Lukas Graham
Lukas Graham

On ‘3 (The Purple Album),’ Lukas Graham’s Grown Up

And it sounds marvelous.

Lukas Graham Forchhammer is a Danish pop-soul singer who you might know from the band Lukas Graham. In 2015, you heard the song “7 Years” on the radio, and thereafter, Lukas Graham was a band people knew. Released in the same year, their album “Lukas Graham” brought another top hit, “Mama Said.”

Since then, the band has been writing lyrics and music as the singer prepared to outdo his previous songs and albums. Disappointed about not winning a Grammy in the past, Graham has been determined to create Grammy-worthy music. “3 (The Purple Album)” was released this year, and if you haven’t already listened to it, you’ve at least heard the single, “Love Someone,” on the radio.

Between his 2015 and 2018 albums, the singer experienced life and grew up a lot; in fact, he married his best friend, Rillo Schwartz, and welcomed their first child, Viola, who the album’s name is referring to. Evidence is found in this album of Graham’s new knowledge and view on life, both of which listeners can relate to and learn from.

The album begins with “Not a Damn Thing Changed,” which the singer dedicated to his bandmates and his friends back home, along with one who took his own life. He sings, “Keep pouring out the bottle for the real ones I lost / Who can no longer walk with me / For the ones still right here, yeah, for the ones who still care / Yeah, we still feel the same way.” People come and go in your life, just as in Graham’s, whether it’s by death or simply fading friendships, and in this song, you can see how growing up brings about those changes, even when it seems like nothing’s changed or will change.


“Not a damn thing changed / Won’t forget where I’m from but for me there’s just one way / It’s a habit of beating the goals that we once made / I got a few records to break / I know we all got what it takes / The team is the team, same as back in the day.” The lyrics emphasize how the singer thinks nothing has changed because he still has the same friends and the goals he made when he was younger, but he’s been accomplishing so much, so deep down, he knows his life has been shifting.

Graham created “Lullaby” for his daughter, expressing his love for her and his wish to always be there for her despite being away on tour and working all the time. He sings, “Money often makes a never-home dad / Is it worth all the times when I’m never here? / Is it worth it when daddy can’t dry your tears? / Is it life or just a living? / Kids and wife is not a given / I wish I could be a stay-at-home dad.” He knows that having a family is not something to take for granted, and he knows this even more because his father passed away in 2012.

He refers to his father throughout the song, too, as he sings, “I still have all the wounds he left but they don’t hurt no more / Like they hurt before / I wish, I wish, I wish / I wish that he could have seen you.” Although Graham might never completely heal from his father’s death, his daughter filled the gap that he had in his life because of it. As time goes on, everyone experiences similar losses, but the inevitable gains will also present themselves.

“The darkness makes it hard to see the light / But the time is always right to do what’s right.” The band wrote these lyrics for the song “You’re Not the Only One (Redemption Song)” because they see everything going on in the world right now, such as mass shootings and violent political debates, which are leading to an unsafe environment. Graham wanted his own redemption song as he admired Bob Marley’s, so he produced this one, which hints at the disastrous and sad events that have happened, without mentioning any specific ones. “All I know is / We need hope right now.”

Dedicating a song to his wife, Graham wrote “Love Someone,” which is surely one of the best love songs for telling someone your feelings for them. When you find that one person, you’ll be feeling all the feels the singer does and describes in the song. “If you love someone / And you’re not afraid to lose ’em / You probably never loved someone like I do.” It can get you thinking about the person you’re currently with or someone you might be with in the future and how much you’d do for them; it’ll either reveal your true love or show you why it’s not meant to be.

Graham explained some of the meaning behind the lyrics: “Love is a constant 100%. So if I begin to love you, I don’t take a portion of my love from my family and start loving you. That’s what I think is so amazing about love is you don’t take some love from here and put it here. You love 100%. You don’t love 50%.” It’s an incredible concept to think about.

“Promise” is another song written to the singer’s wife, as the lyrics express his love and want for her regardless of him being away while he’s working. “Promise me you’ll let me come back home / Keep my bed warm / ‘Cause I’m bringing it all back to you / Only say you’ll be there when I do.” He hopes that even though he’s gone so much, she’ll still wait for him when he comes home. Being in a relationship, people have to deal with the struggles, one of which could be distance, which is what Graham has learned over the years.

Although Graham and his wife just had a baby girl, Graham is already thinking about his future and how his relationship with his daughter will lead to the same end as Graham and his father: death. Unfortunately, a parent’s death can be expected at some point, and the singer doesn’t want to leave his daughter, but he knows the day will eventually come. “I’m sorry to say that the smiles that I give you / One day will be tears in your eyes / I’m sorry to give you these memories / ‘Cause memories like this will one day make you cry / But I’ma stick around / I promise you that I will stick around for now.” All he can do is make memories with her and for her, as can fans with their loved ones.

The song “Unhappy” portrays Graham’s method for resolving arguments with his wife, showing that he’s become more mature. Some people might fight and stay mad at each other for quite some time, which does no good for anyone. The singer has figured out what works for him and his wife, which ultimately makes their relationship stronger. “Let’s solve this situation with simple conversation / Before it grows, grows / Grows into something bigger / Let’s see the bigger picture and let it go / First, let’s try to talk about what went wrong / Then talk about moving on / We both feel better off / When we smile before I leave.” People can take these lyrics as advice for how to handle their own disagreements with others.

Through the years, Graham has seen how he’s changed, and in the song “Everything That Isn’t Me,” he expresses his regret for not always being the person he would have liked to be. “I could have been a better lover / I could have been a better man / I’m gonna be a better father / Hell, I’m doing everything I can.” He knows who he could have been, but he’s proud of who he has become, and he plans on being a better father, despite not being as great in his roles of a son, brother and lover. It shows his goal and dedication to be the dad that his daughter deserves. With this, listeners might have similar feelings about themselves, or will in the future, and they’ll learn that everything they did, or do, will make them who they are.

“Hold My Hand” is an acknowledgment of Graham’s wrongdoings, or “sins,” as he calls them, and how he knows he doesn’t always do the right thing, but within it, he knows he’s living his life the way he wants to. “I’m burning in Hell, but I’m already in Heaven,” he sings. “I’m walking alone, and I can need a companion / To show me the wisdom, give me more understanding / I scared ’em away, I’m always over-demanding / But I got a seed and it’s in need of some planting.” The singer wants to be a better person, and he knows he can’t do it alone, but his actions have scared everyone away. He knows he has potential and purpose, though, which is important for everyone to know of themselves.

The album closes with “Say Yes (Church Ballad),” which is another love song, recapping Graham’s wedding day but also mentioning those he lost, such as his father. “I’m going back inside that church again / To marry her and now let go of him / I still remember where he lay / She’s gonna pass that very spot today.” He was married in the same church that his father’s funeral was held, and he’s slowly letting himself heal as he’s beginning a new chapter of his life. It’s a perfect end to the record, as it shows the mature man that Graham has turned into through the years, and it can even predict a start to a new chapter of his music.

Michelle Dreyer, Southern New Hampshire University

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Michelle Dreyer

Southern New Hampshire University

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