Roundtable Talk: “Beautiful and Wild”

“If only we could see the world through the new eyes of a child
If only every boy and girl could just stay beautiful and wild.”

Artist: Kris Allen
Song:
“Beautiful and Wild”
Album:
Horizons
Year:
2014

 

Song Meaning

True fulfillment is a life lived with childlike innocence.

The Burdens of Reality

There are a few songs where one line makes all the difference. In this case, it’s, “There’s probably no saving us, but I wrote this song to try.” That line is everything.

What else can one do when burdened by the weight of adulthood but wish for the return of their lost innocence?

I voted in an election for the first time ever this past November. I never wanted anything to do with politics, as they have no heart whatsoever. I consider myself among the artists, the creative types. As long as I could go outside and breathe in the fresh air, I was happy. As a wise man once said, “The natural laws ain’t got no constitution.”

I did not want to vote, but given that adulthood comes with something to lose and a fortress to protect, I had to fulfill my duty as a tax-paying American. And here I am, afraid to turn on the news. Afraid to leave home without my phone. Afraid to bring a child into this world. Adulthood came with more fear than I imagined.

Kids aren’t chained to reality, and I envy them. And with that, the verses in this song hit close to home:

“I just wanna be a dreamer
A dreamer that’s wide awake
I just wanna be a lover
Even if my heart has to break”

or

“I don’t wanna be president
‘Cause I don’t know which side to take
And I don’t wanna be a fortune teller
‘Cause that’s just tempting fate”

If you’ve ever watched the national news, you’ve seen someone who left their childhood for dead. To those people, the bitter and broken, the sour and stale, I say stay young for as long as you can. This is not to say that you should never grow up, Peter Pan style. But if you can apply the most useful qualities of adolescence to adulthood, then you’re on to something.

But what good is the mind of a child in such cases? Ah, we have forgotten. Luckily, I was there not so long ago, so I will provide some reminders.

I will tell you what children are not: They are not cynical, they are not vengeful, they are not petty, they are not calculating, they are not dumb, they are not evil.

I will tell you what children are: They are endearing, they are creative, they are unshackled, they are spontaneous, they are naïve, they are playful, they are alive, alive, alive.

I often revisit “Beautiful and Wild” in times of internal unrest. As much as I want to find a metamorphic change through the power of song, I have to deal with reality. And reality is perhaps the heaviest burden we carry as adults.

I don’t like knowing what I know. I don’t like having to educate myself on taxes or electoral candidates. I want to play outside and make a mess of things. Take me back to a time when my biggest source of stress was GAME OVER on a screen or a room in need of cleaning.

Kris Allen, armed with a guitar and golden voice, bless his soul, couldn’t quite get us there. But he sure tried.

Random Notes

  • Kris Allen wrote another powerful song on his most recent album, a little social commentary called “If We Keep Doing Nothing.” As evidence by the line I wrote about in the intro, he knows that songwriters have limits when it comes to their effect on the world. However, when you have a voice, use it.
  • I almost forgot that I wrote about this album before.
  • I still can’t believe this guy won American Idol. He’s so much better than that.
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