For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been a bit of a shut-in. While most kids were running around outside in the sun with their friends, I was inside my dark bedroom playing video games on my computer. While everyone began freaking out about their social lives when it was announced that we should begin self-isolating due to the current pandemic, I remained calm in my room. This is the moment I’d been preparing for my entire life.
This sort of complete self-isolation will eventually take its toll on even the most anti-social of us. Despite this, we still need to be responsible and remain distanced from our close friends and relatives. This, of course, doesn’t mean that we have to stay indoors 24/7. It’s easy to forget that we are still allowed to go outside for a walk, or to enjoy nature. Thankfully, Natalie Schlabs’ song, “Go Outside” is here to remind us that there truly is, “So much more to life.”
The song begins completely stripped down with only an acoustic guitar being strummed until Schlabs’ voice smoothly enters the fold. Immediately, Schlabs begins painting a lonely picture of someone stuck inside, observing the outside world from a distance, “The sun is peeking beyond the fence outside my yard.” Soon after, the rest of the instruments join in: bass, drums and a lead guitar. All of the thoughts that are shared through these lyrics are poignant, especially now more than ever, “Picking up my phone for the twenty-seventh time / Thinking there was something new that I was gonna find.”
Before diving any deeper into this rabbit hole, Schlabs reminds herself that it is, “Time to go outside.” The instrumentation then quiets down for a moment before taking a turn which I didn’t expect. As the lyrics, “Let the open sky remind me / There’s so much more to life,” begin, an orchestral swirl starts up in the background. The short chorus leads into a guitar solo and before we’re even aware of it, the orchestra has died down to allow the next verse to play out.
Much like the previous verse, we are again greeted with a nice, simple instrumentation. This time, however, what sounds like a warbling electronic keyboard is added into the mix. Continuing on the themes from the beginning of the song, Schlabs sings, “Feel so lonely, even with a thousand friends / Watch their stories, acting in a movie that never ends.” A lot of the time, all that matters to people is their follower count. You can have thousands of connections online, but they mostly mean nothing. Being stuck inside with nothing to do but watch all of these peoples’ stories on their social media is, in a way, more isolating than being alone.
After another chorus, we come to the bridge of the song which continues much in the same vein. Pulling inspiration from the optimism of the chorus, Schlabs sings, “Sunshine outside / Losing track of time, you know it’s alright.” After the short bridge, we re-enter the chorus with a lo-fi sound. This effect only gives the song that much more pop when the orchestral instruments begin to swell and the rest of the instruments join back in. As if we have now finally gone outside, the outro of the song is a pleasant instrumental section led by the orchestral instruments. All of a sudden, the song goes from a celebration in a major key to ending on a minor chord. This sudden switch gives the song a sinister ending, which opens up a world of interpretation. Perhaps going outside was all in her head, or perhaps what was waiting outside wasn’t what she expected.
A song full of themes everyone can relate to, especially in these trying times, “Go Outside,” comes as an important reminder of the beautiful world that still exists around us. No matter how easy it is to be cooped up and feel alone, it is important to have these reminders to break us out of these spells. Next time you’re feeling tired of checking your “friends” Instagram stories for the hundredth time in a day, put the phone down and go outside.
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