Lyrics & Interpretations: Speech Is No More

A wise man (let’s call him Christoffer Berg) once said something along the lines: I think where many artists go wrong is that they try to tell their audience what their songs are about. I think there’s a lot of truth to this. As far as literature is concerned, academics talk about ’the death of the author’. The same goes for musical lyrics. I (or anyone else) can’t control what the listener perceives the song to be about. And that is as it should be. As an artist I find it productive to remind myself that my interpretation of the song is correct to some extent. But other interpretations are equally possible. So in this (planned) series, I merely present an idea about what the lyrics could be about. Not what they must be about. And as such, it seems fitting to start with a song that denotes the end – or at least the limits – of languageSpeech is no more.

For me, music that you can move to, provides an avenue to come in contact with something more, a surplus. I experience this as something I would call divine. But ravers who are dancing into oblivion and experiencing self-transcendence may feel that they are doing something wholly other. The body is both at the fore (sweating, heaving, pulsating), but it is equally in the background, the notion of the self withers away as you (in Pharrell Williams’ words) lose yourself to dance. This song is an encouragement to do that. Forget about the author, the lyrics, the meaning, and explore what goes beyond – the place in which speech is no more. Here are the lyrics:

Speech is no more

Hold up, I told you there’s no return

Feel me all over, all old will burn

Steep in the pitchblack, walk through the door

Sounds that will guide you, speech is no more

Sounds that will guide you, in further away

I’ll find you completely transformed

It lifts you higher, to stellar value

Renders new meanings, where speech is no more

”Speech is no more” is part of my debut LP (as Jonatan Bäckelie) ”Darkness on the edge of ecstasy” out now on Sonar Kollektiv. Get it here:


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