What does "The Search" by NF mean?
“The Search” Music Video and Lyrics Meaning
(The following blog post is a transcript created by Xalma of the below video.)
NF just released a new music video for the new song “The Search”; and this song is really interesting, not only does he have the usual intense rhyming and energy that he brings to it, but he also has like this sarcastic sardonic personality through like about 50% of the song; and it's really interesting.
Beyond that, the music video is also something completely new, we see these symbols that we recognize from previous music videos, but he's also out in like this open plain, and I don't think that we've seen a lot of nature imagery from NF, but I'm going to explain to you guys exactly what's happening in the music video, and what is significant about the lyrics.
So first the music video; we see NF out on the plains, and he’s looking kind of sad; back behind him in the distance, we see this cage, which is where he came from, we recognized that from previous music videos, and we see that in The Perception album, which was a huge image; it was this idea of him being trapped inside, and basically he was being trapped by himself, because he had the keys the whole time. Well, now we recognized this image from the “WHY” music video, he's got this shopping cart, but attached to it a ton of black balloons; so he's pushing this along the way, and it looks like it's a little bit of a struggle, he's not super careful or cautious about it; and dotted on the country side all around him are these other people with one or two balloons themselves; and when the other people are dressed in white, NF is dressed in almost all dark colours; so he's doing this and I think there's so much significance to what we're seeing here, because he actually refers to the balloons in the lyrics as his burdens, and I didn't know what the shopping cart and the balloons were in the “WHY” music video, I didn't even know to know that they were something significant, but he points at them while referring to his burdens, and he's left the era of Perception (the cage), and he's moving on, but the shopping cart is in a way like him holding on to that cage, because if you look at a shopping cart, it's metal bars criss-crossing against each other; it is a tiny little cage on wheels in a way; one that you can take with you wherever you go, and it's got all of his burdens, all of his mental, emotional, psychological burdens, they’re attached to it, so they're stuck with him as well; now you look at these other people, and it seems to be him explaining how he normally feels, like he looks around the world, these people dressed in white, it looks like it's going okay for them, and they've got like what two three balloons, maybe four! Life is not that difficult for other people, but he feels like he's pushing his cage along by himself, and he's got way more burdens than anyone else, but at the same time he continues moving, until he comes to this river, and as we can see, on these open plains there in the music video, there's like nothing there; so he eventually does come across like this porch swing, which I think will have a lot of meaning coming up in future videos; but he doesn't find anything else, and so it goes along with the name of the song, “The Search”, because he and all these other people are walking around, wandering, searching for something.
At the very end of the music video, he hops inside of his shopping cart, and somebody gives him a set of those same white clothes that everybody else are wearing, and I think that this is a hand-off to whatever the next music video is going to be, those white clothes could represent the chance for redemption, to be able to solve some of those problems, or they could be a facade where somebody's trying to tempt him to try to look perfect, just like everybody else. But in the meantime, he's still sitting in that cage, attached to his burdens. That's the basic idea behind the music video.
There are a couple of lines from the lyrics that I want to emphasise for you, guys.
He says there in the beginning, while talking to himself,
Hey Nate, how’s life?
I don’t know, it’s alright
I’ve been dealin’ with something like every human being
And I didn’t really sleep much last night
I’m sorry, that’s fine
I just think I need a little me time
I just think I need a little free time
Little break from the shows and the bus rides
so he’s just saying that he needs a little time for himself, and then talks about going on a break, so he's been doing a lot of touring, and his next tour, “The Search”, doesn't really start up until like three months from now, on the 12th of September; so that seems to be him kind of taking a break for the summer, and going off and doing his own thing, taking some relaxing; and based on what he says next, he really probably needs it,
Last year I had a breakdown
Thoughts tellin’ me I’m lost, gettin’ too loud
Had to see a therapist then I found out
Somethin’ funny’s going on up in my house
now he doesn't get too specific about what that is; but I think it has to do with the balance between success, and just trying to be a normal person; he continues saying,
Hands on my head, can't tell me nothin'
Got a taste of the fame, and it pumped my stomach
Throw it back up like I don't want it
Wipe my face, clean up my vomit
so I really think that a lot of this song is about him kind of balancing success with mental health, which is a hugely important topic to be talking about. It can be… well, not necessarily controversial, because everybody will kind of give lip service to either one; but I think it's controversial to say that you can't have one without the other in some cases. And NF is basically saying like “yeah, you know all of the success is great, but things have been falling apart for me internally”; and that's probably one of the things that are contributing to his need to go on this search for something. He continues,
Yeah, the sales can rise
Doesn't mean much though when your health declines
if you don't have your health, then what do you have?! it doesn't matter how much money you have,
See, we've all got somethin' that we trapped inside
That we try to suffocate, you know, hopin' it dies
Try to hold it underwater but it always survives
Then it comes up out of nowhere like an evil surprise
so maybe he's been repressing stuff for the sake of working, doing his job, and writing music; which seemed a little bit odd to me, because it seems like he talks about those stuff; but maybe that's what he does when he's on tour. He doesn't get super specific, he's just telling a story more or less here, so we have to be careful how much we try to say “Oh, it's a one-for-one for how he actually lives, and what his life is like”; but he is giving us a lot of hints, and then finally says
The point I'm makin' is the mind is a powerful place
And what you feed it can affect you in a powerful way
so he has to be careful that he isn’t just feeding it fame and money; because that's not going to make him happier; he has to be careful with how he's treating himself; and that can lead to a happier and a healthier version of him.
That is the basic point of “The Search”; and the search continues on; we'll see what comes in future music videos; and I'd love to hear what you guys think, especially your theories about that porch swing in the music video, because that's the part that's most confusing to me.
Don't forget to check out this course that helps you with writing lyrics like NF.
Also go watch the music video too if you haven't already. I am sure that you’ll love it.