Howie Day’s Collide (written December 2011)
The morning light is expected at dawn, and this brings a fresh and vibrant start of the day. This is, unfortunately, not the case in Howie Day’s Collide. As the morning becomes the mourning, the song subtly depicts the persona’s baffling reflections of the present clash that he has with her and the ups and downs of their relationship.
Reading the first stanza “The dawn is breaking/A light shining through/ You’re barely waking/And I’m tangled up in you, yeah”, one can see how the issue is introduced. He is awake; she, on the other hand, is barely waking. He sees the dawn, but she does not. He is awake while she is not. That, in a nutshell, shows that they indeed collide.
In the second stanza, “I’m open, you’re closed/ Where I follow, you’ll go/I worry I won’t see your face/Light up again”, he continues to describe their contrasting perspectives. This is further validated by the open-closed binary, which clearly depicts their misunderstandings. This, in turn, rather prompts him to worry about them.
The chorus “Even the best fall down sometimes/Even the wrong words seem to rhyme/Out of the doubt that fills my mind/I somehow find you and I collide” then amplifies the earlier analyses. Amidst his doubt, he boldly admits this clash by acknowledging that even the best fall down sometimes and even the wrong words seem to rhyme, they do collide.
The third stanza “I’m quiet you know/You make a first impression/I’ve found I’m scared to know/I’m always on your mind” consequently tells the follow-ups. Reading through this, one can see how he stresses the idea that she is the one making the first impression. On the surface, the root of their conflict is simply pointed out to her, saying that he is always on her mind. This connotes that the relationship issue that they face springs from her, not the other way around.
While the fourth stanza “Even the best fall down sometimes/Even the stars refuse to shine/Out of the back you fall in time/I somehow find you and I collide” mainly mirrors the chorus, one can identify a shift in perspective. Still, he recognizes the fact that they collide as even the best fall down sometimes and the stars refuse to shine. But that collide has a new meaning now. She now falls in time. She then wakes up from her long sleep in doubt’s darkness and is out to see the light.
The bridge “Don’t stop here/I lost my place/I’m close behind” merely displays his emotional and post adversity notes. He urges her not to stop, admitting the fact that he lost his place. He lost her. But then again, he is just close behind. He is still there holding on—waiting for someone he really wants.
The fifth stanza “Even the best fall down sometimes/Even the wrong words seem to rhyme/Out of the doubt that fills your mind/You finally find you and I collide” effectively shows the resolution of their conflict. In the earlier part of the song, he says “Out of the doubt that fills my mind/I somehow find you and I collide”; now, he notes “Out of the doubt that fills your mind/You finally find you and I collide. As the I changes to you, one can infer that this complements the ones he had shared earlier. Having these complementary insights suggests harmony and completeness.
This collision has soured their relationship, letting him become a nagger, worrier, and accuser in his own right. She, on the other hand, was half-awake and closed-minded. Yet, it is the same collision that brought them back together and made their relationship much stronger. The mourning then becomes the morning for them. It is undeniably a fresh and vibrant start for both of them, right? Happy ending. LOL