Songs for 2019 Playlist Explained

This is what Spotify prepped when I made the list.


This list is certainly not done yet, but I think it’s a decent start to what I’m feeling for the new year. 2019 should be about stepping out into the various things I was gifted in. In short, having more boldness and caring less about what others think or attaining success as the world defines it. That’s gonna be difficult, but I’m game to try.

Here’s the link to the Songs for 2019 playlist.

Most of my playlists end up being a tad longer, but I’m going to assume there’s room for a lot of growth. My 2018 list ended up being 48 songs and 3 hours 5 minutes. Pretty sure it was about 28 songs when I wrote the explanation post. Actually, many of the end songs for 2018 do carry over.

Song Explanations:

Prepare for Mayhem by Rosa Phelpson

I love this song for the beginning because there’s a mysterious, cool quality to the general song flow. It doesn’t need words to be a good “gear  up for what’s coming” song.

Be Thou My Vision by Audrey Assad

Audrey Assad didn’t write it, but I love her version of the classic hymn. She’s got a nice, clear, angelic voice that comes across as very soothing. The hymn itself is ones of my favorite. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always enjoyed it.

Believe by The Sidh

A lovely, soft, contemplative sort of song. “Believe” is a nice follow up to “Be Thou My Vision”. It’s instrumental and inspirational. I sometimes pick songs for their titles. This one has a very fitting title.

Joy. (Fransis Derelle & Jinco Remix) By For King and Country

The focus of this song is that joy’s sometimes a choice. It’s also catchy and has some pretty powerful lyrics.

“Gotta get that fire fire back in my bones. Before my heart heart turns into stone.”
“Oh hear my prayer tonight … give me strength to testify”
“Time’s come to make a choice. And I choose joy.”
“Let it move you. Let it move you. Let it move you.”

The Silk Road by The Sidh

This starts slow, but picks up around 0:15 with the entry of the wind instrument and then 0:30 with the entry of the drums. Not sure about the title’s meaning, but the song itself is fun. You could imagine it being the soundtrack to a journey montage if this were a movie.

High Hopes by Panic! At the Disco

Don’t think all the lyrics fit here, but here are some I gravitate to.
“Didn’t have a dime, but I always had a vision.
“I was gonna be that one in a million.”
“Always had high high hopes.”

Guess the general message is dream big.

Hiraeth by Jo Blankenburg

Had to look up what the word meant. Google via Wikipedia says that it’s a Welsh concept of homesickness or longing for home. I just thought it was pretty, but that too fits. From a certain point of view, every Christian has a different home and it would be natural to feel a sense of loss and longing for it.

Shouldn’t Be Sorry by Cards, Sita

Once again, I am not certain that I gravitate to every single one of the lyrics here, but I do like the general message about being bold.

“You shouldn’t feel sorry when you speak your mind,”
“You shouldn’t be sorry…”
“Shouldn’t feel wrong cause you put it right.”

Becoming a Legend by John Dreamer

I tried to mix in instrumental and songs with lyrics. This is a good “in between” song. It’s steady and pretty.

Show You by Cameron James

This is a fairly bold song.
“Don’t underestimate. I’m more than meets the eye.”
“I was born to born to break through.”
“Show you. Show you I can.”

Emma by Steve Price

I didn’t think I saw the movie Fury, but I actually think I did and forgot all about it.  The song is both soothing and haunting. Perfect war movie music. Not expecting life to turn as hellish as the events of the movie, but the music fits a “hey, prepare yourself” theme.

Reeloading by The Sidh

The more I listen to this one, the more I think it’s probably the most hands-down fun on the list.

Around 0:15 there’s a quickening of pace. It stays fast throughout most of the rest of the song. I dare you to try to listen to the whole thing without tapping your foot. I have no idea about the title

Higher Ground by Wildwood Kin

Wildwood Kin would probably sound good singing anything. They have a nice, smooth sound.
“Worlds keep on turning. Cause it won’t be too long.”
“Powers keep on lying while your people keep on dying.”
“So glad I know more than I knew then”
“Believers keep on believing.”
“Gotta keep on trying until I reach my highest ground.”

In essence, life goes on. Pretty sure I don’t know what some of the middle line means “So darn glad he let me try it again.”

Human Legacy by Ivan Torrent

Interesting title on this one. Slow and gentle throughout. It’s on the longer side at just shy of 5 minutes. Changes around 1:30. Reminds me of a good “roll credits” musical piece.

A Taste of Freedom by Antti Martikainen

Really couldn’t decide where I wanted to place this one. It’s got the feel of a “continuing credits” song. I love the title. Just a taste of freedom is enough to spark a revolution. You can pick up that concept from most epic stories. There’s an overall triumphant feel to this song.

Good to Be Alive by Jason Gray

I didn’t want to end with all instrumental songs.
“Every breathe that I take, You’ve given.”
“I want to live like there’s no tomorrow. Love like I’m on borrowed time. It’s good to be alive.”

Simple but powerful.

Final Frontier by Thomas Bergersen

Some of you probably thought we made it through the whole list without one Thomas Bergersen because he shows up in quite a few of my playlists. What can I say? He does journey music awesomely. My favorite part starts a little over the one minute mark.

All We Are by Marcus Warner

Starts out with drums. It’s a good place to end with the beginning of the list. There’s a promise of more in here. You think the song’s about to end right in the middle. Once again, it’s on the chunky side at 3 seconds side of 5 minutes. At 2:30 something, it continues by starting on a new section. Aside from being moving and inspirational, there’s strength and even courage tucked into the chords of the song. I think this pairs well even when it loops around and plays you Prepare for Mayhem again.


If I’ve accurately picked music for the year, it’s gonna be an amazing time filled with growth and new paths on the life journey. I’m excited to see what happens.

Associate Links:

(If you click through and buy something, there’s the chance I’ll earn like $0.04 ….)

Amazon Prime

The Collins Case – 2 FBI agents track down a kidnapped family. Kid friendly.

If fantasy’s more your thing, go Redeemer Chronicles. The first, Awakening, is available as an audiobook.

Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts – a kid deals with her parents’ divorce, bullies, and the wonder of discovery.

Try The Dark Side of Science – Genetically altered kids fight for the right to live.


1718 Songs for Students Playlist Explanation

This is the lovely cover shot that Spotify made, so I’ma go with it.

Link to the 1718 Songs for Students Spotify Playlist.

Dear students,


If you have no idea what I’m taking about, you either missed class when I talked about this, you weren’t paying attention, or you’re not one of my current students. All sound possibilities. No matter how you got here, welcome. I hope if you are one of my students you’ve received your personal letter. Not sure how that tradition got started, but it’s something I’ve done each year since starting teaching. Personal letters are a rarity. Also, it gives me a chance to address each of you individually, something that doesn’t always happen in wider school settings. A friend, former student actually, got me started on making playlists. So naturally, I decided to compile one specifically for the students from the 2017-2018 school year. (Random people are welcomed too. I hope you find something to love. There’s some great music here.)

Disclaimer: I own none of the music. All opinions and meanings/interpretations are just that … opinions.

A Note About Flow (List Order):

The song order probably isn’t perfect, but I feel like this is the journey we’ve been on this year. Also, all of us are somewhere here in terms of finding out who we are, what we stand for, and what we believe. I truly hope you each find peace. Generally speaking, the songs start out with ones about longing and confusion then move on to hope and growth. Next comes endurance and strength and finally, victory. (The links should go to Youtube.)

Song List and Their Meanings:

Breath of Life by Florence + The Machine

“I was looking for a breath of life
A little touch of heavenly light
But all the choirs in my head sang no
To get a dream of life again
A little of vision of the start and the end
But all the choirs in my head sang no”

“Whose side am I on?”

In some way, we’re all looking for that breath of life, “a little touch of heavenly light,” but the “choirs” in our heads are saying no. Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen students struggle not just with the chemistry, but with much bigger life issues. It’s hard to turn off the choirs in our head that whisper doubts to us.

Up Down by Boy Epic

Besides being a neat, epic sounding song. I feel like this speaks very well to a general sense of lostness and confusion. “And I’m barely breathing, but I’ll fight on” … “Still fighting my demons”

Strength to Believe by Epic Score

Nothing like a solid, sweeping score to gear up for a fight. If this were a video game, this is about the part where all the bad guys start coming out of the walls and you gotta fight fast or die. I love the title. It’s very uplifting. Sometimes, belief is really hard to come by. This goes deeper than a Hallmark-y “just believe in yourself and everything turns to puppies and rainbows.” Still, there’s some truth to the song. Just listen to it. Music often transcends words. The beginning chords are very inspirational, yet there’s a sense of danger and a promise of a good, rousing fight.

Breath and Life by Audiomachine

Okay, so you probably don’t need the extended version. But it had a safer picture than the other one. Different take on the ideal of time passing and gearing up for life.

Who Are You by Svrcina

At first, I didn’t really like this song, but it became one of my favorites. This is how I feel sometimes. “You’re not such an easy target. One minute I know you, then I don’t. Hello. Who are you?” Students (people in general) are very good at putting on masks. Only when chaos is breaking out do I realize that there are things beyond the here and now that are fighting me. Guessing the same holds true for others. Other times, we just have to ask ourselves the question: who are you?

Even if it Hurts by Sam Tinnesz

I actually didn’t pick this song for you, the artist did. See, I wasn’t very tech savvy about my Facebook app. In trying to find and like Sam Tinnesz’s Facebook page, my phone decided I should just PM the man. So my thumbs up like went directly to him. Later, I got a reply thumbs up (’cause what else can one do?). Anyway, so I told him what happened and then remembered I was compiling this list. I asked him to recommend one of his songs to you guys and this is what he chose because it’s about sacrificial love. There are some beautiful friendships in the classes. Friendship’s about more than goofing around in class. It’s about being there for your friends during the good, the bad, and the ugly.

We Will All Be Changed by Seryn

I originally had the song at the beginning of the list, but I like it much better here. It’s really a turning point song. After realizing you’re looking for a breath of life, preparing to enter a struggle, and drawing closer to friends, you’re ready for change. Life’s all about change. I think I put that in many of the personal letters. But it’s a message for everybody, regardless of if you actually got those words written to you.

Undefeated (feat. Beacon Light) by Tommee Profitt, Beacon Light

Not my typical fare for music, I can assure you. Still, this song is awesome. Listen very carefully to the lyrics. “We undefeated.” “rising back up from the ground” “we rising” “never back down.”

The Hate Inside (feat. Sam Tinnesz) by Tommee Profitt, Sam Tinnesz

This song stands as a beautiful, poignant warning. Holding on to negative emotions, including hate, it’s going to eat you alive. “Like liquid poison, it takes its toll.”

Dragonland by Thomas Bergersen

Besides being great music to study for finals (hint, hint), this is good “wait time” music. The Hate Inside is pretty weighty. This is lighter. There are ominous sections to it, but at the heart, the score’s got great buildup to another fight. It’s very inspirational.

Invincible by Two Steps from Hell

Similar in style to Dragonland. This is good musical encouragement to keep struggling against the things that challenge you. Giving up is the most painful thing to watch. Fight on. Life can be very difficult. Turn to family and friends. People can be difficult, but they make life worth living. Seek to take care of each other. This does not include cheating. Ha, sometimes, it means standing up to a friend and saying, you’re going to have to do this yourself because it’s good for you in the long run.

Something Can Grow by Tony Anderson

The direct result of most struggles is growth. This song is occasionally too slow for my tastes, but it captures the idea of waiting, watching, and growth very well.

Fight Club by Lorne Balfe

I partly needed to get back to rousing themes. Also, the song is great for continuing the idea of battle on as well as introducing the theme of endurance. There are notes in the background that are reminiscent of a ticking clock. To me, that says passage of time.

Trouble in Town by Lorne Balfe

This song throws you right in the middle of a fight. It’s like the previous song set you up then BOOM fight.

Roots by Swingin Hammers

Hands down, one of the hardest videos for me to watch. I refuse. It makes me nauseous, but the music is lovely. The lyrics are powerful too. “I’m tired of running, running, running into the things that kill my soul” “tired of always swinging hammers at the love that makes me whole.” Again, we have the idea that we’re occasionally our own worst enemy. “bout time to start kicking, screaming, got to get out of here fast” Okay, so those last lyrics might be every student and teacher come the end of the school year, but metaphorically, run away from the things that kill your soul. Oh, that applies to many self-destructive tendencies people have.

Heart of Courage by Thomas Bergersen

One of my favorite processing songs. This minibreak should give you time to take in the heavy-hitting lyrics from “Roots.” It’s also a great song for embodying the idea of endurance and carrying on through hard things. Much of life requires a heart of courage to wade through well.

Never Give Up by UNSECRET, feat. Rose Cousins

The central message is present in the title. “Never give up.” “Never ever ever ever, ever ever ever. Never give up …” “It’ll take all of us to make this right” Generally, I’m not a fan of repetition, but the idea that you have to repeat never giving up is important. You have to continually fight the urge to just throw your hands up and quit hard things. Growth comes from struggling through things that hurt. That’s not to say go seek tough things to overcome. Enough hard stuff will roll your way just as a part of life. When they do come, never give up.

For This You Were Born UNSECRET, Fleurie

“Silence the doubt in your mind. You were by design a victor.” I love those lyrics. A lot of people go throughout life thinking “what’s the point?” and “I’m just not good enough” You were born to be a victor. Silencing doubt in your head is a great place to start.

“Know in your heart you’re alive. Destiny is on your side.” Pretty. Not quite sure I grasp the full implication of the words, but I like the sentiment.

Who Are You (Russ Macklin Remix) by Svrcina, Russ Macklin

Some questions are worth repeating. Besides, this is a nice remix. Surprising how much changing the tempo can change quite a bit about a song. Still, I figured near the end is a great place to revisit the question: who are you?

Guardians At the Gate by Audiomachine

Actually, the video montage here is decent too. Beautiful music to again remind you that life is a struggle, but a beautiful one.

Empire of Angels by Thomas Bergersen

Finally, time to slow down. Again, great studying music. Can’t tell you how many lesson plans got written to music like this. I think this has a lot more gentle themes to it. We’re back to contemplative, softer, still epic music.

Victory by Two Steps from Hell

As I hear this for the umpteenth time, I think I probably should have switched Victory and Empire of Angels, but title wise, I like how it goes now. There’s something nice with ending a year on a note of victory. For some of us, just passing is our victory.


There will be many things for you to face this summer and the years beyond. Music can’t fix everything, but I hope this list has given you something to think about. Success doesn’t automatically mean money and fame. It means living life well, not just for yourself, but for others in your life. Take responsibility for who you are, what you believe, what you will become. It’s been a pleasure to work with each of you. Come visit in future years (um, just not when you’re supposed to be in a different class, even if there’s a sub there…). I have enjoyed getting to know you as you are now and look forward to seeing where life takes each of you in the future.



Julie C. Gilbert





RECLAIM THE DARKLANDS || Playlist Commentary Part 1


*This is a guest post put together by Christina Amy Guglielmon.

Remember the excitement of listening to a new vinyl or CD album, listening to every track in order, feeling and sensing the flow of one song to the next, and–if you particularly were into CDs–flipping through that music packet to pour over the lyrics and get as much as you can out of just 10 songs? Ha, well I remember this, and maybe you do, too. For me at least, there seems to be something magical that happens when I clear away distractions around me and concentrate solely on the music–its melody, rhythm, lyrics, flow….all of it!

Music is Awesome:

Music is an experience like no other, engaging our imaginations, intellect, feelings and emotions, and even something deeper inside of us. We may call it our souls or our spirits. Whatever it is, we know it’s real and that music activates it.

Ha, maybe I’m the only one who gets this sentimental over music, but I bet there’s at least a few of you who feel that way, too. If that’s you, then this playlist is truly for you, for those of us who often need music to understand life, to understand our stories as well as other people’s stories–both true and fictional.

Come Join My Process:

This music playlist is my way of processing and exploring Julie’s story, Reclaim the Darklands.
I invite you into this listening process! Every song is chosen for a reason, and track order is also chosen with intention. Both Julie and I dialogued about the playlist, so she was a part of the process as well!

(Me – Yeah, you should see the size of the list of songs that didn’t make the list. It was a fun process to go through.)

Everyone comes away from listening to music experiencing something a bit different, and that’s OK and beautiful! We are all different people with different tastes in music. Some of these songs will connect with you, others won’t, and some may take several re-listens to catch the meaning. Don’t feel the need to rush the process–enjoy the music and let it take you on a journey!

Some of the songs I imagined as musical themes for characters, others as score pieces for different scenes in the book or overall themes, and still other songs as linked to certain chapters in the book. A lot of these songs can apply to more than one situation in the book, and maybe you would place the song in a different part of the story or link it up with a different character than I did. Your interpretation of the music and story may differ from mine, and that’s awesome! This is my process! What’s yours? (Feel free to comment below.)

What follows is some of my thoughts on each piece of music as it pertains to the story. Consider this as the CD album packet containing the lyrics. The difference here is that I’m discussing my thoughts on each song and full lyrics won’t be given, but do look them up if you’re interested! You can use this as a resource for the playlist, so scroll through it as you’re listening (or better yet, after you listen!)

This post is part one where the first 13 songs are listed. More parts will follow! Enjoy!



***Contains spoilers if you have not read Reclaim the Darklands***

(Linked titles are Youtube videos I could find.)


Chapter 1 of Reclaim the Darklands opens with the Keris Council forming the Order of the Redeemers. The council aims to restore a sense of unity and hope among the people as the Resolute and dark forces seem to be gaining ground. The lyrics in Bright Ones, “We are Your bright ones / Lit up with Your love / Glowing in darkness” reminds me of the Chosen Redeemers, the people the One selected to be bright ones in dark days. And these ones are indeed, “carriers of promise.” The people of Aeris have long awaited the rising of the Chosen Redeemers, and now that these Redeemers are awakened, they are “alive to be a witness.” In context, this type of witness is not passive, but active; it’s a testifying to those promises foretold. Even though the Chosen Redeemers play a role in pushing back the dark forces and bringing healing to the land, every person in Aeris has their place and role. In this chapter, we see a glimpse of that taking place, and so the bridge in this song is truly where I see the strong tie-ins to chapter 1:

“See us rising from a distance
Your light’s burning bright within us
See us rising from a distance
There’s no darkness that could dim this
(You’re lighting us up)”

These are strong declarations of a community choosing to be the light in a world that’s fallen to destruction and ruin, but they aren’t merely choosing to be a light in the generic sense. The Chosen Redeemers specifically know that they gain their strength and gifts from the One. This is the One’s light that is burning within them. That said, the lyric “your light’s burning bright within us” can also refer to a specific Chosen Redeemer (i.e. Katrina) who burns with a fire inside of her.


This is what I imagine one of Vic’s theme to be. By this point in the series, Vic is confident in the One’s ability to protect her from the Outcast. She has learned how to rely on the One and step into dangerous situations with a confidence not only in her identity as a Chosen Redeemer, but also in the One’s power.

The lyric, “There’s a war that’s raging over me / But I know the One who holds the victory” applies to Vic, especially given her name means “victory” (most songs that relate to Vic deal with victory in some way). Vic is a victorious one precisely because she accepts the identity the One gave her and she trusts to the One, who is always protecting her in the midst of the wars raging over her. This whole song is a confident declaration where Vic stands strong in the battles “raging over [her],” knowing that the One is her protection, and because of that “all [her] enemies are paralyzed.”


In chapter 2, we’re reminded that Vic, her friends, and all the people of Aeris are constantly pursued by dark forces, especially the mastermind behind it all–the Dark Man–who indeed masquerades behind many pretenses to lure people into his trap. The people who are not alert to this are easy targets for the Dark Man, and quickly become his prisoners. The people, then, need to stay alert and “watch their backs,” so that they won’t fall prey to the Dark Man and his traps. This phrase “watch your back” is also something we see the Dark Man himself almost telling Vic and her friends as a threat “you better watch your back.”


For me at least, this song communicates the way Vic & Gwynne are connected in their Chosen Redeemer roles as if they were sisters, and Vic is searching to find Gwynne. I can imagine Gwynne almost speaking to Vic, “You know where to find me” and Vic saying to Gwynne, “I know where to find you.” When Vic is searching for Gwynne, I see her being someone who–if she could send a message to Gwynne–would say to Gwynne in order to comfort Gwynne that soon Vic will find Gwynne, “Oh my darling I am getting closer, hold on tight.” I could see both of them saying to each other, “I could be a warrior, yes I am a warrior / There’s no need to worry, love / Look around it’s glorious / Close your eyes and taste the sun,” but I especially see Vic saying this to Gwynne. Gwynne means “white, light, fair” and so many of the songs that relate to Gwynne concern the light and the sun. I see Gwynne as someone who was born to “taste the sun” and when Vic & Adam get rid of the evil spirit attacking Gwynne, it’s as if Gwynne is able to taste the sun again–she’s set free of that evil spirit. She is a pure one with great wisdom and both her and Vic discover what it means to be “inside the light” throughout their adventures. Although each Chosen Redeemer has a different role, they are all warriors in their own ways.


By this point in chapter 4, Vic and Adam find Gwynne, but when Vic sees a shadow pass in Gwynne’s eyes, both Vic and Adam know something’s wrong–an evil spirit is oppressing Gwynne. I can see these lyrics coming from the evil spirit directed at both Adam and Vic as they drive this spirit away.


The beginning 20 seconds of this piece captures–in my opinion–that eerie terror of coming face to face with evil creatures. And then the song morphs into a moment of freedom from those evil creatures. The song builds toward a victory and then becomes sentimental. The very context of this piece is concerning a beautiful moment of friends finding one another after an evil attack. This is what I imagine a score piece might sound like for the scenes in chapter 4 where Vic & Adam fight the evil spirit & it flees, leaving the Chosen Redeemers to finally connect with each one another.


After Gwynne is freed from the evil Spirit these lyrics are what I imagine Vic might say to Gwynne. The theme of light relating to Gwynne is carried through in this song as Frida sings, “We will glow / Oh, this is gold.” This also relates to broader themes in the series of stepping into identity: “We will be kings and queens / Don’t be scared, no.”


This song begins with a musical sound that is very similar to the music in The Return. As much as possible, I like to link themes and characters with a similar musical sound. This song is one of Gwynne’s themes. The lyrics in Blackout contrast the evil spirit’s attack that just happened. In spite of the evil spirit that tried to come against Gwynne, Gwynne is a light, and “you can’t turn out a light shining from the inside.”

This song begins with the lyrics, “I ride the dawn / It’s in the name I was given / Can’t get away from the meaning / I’ll always rise, I’ll always shine…” and , as said before, Gwynne’s name meaning is “white, light, fair,” so it really is the name given to her. The phrase “In a blackout” is a good way of describing how the evil spirit tried to cloud Gwynne’s vision. What Gwynne experienced was like a blackout, but she is already a confident character who knows her Chosen Redeemer role. She’s confident that “I will illuminate the dark / You won’t escape the beaming.”

But then the lyrics change from I to we, indicating Gwynne is joining up with the Chosen Redeemers and now this whole team of Chosen Redeemers (and even the good people of Aeris) stand up in the battles raging around them and declare, “In a blackout / We will illuminate the dark / They won’t escape the beaming.” It’s a slight nuance, but I think an important one. This is a major theme carried throughout the whole series: everyone needs to work together in order to defeat the dark forces. It’s not Vic alone who is left with the task to reclaim these dark lands and overcome the Dark Man’s evil strategies. Vic has to rely on other people who have their own unique gifts and roles. Everyone has a role and they are all stronger if they work together as a team. So it’s not just I will illuminate the dark, but also we as a collective team will illuminate the dark. We are going to bring light to these dark lands.


This song can be like a summary of Gwynne being found and freed from the evil spirit. It also speaks of what Gwynne will eventually do for the Dark Man’s prisoners.

Verse 2 can be understood as Vic saying this to Gwynne, but also as Gwynne saying this to all the Dark Man’s prisoners. It is often that when we’ve personally been set free, we set others free: “Give me the rope that is tied around your neck / I’ll cut it away / I’ll set you free as you should be / No longer must we live under these burdens / Your my beloved, my kin, no more a slave” That last line is key for this whole series as the Chosen Redeemers are helping the people of Aeris to see their fight is not against one another–they are all kin. Their real enemy is the Outcast.


This song I imagined as Gwynne’s theme song.

“I say to my body, you were made for living
I say to my mind, you were made for dreaming
You were made, you were made, you were made for this, for this”

Every Chosen Redeemer has had their moment of coming to the realization that they were made for this. Gwynne is already confident in this, but I like to imagine that these opening lyrics would be her sometime before we meet her coming to this realization and confidence that she is a Chosen Redeemer. My interpretation of Gwynne and what stood out to me is that she’s a character who gives deep wisdom that seems so simple, adults might think it too simple to be true. Adults often overlook the deep wisdom a child can give and will call children “dreamers” with their heads in the clouds or just naive, but it often these very people who offer us great wisdom that should be heeded. It would be wise of all of Aeris to listen to Gwynne’s deep wisdom. Dreams take place in the mind and out of the four different Chosen Redeemers, Gwynne is the mind. The theme of being a dreamer will come up later on in relation to Gwynne, but I wanted to establish that in the beginning for Gwynne so that when we come near the end of the playlist, we see that Gwynne has been a confident character from beginning to end. And I think the things she gives away to others were coming from a grounded place of her own identity–maybe that’s just my interpretation.

This song makes multiple references to light. As I said, almost every song pertaining to Gwynne deals with light in some way given her name meaning and who she is as a pure, fair one with great wisdom.


In chapter 5, the Resolute’s hatred and prejudice toward the Saroth is on display. Any kind of hatred like this will, indeed, eat all of us alive if we succumb to it. I can see Lady Christa (as well as the Chosen Redeemers, the One, the Lady, and anyone who sides with the One) saying these words to the Resolute, “The hate inside will eat you alive.” In this chapter, Lady Christa says to Lady Callista, “[…] I’ve heard enough hatred for one day. The Saroth are a people like us. There are good and bad people among them. You cannot condemn the whole for the actions of a few.” This is one of the major themes in the whole series. On one end, you have a group of people who are bent toward hatred and prejudice of “the other.” The way these people approach life is to find an enemy in “the other.” But on the other end, you have the Chosen Redeemers and those who stand with them. They see the innate value of every people group–of the Saroth, the Arkonai, and the Bereft–and approach life trying to build a family and community among all of the various people, seeing that their only enemy is the Outcast, but among each other, there is no enemy.

Indulging in hatred toward other people is like willingly choosing to be bound by chains. It’s a slavery in and of itself. The whole Redeemer Chronicles series demonstrates this powerfully and the lyrics of this song also communicate this powerfully, especially the first verse: “The walls of freedom / Come crumbling down / The moment you put those chains / Around you now / Like liquid poison / It takes its toll / Black feathered arrows / That pierce your soul.”

Hatred enslaves the Resolute and pierces their souls. Thankfully, though, one particular Chosen Redeemer is especially gifted at restoring souls.

FREE One of my personal favorites…)

My interpretation of this is that this song relates to the Saroth/Arkonai divisions, especially seen in chapters 5 & 8. In chapter 8, we see that Galeric spreads lies concerning the Saroth in order to enslave them and justify his prejudice and hatred of them. In a way, the Saroth are “known by the sin of [their] fathers…” and those sins are actually lies that were spread about them. They didn’t do anything wrong, but they’re still known as ones who have done wrong things. So from the Saroth’s perspective, they might say to one another, all of these lies about us are gonna be brought to light and the truth will be known about us, and we’ll finally be free! This lyric “hard evidence is power” reminds me of how in chapter 8, the truth that the Saroth didn’t spread the disease is brought to light. Hard evidence is brought up and that (with Gwynne’s help) makes the people realize that Galeric is lying. The lyrics, “Secrets tell a million lies / To build the walls they hide behind” describe what Galeric and the Resolute are doing to exclude the Saroth. Galeric & the Resolute are indeed building walls against the Saroth.

On a more broad note, however, this whole song can be understood in terms of the Dark Man lying to the people of Aeris and the Chosen Redeemers saying that truth will come to light so that all of the prisoners bound to the Dark Man may be free if they so choose to leave the Dark Man’s lies.


As we consider the themes in the previous song (and so in the story), something is probably rising up in us that says we will no longer stand by and watch injustices happening. We will no longer stand by and watch lies being spread. We will no longer stand by and watch hatred and violence ravage our streets and lands. We must stand and not remain quiet any longer. And that is exactly what the Chosen Redeemers do; they take a stand for the sake of the peoples of Aeris and the land that it would be free of hatred, free of lies, free of the Dark Man’s slavery. The One and the Lady awaken them to stand up and be the leaders they are called to be. In the first book, we see Vic awaken to her Chosen Redeemer role. At first, she’s hesitant and timid, more of a witness to the evils plaguing Aeris than a participant in opposing these evils. In book two, however, Vic is beginning to understand she is meant to restore and heal to her land and lead the people to fight the real enemy–the Outcast. In book three, Vic has embraced her role as a Chosen Redeemer and she no longer can stand to “just be a witness.” Her natural response is to stand up to see the people of Aeris be free of the Outcast’s grip and be healed from their brokenness and battle wounds. This theme of standing up and not merely being a witness is woven throughout the series.

The lyric, “So if you wanna watch the war break out / If you wanna let your silence shout / You can, but I won’t just be a witness, I’ll stand” ties back in the theme of “the war raging over [Vic].” Vic chooses to stand with the One at her side.

This can be related to many of the other characters as well. But there are others who are too afraid and overcome by the Dark Man, so they do not stand, and because of this, they are easy prey for the Dark Man and become his captives without much of a fight. People like Dina would probably be just as powerful as Vic if only she took a stand, but instead she chose not to and became a slave to the Dark Man’s plans. It’s powerful for me to see the contrast between characters like Sara, Tellen, Katrina, Gwynne, Vic… and characters like Jordan, Dina, Emilio. Every person has a choice of whether to stand up against the Dark Man or to give in to apathy and do nothing about it (which inevitably leads to becoming a slave to the Dark Man). People like Dina essentially say that the Dark Man is far too powerful to overcome, so they might as well join him rather than fight him. But the truth is demonstrated by characters such as Vic or Sara who trust to the One regardless of how great and terrible the Dark Man seems. They resist the evil forces and always believe that there is hope for overcoming the Dark Man’s plans. They choose to take a stand rather than remain complacent toward these evils. And they succeed.

This is a powerful theme for me to take away: we can choose to take that stand and fight for the good things in this world. As Tellen, Vic, and Katrina all say–there is much that is still worth fighting for. So why not take a stand? Why only remain a witness when we could rise up to be the redeemers, the healers, the restorers that we were born to be?

The verse and chorus sung by multiple voices gives that sense of working together and being a collective and a community who will stand against the evils destroying the people and land. They stand for the change that will bring freedom. This collective can be all the people of Aeris, but also the Chosen Redeemers. The different lines can apply to many characters, but can also refer to specific Chosen Redeemers (hint: one of the lines uses the word “dream.”)

“We’re gonna take the streets
Marchin’ for a bigger dream
Shout til the blind can see
It’s time for us to be free
We’re gonna bring the rain
We’re gonna light the flame
Stand till we see the change
Human we’re all the same […]
But I can’t just be a witness”



Ya’ll are amazing! If you made it this far, thanks for coming along on the journey!
Will be back soon with part 2!


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