Song: The Dark I Know Well
Artist: Lyrics by Steven Sater, Music by Duncan Sheik, performed by the character Martha
Album: Spring Awakening soundtrack
Release date: December 12, 2006
Why this song was chosen: Spring Awakening is a rock musical based on a 19th century German stageplay of the same name by Frank Wedekind. The original play was banned from Germany for decades because of it’s frank and direct approach to issues such as homosexuality, abortion, child abuse, rape, and suicide. Set in 19th century Germany, this musical portrays several high-school-age students discovering the complexities of sexuality, and all of the good and evil it can contain. Spring Awakening has songs and issues ranging from a character getting an abortion due to a lack of sexual education from her mother about how babies are made, to characters first discovering that they may be gay, to kids being homeless after being kicked out because they spoke about the abuse they endured, to the all-too-familiar girl who tells her friends about the abuse she is currently suffering at home while her father sexually abuses her. This, of course, is the song The Dark I Know Well. While the musical is set in a time that none of us could have lived in, the songs have an alternative/folk/rock feel, and the issues it deals with are timeless. Many have said that the issues the show discusses are able to bridge the gap between our own lives and 19th century Germany, where these characters tell their own stories.
What the artist has to say about the song: While I haven’t been able to find many interviews including writer and lyricist Steven Sater, he has published a book titled A Purple Summer: Notes On The Lyrics of Spring Awakening. If you enjoyed this song and would like to hear more, all of the tracks are available on YouTube. And we have also included the entire musical for you here in this post below the video of the track. The performance is from 2007, and stars Glee’s Lea Michelle.
How do you think this song contributes to the conversation on sex crimes?
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Read the lyrics here.
Possible trigger warning. As with all of the content we post, the songs in the Every Day In May campaign should be listened to at your own discretion. Some may make you feel uplifted and others may make you feel angry, disturbed, or disgusted. The songs should also be considered not safe for work.