The Lights

Note: This post was written in 2019 and backdated to appear on the date the song was written.

This is a song for which I avoid discussing the meaning of the lyrics, not because they’re overly personal or sensitive, but because I think they’re more powerful when the listener is able to develop a personal version.

I’m rarely as veiled or subtle as I think I am, but I’ve heard some very interesting and divergent interpretations, so I’ll leave this one up to you.

This track also ended up on the 42403 album, at the strong request of my friend Artemis. As with the closing track, Ghosts, I’m not sure it works stylistically with the rest of the album, but thematically, it’s not entirely out of place.

  1. The Lights Ray Toler 2:54


Another simple arrangement with big harmonies. There are 18 voices singing “They shine,” which might be overkill, but I was probably caught up in both singing the parts (and enjoying singing with a choir), and just stacking and stacking and stacking. When writing and recording, I heard a big rock sound during the “They shine” section – think Dark Side of the Moon era Pink Floyd – but every time I started to add something, it took away from the song. There’s probably another arrangement of this that would work just as well.


I close my eyes and the lights appear
I watch them and and wish you were here
It's only time, time separating us
I wonder why as I gather dust
And the lights all spin while my life grows thin

Paper dolls with the edges burned
I think back wondering what I've learned
The same mistakes, same safe and narrow path
Footprints lead away from the aftermath
And the lights all shine, but my life's not mine

They shine - suggestions of color fading through shades of grey
They shine - cold and indifferent, but with me every day
They shine - floating, moving, always so far away
They shine

I close my eyes and the lights are there
Offering different paths if I'd only dare
Shadows call as I fall asleep
I'd risk it all, but the water's deep
Could I learn to swim as the lights go dim?

Copyright © Ray E. Toler, Jr. All rights reserved.


  • Electric Piano: Kurzweil K2600XS
  • Vocal effects: Valhalla Vintage Verb, Valhalla Room
  • Mixing & Mastering: MOTU Parametric EQ, Waves L2

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