Released in 2011, “Remember Everything” is an iconic song about complex family relationships. Ivan Moody wrote it to reflect on his own difficult relationship with his family members, who do not approve of his career choice to be a musician.
What does the title mean
The title refers to painful memories. Almost everyone can agree that painful memories never really go away. Memories are a burden that we are forced to carry whether we like it or not. The title is reminiscent of films such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It depicts characters who would rather erase their painful memories than live with them. Given the chance, almost everyone would want to be able to forget things that bring us pain or sorrow.
Verse 1 – What does it mean
“Oh, dear mother, I love you
I’m sorry, I wasn’t good enough
Dear father, forgive me
‘Cause in your eyes, I just never added up
In my heart I know I failed you
But you left me here alone”
The first verse is heartbreaking. The singer talks about how their own mother and father never accepted them. It almost seems as though it is from a child’s point of view. The child is made to feel that something is wrong with them because they can never live up to their parents’ expectations. Instead of supporting them and being there for them, their parents callously abandon them.
These lines are a powerful commentary on how children are often treated by adults. They have unreasonable expectations inflicted on them from a very early age. Instead of being loved and guided by adults, they are scolded and criticized. They grow up feeling that they are never good enough. These feelings of inadequacy often continue into adulthood. Consumerist institutions and beauty industries make us feel bad about our lack of achievements and even our own bodies. We are constantly told that we need to be better if anyone is to appreciate or love us.
What does the chorus mean
“If I could hold back the rain
Would you numb the pain
‘Cause I remember everything
If I could help you forget
Would you take my regrets
‘Cause I remember everything”
The chorus uses the classic metaphor of the rain to refer to pain and sorrow. It questions whether we would numb our pain if we were given the choice. The singer seems to be someone who does not numb his pain. He remembers everything, and the memories bring him pain. He expresses the hope to make others forget their pain.
Part of his sorrow seems to stem from the fact that there is no one to take his own pain away. His regrets remain with him because he has no one to share them with. These lines are full of pain and loneliness. They remind us that sadness is something that we are often left to experience alone. The very people who were supposed to love and comfort us are often the ones who end up causing us the most pain.
Verse 2 – What does it mean
“Oh, dear brother, just don’t hate me
For never standing by you or being by your side
Dear sister, please don’t blame me
I only did what I thought was truly right
It’s a long and lonely road
When you know you walk alone”
This verse furthers the singer’s sense of alienation from his family. It is not just his parents but also his siblings who have hurt him. He also blames himself for not standing by his brother in his time of need. He says that he thought he was doing the right thing, but it only ended up isolating him from others.
These lines present a strong critique of the traditional ideas of family and home. Social conventions tell us that the family unit is sacred. It is supposed to be the foundation of society. However, as many of us discover the hard way, families cannot always be relied on. Sometimes we are forced into loneliness and isolation because we don’t have the love or support of our families. This verse questions the value of conventional notions of love and togetherness. Not everyone has the strong familial bonds that are often celebrated in mainstream popular culture.
Verse 3 – What does it mean
“I feel like running away
I’m still so far from home
You say that I’ll never change
But what the fuck do you know
I’ll burn it all to the ground before I let you run
Please forgive me, I can’t forgive you now
I remember everything”
This verse shows the singer at a point of no return. He is unable to forgive his family members for the way in which they have treated him. Even though he’s far away from home, they still judge him and say that he’ll never change.
The image of burning everything to the ground shows a state of mind that is in violent desperation. The line could also be a metaphor for how the painful memories he is carrying are only good to be completely destroyed. They serve no other purpose.
What does the bridge mean
“It all went by so fast
I still can’t change the past
I always will remember everything
If we could start again
Would that change the end
We remember everything
These lines juxtapose the past with the present. The singer wonders about the hypothetical question of whether things would be different in the present if the past could be changed.
The conclusion of the song changes uses the first person plural “we” to say that “we remember everything.” There is a collective sense of memory here. It could refer either to the singer’s own experiences with his family or to society as a whole. Remembrance could be a way of referring to public histories also. Although the events of the past cannot be changed, we still wonder if things could have gone differently.
The song shows us the state of mind of someone who has been utterly betrayed by his family. His parents have never been supportive or accepting. The love and care he needed as a child was always denied to him. Even his siblings are estranged from him. This central theme of the song suggests the many ways in which children are hurt because of others. Our societal systems do not do much to ensure that children get the love, protection, and support that they need. They grow up with judgment and criticism, and sometimes even abuse, and have no one to turn to.
The singer’s experiences are made worse by the fact that he cannot escape from the bad memories.
The past becomes so much worse because not only did he suffer through it, but he also cannot escape it in the present. The memories keep coming back to haunt him. He cannot forget the pain and betrayal that his so-called loved ones have put him through. The song is about struggling desperately to carry the burdens of the past.
As it has been said, the past is never really the past. It always lives on in the present. Whether we are talking about individual’s lives or collective histories, the past is shaped by the present. Who we are as individuals and as communities is based on our present memories of our past selves and experiences. Memory, whether personal or collective, is powerful enough to determine our sense of who we are. The singer is so traumatized by his terrible memories that he constantly thinks of himself as flawed and inadequate. How we perceive the past from our present situations determines the extent to which we let the past shape the present.