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Who is They?

December 26, 2009
“I see lovers in the streets
Walking without a care
They wear it out loud
Like there’s something in the air
Oh well, I don’t care

They’re treading lightly
No, they don’t sink in
There’s no tracks to follow
They don’t care where they’re going

Oh and if they’re lucky, they’ll get to see
And if they’re really, really lucky, they’ll get to feel

And it kicks so hard, it breaks your bones
It cuts so deep, it hits your soul
It tears your skin and makes your blood flow
It’s better that you know, that Love is Hard

Love takes hostages
Gives them pain
Gives someone the power to hurt you again and again
Oh but they don’t care

Oh and if they’re lucky, they’ll get to see
And if they’re really, really lucky, they’ll get to feel
And if they’re truly blessed, then they’ll get to believe
And if you’re damned, you’ll never let yourself be deceived”
~Love is Hard by James Morrison

The question (well, my question) is, Who are (is?) They? Are They the hostages of love or the “someone” who has been given “the power to hurt [someone else] again and again?” When I first heard those lyrics, I believed that They were the hostages to show that the “hostages” can only see their lovers. However, when I told my friend this quote, she said that she thought that They were the antagonists. They “hurt you again and again…” “…but they don’t care.” They are heartless bullies (for want of a better word).

Now, when it comes to interpretation, there are no wrong answers as they are merely opinions and we cannot read the writer’s mind (although we could ask the writer what he or she meant in their writing…..).

My Interpretation: In my opinion, based on the rest of the song, James seems to separate himself from the lovers as if he is on a higher level than they (But I don’t mean to say he feels better than the lovers). I assumed that he feels this way because he explains in stanza three and four (chorus) that love is… hard as if he had already experienced the pain. This is why I think he is referring to the lovers in the fifth stanza (second verse) as They; they don’t know what can and may happen down the road.

No matter which interpretation that is used for They in the second verse, I still enjoy this song and all of James Morrison‘s other amazing songs on his latest album “Songs for You, Truths for Me.”

Interpret it for yourself. Say what you think James is trying to say here. Comment or email

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