morning is going to be awful, so I wish this night would never end."  Probably the most well-known example at this point is The Cave Scene from The Hunger Games.  

So why is this such a trope?  Why has it transcended dystopia to become the lyrics of a pop song?  (Why can't I hear this song without imagining Adam Levine in a cave/zombietown/abandoned subway tunnel?)

Think back to high school.  Do you remember how slippery everything was?  How one day, everything was great--you had best friends forever, you knew your place in the world, you owned that school--and the next day, somebody passed a note or left your name off one of those email surveys, or your schedule changed, or god forbid, your bestie got a new bestie and LIFE AS YOU KNEW IT WAS OVER?  (No, for real--I'm not mocking the way teenagers experience things--these are all examples of things from my own teenage years, and when they happened, I just wanted to stop getting out of bed in the morning.) 

I know I'm not the first to point out the parallels between the heightened emotions of adolescence and the popularity of dystopia in YA.  But try to remember that feeling you got when things were good--because you knew the next cataclysmic shift was just around the corner.  I wish things could stay like this forever.  So I'm sure this song will continue to be wildly popular, and play at every prom in the world this year, but I also think it captures an important element of dystopian fiction and the teenage experience in general.

What books can you think of that have a "Daylight" scene in them?


  1. It's kind of timely that you posted about a Maroon 5 song today because I woke up this morning with a different Maroon 5 song in my head. (I didn't even know for sure it was one of their songs or what it was called. So I went to iTunes and started listening to some of their songs, including "Daylight".) I think you're right about this song going so well with dystopian/post-apoc, etc. There is that feeling of finding a brief moment of peace despite impending doom. I think that's why I've always had a playlist while I'm writing--I like drawing connections between stories and songs. :)

    1. I'm always disappointed when that scene comes to an end--even though I know it has to, for story reasons. I hope that doesn't mean I'll be too much of a softy when my own characters have to do hard things!

  2. Hello again, thanks for another great blog. I can't answer your question as I tend not to read post-apoc books. And I don't listen to Maroon 5. Maybe I've just got no taste!! Keep 'em coming!!

    1. Well, I don't think I'd kick anyone out of the good taste club for not listening to Maroon 5 :) But thanks for reading!


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