Wide Awake

(Rick Springfield/Matt Bissonette)

So nice to meet you
So good to see a friendly face
Living in shadows
I was walking a wire without a safety net
Fighting to break through
Trying to outrun the human race
Sleeping with voodoo
I opened my eyes and I saw your face
You showed me there's a place

Where I am Wide Awake, I'm wide awake
The mountains shake to my earthquake
And everyone is my friend
I'm wide awake, so wide awake
The future's bright alive with light
And I am free to be a kid again

One hand on the throttle
But I always had one hand on the brake
Under the spotlight
I was never alone, but I always was by myself
I want to be famous
Willing to sleep with a rattlesnake
Looking for daylight
Trying to wake up from this nightmare screaming
You showed me my mistake

And now I'm Wide Awake, I'm wide awake
The ramparts fall love conquers all
and everyone is my friend
I'm wide awake, forever wide awake
The future's bright, alive with light
I can see a place where I could always be a hopeless case
And if I did't learn to bend you know that I would break

But now I'm wide awake, I'm wide awake
The mountains shake to my earthquake
And everyone is my friend
I'm wide awake, so wide awake
The future's bright, alive with light
And I am free to be a kid again
I'm wide awake, I'm wide awake
The ramparts fall love conquers all
And everyone is my friend, everyone is my friend
Where everyone's free to be a kid agai
n


Rick Says:
Wide Awake is about being free, being free of all the feathers and the stuff that weighs you down.
me, weighs me down, not you, me. It's about my junk. And being free to feel like a kid again.
When Matt and I wrote it we were actually talking about our kids and how crazy it is raising our kids.
We actually originally called the songs "Kids" and that's why that line ended up there, we had to put it in somewhere.
It's basically, with all the crap going on in our lives, and we all have it, even Bindi has stuff, small stuff. It's a call to myself to wake up and start enjoying my life and stop waiting to get to the right moment when I can...it's a wake up call.

 

 

According to US

I'm so impressed with this song.  At first I liked the  upbeat music and how the first couple of lines make it such a great show opening song. Then I also liked how the lyrics talk about someone who, while struggling in a dark world, seems to find “a friendly face” that helps him find a much brighter place. But, after paying more attention to the lyrics, some deeper ideas came to my mind. The lines "I'm wide awake" and "trying to wake up from this nightmare screaming” made me think that in this song Rick is comparing being in that dark world to having a nightmare, so waking up from it means getting to the brighter side. That nightmare or living on that dark side, could mean struggling to succeed in life because of insecurity or fears ("walking a wire without a safety net"..."fighting to break through, trying to outrun the human race"...
"one hand on the throttle, but I always had one hand on the brake"). Sometimes when we are insecure, because of a bad experience or whatever, we tend to be afraid to fail, we act defensively, we can't just trust anyone, we can even see enemies everywhere ("I was never alone, but I always was by myself", "willing to sleep with a rattlesnake"). But then, a special someone comes up and helps us get through, waking us up from that awful nightmare, like saying: "wake up, it’s just a nightmare, look around and see that all is ok here in reality, everything will be fine". So in that song, that someone who woke him up might have been able to make him feel more confident, maybe throughout love ("love conquers all"), and let him know how it is ok to fail, it can actually make him stronger, and how he just has to find his way with people or situations (I can see a place where I could always be a hopeless case", "and if I didn't learn to bend you know that I would break"). So maybe when he says "everyone is my friend", he's not saying it literally, he's just saying that he doesn't see all those enemies anymore, he feels that he can trust people again. He woke up from that nightmare and realized it was a mistake thinking that life was that dark, all is ok and all will be fine... Ok, I don't know if that is what Rick meant to say with this song, but that's all what came to my mind, and that is why I'm very impressed with this song, and now I like it even more. Martha

I have mixed feelings about this song. I think it's a great opener for the album, and for a live show. I believe that it's the music that makes me think that, and no so much the lyrics. I have a hard time thinking that being Wide Awake makes everyone your friend, and that's what keeps getting repeated throughout this song. If I'm wide awake, I KNOW not everyone is my friend.
There is a lot of "Rick" in this song when it comes to the lyrics though. If you're a fan familiar with his work you know that. His signature prose using his big words that no one uses in standard conversation but him scream like sirens here. While both Bissonette & Springfield are credited for the song as a whole, I would bet some big bucks that Matt wrote the music while Rick wrote the lyrics. This is the classic up-down theme that appears throughout Rick's catalog. I'm down, so very far down (depression) yet you've come along and I'm high (wide awake in this case).
I also can't help but compare the title to this song to the Katy Perry single, Wide Awake. Was that a happy coincidence or a calculated move on someone's part, considering another single of hers, Roar, is currently being covered at the live shows? However, the difference between her song and this is that Rick's song is giving credit to someone showing him what it was like to finally be wide awake. Katy figured it out all by herself. - MP

I had a feeling when I heard this song that it was going to be the opening song at the live shows. Lyrically and musically it really works out well. So nice to meet you, so good to see a friendly face - that has to be how he feels when he steps out onto the stage - there's people he's seeing for the first time and there's people he recognizes, but everyone probably looks pretty happy to be there and pretty happy to see him when he comes out.
I do feel like the sentiment of "everyone is my friend" is said with sarcasm. I think when you are famous, you have a lot of "so called" friends and it's really hard to tell who is sincere and who is in it for the ride.
The lyrics send me kind of a mixed message - on one hand he's living dangerously - walking a wire without a safety net, and then on the other, he's apprehensive - having one hand on the throttle and the other on the brake. Parts of the song remind me a little of "Every Night I Wake up Screaming". And "I'm Wide Awake *forever* wide awake, again strikes me as a little sarcastic, I mean do you really want to be Forever Wide Awake, that's kind of exhausting. There's also the typical feeling of being surrounded by people, but still feeling alone. And then there's a realization that if you don't bend, you'll break. Rick is very poetic in his writing and sometimes I think there are lines in the song because they rhyme and it’s a good line and maybe it doesn't really mean anything, so that's how I feel about this song. I think he probably had a specific thought starting out, but I think it went a little sideways at times for the sake of the lyric. -  rlh

Aside from the line, "so nice to meet you"...which does not fit in with my analysis of what this song might be about, I think it is about his relationship with Barbara. Then again, you will have to bear with me because I like to think that most of his songs deal with his seemingly unbreakable bond with his wife (minus the whole SDAA CD of course which he has confessed is about the Vegas skank…..so as much as I tried to spin in my head that those songs were about Barb, I guess I have to let that one go!)
"Sleeping with voodoo, then I opened my eyes and I saw your face, you showed me there's a place where I am Wide Awake".... Um yea, I am sleeping with a Skank (voodoo) in this town of Las Vegas where I have been doing bad things…..signing an extra year of a contract, making the "big green" even though I did not want to, getting tempted, being away from my family. Then I came to, came home saw your (Barb's) face and realized that I can be "Wide Awake"...things can be ok again. People can be my true friends and I can be a kid again. Things can be pure and true, not fake like they were in Vegas.
When he is home, and in a good place with less depression...he feels like he can conquer the world.  'Mountains sink to my earthquake...everyone is my friend". My favorite part of the song is where it changes tempo for a minute, "I can see a place where I would always be a hopeless case and if I don't learn to bend you know that I would break"...I like the way the music is different for this sentence, slower. I like the meaning of the sentence, I think it probably rings true for any human being. From the very first time I heard this line it always struck me that the tune and tempo sounded like something I have heard in "Wait For Night" but I can't put my finger on exactly why I think that.   I like this song, But it is only #9 out of the 12 songs on this CD for me. - Tina

i love this song. i love the driving beat.
for the most part, the verses are real. he's talking about his life. one hand on the throttle, one hand on the brake--this reminds me of "itsalwayssomething." and willing to sleep with a rattlesnake--whatever it takes to be famous. the "so nice to meet you, so nice to see a friendly face", i agree that he's relieved when he sees non-hostility, whether as the new kid in school or a performer taking the stage.
but whoever/whatever this friendly face is, is also a guide of some sort:
Trying to wake up from this nightmare screaming
You showed me my mistake
And now I am Wide Awake, I'm wide awake
the chorus is a lie. several of you called it sarcasm, which is a good way to put it. none of it is real. the mountains will NOT shake to his earthquake and "everyone is my friend" will never happen. but since he's realized his mistake, he's living with it. none of it will happen, but he can go forward anyway. turn the nightmare into a dream. found the right drugs or the right counselor. or just the right attitude. the bend or break idea, the world will never be what he wants, he needs to adjust. SG

Wide Awake falls into my handful of favorites from this CD for many reasons. I really like the hard-rocking beats, killer drums and fast pace of the music. I like the urgency of the music too....like he is running a race. I'm sure in the 80's with the heavy touring all week long and the acting career to boot, he probably did feel this way 99% of the time. We all know he was completely exhausted by the mid to late 80's. I tend to like the more rocking, guitar-driven songs that Rick does, although I'm a bit of a sap and a romantic too and do enjoy love songs and soothing music from him as well.
For me the lyrics have a realization-of-life aspect to them that reminds me slightly of the whole gist of the song Living In Oz. I can almost relate to what he'ss saying here and in a sense have been through some of these same feelings in my own life, minus the fame stuff. I think it takes time and experience and a lot of ups and downs to learn who is real and who is fake, who will stand beside you until the end and who will not. The whole motto of learning who your true friends are is what this song screams out to me. I think for him and for all of us in life, there does come a point in which you feel "wide awake" and can see past all the B.S.
Probably my favorite line in the song is when he says, "The ramparts fall, love conquers all. And everyone is my friend." Sometimes when I hear this I can interpret it literally, but most times I wonder if there's sarcasm mixed in. I lean more towards the sarcasm of it since I think deep in Rick's heart and mind he still wonders if love really does conquer all, even though his wife has shown over and over again that she's with him through thick and thin, she accepts him as he is and she's there for the long haul.
The part about 'everyone is my friend' is interesting on its own. Kind of like the lyrics in LIO where he talks about the well drying up and everyone who was his friend seems to vanish. I would guess friendships can be very confusing for someone who has fame and fortune, never really knowing if there's an ulterior motive or it's a real connection, a true friendship. I suspect most of us have dealt with these issues in our own lives, once again, minus the fame aspect. With all that being said about true or false friendships/relationships, I also think his wife Barbie is referred to in the lyrics since she's not only his wife, lover and the mother of his children, but she is also his closest friend and confidant. She is his "rock."
A few of the lines really speak to me about what Rick was going through in the earlier years of wanting his talents to be noticed, such as "Fighting to break through, trying to outrun the human race" and "I want to be famous, willing to sleep with a rattlesnake." Judging by the stories he told in his tell-all book, we do know that he fell into some of these traps by people trying to seduce him sexually (as if it took a lot of persuasion to have sex?! Lol) But seriously, I know that he did fight his way to the top and is a real survivor is the cruel world of music industry. In my humble opinion, Rick still has one of the best musical success stories of all times. He did break through and left his mark and sound on the music world (shaped it for the 80's in fact, I think!), but once he got there...I think he felt terribly lost and alone…not at all what he expected it might be. Hence the line: "I was never alone but I always was by myself." I have heard others in the limelight say that fame can be a lonely place even though you're surrounded by masses of people. Mistrust and suspicion come back to mind, who is really "with me" and who is not.
I truly hope that Rick is "wide awake" now and has pushed through a lot of the issues that have haunted him for many years. The way the lyrics are written for this song, to me it does appear he's reflecting BACK to how he once was and that it was all a learning experience and he's in a better place now. - Kelley Pearson



-a review of Wide Awake performed by Rick Springfield, not Katy Perry but the songs are similar in their lyrical content
Much like the ‘Nun’ character in Magnificent Vibrations, I feel that this song is a melting pot of different people and experiences all simmered in one pot before being served to a crowd.
I also wonder how much input each cowriter had in the lyrics…there are some that are clearly from the mind of Rick himself, usually the darker lines about survival and self doubt – "I was walking a wire without a safety net. Fighting to break through, trying to outrun the human race. Sleeping with voodoo…" Also included are lines of light that would appear to have Matt's fingerprint on them – "I opened my eyes and I saw your face. You showed me there's a place…where I'm wide awake…The future is bright and alive with light".
One line in particular could have been penned by either, but from very different perspectives - "And I'm free to be a kid again." The pure innocence and freedom of a kid on their bike, roaming the streets to discover the wonders of the world. OR, is it a rebirth of the feeling like you owned the world in the 80's free to take-your-pick from a buffet of fans and opportunity because it is once again your world. You've been through this before, but now you are wide awake…your eyes open and knowing things you did not the first time around.
"The mountains shake to my earthquake." Is this because he is back with an ever commanding presence that can move mountains or…is he a force of destruction that can destroy the most solid of things/relationships? Later in the song the ramparts (a castle-like wall) also crumble and succumb…but to love and not the earthquake
The next verse sounds like aside from possible the last line, it was exclusively written by Rick:
"One hand on the throttle
But I always had one hand on the break (which incidently can lead to bike and ATV accidents)
Under the spotlight I was never alone,
But I was always by myself.
I want to be famous,
Willing to sleep with a rattlesnake
Looking for daylight
Trying to wake up from this nightmare screaming
You showed me my mistake."
Add to that what seems to be the moral/lesson of the song that he is now attuned to:
"I can see a place where I could always be a hopeless case.
And if I didn’t learn to bend, you know that I would break."
It's a lesson of opening your eyes to knowing that sometimes compromise is needed by all, no matter what side of the stage you stand, only we all learn this lesson at our own pace, depending on how wide awake we are.
Kat Mendelin

I LOVE THIS SONG!! I could say that and be done with this review: but what fun would that be?
Okay, so I'll begin with some self-disclosures. 7 years ago, I had a massive break down. I dropped my basket, big time, and ended up nearly dying from an overdose of insulin and Tylenol PM. Long story...the point of it is this: I lived! Lots of therapy, lots of late, late at night emails and talks with friends and my therapist (Dr. Stephan) and lots of time spent being brutally honest with myself...and suddenly, I was WIDE AWAKE. I don't just like this song, I lived this song.
Before I go further into the meanings and feelings I have about the song, I'll cover the technical stuff.
I really love the intro and the outro. Both are abrupt, solid, and full of passion. The guitar is screaming, but not in a painful way. The music is pounding, but not in a desperate way. And the beat is pulsating, but not in a manic way. It makes me think of the antithesis of Jesus Saves. Where JS has the screaming, pounding, pulsating thing going, when you hear it, you know that a troubled soul is behind it all. In WA, the same things (screaming, pounding, pulsating) give a sense of hope. And that hope is truly refreshing and very surprising, especially considering the name of the album. When one hears, Songs of the End of the World, one immediately assumes that angst is near. So it's a surprise (a pleasant one, at that) to hear a song of hope as the first track.
I also love the breathy singing. There is something about the annunciation and the inhalation that makes the song more intimate, more soulful. It has a comfort and familiarity, like he's singing directly to the individual listener.
Now for the touchy, feely stuff:
The line, "one hand on the throttle, but I always had one hand on the brake" - I LOVE it! It makes me wonder if the "brake" he's referring to is his own suicidal ideation. For me, I called that "my fuck-it switch." I always felt that when things got too hard I could simply engage the switch and off myself. I wonder (and like to assume) that his "brake" was the same thing: not a "brake" in the sense of slowing down, but in the sense of stopping the ride so he could get the hell off - permanently.
I also love (in a deep and "you're the writer in my head" way) the line "I want to be famous/Willing to sleep with a rattlesnake". Is it just me, or does that bring to mind that line I love so much (and the very one that inspired me to be a writer) "funny how desire can burn you up inside and make you commit emotional suicide"? YES! YES! It is dang near the same sentiment! And either way he says/sings it, it makes the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I get it, Uncle Ricky! I get it! I know that feeling of wanting something (fame, love, acceptance, peace, silence) so badly that you're willing to face danger and imminent death just to touch a second of that which you desire. And there it is again - that affirmation. I love the crazy shit in this man's head. I find it frighteningly familiar, but I also find it emotionally comforting to know that I don't stand alone in my lunacy.
And, finally, one more line that makes me all warm and fuzzy: "I can see a place where I could always be a hopeless case/And if I didn't learn to bend you know that I would break". This line is the one that really makes me delve into the whole therapy thing. The use of the words "hopeless case" smacks of the formal concept of therapy. I recall asking my own shrink if he thought I was a "hopeless case." (For the record, he does not believe that there are any hopeless cases - he thinks everyone can be helped with time and the right approach. Not sure I can go along with that, but that a different topic for a different day!)
The "bend or I will break" thing, to me, has two meanings. 1) It's the hallmark of therapy: change or fail (fail meaning to continue on as the dissatisfied person you were before engaging in therapy.) 2) It's the brake/break thing. Bend (change) or brake (break) = change or die. Ohhhh - the idea that he may have meant to do that (use brake and break in two different places in order to emphasize the dual meanings)...goosebumps!
Okay, so having gone so far into the therapy thing, let me add a disclaimer. I am not saying that I think Rick went to therapy and then wrote this song about hope and healing. I AM saying that I see this song as an accompaniment to my therapy process. And I AM saying that it seems as if something happened to Rick (writing his first book, being honest about being a shitheel to his wife, just getting older and wiser) that had some kind of therapy-like cathartic effect that made this song possible.
Or maybe not...but, as MY "future's bright, alive with light" now, I'll keep listening to this song for a very long time. It fills me with optimism. And let's be honest, not many of Rick's songs can do that. - Ann Tolar Davis

Addendum to WIDE AWAKE review...
To add to this, with the theme thing in mind, I'd like to point out the following:
The evil in this song is represented by the lines:
"Sleeping with voodoo" and "Willing to sleep with a rattlesnake"
Snakes and voodoo are classic "bad news bears" - that’s obvious.
The war is in his talk of "fighting to break through" and "ramparts" falling. Fight=war=bad…yada, yada
The good = the idea of a "safety net", "love conquers all" and, naturally, "the future being alive with light."
Nature theme = "shake to my earthquake" and "looking for daylight" - and yes, I put earthquake in the "good/nature" zone. Because although PEOPLE get hurt in quakes, sometimes, as with fire/flood, quakes are cleansing for nature and the Earth.
Humanity = lines like "saw your face", "human race", "everyone is my friend"
And the sin for this one is PRIDE, as in, “I want to be famous.”
I am going to wait until all my reviews are done to tie it all together. But for now, under each review for each individual song, I'll list this “chart” of themes. Once I have all the “charts” together, I’ll show you what I THINK I see in it.
Again, I may be WAY OFF BASE and making this up out of nothing at all. And if I am, so what, it was fun :-)
Also, please know that when I say blah, blah, blah = whatever, I am not meaning that to be a fact. I am just using shorthand rather than typing out, "I think this may be Rick trying to use the line ___ to indicate the theme of ___"
It's just me being lazy, not being a know-it-all. Although, I do, in fact, know everything. Just ask R - she knows that I know and is happy to know it too - Ann Tolar Davis