Song of the Day #4,855: ‘When You’re Wrong’ – Brandi Carlile

Continuing my track-by-track presentation of Brandi Carlile’s In These Silent Days

Track seven was written by one of the Hanseroth twins, but you’d never guess from Carlile’s vocal performance that this song isn’t deeply personal to her. It’s a testament to her empathy as much as her vocal chops.

‘When You’re Wrong’ is also yet another stylistic departure on an album on which no two songs sound alike. This is the most delicate song yet, featuring just a finger-picked guitar and Carlile’s ethereal voice.

She had this to say about the lyrics:

It’s about balancing intense pain and anger, which I feel like are packaged as one emotion in this song, with acceptance and empathy, which is really hard to do. When I sing this song, I am angry and really hurt by this person’s choices and their existence. And then, on the other hand, I’m accepting their decision and empathizing with the things that led them to making that decision. And that’s, I think, really important because that’s the only way to put one foot in front of the other.

[Verse 1]
“Don’t go borrowin’ trouble,” that’s what you used to say
But we don’t keep in touch the way we used to nowadays
Your eyes are not as bright as I remember them to be
The light inside’s grown dim and that’s hard for me to see

[Verse 2]
The creases on your forehead run like treads on a tire
The white stripe runnin’ through your bangs a long twisted spire
You’re sweepin’ up the floods and you’ve been vacuumin’ the fires
And you lay down every night next to a goddamn liar

[Chorus]
You may be here today, but tomorrow, you’re a ghost
I guess the most someone can hope for is to find a place to lay
Someone to tell your secrets to when the nights get long and blue
Someone strong enough to lean on when the roses fall away
Strong enough to love you when you’re wrong
Someone strong enough to love you when you’re
Wrong

[Verse 3]
When the day is winding down, my heart abandons me for you
You forgot yourself so long ago and I wish I could too
But you live inside a quiet hell no one can pray away
Leavin’ would be easy, I understand why you stay

[Chorus]
You may be here today, but tomorrow, you’re a ghost
I guess the most someone can hope for is to find a place to lay
Someone to tell your secrets to when the nights get long and blue
Someone strong enough to lean on when the roses fall away
Strong enough to love you when you’re wrong
Someone strong enough to love you when you’re
When you’re wrong
Mm

[Verse 4]
You’d be wrong if you were thinkin’ that we all don’t fade away
Like dew drops in the dawn, like sun beams through the haze
It’s a long way to be sinkin’, holdin’ tightly to the weights
Of the one who pulls you down while you slowly waste your days

[Chorus]
Someone strong enough to love you when you’re wrong
Someone strong enough to love you when you’re
Wrong
When you’re wrong

[Outro]
Ooh-ooh
When you’re wrong
Ooh, ooh

One thought on “Song of the Day #4,855: ‘When You’re Wrong’ – Brandi Carlile

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Amy and I just played the entire album on our drive from Saranac Lake to Albany. Though some of the “rockers” didn’t fit the mood and aesthetics of the fall landscape, songs like this one fit in perfectly.

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