The Meaning of Let Her Go by Passenger

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I can sum this song up into one simple phrase. “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.” but that wouldn’t be very philosophical now would it.

Another brilliantly written song that found a new way to make you understand what it means to lose things you take for granted.

The first 7 lines tell all:

Well you only need the light when it’s burning low
Only miss the sun when it starts to snow
Only know you love her when you let her go

Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low
Only hate the road when you’re missin’ home
Only know you love her when you let her go
And you let her go

The only time you need light is when you don’t have any, but when you have it, you don’t think about needing it.

In places that have four seasons or get snow, the phrase “you only miss the sun when it starts to snow” is a reference to warmth. I live in an area that gets snow and when it starts to get cold everyone starts complaining about how short their summer was and wishes it would stay warm for longer.

But this lyric seems miswritten to me.

It should be “Only miss the sun when it gets cold” because there is still sun while there is snow on the ground and I’ve even seen it be partly cloudy with sun coming through as it snowed. The author meant this to be a reference to feeling warm when it’s cold.

The catch phrase “Only know you love her when you let her go” hits the nail on the head and explains what this entire song is about. When you love someone and they are gone from your life, for whatever reason, you feel an emptiness and a sadness as you realize how much that person meant to you.

The second verse picks up with more examples.

“Only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low” is a reference to euphoria or happiness. Without feeling happy you can’t feel unhappy, to go from a high to a low is something we can all relate to. One minute you’re on top of the world floating above the clouds and the next you hit rock bottom.

“Only hate the road when you’re missing home” is a reference to how traveling can both be a blessing and a sin. I’ve gone on road trips before where it was excitement the entire way and I’ve gone on trips before where I had to leave my loved ones behind and was not very enthusiastic about the trip.

The next part says he loved her all along and has to deal with what has happened.

Staring at the bottom of your glass
Hoping one day you’ll make a dream last
But dreams come slow and they go so fast

You see her when you close your eyes
Maybe one day you’ll understand why
Everything you touch surely dies

This part heads directly into self-reflection. Staring at the bottom of your glass is a symbol of drinking and depression. She’s in your mind and you pray that she’ll come back but the reality is she’s most likely gone.

So now he’s left with just memories of her and all of the mistakes he’s made. In the end he just wants to make sense of it all.

“Everything you touch surely dies” means that he has made other mistakes in his life, maybe it’s not his first heart break, so now he views himself as a repeat failure. It represents the idea that maybe he’s not good for anyone or anything.

Then comes the chorus to hit the point home again.

Then we get more depression and reflection in the next verse.

Staring at the ceiling in the dark
Same old empty feeling in your heart
‘Cause love comes slow and it goes so fast

Well you see her when you fall asleep
But never to touch and never to keep
‘Cause you loved her too much
And you dived too deep

This verse describes his thoughts while laying in bed. He still feels the same sadness of missing her. He thinks and dreams of her frequently but it doesn’t bring her back to him in reality.

“Cause you loved her too much And you dived too deep” is not something I’m entirely sure about.

The first part is a realization that he is heart broken because of how much he loved her but “Dived too deep” is a confusing lyric.

It could mean that he gave it all he had from the depths of his heart or that he literally dived too deep, meaning he drowned or died on the inside by going too far from her.

I don’t think it means that he put too much into her because it would conflict with the other lyrics.

Followed by the chorus then:

And you let her go (oh, oh, ooh, oh no)
And you let her go (oh, oh, ooh, oh no)
Will you let her go?

This signifies there might still be hope or something he can do to get her back. If it doesn’t mean that then it has a weird twist to it where he hasn’t actually lost her yet but is separated from her and is reflecting on whether or not he really wants to be with her. This would explain why he is drinking and sleeping alone.

This is followed by more parts of the chorus and ends with “And you let her go”

If he was separated then he decided to let her go, if he wasn’t, then he decided there was nothing to be done about it and he let her go.

Either way, she’s now gone.

When relationships end, the bad starts to fade away and all you’re left with is the good.  These pictures are symbolic of what you’ll remember.  You won’t remember the fights or arguments, you’ll remember this.  Take that into consideration when you’re thinking about letting go.

i melt into your arms first kiss of passion remembering the good times

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