Behind the Lyrics - The Heavy

Welcome to "Behind the Lyrics" with Elise Chandler. Each week, I find a song that I feel is understated both musically and lyrically, and I analyze it through several critical lenses.

 

A total disclaimer: I love westerns. I love the music, the good v. bad and questions on morality, the scenery...I can go on. But the point is - when I first heard "Short Change Hero" by The Heavy, I fell in love with this song musically and lyrically. 

 

Musically, it has elements of blues and gospel influences, which can be found in many westerns. Great beat, and the beginning starts off with a very western sound. It sounds like a cowboy approaching a face down with an opponent, which is very appropriate lyrically. 

 

Many people (including myself) would be inclined to hear the beginning and travel back to the mental image of two stoic men having a showdown across a town square, frightened townsfolk hiding in storefronts and apartment windows. The fact that just the introduction can bring us back to these mental pictures is amazing in itself, but the lyrics taking a modern twist on a western ideal is even cooler, in my opinion.

 

Here are the lyrics:

"I can't see where you comin' from
But I know just what you runnin' from
And what matters ain't the, who's baddest but
The ones who stop you fallin' from your ladder, baby

feel like you feelin' now
I'm doin' things just to please your crowd
When I love you like the way I love you
And I suffer, but I ain't gonna cut you 'cause

This ain't no place for no hero
This ain't no place for no better man
This ain't no place for no hero
To call home

This ain't no place for no hero
This ain't no place for no better man
This ain't no place for no hero
To call home

Every time I close my eyes, I think
I think about you inside
And your mother, givin' up on askin' why
Why you lie, and you cheat, and you try to make
A fool outta she

I can't see where you comin' from
But I know just what you're runnin' from
And what matters ain't the, who's baddest but the
Ones who stop you fallin' from your ladder, 'cause

This ain't no place for no hero
This ain't no place for no better man
This ain't no place for no hero
To call home

This ain't no place for no hero
This ain't no place for no better man
This ain't no place for no hero
To call home

This ain't no place for no hero
This ain't no place for no better man
This ain't no place for no hero
To call home"

 

Looking at the lyrics above, our narrator is facing off with the person of their dreams. He "loves" them, but their love back isn't quite the same depth as we see in the line "When I love you like the way I love you and I suffer". What does this person do to lose the narrator affection? "Why you lie, and you cheat, and you try to make a fool outta she". This person even does these things to their mother, which just affirms for the narrator that it's a game to them of who is the "baddest", and they want someone to save them from "fallin' from their ladder"

 

Which leads us to the main chorus, which is quite empowering for men who find themselves in abusive relationships. "This ain't no place for a hero. This ain't no place for a better man. This ain't no place for a hero to call home." The first step of leaving an abusive relationship is to realize your self-worth. Men, stereotypically, feel the need to constantly provide -- materially and emotionally for their partners. This is a lot of strain, and yet, a noble cause. Those men found in abusive relationships like the one detailed above look at themselves as the cause or the blame as to why their partner is not responsive and changing. 

 

However, what is a crucial theme in this song is that the narrator sees himself as a hero like our old west stars who knew a clear distinction between right and wrong and fought for justice. He is taking a stand, like our old west showdown, and he is deciding he wants no more of this relationship. He is winning a difficult battle, even if it may feel like he is losing something by walking away. The lines of justice are never black and white. What is right for one may not be right for another, but it is important to never lose sight of your values and self-worth. For this is what makes you a hero. Until next time. 

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