Saturday, July 23, 2016

Digging Too Deep: Living in a Box "Living in a Box"

I have a theory: if you try hard enough, you can find deeper meaning for anything. For kicks and giggles, I have decided to look for a deeper meaning for the song "Living in a Box" by Living in a Box (yes, that is the band's name). My theory is that the song is a metaphor for non-conformity.
"Woke up this morning / Closed in on all sides, nothing doing / I feel resistance as I open my eyes / Someone's fooling" 
The protagonist feels trapped by the system he finds himself in ("Closed in on all sides"). He begins to realize that he has been manipulated ("I feel resistance", "Someone's fooling"). This has caused a major shift in how he views the world around him ("Woke up this morning").
"I've found a way to break through / This cellophane line / 'Cause I know what's going on / In your mind"
In this part, the protagonist has learned the intention of the system (hence "In your mind"). As such, he is thinking about breaking out of the system. This symbolized via the image of breaking through cellophane (a type of wrapping used for packaging).
"Am I living in a box? / Am I living in a cardboard box?"
This line is repeated multiple times throughout the entire song. According to the band, the line was inspired by a homeless man in Sheffield, who as a friend of theirs at the time, saying "I'm literally living in a box".
So, what does this actually mean? The protagonist is questioning his place in the system. For obvious reasons, living in a box is usually seen as a sign of poverty. In the context of the song, living in a box is meant to symbolized being screwed by the system. So, the protagonist is questioning whether has it good. After all, it is become complacent when you have no standard to measure how well you are doing.
"Life goes in circles / Around and around, circulating / I sometimes wonder / What's moving underground, I'm escaping"
The protagonist is finding his life in the system repetitive which is symbolized by going around in circles. Because of the repetitive nature of his life, he begins to wonder what exists beyond what is familiar to him. These two factors causes the protagonist to break from the system hence "I'm escaping".
"I've found a way to break through / This cellophane line / 'Cause I know what's going on / In my mind"
You may be asking why I am talking about this verse again? The second time this verse is used, the line "In your mind" is changed to "In my mind". This signifies the protagonist understanding his own motivations. Because he now understands what he wants, he going out on his own to find a way to get what he wants.

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