A Better Son/Daughter

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A Better Son/Daughter
Artist Rilo Kiley
Published 2002-10-??
Composer Jenny Lewis, Blake Sennett
Genre Indie rock
Themes Family, Nostalgia, Power, Self-loathing
Rating Rating-10.svg

A Better Son/Daughter is an indie rock song by Rilo Kiley. It was composed by Jenny Lewis and Blake Sennett and is track 6 on The Execution of All Things, released in October 2002. The song appears to be about dealing with bipolar disorder, evident from the lyrics, "sometimes when you're on, you're really fucking on," followed by, "but, the lows are so extreme, that the good seems fucking cheap, and it teases you for weeks in its absence."


I first heard this song after I bought The Execution of All Things. I'm pretty sure I instantly loved it, and very rapidly became one of my favorite songs. While I don't personally relate to dealing with bipolar disorder or depression, I know many people who do, and have had plenty of times in my own life where I felt depressed and useless. But what really makes me appreciate the song is not the depressing parts, but the fact that, despite the depression, the singer is determined to rise above it. I also really love how the subdued introduction crescendos during the manic portion.

When I'm in a more emotional mood, I sing along to this song and cry a few tears.


Sometimes in the morning
I am petrified and can't move;
Awake, but cannot open my eyes.

And the weight is crushing down
on my lungs I know I can't breath
and hope someone will save me this time.

And your mother's still calling
you insane and high.
Swearing it's different this time.

And you tell her to give in
to the demons that possess her
and that God never blessed her insides.

Then you hang up the phone
and feel badly for upsetting things
and crawl back into bed to dream of a time

When your heart was open wide
and you loved things just because.
like the sick and the dying and...

And sometimes when you're on,
you're really fucking on,
and your friends they sing along and they love you.

But, the lows are so extreme
that the good seems fucking cheap,
and it teases you for weeks in its absence.

But, you'll fight and you'll make it through,
you'll fake it if you have to,
and you'll show up for work with a smile.

And you'll be be better, you'll be smarter,
more grown up, and a better daughter
or son, and a real good friend.

And you'll be awake, you'll be alert,
you'll be positive though it hurts,
and you'll laugh and embrace all your friends.

And you'll be a real good listener,
you'll be honest, you'll be brave,
you'll be handsome, and you'll be beautiful.

And you'll be happy.

Your ship may be coming in,
You're weak but not giving in
to the cries and the wails of the valley below.

And your ship may be coming in,
you're weak but not giving in.
And you'll fight it you'll go out fighting all of them.



Album version.
Live, 2014.