False Alarm

One song that stands out to me as poetry is “False Alarm” by Matoma and Becky Hill, in the album One In A Million. This song tells the story of two people in love, and the artists use assonance, imagery, and repetition to explain that when faced with an intense and seemingly scary relationship, sometimes the best outcome will come from jumping right in, because relationships like this are often misinterpreted.

Throughout the song, the lyrics “I’m dancing in flames, I ain’t scared of the blaze” is repeated many times. The words “flames” and “blaze” are examples of assonance, and they are both used to emphasize the words and draw attention to them. The emphasis of these words suggests a hardship and scariness that comes with the relationship that the speaker is getting himself into. There is sometimes a stigma around relationships that everyone getting themselves into a serious one will get hurt and that it is harmful, and this part of the song is clearly going along with that. The idea of this serious relationship seems like a scary, detrimental fire.

This is also linked to all of the imagery that Matoma uses throughout the song. Most of it stems from the constant references to flames and fire, and it paints the picture of how this relationship makes him feel. One line says “now I’m burning in your arms,” leading listeners to imagine two people wrapped in a fiery embrace, further hinting at the intensity that is caused by this relationship. He also includes a line about the “sirens in my head from the first time that we met.” This alone also depicts a strong image of this thing acting as a warning, or alert, something new, in the back of his mind when he first met this girl.

At first, this all seems to be slightly negative, but then, the repetition of certain phrases suggest otherwise. While a lot of lines are repeated throughout the song – the repetition of the line “But it’s not a false alarm” is one that stands out greatly. This repetition is a large hint that this relationship is not a “false” alarm, and that in reality, despite the scary parts established by the fire references, it is not going to be a disaster – it is real. While the assonance and references to flames depict a terror and hesitance, this line talks that down and suggests that this isn’t always a negative thing, because this relationship is the real deal and is something very special. It even goes a step further to suggest that all of this fire that seems to be suggesting pain, is actually not pain, but the intensity and passion of the relationship.

Instead of ending on a negative note, burning to flames in the arms of someone who brought you there, it emphasizes the passion brought on by relationships, and how this can oftentimes be misinterpreted to be something to run from.

One thought on “False Alarm

  1. Finn G.

    While I don’t disagree with your interpretation of the song’s meaning (especially because of the word “but”, which is softening the other lyrics), the lyric “it’s not a false alarm” seems like a weird choice by the songwriter to make the relationship seem more acceptable. An alarm is a bad thing, not a good one, so a false alarm would mean that the relationship is actually less dangerous than it has been described as.


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