“Daughter” are an indie folk band from the UK. Comprised of Elena Tonra from North London, Swiss guitarist Igor Haefeli, and drummer Remi Aguilella from France. Since forming in 2010, the band have been critically acclaimed for their soulful lyrics and beautiful melodies.
“Youth” is quite possibly Daughter’s most well-known track not only off of their 2013 album “If You Leave”, but of the whole band’s career. It’s hauntingly beautiful and melancholic acoustic guitar accompanied by Tonra’s fragile yet strong and unique voice, “Youth” is an ode to the complicated yet exciting times you experience while growing up.
“Shadows settle on the place that you left
Our minds are troubled by the emptiness
Destroy the middle, it’s a waste of time
From the perfect start to the finish line”
The first two lines of the first verse deal with the loss of someone in your life – be that death or maybe a break up (from the context of the rest of the song, it appears to be a break up). The lack of that person’s presence is troubling to Tonra and she isn’t really sure how to deal with it or how to process it. So, she’s trying to forget the space this person took up in her life, by destroying “the middle”, because it was a waste of time as it didn’t turn out as planned; so, destroy it from the beginning when it seemed perfect to when it ended.
“And if you’re still breathing, you’re the lucky ones
‘Cause most of us are heaving through corrupted lungs
Setting fire to out insides for fun
Collecting names of the lovers that went wrong
The lovers that went wrong”
The chorus is the most famous part of the song, often found quoted on many websites such as Tumblr and Pinterest. If chorus is an honest admittance of how Tonra feels that those who haven’t experienced any pain in their life (most likely romantic pain), are “the lucky ones”, because those who have are “heaving through corrupted lungs”. And to deal with this pain, they’re doing silly and spontaneous things to forget about how they truly feel: “setting fire to our insides for fun”. But, as they’re doing this they’re slowly adding up all the times they’ve had failed relationships, trying to understand why it didn’t work, and ultimately blaming ourselves for the failed relationships.
“We are the reckless, we are the wild youth
Chasing visions of our futures
One day, we’ll reveal the truth
That one will die before he gets there”
In the second verse, Tonra touches on how it feels to feel young with no real responsibilities, and they feel alive, and determined to chase after the future they want. However, the harsh reality will set in as they get older, and how their dreams might “die” before they get to where they want to be.
“And if you’re still bleeding, you’re the lucky ones
‘Cause most of our feelings, they are dead and they are gone
We’re setting fire to our insides for fun
Collecting pictures from a flood that wrecked our home
It was a flood that wrecked this home
And you caused it
And you caused it
And you caused it”
This is a variation of the previous chorus, again Tonra telling those that are still bleeding or feeling that they are “the lucky ones”, because her feelings “are dead and they are gone”, perhaps from heartbreak or from the methods of trying to forget about the pain she feels. The reference to collecting photos from a “flood that wrecked our home”, could be referring to the fact that she still dwells on this relationships, reminiscing on the good times that she had. The “flood” could be the relationship, and the “home” could be her – meaning she’s saying that the it was the relationship that broke her. The post-chorus targets a particular individual for causing this “flood”, but it is unclear whether Tonra is telling herself this or the ex-lover.
“Well, I’ve lost it all, I’m just a silhouette
I’m a lifeless face that you’ll soon forget
And my eyes are damp from the words you left
Ringing in my head, when you broke my chest
Ringing in my head, when you broke my chest”
In the bridge, Tonra admits that’s she feels she’s lost everything, including herself, and she’s just become a shadow of her previous self. She knows that to her ex-lover will not remember her, she’ll become a “lifeless face” to them, and how she’s still broken from the words they said to her, “…my eyes are damp from the words you left”, and she can’t help remembering them in her mind. They hurt so much it feels as if they physically broke a part of her.
“And if you’re in love, then you are the lucky one
‘Cause most of us are bitter over someone
Setting fire to our insides for fun
To distract our hearts from ever missing them
But I’m forever missing him”
In the final version of the chorus, Tonra is open and honest about love. She tells the listeners that they are in love they lucky, because they aren’t upset or annoyed about someone not giving them back the love they feel for them. Again, the line “setting fire to our insides for fun”, is used to distract Tonra from the pain she’s feeling, but she will always miss her ex-lover. The track ends with Tonra singing the post-chorus for a final time.
The music video has almost 10 million views, although unofficial music videos of the track have received over 20 million. The music video is extremely simple, it is the band singing the track live in a dark room with a white spotlight, filmed with a black and white filter.
Release Date: 19th June 2013
Songwriter/s: Elena Tonra, Igor Haefeli
Album: If You Leave (2013)
Genre: Indie Rock, Indie Folk
Label/s: 4AD, Glassnote
Music Video Release Date: 19th June 2013
Music Video Director: The Mitcham Submarine
Chart Rankings: N/A