Amy Macdonald’s “This Is the Life” Lyrics Meaning

“This Is the Life” is one of those songs whereas, let’s say broken down to its most-basic element, the singer goes about celebrating the simpler things in life. More specifically, it was inspired by a Pete Doherty performance Amy attended and a small, music-based get together she and her buds had afterwards. 

So it can be gathered that the first verse was inspired by said performance and the second, that gathering.

Amy Macdonald is a known fangirl of Pete Doherty, as illustrated, in a roundabout way, on the track “Poison Prince” as also found on the “This Is the Life” album. But in this particular instance, she doesn’t go about mentioning or even referring to him. Instead, the reason that we know this song was inspired by the aforementioned concert is because she has personally revealed that fact.

Verse 1

The setting of the first verse, as presented, doesn’t read like a concert but more akin to a block party. In any event, it isn’t such that all of the observations the vocalist makes while in attendance are joyous ones. 

But the listener can tell, via the way the lyrics are structured, that she’s very much enjoying the experience, almost as if her senses have been heightened.

Verse 2

And so it can be gathered in the second verse also. It appears that after the block party, Amy and her friends proceed to visit another homey named Jimmy. However, when they get to his house the place is vacant, and they are made aware that he will not return until 4:00 in the morning. 

The implication is that they’ve arrived a few hours prior and therefore are compelled to sit for some time. But it isn’t such that they’re disappointed by his absence but rather use the opportunity to engage in some edifying chatter.

Chorus of “This Is the Life”

Furthermore, the situation is such that now they have to find a place to sleep. This is a concept that is actually introduced to us in the chorus. So viewed differently, the evening that lies before them is an unpredictable one, since they also have no clear idea where they’re “gonna go” for the night. 

But nonetheless they’re together, singing songs and having a good time. And it is such experiences that Macdonald is celebrating as “the life”. Or relayed otherwise, she derives more edification from nights like these than from anything else.

Who is the Addressee?

One aspect of this lyrical presentation that should be firmly pointed out is that the pronoun usage doesn’t actually indicate that the vocalist is hanging out with someone else. Again, that aspect of this narrative has been gathered via Amy’s own explanation. In fact the way the lyrics reads, on paper, is as if she is singing directly to the listener.

But all things considered, that stylistic choice would be indicative of this piece having an advisory tone, almost as if Macdonald is preaching, if you will. And reading in-between the lines, what she is asserting in is that she personally prefers carefree nights filled with music like these. 

But the more general message is such being what really makes life enjoyable, at least from her perspective, i.e. not the material things but rather the likes of hanging loose in a communal, and may we also say musical setting.

Amy Macdonald, "This Is the Life" Lyrics

When was “This Is the Life” released?

“This Is the Life” is the title track from Amy Macdonald’s debut album, a project that Vertigo Records put out on 30 July 2007. 


This song also stands as the biggest hit in her discography, i.e. Amy’s only single to date to have been certified platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (with the songstress herself being from Scotland). 

This track also proved to be a chart topper in about five countries, including the Netherlands, where it reached the summit of the Dutch Top 40 and Single Top 100 and also topped the 2008 year-end list in both cases. 

Czech Republic#1

Additionally, “This Is the Life” has been certified double-platinum in Spain and is a piece that has sporadically re-charted throughout the years.

In addition to the above success, it was also peaked within the Top-10 in the following countries:


The track hit the #28 spot in the United Kingdom.

American reality television series “The Hills” featured this track in the 5th episode of the 5th season. The said episode titled, which is titled “I Always Had a Little Crush”, was aired on 27th April, 2009.

Did Amy Macdonald write “This Is the Life”?

Amy is the sole author of this song, with its producer being one Pete Wilkinson.

Something Interesting (:

The guitar part of this song (especially towards the end) reminds us of the strumming pattern of the guitar in “Renegades” by X Ambassadors.

“Renegades” came out in 2015 whereas “This Is the Life” was released in 2007.


“This Is the Life” definitely brings back many fond memories of younger days. One fan shared that her parents loved this song so much when she was around 5 years old, to the extent of her remembering most of the lyrics when she found the song again now that she’s older.

Another fan tied this track to the memory of her mum, whom she lost to cancer a few years back. Her mum played it during her diagnosis and now, it’s become a track that she listens to during her mum’s birthday to remember her. She carried on to share that it’s helped her to accept the things in her life and move on.

On a slightly darker note, a fan shared how COVID-19 changed his youth. Prior to it, he was having the time of his youthful life – listening to this track after coming home in the morning, half drunk from his friend’s place.

The lyrics embodied everything in his life then. The freedom, the uncertainty of not knowing where he’d sleep, or what the day after holds. He was living his youth with his friends. But when the pandemic started and people were told not to leave their homes, he felt that the question in the track, “Where you gonna go” became rhetorical. In other words, the freedom he once had was stripped away, and he and his friends were to spend their last year of school apart. Ultimately, “This Is the Life” is a special song to him as it reminds him of the happy memories he shared with his pals.

This Is the Life

The “This Is the Life” Album

Scottish singer Amy MacDonald dropped her debut studio album, “This Is the Life”, on July 30 of 2007.  Record labels Vertigo Records and Melodramatic Records were responsible for the official release of this project. And its production was solely handled by British record producer Pete Wilkinson.

“This Is the Life” contains various subgenres of rock music including alternative rock and indie rock. It was accompanied by several singles including “Poison Prince”, the album’s lead single. This track was formally issued on May 7 of 2007 and re-issued on May 19, a year later.

“Mr Rock & Roll” was officially put out, on July 16 of 2007, as this project’s second single.

The song “L.A.” and the album’s title track were released as the third and fourth singles, respectively, on October 15 and December 10 of 2007. On March 3, the following year, Amy and her team issued “Run” as the fifth single of this album. 

The album made waves across the globe, peaking at significant positions on various nations’ major albums charts. It attained one of its biggest successes in the UK, where it reached the top of the official albums chart there. However, in the US the album did not perform as great as it did in the UK. It could only manage a peak position of #92 on the Billboard 200.

Apart from the UK, “This Is the Life” also attained the #1 spot on the main albums charts in Switzerland, Mexico, Denmark, and the Netherlands. In addition, it peaked inside the top 10 in the countries below:

  • Spain
  • Norway
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Germany

On top of its major success on the charts, this album also received multiple Platinum certifications from various music trade associations around the world.

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