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'The Fire' by Chris Stapleton - Lyrics & Meaning

November 17, 2023 4:38 pm GMT
Last Edited December 18, 2023 8:45 pm GMT

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Chris Stapleton - 'The Fire'

Label: Mercury Nashville

Release Date: November 10th 2023

Album: Higher

Producers: Dave Cobb, Chris Stapleton & Morgane Stapleton

Songwriters: Chris Stapleton, J.T. Cure, Derek Mixon, Dave Cobb & Morgane Stapleton

The Background:

Leave it to Chris Stapleton to swoop in at the end of 2023 to deliver a stunning body of work.

One of country music's most soulful and revered vocalists, his fifth album, Higher, arrived on November 10 chock-full of 14 genre-bending and blending tunes, including previously released singles like 'White Horse' and 'It Takes A Woman'.

Higher's arrival came after a busy week for Stapleton, which saw him not only take home his seventh award for Male Vocalist of the Year at the 2023 CMA Awards, but also secure three Grammy nominations.

Among them were Best Country Duo/Group Performance alongside Carly Pearce ('We Don't Fight Anymore), as well as Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song for 'White Horse'.

As is the case with much of the record, which mostly focuses on three pillars relating to heartbreak, love and lust, Higher's fifth track, titled 'The Fire', is a lust-fueled slow-burner that finds Stapleton in rare form.

The Sound:

A familiar crew throughout much of Stapleton's 2023 album, 'The Fire' was penned by Stapleton, his wife Morgane and frequent collaborator Dave Cobb, along with J.T. Cure, Derek Mixon.

Similarly, both of the Stapleton's and Cobb serve as co-producers of the track, as they did throughout the whole of Higher.

Opening with a soothing blend of acoustic guitar, bass and some fitting, yet unique, bongo-like instrumentation, 'The Fire' carries this steady feeling throughout the 3:45 runtime, seemingly sounding like the soundtrack of your favorite local coffeehouse.

At about the 23 second mark, Stapleton's honey-drenched voice comes in gently, enveloping listeners into a warm hug as he showcases his signature country crooning charm.

As we move to the chorus, 'The Fire' becomes a restrained, howling plea, with our narrator attempting to reason with his love interest.

Lyrically, the song centers around intense feelings of love, or even infatuation. Sonically, though, the production perfectly juxtaposes this with its light and calming instrumentation, perhaps giving the impression that 'The Fire' in question is strong and smoldering rather than wild and raging.

Throughout the song, the newest ACM Triple Crown recipient doesn't seem to be reinventing the wheel or blow listeners away with some mighty production or massive vocal performance – although we know that he's more than capable of letting it rip.

Rather, for 'The Fire', Stapleon's restraint and ability to hold back shows his unmatched talent that's won over country fans all over the world for the better part of the last decade.

The Meaning:

I watch your light
In the dark of the night
Your shadow moves
Across a lonely room

While the first verse's lyrics aren't entirely clear (and could be interpreted that our narrator has some stalker-like tendencies), we can deduce that Stapleton is singing from the perspective of someone observing his love interest.

Noting that he "watches [their] light" and "[their] shadow [moving] across a lonely room", the main point of this first verse seems to lie in the fact that the woman of interest is romantically alone, and our narrator may be wanting to change that.

Woo-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
I hear your name
Through the wind and rain
Woo-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
Why can't you see
The fire inside of me?

As we get to the verse, Stapleton lets loose his intoxicating howl, enforcing the desperation that our narrator feels.

He explains that no matter what is happening – or in this case, what elements he's exposed to – he constantly hears the name of this woman who he's grown infatuated with.

In the next breath, though, we see the song's rub: she doesn't see, understand or perhaps care about how much he's in love with her.

In case we have to spell it out a little more, those feelings of want and desire are 'The Fire' that Stapleton is referring to.

I fantasize
That I'm your lover's eyes
And in my mind
Your body is next to mine

Getting into the second verse, we get a little more insight into our narrator's plight.

Stapleton explains that he often finds himself imagining that he is her lover, that it's his eyes that she's looking into and his body she's sleeping next to every night.

Through the second verse, we get a clearer picture on how badly our protagonist wishes to be her partner, almost feeling as if it's the only thing he can think about.

This fire, I feel
Oh, this fire is real
You're so close to me
But always out of reach

After going through the howler of a chorus once more, Stapleton brings us through a simple bridge before he begins winding down the evocative tune.

He reiterates that the smoldering fire of desire he has for this woman is real, and even though they may be so close in proximity, she's emotionally beyond reach from him.

Even though the song isn't too groundbreaking, lyrically, it's production and tasteful vocal performance picks up the slack and provides a welcomed break from the swampy guitars and high-flying riffs that Stapleton has become synonymous with.

Woo-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
I hear your name
Through the wind and rain
Woo-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
Why can't you see
The fire inside of me?
Woo-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
I hear your name
Through the wind and rain
Woo-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
Why can't you see
The fire inside of me?

What has Chris Stapleton said about ‘The Fire’?

Notoriously not one for interviews, Stapleton hasn't shared much about Higher and the creative process behind it.

However, he sat down with Apple Music's Kelleigh Bannen around the record's release to chat about Higher and its multi-year creation.

"[There were lots of songs on this record] that have been hanging around and now they're having their moment, but there are also songs that we wrote in the room. 'The Fire' we wrote in the room, top to bottom," explaining that it was one of the songs specially written during Higher's recording process.

He continued, "I like that there are songs from my very first demo session in town when I was 23 and things that we wrote in the moment, that's the whole gamut."

For the full lyrics to 'The Fire’, see below:

I watch your light
In the dark of the night
Your shadow moves
Across a lonely room

Woo-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
I hear your name
Through the wind and rain
Woo-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
Why can't you see
The fire inside of me?

I fantasize
That I'm your lover's eyes
And in my mind
Your body is next to mine

Woo-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
I hear your name
Through the wind and rain
Woo-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
Why can't you see
The fire inside of me?

This fire, I feel
Oh, this fire is real
You're so close to me
But always out of reach

Woo-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
I hear your name
Through the wind and rain
Woo-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
Why can't you see
The fire inside of me?
Woo-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
I hear your name
Through the wind and rain
Woo-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh
Why can't you see
The fire inside of me?

The fire inside of me
The fire inside of me
The fire inside of me

For more on Chris Stapleton, see below:

Written by Lydia Farthing
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