Celebrating Behind The Light: Song of the Week 3 – Thicket

Perhaps no other song on Phillip Phillips’ second album Behind the Light is as unique and revealing of his inclinations a song writer as “Thicket,” our Song of the week 3. Buried deep into Behind the Light, “Thicket” is a complex, cinematic creation that feels like a world unto itself; a jewel of a song that became a fan favourite almost immediately after the album release.

Built around an intricate circular guitar riff Phillip had been playing as practice for months, “Thicket” is very much a signature Phillip Phillips song, one that favors rhythmic complexity, haunting melodies and deep and enigmatic lyrics. This is also one of the songs on the album where he has a solo writing credit.

The guitar riff is actually played first by the cello, which opens the song with a rapid, dizzying succession of notes. Drums come in but at half time, creating an immediate tension between the rapid riff and the more menacing, slower tempo of the rest of the strings and the drums.

As with most of the songs on Behind the Light, “Thicket” features a gorgeous string arrangement by Dave Eggar and Chuck Palmer, Eggar playing the cello in it as well. And his contribution here is very deep, helping Phillip create the haunting, mysterious feeling that defines the song.

The lyrics are in the form of a story, a narrative painted in vivid images that look back in regret to a lost love, at what could have been. Brilliantly, the lyrics mirror the music and the music mirrors the lyrics, as the unresolved, circular melody comes back “around and round” during each verse.

Very “Phillips” also, is the way the lyrics are composed and sung, sometimes running longer than they should within a beat, turned then by Phillip into syncopated notes that keep us guessing and add one more layer of rhythmic tension and uncertainty. It’s dense and intricate, like a thicket indeed. As for the lyrics, many times I feel like trying to understand them is like trying to find shapes in the clouds, but Phillip has indicated in interviews that this song may be about how we sometimes are so focused on looking at the details, that we are blinded and fail to see the whole picture.

And in the end this is how “Thicket” feels, like a puzzle we’ve been building and we finally fit the last piece and the entire picture becomes clear. The revelation here seems disturbing, but also liberating and joyous and we hear it as all sections of the music, including Phillip’s vocals, go into an exhilarating crescendo, finally finding each other on the same tempo and hitting the same beat. It is as if the bird has finally flown out, and we have followed it, and find our way out too…

Check out some rocking videos of “Thicket” below. And take a look at some of the beautiful “Thicket” artwork submitted by fans for Phillip’s lyrics artwork contest last year.

Buy Behind The Light.

Follow our Song of the Week series:
Song of the Week 1
Song of the Week 2

"Thicket" Fan Artwork by Sylvia "Thicket" Fan Artwork by Danni Allingham "Thicket" Fan Artwork by Tiffany "Thicket" Fan Artwork by Doreen "Thicket" Fan Artwork by Bonnie "Thicket" Fan Artwork by Megan "Thicket" Fan Artwork by Elita "Thicket" Fan Artwork by Becca "Thicket" Fan Artwork by Erika "Thicket" Fan Artwork by Erin "Thicket" Fan Artwork by Danielle "Thicket" Fan Artwork by Vickie "Thicket" Fan Artwork by @alwaysmeart

Celebrating Behind The Light – Song of the Week 2: Searchlight

“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!

Celebrating Behind The Light: Song of the Week 1- Raging Fire

The one year anniversary of Phillip Phillips‘ second album Behind The Light is only a few weeks away. So we are counting down to the anniversary by featuring one song from the album each week until May 19, 2015!

We start the countdown with “Raging Fire,” the first single to be released from the album and the one that officially ushered Phillip’s new musical era after the spectacular success of The World From The Side Of The Moon.

Written by Phillip, Todd Clark, Gregg Wattenberg and Derek Fuhrmann, “Raging Fire” was released exactly a year ago on March 3rd, 2014. To accompany the release of the song, Phillip and team commissioned artist Rob Carmichael to design the single’s cover. The result was a striking image of superimposed profiles of Phillip over a fiery red and orange background. The image not only perfectly captured the essence of the song but of Phillip’s new visual style and sound: it was a departure from the naturalistic photos and images of the previous album, but one that still retained an iconic image of Phillip. Upon its release, “Raging Fire” also managed to seem both familiar and new, as it brilliantly fused a new heavier, rockier sound with the warm and anthemic qualities of Phillip’s two previous massive hits, “Home” and “Gone Gone Gone.”


Musically, “Raging Fire” is four minutes of pure, driving energy. It’s also a song of contrasts: a lush and warm string arrangement (by Dave Eggar and Chuck Palmer) against solid, rocking drums and Phillip’s striking, passionate vocals. The lyrics also move from the intimate to the epic, evoking a love that has been touched by time and is full of shared hopes, pains and memories.

Talking about the meaning of this song, Phillip has said that it’s about love, and about wanting to feel the same way you felt the first time you kissed the person you love. It is indeed a beautiful song about love, particularly long-lasting love, and about keeping passion alive in your heart in the name of all your shared hopes, pains and memories. More than with any other song, with “Raging Fire” Phillip shows that he is a romantic in the true sense of the word, somebody who dares to believe that passion (be it in love, music, art, life) is always worth fighting for. And as it’s always the case with Phillip’s music, the message rings absolutely authentic and true.

Check out the lyric and official videos of “Raging Fire” below. Also, let us know what are your favourite parts or lyrics from the song, or share your thoughts or art inspired by the song. Don’t forget to leave your comments below!