Having grown up listening to her music, this song was not new to me by any means. However a few nights ago, I found myself humming the tune, and singing along to the lyrics in my head. I have no idea why - I hadn't heard it recently that I can remember. However, the recent actions of taking on a sub, and watching how the bond between sub and Master forms has been quite profound. The words in the song, resonated her own words to me.
I quickly called up the song on my hard drive, and began to listen to it, obsessively inspecting each element. My curiosity grew more and more intense. "Was Sarah McLachlan a sub at one time?" I asked myself. It is hard to say really. I have even met her during my time in the broadcasting industry, but I can not say that there was any overt feeling about this ever before. But now, now it was fully clear to me. Everything in this song seemed to click in place. To me, I see a song about a submissive, talking about how her Master has changed her life, by taking her in, and giving her the attention she deserves.
"It doesn't mean much... It doesn't mean anything at all. The life i've left behind me, is a cold room."
I would suggest that this would be typical of a submissive fully giving herself to a Master. Her prior life being unimportant, and as enticing as a cold, uninviting dark room. It is likely also a reference to a vanilla lifestyle, which has no heat, intensity or emotion compared to what is felt in the BDSM lifestyle.
"I've crossed the last line, from where I can return. Where every step I took in faith, betrayed me, and led me from my home."
The last line she has crossed, being the passage into the realm of BDSM, specifically complete submission. Finding the pleasure and emotions involved, to be far greater than that from her past vanilla life. Her past life being filled with poor choices of her own, which were made under the assumption that the (vanilla) men she was seeing were honest, and true to their word. They were not, and were in fact dishonorable in their word, tricking her into a false sense of security. Some of these men led her away from the direction in life she wished to head.
"Sweet Surrender, is all that I have to give." Being a fairly obvious reference to a submissive and her biggest gift to her Master.
"Take me in, no questions asked. You strip away the ugliness that surrounds me. Are You an angel? Am i already that gone?"
Her Master accepts her in, and, with loving hands, molds her into something beautiful. Helping her out of her old, broken self, so she can transform and blossom. The care and attention she receives is so uplifting, that she feels she is in heaven. A subs Master will be the most important and influential person in their lives. With almost a magical quality about them.
"i only hope that i won't disappoint You."
She hopes she lives up to his expectations. A loyal sub would never want to disappoint their Master.
"Well, i am down here on my knees."
I see this more that she is worshiping Him and awaiting His next instruction with baited breath. Not as a sexual reference, in combination with the previous line. She needs his attention and guidance and patiently waits for it.
"And i don't understand how the touch of your hand.... i would be the one to fall..."
A typical Master knows how to use the slightest touch to trigger deep feelings. In combination with other aspects, such a simple caress can have a profound emotional response. Notice in the official video that she caresses her collar in this scene.
"i miss the little things... i miss everything, about You..."
This refers to the time when her Master is not around. The pleasure and emotion that a trained hand can carefully provide to a willing submissive partner, is well beyond any traditional pleasure. Going just a day or even a few hours without exposure to this, can feel like days. Often this is a very fitting form of discipline for a Master to impart on their submissive. Attention denial can often be a worse punishment than a flogging.
The video shows her present self, looking very healthy and beautiful, wearing a lovely hinged sterling silver discrete day collar. It shows her former self, a complete mess. Used and abused, dumped aside. With no collar.
The video also features a masculine looking character, which is portrayed by herself. However without makeup and/or with the color saturation very low. Not quite as bright and showy. She wears the same outfit, however the camera shows show more lower body, allowing you to see the more masculine trench style coat, and slacks. This character however also wears the same collar. This may be a depiction of her Master. Sometimes Masters and subs will share similar collars, as a form of bond.
Towards the end of the video, the masculine figure is seen merging with her former self. Her former self, seemingly wandering aimlessly, without purpose. Together they transform into her very feminine present self. Her present self, very powerful, and strong. Sensual and confident.
In researching this song, and video, I began to collect alternative opinions about it. I did not visit any website devoted to lyric meanings, or read any YouTube comments about the video. The petty comments and uneducated statements on forums and comment boards, tend to annoy me. Instead I asked several friends of their own impressions. I asked several people who are involved in the lifestyle, and several people whom I would consider vanilla, or independent. Now surely I respect and will not dismiss the interpretations of songs by anyone. What a song means and how it speaks to one person, may vary drastically versus another person. In some ways, this speaks to individual experiences, and I respect that.
However the responses I got were quite interesting. Almost everyone involved in the lifestyle had heard the song before at some point. It is after-all a well known song. But only one had commented initially that it is a great lifestyle themed song - tho that same person did not notice the collar right away. The rest hadn't really thought about it as such. Many did notice the collar upon watching the video, and commented how they had never seen that before, and maybe now with how they have been exposed to lifestyle themes, they now notice it. The ones who didn't notice the collar, agreed almost fully that it was indeed a collar once I pointed it out. Every lifestyle person asked seemed to agree with the theory that the lyrics seemed to signify a subs feelings towards their Master.
The responses from the 'nilla people I asked, seemed to vary widely. There was no common theme or connection. One response was mentioning a woman getting hit by a car, and being saved. While another was talking about an internal struggle of personality. They had good points, but the fact that there was no solid consensus seemed to indicate that these were more personal takes on the meanings, as opposed to what the writer wanted to convey.
I always enjoy trying to figure out what inspired songwriters to write what they do. I am now really curious if Sarah has had experiences in the lifestyle in her past. I would be willing to bet she does.