Rise Up

Andra Day’s song “Rise” from her album Cheers to the Fall is a power ballad that seems as if it was made for Covid times. Doing the same things day in and day out with no reprieve brings the feelings of hopelessness to a new level. Day’s song acknowledges these feelings but then uses her song to inspire resilience and hopes for the future.

Day starts her song with a metaphor:

You’re broken down and tired
Of living life on a merry-go-round
And you can’t find the fighter

The song starts off slow with an emphasis on strategically placed minor chords and then the lyrics start… The metaphor of a merry-go-round right from the get-go perfectly captures the feeling of hopelessness that Day wants to address. It captures the feeling of doing something over and over again but never feeling as though you can do it right so you just keep doing it again only to yield the same results. 

When you move into the melody she features multiple different literary devices singing:

I’ll rise up
Rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I'll rise up 
And I’ll do it a thousand times again

The melody comes in with a progression of chords picking up the pace giving off an uplifting tone. The simile in the first part of the melody compares getting back up again to the day rising. This inspires resilience and hope in the listener that the next day will be better. She moves on to the repetition of “I’ll rise up” which also inspires resilience. The way she repeats it illustrates to the readers how many times one needs to get back up again, which is every time. Lastly, she finishes the melody with hyperbole, this serves to depict the resilience Day is trying to inspire in her audience. 

Throughout Day’s song, she uses perspective so that she talks directly to the audience. She uses you a lot so then the listener feels like she is talking directly to them and encouraging them to keep going. It inspires the listener because it feels like someone understands their feelings of hopelessness but believes that they will make it through. At the end the perspective changes a bit and Day begins to use we, “We’ll rise up/ Rise like the waves/ We’ll rise up/ In spite of the ache/ We’ll rise up/ And we’ll do it a thousand times again.” This makes the listener feel as though they are not alone but they have someone to fight with them. When one starts to feel hopeless having someone to just be with them is often one of the best things for them.

The whole song is an anthem designed to lift people up when they are at their lowest. The message that even when you are at your lowest to get back up again and that you are not alone is powerful and endlessly impeccable to almost any situation.

3 thoughts on “Rise Up

  1. Aaron Q.

    One important aspect of poetry is its timelessness, its ability to stay relevant as time passes. I think it’s why people are so timid to study newer poetry or literature or treat it as masterful, because not enough time has passed for it to be called timeless. Because the lyrics of this song not only are capable of applying to Covid times, but they can actually be interpreted as a new story, this song proves to be timeless which I think is a great defense for it being poetry.

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  2. BENJAMIN GUERRERO

    I agree, when a poetic work’s message is able to be applied to many different situations it becomes more relatable for more people. This makes more people appreciate the work. As time passes, more and more people are able to hear the poetic work, and in turn, more people will be able to relate it to their own experiences. “Rise Up” does exactly that and should definitely be considered poetry.

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  3. Athanasios P.

    Her metaphor about the merry-go-round is very poetic, and it conveys well the hopelessness and repetition without success she experiences. The way multiple emotions are communicated through this one metaphor is a trait unique to poetry. I also like the shift in personal pronouns you mentioned, from “I” to “we,” because this highlights that everyone can and should rise up. The shifts in tone, who is being addressed, and the poetic devices you mention are convincing evidence that “Rise” is a piece of poetry.

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