“Down Down,” which comes from Bonne Finken’s Gauntlet album, is a survival song. It begins with a spooky, spacey intro, and then transitions into a thumping percussion part. Finken sings about survival, and how she made it without the help from the subject in this song. It’s as though she’s saying to this person, ‘Look, I’m still standing, and you can’t bring me down.’
One gets the impression this other person is going down toward destruction and wants to take others with him/her. It’s not explicitly clear what this sinking person is going through. There are hints, though, when the suffering of a wife and a child are mentioned that this is a family crisis. One possible guess might be that this is about someone struggling with substance abuse. Whatever chemical addiction is potentially involved, it’s most oftentimes a downward spiral. When there is a drug or alcohol problem, this ailment also affects those close to the victim. Is Finken saying she’s getting her and their child out of the situation before it hurts them more. That’s a possibility.
At one point, Finken sings, “They say there’s no rest for the wicked.” This statement somewhat contradicts the easy drug/alcohol interpretation. Those with drug/alcohol problems are actually the victims too, rather than evil doers. Then again, maybe Finken is saying there’s no rest for this wicked substance, whatever that is. However, when she follows this statement up by singing about how she hopes this person learns their lesson, it’s pretty clear she’s not speaking to a mere substance. No, she’s obviously speaking directly to a person.
Finken sings these words with angry authority. In places, her voice is multitracked. And even though she’s filled with passion when singing “Down Down,” her voice remains smooth. There’s never a moment during this track, for instance, where her vocal becomes raspy.
When Finken repeats the song’s chorus — about sliding down — it’s sung to a beat that imitates the tolling of a bell. Here, one can’t help but think about Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls book. Finken is serving notice that the bell is tolling for this perpetrator.
Nobody wants to get to the point where Finken is at during this song. She’s at the juncture of making an ultimatum. One would hope these two (or three?) would be able to work things out. However, it takes a mighty strong person to decide not to go down with the ship. She got that sinking feeling, so to speak, and new that she and their child simply had to get out before it was too late.
“Down Down” is a powerfully moving song. It’s not a love song, nor is it a hate song. It’s a song of purpose. It’s a lyric about finding a way to survive, at any cost. “I held my breath and I made it,” Finken states. This song’s words say a lot about Finken’s character. She will not be pushed around. She refuses to be an easy victim. Instead, she’s a fighter. Songs like this one are inspirational – especially for anybody caught in a crippling relationship. It’s never easy to make the first move toward escape. Finken is doing what she needs to do, and it’s heartening.