“Take one step
And make it count
Hold your breath
Then let it out”
These lines come from “Searchlight,” the song that opens Phillip Phillips’ second album Behind The Light. They serve both as the first lyrics of the song and as the words that officially introduced us to Phillip’s new musical landscape after The World From The Side Of The Moon. The words confront us like a quiet but powerful command, one that carries beautiful and deep symbolism both for this song and for the entire Behind The Light.
Co-written by Phillip and Jon Green (who collaborated with Phillip on “Where We Came From” on The World From The Side Of The Moon), “Searchlight” is a celebratory song that, like many others on Behind The Light, contains a little bit of darkness within its light. This is evident in the brief opening lyrics, which evoke perhaps the tentative, fearful first steps we take as we embark on a great enterprise, or the courage it takes to face an uncertain new beginning – the calm before the storm.
When talking about “Searchlight,” Phillip has said that it’s dark song about love, but also one that’s very organic. The song is indeed built very organically around a straight forward beat and beautiful strumming guitars. Then subtly, but steadily, the song starts to grow in intensity by layering more and more sounds over the drums and the guitars; piano, strings, claps, horns, backing vocals, until we can’t help but be moved with renewed determination and hope.
“I want to feel what is like to be surrounded by you” Phillip sings, and by the end of song this is how we feel, completely surrounded by the music and its power to heal, “to cure [our] disease like a remedy.” This may be a song about love and the power of that special person to makes us feel whole. But it’s also, I think, about healing and about being forever grateful of having made it. It’s the perfect introduction to the journey we’ll be taken on for the rest of the album. Like the sick on the mend who feels stronger each day, take one step, and make it count.
*Every week until May 19 we are celebrating Behind The Light by featuring one song from the album as our song of the week. Read about our “Song of the Week 1”. And if you haven’t yet done so, click here or here to buy Behind The Light!