Song Analysis – “Goodnight, Travel Well” – The Killers

Song Analysis – “Goodnight, Travel Well” – The Killers
 
the unknown distance to the great beyond
stares back at my grieving frame
to cast my shadow by the holy sun
my spirit moans with a sacred pain
It's quiet now
the universe is standing still
 
[The speaker has lost someone close to him. I base this on the references to “the great beyond,”
i.e. the world of the Hereafter and “my grieving frame,” i.e. his mournful body. He refers to the “holy sun.” 
This strikes me as a pagan idea, to see the sun as holy. Muslims see the sun as a creation of Allah that demonstrates 
his infinite power, yet they condemn sun worship. Christians also reject the worship of the sun and the sun god Apollo. 
What follows is a beautifully poignant line - “My spirit moans with a sacred pain.” He’s talking about mourning someone’s 
death. In his sadness, he feels as if the whole universe is quiet and still.]
 
there's nothing I can say
there's nothing we can do now
there's nothing I can say
there's nothing we can do now
 
[Death makes people feel so helpless. It’s something that reminds us that Allah is powerful and 
we are weak. Words fail us at funerals. And action is also difficult in the wake of death. He’s saying 
that there’s nothing he can do to bring back the person he lost.]
 
and all that stands between the souls release
this temporary flesh and bone
we know that it's over now
I feel my faded mind begin to roam
 
[Here is the clearest evidence that the song has to do with death. Truly our flesh is temporary. 
The Quran says, “Every soul shall taste death”(Surah Ankabut, The Spider Chapter, 29:57). He 
finds it hard to focus. Often when a person dies, it sends our minds into chaos. Memories of the 
person’s life, guilt about their death, and worry about their salvation disturb the tranquility of our brains.]
 
every time you fall
and every time you try
every foolish dream
and every compromise
every word you spoke
and everything you said
everything you left me, rambles in my head
 
[He’s remembering the departed. He thinks of both the words and the actions. 
It is true that actions speak louder than words. But we must keep in mind that 
our words may be remembered long after we speak them. He mentions the things 
that he or she left too, perhaps items he inherited through a will. Notice though that 
the things he inherited are the last thing he mentions. The first thing he mentions is 
“every time you fall,” referring to the mistakes the person made.]
 
there's nothing I can say
there's nothing I can do now
there's nothing I can say
there's nothing I can do now
 
up above the world so high
 
and everything you loved
and every time you tried
everybody's watching
everybody cries
 
[This seems to reflect a hope that the person is in heaven. He believes the departed is “above the world.” 
He recalls what was important to him or her. He remembers “every time [he/she] tried.” I think he means the 
things that he or she attempted to do but did not successfully complete. The next two lines are like mottoes 
or words to live by. We should be cautious in our actions because “everybody’s watching.” And in our sadness we 
should take comfort in the fact that “everybody cries,” 
meaning that everyone has some sadness in his or her life.]
 
stay, don't leave me
the stars can't wait for your sign
don't signal now
 
[He has difficulty letting go and wishes this person was not dying. When he says, “the stars can’t wait,” he may be using 
the stars as symbols of heaven. He may mean that heaven can’t wait to welcome this soul.]
 
and there's nothing I can say
there's nothing I can do now
there's nothing I can say
there's nothing we can do now
 
goodnight, travel well
goodnight, travel well
 
[Both Islamic and Christian scriptures analogize death to sleep. For instance, "God takes the souls 
(al-anfus) at the time of their death, and those that die not during their sleep; then He withholds 
those on whom He has passed the decree of death and sends the others back till an appointed term; 
most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect." (Qur'an, Surah Zumar, the Chapter 
of Crowds 39:42)
 
In John 11:11-14 (NIV) Jesus compares death to sleep. "…Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there 
to wake him up.” He says this before resurrecting Lazarus from death.
 
He is wishing his loved one peace in the next stage of his or her existence.]
 
and there's nothing I can say
there's nothing I can do now
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  1. #1 by jay on August 30, 2009 - 1:21 am

    hey thanks man.

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