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I'm Clifford Stumme, and I use literary analysis and research to explain the deeper meanings of pop songs. Feel free to leave a comment or to email me at clifford@popsongprofessor.com with questions or ideas!

What does "Waiting for Love" by Avicii mean?

What does "Waiting for Love" by Avicii mean?

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Avicii Logo 2
Avicii Logo 2

SONG MEANING: "Waiting for Love" is about love overcoming everything else, and it may not be the kind of love you think at first. 

"Waiting for Love" by Avicii has been out for a while now; it was released on May 22, 2015, and it's still going strong, with over 184,000,000 plays on Spotify. And I'm sure we'll be seeing where this song and other hits from the album rank on the Billboard Hot 100 next week. For my part, I think "Waiting for Love" is likely the most solid track on the album--probably a reason it seems to have been used as the lead single. It's exciting and energetic and has just enough of a smattering of deep ideas and thoughts to make listeners ask some deeper questions.

I also have to say: the music video for this song is fun. In it, an older man falls asleep and, when he awakes, can't find his wife. He hops on his dusty, unused motorized chair and begins driving all over town and through the countryside to find her. The imagery is a little surreal and suggests that for him this is an epic quest.

At one point, his scooter breaks, and a mechanic fixes it and increases its power, so the elderly gentleman can now zoom all over at something like the speed of a regular vehicle. At the end, surrounded by a crowd of people cheering him on, he finds his wife and drives her home.

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WHAT I FOUND INTERESTING

Before he begins his search, the old man seems fragile and tired, but when he wakes up and wants to find his wife, he takes on new energy and shows viewers that he still has every characteristic that we typically associate with younger men. He shows passion in his industrious search for her, he has community with other men, and thinks about sex with his wife.

The most interesting part of the video is when he is stopped by branch on the road that he can't move. A biker gang (dressed completely in black) arrives and moves his scooter over the branch and then proceeds to escort him on his search to a club. I think it's symbolic that the old man's scooter goes as fast as the bikers' motorcycles--it shows that this search for his wife not only brings out passion and concern for her, but also a respect from other men that enables him to act as one of them (even though normally he wouldn't be able to keep up).

Of course, he soon grows tired of the club, finding no satisfaction in the drink or women there that these other men enjoy, and he continues searching for a higher, deeper love (likely the entire message of the song encapsulated in about 15 seconds of film). He won't be satisfied with the sex alone (what many think of as love) at the club and longs for his friend, his best friend, his wife.

Purely My Opinion: Whatever else is going on this song, this old man has got things figured out.

Just so you know: I've added "Waiting for Love" to my Spotify playlist “Clifford Stumme’s Pop Prerogative" so you can listen too! That's where I keep songs I'm excited about or analyzing. Enjoy!

"Waiting for Love" Lyrics Meaning

In Verse 1, Simon Aldred sings, "Where there's a will, there's a way"--a fact that he finds "kinda beautiful." He's celebrating the idea that if someone really wants something, that person can find it if he or she tries hard, similarly to how "every night has its day, so magical." We don't have to stay in our bad times; we can fight through to something better if we really want it.

But what do we use to make that change? Aldred sings that "if there's love in this life, there's no obstacle / That can't be defeated." I don't think that this is a romantic love because, other than the word "love," there's no mention of any romance whatsoever. If I had to guess, I'd say that "Waiting for Love" is about a search for higher love--something deeper.

In the Pre-Chorus, Aldred sings, "For every tyrant, a tear for the vulnerable." We pity those who are taken advantage of by evil people who have no love for others, and we recognize that even those people have a potential for love and good: "In every lost soul, the bones of a miracle." In fact, the tear cried could be coming from the soft part of the tyrant's heart, but Avicii doesn't make that clear. Of course, if we can "believe in" love and if we "dream," Avicii and Aldred believe we, the "dreamer[s]," will be "unstoppable."

In the Second Verse, Aldred sings that "We are one of a kind--irreplaceable." He's singing about how we need to embrace our uniqueness and love others in the ways we can. He doesn't want to be "blind" or "cynical" and knows that "[i]f there's love in this life, we're unstoppable / No we can't be defeated."

If you liked "Waiting for Love" by Avicii, you may also like “What does ‘Somewhere in Stockholm’ by Avicii mean?” or “What does ‘Sunset Jesus’ by Avicii mean?"

Avicii and Aldred finish the song with the Chorus, which summarizes the stages of the search for love using the days of the week. Aldred sings that Monday, considered the hardest day of the week "left me broken" and that Tuesday "I was through with hoping." Within two days, he had given up, but decides to try again on Wednesday, where he sings that his "empty arms were open"--he's daring to hope again.

Thursday, he knew what he was "waiting for"--"love." He knew the only thing that would satisfy his broken heart was true love, and he sees good things on the horizon, which he explains why, on Friday, he's "[t]hank[ing] the stars." On Saturday, love has touched him, and he's "burning like a fire gone wild," celebrating this new life.

Finally, he sings, "Guess I won't be coming to church on Sunday / I'll be waiting for love, waiting for love / To come around." The meaning here, of course, is very important. Is Avicii saying that he couldn't find the right kind of love at church? Is he saying that he's so lost in his search that he'll probably forget his social activities?

I tend to think it's the first option because it makes more sense, which creates a whole list of possibilities for Avicii or Aldred's thoughts about where and how to find fulfillment or love.

Based on a literal reading of the text, Avicii and Aldred seem to be saying that truly deep love can't be found in formal religion. Of course, whether this means they don't believe in God or not is still up for debate. Even many Christians search places other than traditional Sunday church for love and faith. It's not clear how Avicii and Aldred feel about this.

My questions for you: 

  1. What do you think Avicii and Aldred believe about God?
  2. How do you feel about church and the search for love?
  3. Where have you found love and meaning/fulfillment?

Summary

"Waiting for Love" by Avicii and featuring Simon Aldred is about a search for deep love. They don't go into depth describing it, but they do show that they (like many humans) have a desire for a feeling of fulfillment and togetherness that goes deeper than romantic love and many other desires of the heart.

A Quick C. S. Lewis Moment: Lewis talks about being "Surprised by Joy" in his autobiography of the same name. He would get a feeling of awe or of a need for something greater and stronger--the feeling that he belonged somewhere else. Avicii and Aldred are singing about a similar kind of feeling here. Do you think there's a connection? Read Lewis's book or read about it on Wikipedia.

What do you think of “Waiting for Love” by Avicii? Have you ever felt that desire for deep love?

Thanks for reading! I just started an insider e-mail list where I ask for your help to explain pop songs and let you know about new posts and podcasts. When you sign up, you'll get a copy of my "Top 10 Tips to Help You Decipher Pop Music"!

Clifford Stumme has his master's in English literature and is a blogger and a college instructor/desk-watcher at Liberty University. He likes juggling and reading/writing, and he is married to the wonderful and beautiful Wife April. He thinks pop music is awesome. Seriously awesome.

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