Song Lyric Sunday — The Sharp Knife of a Short Life

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday Jim Adams has gone rather dark, asking us to focus on songs about Death, Destruction, Pestilence, or Famine. I was originally planning to go with Billy Joel’s “Only the Good Die Young,” but I’ve done a lot of Billy Joel’s songs for SLS, so I thought I’d surprise everyone by choosing “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry. The song is clearly about death, but perhaps not at the scale Jim was thinking about with this week’s theme. It’s an unusual song choice for me because my wheelhouse is classic rock from the Sixties and Seventies, not country music in the 21st century.

“If I Die Young” was written by Kimberly Perry, and recorded by American country music trio, The Band Perry, which is comprised of siblings: lead vocalist and guitarist Kimberly Perry, bass guitarist Reid Perry, and drummer Neil Perry. The song, released in June 2010, was the second single from the group’s self-titled debut album. Still, this song got a lot of airplay on the pop music stations after, early 2011, the song was remixed by Matt Ward and Dean Gillard specifically for pop radio. I liked the song’s mellow sound and upbeat message…for a song about dying young.

“If I Die Young” became the group’s first top 10 single on the Country charts as well as their first top 20 on the Hot 100 chart. The song became their first number one hit on the Hot Country Songs chart in December 2010.

The song is about the sadness of dying young. The singer describes how she never really got to experience love, and she wondered about how her loved ones would miss her and deal with the loss. She states that if she dies young, her family left behind should “save their tears” for a time when “they’re really gonna need them.”

In an interview with Billboard magazine, Kimberly said, “I was thinking about what my funeral would look like if it were mine to plan, and it grew into this idea. It was such a gorgeous moment of contentment that was hitting me so hard in the heart. I began to contemplate the idea that if it all ended at this moment, I’d done everything that I set out to do so far. I was very aware that I had so many other aspirations but for whatever reason if they didn’t happen, that I had done everything that I needed to do.”

Here are the lyrics to the song.

If I die young bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song
Uh oh uh oh

Lord make me a rainbow, I’ll shine down on my mother
She’ll know I’m safe with you when
She stands under my colours, oh and
Life ain’t always what you think it oughta be, no
Ain’t even grey, but she buries her baby
The sharp knife of a short life,
Well, I’ve had just enough time

If I die young bury me in satin.
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song

The sharp knife of a short life,
Well I’ve had just enough time

And I’ll be wearing white when I come into your kingdom
I’m as green as the ring on my little cold finger
I’ve never known the lovin’ of a man
But it sure felt nice when he was holding my hand
There’s a boy here in town says he’ll love me forever
Who would have thought forever could be severed by

The sharp knife of a short life,
Well I’ve had just enough time

So put on your best boys and I’ll wear my pearls
What I never did is done

A penny for my thoughts, oh no I’ll sell them for a dollar
They’re worth so much more after I’m a goner
And maybe then you’ll hear the words I been singin’
Funny when you’re dead how people start listenin’

If I die young bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song
Uh oh (uh oh)

The ballad of a dove
Go with peace and love
Gather up your tears, keep ’em in your pocket
Save ’em for a time when your really gonna need ’em oh

The sharp knife of a short life,
Well I’ve had just enough time
So put on your best boys, and I’ll wear my pearls

11 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — The Sharp Knife of a Short Life

  1. newepicauthor February 27, 2022 / 6:36 am

    A very pleasant song about death Fandango, nice choice. Kimberly has a lovely voice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Marleen February 27, 2022 / 7:00 am

    Hm. That’s really different; thought-provoking words.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. parikhit February 28, 2022 / 4:33 am

    How I used to love this song much to the chagrin of everybody around me.

    Liked by 1 person

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