The Real Meaning Behind Luke Hemmings' 'Starting Line'

Solo Luke Hemmings is here and he does not disappoint.

The 5 Seconds of Summer frontman just dropped "Starting Line" — his first single as a solo artist — a track filled with yearning exquisitely illustrated in both the lyrics and Hemmings' pleading vocals. The introspective tune, which begins delicately on piano and crescendos on the chorus, puts Hemmings' songwriting front and center as he contemplates his thoughts on fear, identity, and what it is that he is really seeking in life.

"Starting Line" is the opening track on "When Facing The Things We Turn Away From," Hemmings' forthcoming debut. As the singer-songwriter explained on the song's "official visualizer," the record, which is set for release August 13, "grew out of a year of enforced stillness" after COVID-19 restrictions pushed 5SOS' planned 2020 tour into late 2021. As Hemmings began "writing on acoustic guitar and piano upstairs" in his house, the album began to take shape — and what emerged was a profound reflection on his life thus far. As Hemmings explained in the description of the visualizer, "Lyrically and sonically, this album has allowed me to decipher the last 10 years of my life and help me make sense of the person I am today and how I got here."

Dive deeper into the lyrics of "Starting Line" below.

Luke Hemmings searches for solace on 'Starting Line'

As demonstrated on 5SOS songs like "Not In The Same Way" and "Why Won't You Love Me," Luke Hemmings has the uncanny ability to unravel even the most complex emotions — and perhaps never more astutely than on his debut single. While "a lot of the songs" on "When Facing The Things We Turn Away From" come from Hemmings' current point of view, "some of them are written from the perspective of a 17-year-old kid in the thick of the industry." "You're reflecting on your youth and all of the madness and craziness," he explained (via Spotify). "It's like you're forgetting so many pieces of your life ... from the sheer volume."

On the first verse of "Starting Line," Hemmings repeats an aching refrain seeking solace: "Won't you comfort me / Warm the air that I breathe," "Won't you comfort me / Take the fear out of me." It's clear that he is looking — and longing — to be consoled, an elusive desire that seems to slip further and further out of reach as the track continues. Weighed down by fear and doubt, Hemmings belts on the chorus: "I wake up every morning with the years ticking by / I'm missing all these memories, maybe they were never mine / I feel the walls are closing / I'm running out of time / I think I missed the gun at the starting line." 

But, as the album title alludes, it's when we confront our deepest fears that we truly find ourselves.