The ice age was a period long ago melted and washed away with the passage in time. In their song, “Ice Age“, How To Destroy Angels references this period in comparison to the human experience. “Ice age” is apart of the Welcome Oblivion album, which creates an atmosphere of despair and a lack of purpose. The subtle, deep electronic yet complex beat strings the album together. “Ice Age’s” central message is that everything is temporary, and no matter how much you try, people or things in your life will eventually fade away. Like a once frozen solid world, slowly melting away. This is an unavoidable truth that we all must accept.
“Ice Age” is the perfect example of a “Song-Poem” despite it’s few words. The song is nearly seven minutes long yet only consists of seven short stanzas. The time to stanza ratio adds to the poems meaning by drawing the listener further into the stanzas.
The poetic nature of the stanzas can be found immediately in the opening verse:
I find it looks the same but everything has changed
I find remembering gets harder every day
Sometimes I still believe who I pretend to be
Sometimes well everything’s exactly how it seems
The first stanza establishes poetic elements through it’s structure. The four line stanza follows an “AABB” format, common among more traditional poetry. The “I, I, Sometimes, Sometimes” verse design serve primarily to illustrate to the listener the band’s uncertainty in the past and what lies ahead. The first two lines of every verse establish what the vocalist sees in the present, and “sometimes” is reflecting on what once was. The same format can be found in every verse stanza, only broken by the chorus with it’s own, “ABAB” style.
In the following stanza, the feelings of despair continue:
I see the color of your eyes has turned to grey
I feel the wind is growing colder every day
Sometimes I open up the walls and disappear
Sometimes the crashing of the waves is all I hear
In the present, “eyes has turned to grey” and “growing colder every day” connote a feeling of lost time that can not be regained. This gives the listener the impression that what has already happened can not be reversed or prevented. The second half of the stanza continues this feeling with “disappear” and “crashing of the waves” suggesting the artist is fading away and slowly beginning to accept the situation. This strong image connects back to a feeling of hopelessness against a strong tide.
Help me find a way
Wash us all away
It is the chorus that completes the poem’s image perfectly. Throughout the poem, How To Destroy Angels uses words like “grey,” “colder,” “ice,” “waves,” and finally: “Ocean”. These are the words that make the listener feel the past melting away. The once great iceberg melts away into the larger ocean. Until the chorus, they resist the change, or rising tide. Once the listener reaches the chorus the mood shifts from one of resistance to acceptance. The lines “Ocean Help me find a way” brings acceptance and the hope of a new beginning.
That all things come to an end is a truth of life for all people, and this poem grapples with this struggle through poetic expression. The poem puts the image of an individual resisting the changing tide, until they finally accept the inevitable.