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Refuge (When It’s Cold Outside)

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When listening to John Legend’s first album, Get Lifted, I always get the feeling of something new and inspirational. Like some rhythm and blues singers, John Legend songs provided his experiences and observations of love, life, and relationships. However his songs give the people new meanings and interpretations on love. Although most of the songs on John Legend’s first album are all related to any aspect of love or relationships, one of my favorites is “Refuge (When It’s Cold Outside)”. The name of the song will not seem at all related to love but if you listen to it then you will understand how love changes a person. By listening to Refuge, I feel as if love is a woman who is refuge.

In the first two verses, there are emotions of sadness turning in to happiness. In the first verse John Legend sings about him praying for something brighter and new. Praying was his last hope. He prays for something better than what life is now which he describes is burdensome and where everyday is a rainy one. In the second verse everything suddenly changes as the clouds from the rain go away and an angel is sent down. The angel is a woman who clears away his troubles through love by changing him and his life. Also, the angel is the answer to his prayers for a brighter day. In the chorus John Legend compares the weather to how the woman makes him feel.


In addition to the chorus there is a pre chorus. In the pre chorus he says, “You know and I know, friends come and friends go, storms rise and winds blow, but one thing I know for sure…” In the chorus and pre chorus, he compares the weather to how the angel makes him feel. The weather is a storm which is his sadness but now with his angel he feels peace and warmth while it is still cold outside. The angel brings him refuge from the storm by giving him her love, which is his warmth. Her love is what keeps him going and what makes everything alright for the both of them. John Legend believes the woman is what changed and distracts him from the outside world. Like the third verse, he describes how she makes him see visions of other places.

In the final verse, John Legend sings of how hard the world is. He says “…peace is so hard to find, we’re terrorized and victimized, but that’s when I close my eyes, and think of you to ease my mind…” Peace is hard to find because of the wars that are happening but his life is changing. Now in his life he feels better about himself but he still thinks about the burdens of life. Additionally, John Legend closes his eyes to dream of her to relax and ease his mind so she can take him to another place that is peaceful and away from the wars where there is love and grace. In the beginning, he didn’t have a faith but now it is restored because of her and what she has done. His faith was gone because of how sad he was before he prayed. All he could do was pray and after his woman came down he no longer worries about the wars anymore. Also, John Legend felt like he was at peace with himself and the world now.

Therefore, in the song “Refuge (When It’s Cold Outside)” the woman that John Legend believes changed his life is his refuge from the world through love. She gives him what he needs which are peace, warmth, love, and faith. He needed peace from this world instead of heartbreak. He needed warmth and love to bring him hope for something better and to keep him from going into the storm, which is really the burdens of life today. John Legend dreams of her to ease his mind off the pain from the world today. Throughout the whole song it all goes back to love. Not only is the angel he has received through his prayers is his answer but she gives me him her love and brightened his life from the storm and clouds.





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