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Meaning of ‘When You Know Someone’ by ‘Valley’

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Released: 2024

“When You Know Someone” by Valley is a poignant song about the shifting dynamics in a relationship and the unsettling realization of how well you actually know someone when things fall apart. The song captures the heartbreak, disappointment, and the shock upon discovering a partner’s “secret life” and the ensuing emotional turmoil.

Broken down, the lyrics begin with a confident assertion: “When you know someone, think you know someone so well.” This suggests a deep understanding of one’s partner and their actions. However, the immediate follow-up – “And when they break your heart, it’s never equal parts, oh well,” imparts a raw sense of shock and disappointment, echoed by the casual, blase “oh well.”

The lyrics, “Jump ship right there in mid-ocean, Another sinking hand means one less that I’m holding” signify a feeling of abandonment. The phrase “jump ship” is a colloquialism suggesting to abandon a commitment when circumstances become difficult. So, our singer feels left alone “in the mid-ocean” of emotional chaos.

The chorus reiterates the song’s theme by repeating “When you know someone, you really know someone.” It’s a profound realization of the depths of someone’s personality only after a fallout.

The line “From strangers to friends to strangers again” encapsulates the life cycle of their relationship, a shared journey that ended where it began – in unfamiliarity. The singer, seeing this outcome from the start, infuses a touch of the inevitable into his rueful narrative.

Last but not least, the listed items “Toothpaste, mistakes, headphones, your basement, car keys, girlfriends, passwords, your last words, Brookfield, T-shirts, three words, I love you” bring a sense of reality to the song. These everyday items and phrases shared between the couple underline the intimacy they once had, making their disconnection even more poignant.

To sum up, “When You Know Someone” is a bitter-sweet reflection on love lost and the rude awakening to a person’s true face, hidden behind the veneer of love and familiarity. But hey, that’s pop music for you – all sugar-coated pills.

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