A golden canary is a cute little bird, typically domesticated as a pet. But in “Golden Canary” by Feralman, it represents something much different. Feralman, an alternative folk musician, compares making the wrong choices in life to being a trapped golden canary. With atmospheric vocals and dramatic instrumentation, this song makes you question if you yourself might be a golden canary, inadvertently trapped in a life not meant for you.
“You are a golden canary, spend your days wishing you were free.” Even though the canary is a beautiful creature (and if it’s domesticated, well-taken care of), it is not happy. It spends its days wishing it was free. It’s an interesting idea, because the canary has the ability to be free- it has wings to fly away. I think this is a beautiful metaphor for humans, too. Many of us feel unhappy with our lives, yet don’t change them despite having the tools to do so.
Humans commonly do this with the things they want most. Our most intense desires are the scariest things to pursue, because the potential failure would bring so much pain. The line “you’ll never be the things you say you want to be, you live your life singing in misery” ties this together. Even though you’re living miserably now, you’ll never go after what you really want because it’s easier to choose safety.
Though it’s a nearly eight minute song, “Golden Canary” doesn’t feel long enough. It’s truly an experience more than a song, and its ominous drums, strings, and lyrical content may lead you to an epiphany about your own life. If you’ve been living as a canary, Feralman has created a song that will make you realize it.
Written by Emily Cushing