Phantogram – “Black Out Days” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

“Black Out Days” by Phantogram is a haunting, emotional journey through the shadows of the human mind. The song encapsulates themes of mental health, self-isolation, and an internal struggle for self-identity. In a nutshell, it’s about trying to escape disturbing thoughts and memories, represented by the “black out days” and the “thousand voices howling” in the mind. The writers, Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel, create an immersive narrative, potentially inspired by personal experiences or those of people they know, to encourage listeners to face their inner demons and maintain mental strength.

Eager to discover the nuances of Phantogram’s enigmatic lyricism? Stick around to delve deeper into the dark and immersive world of “Black Out Days”. We’ll dissect each line and how it enriches this anthem of resilience.

“Black Out Days” Lyrics Meaning

“Stay away, away, away, hide the sun.” The song kicks off with a poignant plea, perhaps suggesting an inner turmoil, a wish to distance oneself from their old identity or memories. The hidden sun could signify a self-imposed isolation, as if the songwriter wishes to stay in darkness, away from the reality illuminated by the sun.

“I will leave your face out of my mind. You should save your eyes.” Here, we witness the singer trying to erase a specific person from their memory. It could be a past love, a toxic relationship, or even a version of oneself. The advice to ‘save your eyes’ could be a bitter reminder to protect oneself from the harsh realities that the singer has experienced.

“A thousand voices howling in my head.” The line signifies internal chaos, a struggle with self-doubt or fear, potentially suggesting anxiety or depression. The howling voices can also be seen as invasive thoughts, constantly echoing and causing distress.

The refrain of “stay away” acts as a reminder of this constant need for isolation or escape from the triggers. The vivid imagery of “Fireworks exploding in my hands” could represent sudden surges of emotional distress, while painting the sky with a ‘bloody red’ might indicate a yearning to change the world, albeit tinted with a tone of melancholy or frustration.

“Black out days, I don’t recognize you anymore.” This line serves as the crux of the song. ‘Black out days’ could refer to moments when the mental chaos is so intense that the singer loses touch with reality. It could also signify periods of depression where days merge into one another in a continuous stream of bleakness. The final part of this phrase implies a loss of self-identity, a disconnect from who they once were, further emphasizing the intense struggle at the song’s core.

Of course, interpretations can be subjective, and the beauty of art lies in its ability to speak differently to each one of us. But the song unquestionably stands as a powerful testament to the silent battles we fight within ourselves, urging us not to shy away but confront our personal ‘black out days.’

The Story Behind “Black Out Days”

Understanding the context in which “Black Out Days” was written can add another layer to our interpretation of its lyrics. Phantogram, consisting of members Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel, is known for their deep and thoughtful songwriting, often drawing from personal experiences or observations.

While the duo hasn’t publicly spoken in-depth about the specific inspirations for “Black Out Days,” the song appears to stem from a place of emotional depth and introspection. Given the band’s previous discussions around mental health and their experiences with loss and grief, it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume “Black Out Days” might be influenced by these themes.

Their style often involves juxtaposing upbeat and energetic music with dark, introspective lyrics, a technique that makes songs like “Black Out Days” strikingly impactful. By blending their personal experiences into the narrative, Phantogram transforms what could be an intensely personal and individual experience into something universal and relatable.

We also can’t overlook the influence of the musical arrangement on the mood of the song. The ethereal, slightly eerie electronic soundscape enhances the feeling of internal chaos and disorientation, making the listener feel as if they’re wandering in the same cognitive labyrinth as the song’s protagonist.

In conclusion, the writing of “Black Out Days” likely came from a place of introspection, life experiences, and a desire to highlight mental health struggles. It’s a beautiful demonstration of how music can become an avenue for discussing topics often considered too taboo or uncomfortable. By opening up these conversations, Phantogram is not only contributing to the erasure of mental health stigma but also providing comfort to those who may be experiencing their own ‘black out days.’