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Track Review

Who's Rachel Platten?

(That’s what you should rightfully be asking right now.)

Well, she recently joined Taylor Swift onstage in Philadelphia. And I think Taylor's introduction sets the stage for this review quite nicely.

"In music—and I think this is a generally well-known term—there's such a thing as, like, a breakout moment for a brand-new artist," Taylor told her rapt audience on June 13, 2015. "And they come out of nowhere, and all of a sudden, everybody is singing this song. And last week you didn't know who they were. And now it's like the No. 2 song overall on iTunes. And you're like, this is an amazing song. This is an incredible artist. People should know about this. The song I'm referencing is a song called 'Fight Song.'"

Rachel Platten is indeed having, as Swift said, "a breakout moment" with her keyboard-driven "Fight Song." Like Sara Bareilles' "Brave" and Katy Perry's "Roar," the 34-year-old Massachusetts native's first hit—now No. 1 on iTunes and climbing other charts as well—majors massively in Rocky-like determination not to quit, not to give up, not to throw in the towel.

The result is a catchy, melodic anthem that's virtually impossible not to like (or approve of). Platten's plucky, spunky, sassy intention to keep fighting, no matter what, serves as instant inspiration for anyone who's ever felt knocked down by life's inevitable body blows to our hopes and dreams.

The song's opening verse zooms in on the potential influence of just one person, one voice, one word: "Like a small boat/On the ocean/Sending big waves/Into motion/Like how a single word/Can make a heart open/I might only have one match/But I can make an explosion."

That leads into Platten's vow not to leave difficult thoughts rumbling around wrecking her insides, but to shout them out loud: "And all of those things I didn't say/Wrecking balls inside my brain/I will scream them loud tonight/Can you hear my voice this time?"

From there, Platten eagerly launches into her proudly defiant chorus: "This is my fight song/Take back my life song/Prove I'm alright song." She's determined to stand up for herself, even if she has to do it all by herself: "I'll play my fight song/And I don't really care if nobody else believes/'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me."

It's a defiant song—but in all the right ways.

The video, meanwhile, frames Platten as a young artist struggling both to create and to be heard, eventually finding solace in nature's wonder and in the presence of friends. We see her first at the piano writing, throwing crumpled papers this way and that, then rolling around restlessly in bed and sitting somberly in the bathtub. (She sometimes wears a midriff-revealing halter top of sorts, one of several outfits in the video that reveals some skin and bits of bra.) Whatever muse Rachel depends upon hasn't shown up, and she's obviously frustrated. A gig at a local bar hardly brightens her outlook, as she sings with all her heart to an audience of bartenders who pay her no notice.

What's needed here is a change of venue. So she seeks solace and perspective first in a road trip to the openness of the ocean, then the towering majesty of the woods. A smile returns to her face, one that's made even bigger by the arrival of friends with whom she swims and shares a campfire.

This autobiographical-feeling video suggests two important ideas the song itself arguably doesn't. First, that our will to persevere must be fortified with an experience of something transcendent, something bigger than ourselves. Second, that our determination to succeed should never be isolated from laughing, loving connections with friends and family whom we cherish and enjoy.

And those are things we certainly should be singing about in our own “Fight Song.”

Positive Elements

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Peaked at No. 6

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February 19, 2015

On Video

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Adam R. Holz

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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