Please Leave A Light On When You Go [Version (a)]:
How fast can a heart shatter
Before you're walking on splinters?
Your head aches just to feel what it knows
Please leave a light on when you go
How can you fix something
That you can't touch without hurting?
The lesson you've learned is leaving you dumb
Please leave a light on when it's done
Standing high above the flood line
Watching all your belongings go by
How can you see the ending
When you're lost at the beginning?
The day hides all that the night left behind
Please turn a light on when it dies
"Please Leave A Light On When You Go" is a gorgeous song that Beck included as one of the 20 main tracks in his Song Reader
Fans first learned of the song back in 2007. Beck at his show in Osaka in April 2007, before playing "Lonesome Tears" on his acoustic guitar, sang just the opening verse of this song. Confused about it was, we asked his bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen who confirmed it as a new song that Beck had attempted to record.
The song remained unreleased until 2012, when the song showed up in his sheet music book.
I love this song. All the versions I have heard are gorgeous, and the emotion drips off the words. Each verse begins with questions that strike right to the matter. "How fast can a heart shatter before you're walking on splinters?" That definitely reads that this is not a normal heartbreak. It's a SHATTERING. This is not a song about loss of hope, as much as a song about hoping to have hope. Hoping for hope is usually the most shattering part of heartbreak, and Beck gets to the core of that here.
"How can you fix something that you can't touch without hurting?" is self-reflection and also devastating. Was the loss caused by his mistake? When a situation ends like this, when someone leaves, do it in a manner for which lights are left on. That allows both sides to feel a little hope.
The last verse comes from a place of blinding darkness, and longing for the daylight. (Absolutely the main theme on Morning Phase a few years later. This song could, no, should, have been on Morning Phase.)