The interpretation of death is that of a sadness or an unpleasant feeling hence the termination of social and familial bond with the deceased occur. However in many cultures, a Beauty can be seen and a symbolic meaning of having a love one’s passing. The feelings are still portrayed of one’s passing but the phrase what is once dead may never die gives the sense of the deceased is still in contact with the living from beyond the grave.  Such traditions in the Spanish culture is The Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos in which the tradition focuses on the gathering of family and friends to pray for loved ones who have passed away and support their spiritual journey. Once such music video from Fall Out Boy – Hold Me Tight Or Don’t depicts the celebration of such an occasion but has a deeper story hidden within it.

The scene opens in a cemetery however instead of dark sorrow colors and somber crowds there is bright colors celebrating life. This is not an ordinary day and we soon realize it as we the viewer follows the journey of two characters who show the colorful meaning to life in their own previous perspective. As the viewer we are engulfed with a tradition that spans back from generation to generation. In the span of these few days the dead may rise up and attend our living gatherings and accept generous gift left by one of the living family members. “Many spend over two month’s income to honor their dead relatives. They believe that happy spirits will provide protection, good luck and wisdom to their families.” (Creators). As it was believed by building ofrendas which have the photo of a deceased loved on it with their favorite treat or item. These things are essential part of the tradition but they are not mistakenly for altars for worship but altars of remembrance.  As demonstrated in the music video, tons of people come together in celebrational attire and painted skulls to illustrate the remembrance of the dead to a courtyard that has ofrendas all around the festival..

As the music begins we are introduced to a catrina character covered in a headdress of flowers looking onward to us. This character is considered to be dead hence the appearance of a nice outfit along with roses and with the smoke in the background. She symbolizes the passage of passing on into the afterlife completing her duties in the living. The smoke in the background as we soon will discover is a method of communication with another spirit. As the first lyrics begins, “I never really feel a thing, I’m just kinda too froze, You were the only one, That even kinda came close” we see briefly a skull appearing through the smoke. Soon we are introduced to the purple skull spirit who is wandering through the cemetery covered in the purple smoke. The setting this character is in signifies how this spirit is still wandering the living but unable to cross over to the other side. However he does have an advantage by using colored smoke possibly trying to reach the other spirit on the other side to come find him during this celebration of the dead. As stated in the lyrics “I just pinch myself, No longer comatose, I woke up, no luck, I woke up, no luck” implying the feeling of regret of doing something to get themselves separated in the first place and unable to find one another. Knowing too well that the celebration of the dead lasts only a few days these lovers, as we can interpret them, do not have much time to reunite with one another. In the lyrics once more “An-n-n-n-n-n-n-nother day goes by, So hold me tight, Hold me tight or don’t”, days have passed by and she is weary of possibly not seeing him this time around. His response is “Oh n-n-no this isn’t how our story ends, so hold me tight, Hold me tight or don’t”.


Tracking down the source of the smoke the catrina finds the cemetery that we previously saw the spirit with the purple skull located at but he is no longer there. He had already moved on to the next location trying to locate her. Turning over to the spirit with the smoke, out of frustration the spirit releases more smoke in an attempt to draw the catrina closer to him as the festival lives on. The notion to have someone close to you once more to feel the warmth and embrace of one another is revealed as the lyrics explains “I got too high again, Realized I can’t not be with you, Or be just your friend, I love you to death”. As the festival continues we are shown how the catrina is following the smoke trail and getting closer and closer to finding the other spirit. Despite what happened prior, she is determined to locate the source of the smoke. These actions are a trait that all people share, living or dead, that all we have is each other and no object in the world can prevent the person from reuniting with a loved one. What seems at first the spirit with the skull gives up and enters the white fog symbolizing he has given up his search forever, however in a turn of events the next scene shows him embracing the catrina with a kiss. Fooling the viewer that he did not give up his search till the very end and now the two spirits can wander the festival together in any way they can. Singing together “An-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-nother day goes by, So hold me tight, Hold me tight or don’t, I’m pretty sure that this isn’t how our story ends, So hold me tight, Hold me tight or don’t, Oh na na na na…”

The message designed by Fall Out Boy is that even in death love can still find a way. Merely using the tradition of the day of the dead to even more so solidify the message that no matter the length that if we love someone we would literary cross the boundary of death to be with them. By the means to never give up hope on the search for the ones we love if we are separated and to remember those ones that have longed passed away.


Annotated Biography

Creators Mold. History of Day of the Dead & the Mexican Sugar Skull Tradition https://www.mexicansugarskull.com/history-of-day-of-the-dead/

This article describes the cultural aspects of the day of the dead tradition and the symbolic meaning behind each one. Depicts of how it is a wonderful way to celebrate the memories of our loved ones who are now gone but in the means of how they lived with music, cooking, activities etc. I was using this material to inform the many traditional ways the day of the dead can be interpreted since the tradition can be use in many ways.

Fall Out Boy. HOLD ME TIGHT OR DON”T Mania Album https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jG1JY0rt2Os

A music video from Fall Out Boy, a band that shows the beauty in dark times with positive message to others to continue living, show casing the beauty of day of the dead. This is the main source I am view for rhetorical analysis.

History Day of the Dead https://pescadorarteofrendas.wordpress.com/history/

This article show the historical changes and origins from the Mayans to today’s of the day of the dead tradition. I use this article to inform myself bout how the tradition of the day of the dead had change but the meaning is still the same.