Above Ground – Exploring the Subterranean Depths of Yearning and Hope


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Norah Jones's Above Ground at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. A Lonesome Subway Serenade: The Ephemeral Essence of Connection
  5. Shyness Versus Reality: The Struggle of Emerging from Solitude
  6. An Invitation to Ascend: Hope in Connectivity
  7. A Canvas of Solace: Visions of Sitting ‘Above Ground’
  8. The Aching Beauty of Exquisite Lyrics: Phrases That Seal Our Souls

Lyrics

Underground I’m waiting
Just below the crowded avenue
Watchin’ red lights fading out of view

Oh, the air feels heavy
Everything just passes by
And I think that I’m a little shy

Meet me outside above ground
I see you on your way
I’ll be with you someday, someday

Drawing lines above my head
But the fan keeps spinning over me
Just my thoughts to keep me company

Now I know I’m ready
Pour the night into a glass
Can I sip it slow and make it last

Meet me outside above ground
I see you on your way
I’ll be with you someday, someday

Meet me outside above ground
I see you on your way
I’ll be with you someday
I’ll be with you someday
I’ll be with you someday
I’ll be with you someday

Full Lyrics

In the echelons of contemporary music, few artists can capture the raw essence of human emotion like Norah Jones. Her sultry voice—a gentle force capable of dissecting the layers of our most guarded feelings—guides us through a nuanced narrative of introspection and longing in ‘Above Ground’. The song, a tapestry woven with the threads of melodic simplicity and lyrical depth, invites listeners to delve into its meaning.

‘Above Ground’ is a masterful depiction of the limbo between two worlds, the chasm between existing and living. Through Jones’s intimate storytelling, we are drawn into the introspective journey of a soul caught peering out from the shadows, yearning for connection and a place in the bustling world above. What follows is an exploration of this hauntingly beautiful song and its profound implications on the human experience.

A Lonesome Subway Serenade: The Ephemeral Essence of Connection

The song opens with an image of isolation that’s almost palpable—underground, away from the chaos of life’s avenues, observing a world that feels distant. The red lights fading encapsulate the fleeting nature of opportunities and connections, leaving our narrator in a state of reflective solitude. Jones’s use of the underground setting is no accident; it’s a metaphor for the psychological space where one might feel buried by anxieties and the cacophony of the ‘crowded avenue’ of life.

As the narrative progresses, the underground becomes a sanctuary, albeit a lonely one, where the protagonist is free from the gaze of others and the pressure of societal participation. Yet, the heaviness of the air and the passing nature of everything signal an uncomfortable truth: life is happening without her, and the yearning for a part of it—a connection beyond the self—is a weighty desire left unfulfilled.

Shyness Versus Reality: The Struggle of Emerging from Solitude

Norah Jones captures a universal feeling of social reticence with the simple admission, ‘I think that I’m a little shy.’ The beauty of this line lies not in an ostentatious revelation but in its relatability. Many have felt the paralysis of shyness, a barrier as tangible as the city streets above, preventing one from participating in the world fully.

In this struggle, there is a duality—the desire to be seen and known against the instinct to remain unseen and unknown. ‘Above Ground’ is a tender push-pull of these competing impulses, with our protagonist longing to be part of the skyline above while grappling with the comfort found in the shadows of anonymity.

An Invitation to Ascend: Hope in Connectivity

The refrain ‘Meet me outside above ground’ emerges as a call to action, an invitation to both the self and the other. Norah Jones uses this line as a moment of bravery, where the decision to step out of the metaphorical underground is finally reached. It’s an expression of hope in joining the world above, to be part of the light after languishing in the dark.

The repetition of ‘someday’ reinforces the eternal human optimism and the belief in a time when the barriers—internal or external—will be transcended. It speaks to a future where connection is not just yearned for but achieved. In a chorus that sees its narrator pledge that she ‘will be with you someday,’ Jones envelopes us in the universal yearning for belonging.

A Canvas of Solace: Visions of Sitting ‘Above Ground’

Jones builds a scene with ‘drawing lines above my head/But the fan keeps spinning over me,’ eloquently capturing the juxtaposition of stillness and motion. Here, the act of drawing lines signifies the creation of imaginary boundaries, a defense mechanism, while life’s fan continues spinning regardless. These lyrics evoke a picture of someone who is at the brink of change, caught between the illusion of control and the relentless passage of time.

The solitude presented is not just a physical reality but also a mental refuge, a place where one’s company is the chorus of thoughts circling endlessly. When Norah Jones sings about the readiness to ‘pour the night into a glass,’ it indicates a preparatory ritual, a moment where one strengthens oneself for the inevitability of joining the whirlwind of life.

The Aching Beauty of Exquisite Lyrics: Phrases That Seal Our Souls

‘Above Ground’ is laden with poignant phrases that resonate long after the song ends. ‘Watchin’ red lights fading out of view’ evokes the sense of moments slipping by, each red light a missed chance or a bygone day. And yet, within this melancholic observation, there is a stirring beauty that Jones’s velvety voice delivers with an understated power.

The song’s hidden meaning resides within its most memorable lines, the unspoken depth behind ‘I’ll be with you someday.’ It is a promise, an acknowledgment of the universal quest to understand and to be understood. Like any true work of art, ‘Above Ground’ leaves an indelible mark on the listener, a gentle reminder of the connective tissue of human existence—our shared experience above ground.

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