Breaking Benjamin – ”Dear Agony” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Brendan Briggs

Brendan is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer. In 2022, he released his first album "Dive" under the name "Arctotherium".

“Dear Agony” is about enduring pain so terrible that death is preferable. The lyrics focus on how an individual can reach a point where their entire life is dominated by suffering. The song also manages to touch on how sometimes, the source of our pain is within us, which only causes the pain to feel worse.

“Dear Agony” was written by Benjamin Burnley and relies heavily on personal experience for its inspiration. The album of the same name is based on Burnley’s experience with alcoholism and its effects and has been called the first album Burnley has written sober. This track fits nicely within that overarching subject matter while describing the guilt and suffering that can come when the bottle takes control of a person’s life.

In this article, we’ll perform an analysis of these emotional lyrics in order to decipher their intended meaning. We’ll also take a look at the songwriting story and the universal themes that make this song accessible to anyone. Without further ado, let’s get started!

“Dear Agony” Lyrics Meaning

These lyrics begin with a series of gut punches. Burnley has “nothing left to give” to the cruel world and feels that he has “found the perfect end.” This means he’s simply out of energy and wants to die. He addresses his agony directly and tells it that it was “made to make it hurt.” Now, he’s asking it to “take the time to take my [Burnley’s] breath.” In other words, he wants to finish what his agony has started.

Burnley also knows that the source of his pain is himself. He wants to “find the enemy within” because he can feel it “crawl” under his skin. He can’t blame something outside of himself; he is forced to confront reality. This is almost certainly a reference to Burnley’s alcoholism, which he’s been very public about.

In the chorus, Burnley vents his frustration to his agony directly. He commands it to let him die, not wanting to “suffer slowly.” He asks it if this is “the way it’s gotta be,” but the question is rhetorical, and the answer is no. He sees an alternative in mortality.

In verse two, Burnley begins the process of his death (either in his imagination or literally). “The lights go out,” and it looks like he’s reached the end of the road. However, he suddenly wants to live. He decides to “fight for one last breath” instead of accepting his fate. This represents a turning point in the song.

In the second chorus, Burnley talks to his agony again. He asks it to let him go but says, “don’t bury me” this time. Instead of asking for death, he begins to ask for healing. Once again, this parallels a response to overcoming addiction. By asking not to be buried, he begins to admit that he wants to live again. This would be a life free from his addiction and his pain.

Next, the song transitions into a very telegraphed bridge. In it, Burnley puts his desire to be free from his agony in more emotional terms. He simply cries, “God let me go,” and describes how he feels “blue and cold” from the icy suffering he’s gone through. He’ll use anything – hate, love, or indifference – as motivation to move forward. He’s numb, which is reflected in the last line of the song: “I feel nothing anymore.”

In summary, “Dear Agony” describes a man’s journey from wishing for death to moving toward a living future. However, it doesn’t end on a happy note. Instead, Burnley insists that he is simply numb to his death fantasies and willing to carry on, one day at a time. This personal message is a big part of the song’s emotionalism.

The Story Behind “Dear Agony”

“Dear Agony,” like most tracks on the album of the same name, is related to the experiences of Benjamin Burnley. Specifically, the lyrics deal with his struggle with alcoholism and its effects.

In one interview, Burnley confessed that “Dear Agony” was the first album he wrote sober. He wanted to focus on his journey through addiction in his music, which is why almost all tracks on the album are written by him exclusively. He’s speaking from personal experience – not imagination.

The album cover for “Dear Agony” reflects the personal nature of this overarching message. It is an MRI scan of Benjamin Burnley’s own brain, which relates to the medical nature of addiction and its consequences. It also shows that the ideas in the album came from Burnley’s mind and memories, which is quite fitting.

“Dear Agony” has enjoyed moderate success, though it was not released as a single. The album reached a position of #1 on the Billboard US Top Rock Albums chart and has received moderate critical praise. However, most of this is due to more popular tracks, such as “I Will Not Bow.”

The next time you play this modern rock hit, let these pieces of background information make it even more special!