Interpreting the new theme song, 'Hollow'

Roundhouse

Pro Adventurer
#1
I thought it would be interesting to have a thread specifically devoted to interpretation of the new theme song for the remake, 'Hollow'. The lyrics, apparently by Nojima, are below in translated form:

I would be lost, drifting alone,
Floating up high,
Time after time.


And there you'll be,
Shining brightly.
Your smiling face to guide my way.


Bloody and bruised, brought to my knees,
When beaten down, when broken up,
You would appear,
Reach out to me,
Heal every wound and make me whole.


Was it all a dream? Will I never know?
Foolish and blind to everything.
Had I realised, had I thought it through,
Would you be here in my embrace?


Shine bright once more,
Guide me to you,
Smile bright once more,
This time I will never let you go.


With your every smile hiding something more,
Dark mysteries lurking beneath.
But I was consumed with this emptiness, this selfishness, this void to fill.


Hear me once more.
Show me your smile.
This time, for sure,
I'll see the truth hidden inside your tears.

But I...
I know that you're long gone.
But I...
I will go on.
Howling and hollow.

Let me know if there are any mistakes.

So what do you think? I find it interesting how some are convinced it's about Tifa, others convinced it's about Aeris. It may even refer to Zack, who knows?
 
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looneymoon

hedgehog pandacat
AKA
Rishi
#5
it's hard to read it as anyone about Aeris imo. the imagery and wording doesn't fit anyone else as well? love triangle debate ptsd aside, it seems pretty clear.

the speaker of the lyrics seems to double as cloud and the planet personified - but that's just the impression i get. most likely it's written with cloud's POV in mind.

also can I just say this version posted on youtube sounds like something out of the old silent hill soundtracks and i fucking LOVE it

 

Suzaku

Pro Adventurer
#6
At this point in the narrative, Cloud's relationships with Aerith and Tifa are just too nascent for the romantic and regretful nature of the lyrics, IMO, and the lyrics are too romantic for me to realistically think they're about Zack from Cloud's perspective.

Maybe a stretch, but considering Cloud's mental state in the Midgar chapter, it actually sounds to me like it's about Aerith from Zack's perspective. Or perhaps the reverse?

In the behind-the-scenes video, Uematsu says he composed it with the mental image of Cloud standing alone in the rain, in a wasteland. Which is pretty much the circumstances of Zack's death.

Considering this is specifically the game's ending theme, and that we know the game should end with them on the outskirts of Midgar in the very same wastelands, I don't think a callback of sorts to Zack's death would be out of place, at least.
 
#7
Ahh, it's a bit difficult for me to subscribe to the idea that an opening/and or ending song that is meant to hold the weight of an entire story (whether this is for the Remake in general or just Part 1) would be limited to a straight forward answer as "song is about x to y" when the story itself is just...SO much more than about that in what the song is telling us. However, that's the genuine beauty and fun of it though—in song writing and interpretation. If there's a point to where a multitude of things are applicable from the story to the lyrics (or even musical motifs), I believe it really did its job right in being the theme.

All things mentioned have merit, really, and I haven't even thought of it from Zack's perspective until your words, Suzaku, and that honestly is so applicable it hurts. lol How dare you do this to me. XD Anyway, we're going to be experience a handful of losses in this game (well, supposedly), so I see it mainly in that perspective of those tones in a general sense. The writing surrounding Cloud's character and what he experiences in this game adds a nuance to it for me, especially in concerns of how we see the term "hollow" and measure that with what we know is to be revealed at a later time (which also seems to be hinted at in this part too, anyway).
 

Roundhouse

Pro Adventurer
#8
Uematsu's comment about how he imagines Cloud standing alone in the rain is interesting. Even though it was Nojima who wrote the lyrics, I do get the sense that the song is from Cloud's perspective when considering that he is the main character, let alone Uematsu's comment. I wouldn't say that the interpretation should be limited/restrictive though...as people have said, it can apply to more than one thing at the same time.

That being said, I do feel like it seems to reference Cloud's perspective on Aeris (especially the 'would you be here?' lament bit). The problem, as someone mentioned earlier, is that this is too early in the story for that sort of thing. I think someone on twitter said that it would make more sense to close out one of the following parts, which does seem sensible. I wonder if the song was intended to be a reflection of the game's story as a whole rather than just 'end of part one', which would make sense, but still seems odd, assuming that the following parts will get different ending themes...
 

Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Smooth Criminal
#9
For me, it certainly brings to mind Cloud and his state of being before and then into FFVII.

I would be lost, drifting alone,
Floating up high,
Time after time.
This is Cloud's consciousness drifting, lost, and alone in a sea of Mako addiction. His consciousness, his real self, wanders endlessly in a confused state of delusion due to his traumatic re-awakening after the death of Zack and his sad, lonely treck to Midgar.

And there you'll be,
Shining brightly.
Your smiling face to guide my way
This is where VII's notorious and ginger use of ambiguity rears its head again. :monster:

This could equally be three people here. I subscribe to the belief it's in reference to Tifa and her finding Cloud and Midgar. Which was what allowed Cloud to piece himself together and guide his way out of his mindless Mako addicted haze.

It could also be a reference to Aerith and his meeting with her that began his quest with VII. I'm not seeing it much in this verse but there's something else that ties in.

Or it could be Jenova. :monster: It was her cells that allowed Cloud to become functional again!!! And it's her Reunion instinct that guides him to his true destination and salvation. :awesome:

Bloody and bruised, brought to my knees,
When beaten down, when broken up,
You would appear,
Reach out to me,
Heal every wound and make me whole.
While the previous verse brought to mind Tifa most, this line gives me strong Aerith vibes. The "reach out to me" line brings to mind the ending of VII when Cloud sees Aerith's hand reach out to him after beating Sephiroth in the Lifestream, and then Advent Children where Aerith's spirit is the final relay that reaches out to him, empowers him, and throws him one last time to Bahamut Tremor.

Then there's also the "heal every wound" line which also brings to mind Aerith's role as healer.

However, "make me whole" brings strong Tifa vibes since she literally is the one who helps Cloud literally be whole again. And while the other lines do bring to mind Aerith in specific way. They also could fit Tifa as well.

The joy of intentional ambiguity.

Was it all a dream? Will I never know?
Foolish and blind to everything.
Had I realised, had I thought it through,
Would you be here in my embrace?
This invokes Cloud and his eventually ego collapse upon realization of him being a Sephiroth Copy. He questions whether his previous precious memories and important moments were real. He's chiding himself for being "foolish and blind" to the truth of him being led by Sephiroth. And then the "Had I realized, had I thought it through..." line clearly evokes the imagery of Aerith's death and the guilt he feels for her murder.

Shine bright once more,
Guide me to you,
Smile bright once more,
This time I will never let you go.
This is pretty straightforward. It could easily be Cloud speaking of Tifa or Aerith.

It could be Cloud referring to Tifa and her light leading him back to his true persona and actual self...

Or it could be a reference to Aerith and Cloud wa ting to see her again, seek forgiveness and have her back again after her untimely demise.

In the end, the song really evokes images of Cloud's complicated feelings and thoughts through VII. And I'm sure the multiple layers of ambiguity in meaning was 100% intentional.
 

Roundhouse

Pro Adventurer
#11
With the help of Youtube lyric videos, I've updated the opening post to the full song text. Let me know if there are any errors! (One video seems to think that some of the last singing was actually another line, but I'm very uncertain, so I left that out.)

Do the full lyrics change your perspective at all?
 

Mastercloud

Lv. 1 Adventurer
AKA
king cobra
#14
Not at all, your overthinking it, the video is literally showing you what the music is about. Its not about the future, its not a love song, this song is about clouds inner thoughts, and the lyrics are adressed to Zack. Basically the first part of the lyrics suggests he would be dead without zack, and the second part asks for his guidance as he steps into the big world. Self reflection is often triggered when a big life event happens. A Lot just happened before they left midgar.
 

eleamaya

Pro Adventurer
#15
http://www.youdubber.com/index.php?video=2Q7ARs0nMhE&video_start=41&audio=MStkPCeVtMw&audio_start=0

Watch it with the audio of the video ON at least 'til Cloud's scream. It fits!

Anyway. As it's about Cloud's mental state, what thing does he lose the most at the point we've reached so far? His true self. The "you" in the lyrics refers to his real self, the one he wants to embrace, the one he sees crying (he had lost his mom, Tifa as he thought he did, and Zack), the one reaching out to him (whenever he interacts with Tifa since the day she found him). I mean, before he woke up in Aerith's place, he had dialogues with his real self, right? Even in LS sequence, there are three Clouds!

And what thing did trigger him losing it? Zack's death. Another "you" refer to him., the one who shines and smiles brightly. The one who long gone at the point of this event can be both of his real self and Zack (heck, Aerith's death doesn't happen yet!). The one mysterious is Sephiroth or Jenova cell takin' control on him, he might be smiling too. These all are the combination of why he loses his true self.

The one he would never let go is the people he hasn't lost yet. Enough with his mom and Zack. His real self is screaming.
 
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#17
Well it ain't called a 'theme song' for nothing, right? so to me it pretty much ended up encompassing the overarching themes as they relate to everyone involved, about being lost and found both literally and metaphorically, hopes for a reunion and longing for it and just making sure you don't screw up aga
 
#19
Let's not forget about the fact that it was originally written in japanese by Nojima. Below full japanese lyrics that I'm yet to translate.

漂い 流れて
迷った 時でも
あなたの 輝く
笑顔が 導く

傷つき 倒れて
打ちひしがれても
あなたに 触れたら
すべては 癒され

浮かれてた? そうかもな
何も 知らずに 気づくのが
早ければ 抱きしめられたかい

もう一度 輝け
一度でいい 見つけるから
もう一度 笑って
今度は 離しはしない

笑顔には 隠された
秘密が あったね
でも 俺は空っぽで
求めて ばかりで

もう一度 頼むよ
笑顔を 見せて
もう一度 今度こそ
涙の跡に 気づいてみせる

ああ わかるよ
あなたは いない
でも 俺は
叫び続ける

空っぽだから
 
#25
Has it been brought up here yet? But Hollow has a lot of CC soundtrack vibes going on, so I went to check a few songs and:



These two ones struck me the most. It can be just a coincidence, right? Also, It plays in parts where his presence is more felt such as in Sector 5 where Aerith and Cloud interact and she's remembering him through Cloud.

The lyrics seem to be about many things. but the instrumental has a huge Zack vibes imo.
 
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