Meaning of “Sail” by AWOLNATION

Written By Michael Miller

Michael is a music teacher and professional cellist. He loves uncovering the deeper meaning of popular songs.

“Sail” by AWOLNATION is a song expressing a turbulent emotional state, a cry for help veiled behind the loud music and recurring word “sail.” This song revolves around themes of struggle with attention deficit disorder (ADD) and a battle with inner demons. The songwriter, Aaron Bruno, uses this piece to depict feelings of frustration, isolation, and a sense of being misunderstood, which are common among those dealing with mental health issues.

The term “sail” seems to symbolize an escape or a desire to be carried away from one’s troubles, possibly a reflection of Bruno’s own desire to find solace amidst the chaos within.

Dive deeper to uncover the layers of symbolism, emotion, and perhaps, a bit of Aaron Bruno’s soul, embedded in the lines of “Sail.”

“Sail” Lyrics Meaning

When breaking down “Sail,” we see it is awash with metaphors and emotion. The repetitive screaming of “Sail” seems to be a manifestation of inner turmoil, a constant echo in the songwriter’s mind. It’s more than a mere word; it’s a plea, an expression of the desire to drift away, to escape.

The lyrics “This is how I show my love / I made it in my mind because / Blame it on my ADD, baby” depict a vivid portrayal of internal conflict. The manifestation of love is impacted by his ADD, causing misunderstandings and leading to feelings of isolation and self-blame. It’s a powerful admission of struggle, showcasing the daily internal battles of those dealing with mental health issues.

Next, “This is how an angel dies / Blame it on my own sick pride / Blame it on my ADD, baby” hints at a loss of innocence, potentially referencing personal failures or mistakes, with the “angel” symbolizing purity and goodness. The blame on “sick pride” and ADD implies a sense of losing oneself, grappling with pride, and the challenges ADD brings.

Further, “Maybe I should cry for help / Maybe I should kill myself” paints a raw, unfiltered picture of despair and a contemplation of surrender to his battles. It’s a haunting reminder of the real and dark thoughts that plague the minds of those in intense pain, though it’s essential to acknowledge this as a form of artistic expression, reflecting deep emotional agony.

The repetitive “Sail!” with the backing sounds, mimics the cacophony within, becoming louder each time, almost symbolizing the escalating internal chaos. It emphasizes the constant presence of these feelings and the encompassing desire to “sail” away from them.

Lastly, “Sail with me into the dark” perhaps suggests an invitation, a shared journey into the unknown, the unspoken struggles and experiences, asking listeners to acknowledge and understand the depths of human emotion and mental health struggles.

Why Was “Sail” Written?

Aaron Bruno, the mastermind behind AWOLNATION, penned down “Sail” during a significant time of emotional upheaval. Struggling with the music industry’s pressures and personal tribulations, Bruno transformed his pain, frustration, and isolation into a piece that resonates with many dealing with similar experiences.

The song is a portrayal of his personal battles, particularly with ADD, a condition that inherently leads to feelings of inadequacy and being misunderstood. It’s clear that “Sail” is more than a musical composition; it is Bruno’s emotional outlet, his way of communicating the internal chaos and the relentless desire to find solace and escape.

The background of Bruno’s life and mental state at the time provides a richer context to the song, elucidating the deep-seated emotions and experiences that fuel the powerful lyrics of “Sail.” The expressions of despair, the haunting thoughts, and the plea for escape are not merely words; they are fragments of a soul, seeking understanding and connection amidst the turmoil.