Pop Punk Goes Omniscient Narrator

As you probably know from reading my blog or following my Instagram @angelinasingerauthor – music and writing are my bread and butter. I write posts for Inkitt, as well as music and concert reviews for Boston Sports Desk and Motif Magazine.

But something I noticed lately, is that there’s actually an interesting cross-section between some of my favorite pop punk songs, and the stories they tell. More specifically, the narration is omniscient (that is, the story is told from the view of someone watching the story happen, almost like an eye-witness). This is usually signaled by third-person pronouns used in the song (ie. he, she, they, etc.).

Not only is this something I enjoy in the literary world, but it’s also really fun to hear in some of my favorite pop songs. Below, I’ll share some of my favorite examples:

#1: Nobody’s Home (Avril Lavigne)

Although early eras of Avril often have a tendency to be a bit too angsty for her own good, she really nails this story. “Her feelings she hides / her dreams she can’t find / she’s losing her mind / she’s falling behind / she can’t find her place” etc. show this extremely well. There’s a very poignant story here, and I really love this approach she took.

Sonically, there’s also some great string-section accompaniment, bouncing fluidly off of the electric guitars. Listen to it HERE to see what I mean.

I took this picture during her more recent Head Above Water Tour. She puts on a phenomenal show!

#2: Remembering Sunday (All Time Low)

This song is so emotional in the best way. Telling the story of love and loss, the present tense brings about some very deep feelings. Told by the words of expert songwriter Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low, it really resonates with their fans. It’s not a new song, but somehow it’s stood the test of time. With just the acoustic guitar, it really feels extra raw and authentic. Listen to it HERE.

There’s something interesting that happens about midway through the song, as the narration moves from omniscient narration, back to first-person. The effect it has is haunting.

For example, verse 1 is omniscient: “He woke up from dreaming and put on his shoes / Started making his way past two in the morning / He hasn’t been sober for days / Leaning now into the breeze / Remembering Sunday, he falls to his knees / They had breakfast together / But two eggs don’t last / Like the feeling of what he needs.”

Then the chorus moves to POV one: “Forgive me, I’m trying to find / My calling, I’m calling at night / I don’t mean to be a bother / But have you seen this girl? / She’s been running through my dreams / And it’s driving me crazy, it seems / I’m going to ask her to marry me.”

It’s extremely powerful, and the tense changes layered against the POV changes are so surreal.

Fun Fact: The love interest of my latest book, Forgetting What I Couldn’t Remember is based visually off of Alex Gaskarth. You can find that book HERE.

#3: Brick By Boring Brick (Paramore)

By now you’re probably seeing what I mean, so I’ll cut to the chase with this one. In this strikingly-beautiful fantasy land that I was so affected by that I designed my college graduation cap after it (pictured below), Hayley tells the story of a young girl trying to escape a bad situation. Like a slightly-darker Alice in Wonderland situation, it’s edgy and creative. Watch it HERE.

Similarly to “Remembering Sunday” as seen above, it does change tenses:

Verse 1 omniscient: “She lives in a fairy tale / Somewhere too far for us to find / Forgotten the taste and smell / Of the world that she’s left behind / It’s all about the exposure the lens I told her / The angles were all wrong now / She’s ripping wings off of butterflies”

Chorus, POV 2: “Keep your feet on the ground / When your head’s in the clouds / Well go get your shovel / And we’ll dig a deep hole / To bury the castle, bury the castle / Go get your shovel / And we’ll dig a deep hole / To bury the castle, bury the castle.”

And yes, I really did graduate from college with magenta hair. The way I see it, you only live once!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little deep-dive into the cross-section between the music and literary worlds. I could’ve thought up more examples probably, but I won’t ramble on about it any further LOL. Thank you for reading if you have this far ❤

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Author: Angelina Singer

Magna Cum Laude graduate who studied English, Music, and of course, Creative writing. For me, writing is an escape as well as a coping mechanism.

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