This Is Not a Test – Dissecting The Layers of Life’s Trials

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for She & Him's This Is Not a Test at
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. The Unity of Highs and Lows
  5. Remembered Beauty and the Art of Letting Go
  6. Unveiling the Illusion of Validation
  7. Angelic Anecdotes and Wintry Wisdom
  8. Memorable Lines: The Crux of Contentment


For those of you who tried, but didn’t make it,

Settle down- it’s never what you think.

The summit doesn’t differ from the deep, dark valley,

And the valley doesn’t differ from the kitchen sink.

For those of you who thought you’d be forgotten,

The friends you’ve made will try their best, to make it so.

Think of all the beauty that you left behind you.

You can take it if you want it, and then let it go.

And this is not a test,

No, this is not a test.

Taking numbers never made sense, anyways.

No, this is not a test,

No, this is not a test.

‘Cause you can have it, if you want it, anyways.

For those of us who try to keep remembering,

Try to do our better than our best.

Think of all the children in the drifts of snow.

Winners never quit, but winters never rest.

Full Lyrics

In the quaint and melodious universe of She & Him, the duo’s evocative tune ‘This Is Not a Test’ harmonizes the philosophy of existence with the simplicity of a folk song. The song is a testament to resilience, a gentle reminder of the continuity between our peaks and troughs. It’s in the powerful subtlety of M. Ward’s string work paired with Zooey Deschanel’s dulcet tones that the song finds its spirit.

Nestled within the chords and melodies are messages waiting to be unraveled. The lyrics, though few, are dense with meaning, offering a perspective that speaks directly to the human condition. In ‘This Is Not a Test,’ She & Him tackle the universal search for significance, the often unnoticed beauty in the mundane, and the misunderstood nature of life’s challenges.

The Unity of Highs and Lows

She & Him eloquently blur the lines between the mountain’s summit and the deep, dark valley, underscoring a profound truth about the nature of our experiences. In the song, both the peaks and valleys are mirrored by the ordinary kitchen sink— a mundane symbol that we interact with daily. The ‘kitchen sink’ stands as a clever metaphor for the everyday, suggesting that extraordinary moments and the commonplace are composed of the same substance.

This symbolism invites listeners to find comfort in the mundane and to understand that our lives are not defined by extreme highs or lows, but by how we navigate the spaces in-between. It’s a meditation on the ebb and flow of life, an assertion that the difference between extremities and normalcy might be immaterial.

Remembered Beauty and the Art of Letting Go

In the ballad, the artists not only speak to those fearing oblivion but also remind everyone of the impact they make on friends and the beauty they leave in their wake. It’s a comforting reassurance that our existential footprints carry on through those we touch.

But more than a message of legacy, ‘This Is Not a Test’ advocates for a delicate art often lost in the quest for permanence: the art of letting go. With the inclusion of the line ‘You can take it if you want it, and then let it go,’ listeners are encouraged to revel in life’s fleeting moments without clinging to them, recognizing that life’s offerings are to be cherished, not possessed.

Unveiling the Illusion of Validation

The chorus rings out with the bold declaration ‘This is not a test,’ an existential clarion call that perhaps what we perceive as trials are not examinations to be passed or failed. The song poetically dismantles the notion that life is a sequence of evaluations, where individuals must constantly prove their worth by quantifiable measures like ‘Taking numbers.’

By challenging the validity of these metaphorical ‘tests,’ She & Him redefine success. It’s an anthem for the intrinsic value of individuality and for the irrelevance of societal scorekeeping in the grand scheme of our personal journeys.

Angelic Anecdotes and Wintry Wisdom

The motif of children in snow drifts juxtaposes innocence with adversity—the idea that within life’s challenges, there’s purity and opportunities for growth. This image deepens the song’s narrative, acknowledging that we incessantly strive to outdo ourselves in the face of life’s relentless winters.

This wintry allegory capes the song with an icy truth: ‘Winners never quit, but winters never rest.’ Here, persistence is underscored as a virtue, but so is the acceptance of life’s perennial hurdles. The line asserts that just as the seasons persist through cycles, so does the human spirit through challenges.

Memorable Lines: The Crux of Contentment

One of the song’s most poignant lines, ‘Cause you can have it, if you want it, anyways,’ serves as a powerful echo throughout the track. It’s as though life, with all its simplicity and complexity, is indeed ours for the taking—should we choose to embrace it.

This line, soaked in autonomy, gives the listener permission to seek contentment beyond external achievements and recognitions. It’s an invitation to partake in life’s unquantifiable richness, to understand that the ultimate test is not in what we encounter, but in how we choose to perceive and engage with it.

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