Song Meaning, Song Lyrics and Music Analysis: Sign (by FLOW) — Naruto Shippuuden Opening

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It's an album cover. Woo.The music I’ve listened to more than anything–anything–in my entire life is the collection of openings to Naruto and its sequel, Naruto Shippuuden. Considering that the 6th Naruto Shippuuden Opening, “Sign” (by FLOW),  is one of my favorite songs–ever–it’s kinda sad that I never stopped to read and interpret the full lyrics to it. I have the vaguest notion that the meaning of this song has something to do with pain, but what, if anything, the “sign” is, I’ve no idea. Let’s take a look and see if a close examination can make this song more meaningful for me…

"Someday I'm going to rip your eyes out and take them for myself."

Context: This song runs from episodes 129 – 151 of Naruto Shippuuden. This is a hardcore season–probably the most hardcore of any season of Naruto. People fight with everything they have, people fulfill their goals in life, people find out that what they thought they wished for wasn’t what they expected, people face their past mistakes, and people die in unexpected and tragic manners.  You’d expect a pretty epic song to accompany this season, and your faith would be rewarded.

Video:

Lyrics (Translated into English from Japanese):

I realize the screaming pain
Hearing it loud in my brain
But I’m going to go straight ahead with the scarIt’s fine if you forget,
it’s fine if you can’t feel it
I’ve patched up the scrapes in my heart
It’s okay if I’m hurt, because I no longer feel the pain
Even as I drag my feet along
I can no longer see
The self
That made a sound
and then collapsed
If you just notice the sound of the wind…
It told me to follow these scars
Before I’d be crushed by the weight of the world
Can you remember it? The sky of tears…
That pain has given you protection
Because this pain will always protect you
More than the strength of being unhurt, the kindness that cannot hurt
Its voice in some ways, seems sad
Unbuttoning a button
Our hearts and bodies
Were separated
Once again, catch your heart…
It told me to follow these scars
Before I’d be crushed by the weight of the world
Can you remember it? The sky of tears…
That pain has given you protection
Because this pain will always protect you
I found it
That teary voice
There’s no mistake
It’s my own
All of it was for this moment…
I’m sure that from the beginning, you knew
I was the only one who wouldn’t leave you again
I made you realize, this is a sign for you
That pain has given you protection
I was told to follow these scars
And then there wouldn’t be anything to be afraid of…
Don’t forget it, your reason for smiling…
That pain has given you protection
That pain has given you protection
Because this pain will always protect you

Whoa, psycho.

Analysis: Oh wow, that’s pretty heavy. This is not a happy song. But as it turns out, it is a fascinating one.

Well, obviously we can assume that something truly painful has happened to the speaker in this song. Furthermore, the speaker implies that this pain that didn’t happen by accident–it was inflicted purposefully. However, this pain hasn’t necessarily been caused with malicious intent: “It told me to follow these scars Before I’d be crushed by the weight of the world.” This would indicate that the pain caused in the speaker was for the purpose of allowing them to endure some major plight. Indeed, the speaker admits that this pain was a catalyst that transformed him from the weaker person he used to be into someone stronger: “I can no longer see The self That made a sound and then collapsed.” The speaker doesn’t seem to regret the suffering that he’s endured–in fact, he seems almost proud of the difference in himself.

The last line of the song is the assertion that “This pain will always protect you.” The idea that you can protect someone by causing them to suffer pain would initially seem to be an oxymoron, but taken within the context of the song, it makes total sense. The one who caused the pain on another did so intentionally, with the deliberate objective of somehow protecting that person.

Having pulled the song apart, let’s talk about the ideas contained in it.

The theme of this song seems to be that pain itself, and even causing pain in others, isn’t unquestionably a bad thing. Human beings learn from their experiences, and pain is one of them. Sometimes people can end up hurting someone not because they want to see that person suffer, but because they want that person to grow as a result. Just like working out too hard breaks down your muscles and causes them to develop into something better, humans can come out stronger and more capable for having endured difficult trials. Indeed, without being challenged, people will never be pushed to their limits and to their full potential. This line of thought can lead one into very gray territory, however.

If you’re trying to achieve something noble, do the ends justify the means? Can you achieve true good through evil? Is it worth enduring or causing suffering for the possibility of seeds of growth? Is it acceptable to hurt someone if you believe it’s necessary in order for them to face hard truths about themselves?

These are all tough philosophical questions that “Sign” raises, and heavy ones that I really have no answers for. I think it has to be a mark (sign?) of great art though that one four-minute piece of work can raise such poignant questions and emotions. I’m just getting started with these music analyses, but I will be very surprised if I encounter any anime songs soon that can stand up to the depth and emotion of “Sign”.

How sad...

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2 Responses to Song Meaning, Song Lyrics and Music Analysis: Sign (by FLOW) — Naruto Shippuuden Opening

  1. Kahzumi says:

    I’ve always loved this song, ever since I was in 6th grade. I’ve always thought that it was a perfect song for the Uchihas. Itachi tortured and pressured Sasuke on purpose just so that he could live off that pain and survive on his own. He wanted Sasuke to kill him and be called a hero in the village right? So Itachi inflicted pain on Sasuke to protect him from others, because he wouldn’t be there to protect his precious little brother himself.

    “It told me to follow these scars
    before I’d be crushed by the weight of the world” I think it’s like Itachi telling Sasuke that by hurting him, he is simply preparing him for the more painful things that can happen to him in the world. It’s like the pain is there to help him endure more painful stuff. At least, I’ve always liked to think about it that way. 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    I love this song

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