Sleeping Lessons Lyrics - The Shins

Review The Song (27)

Go without,
'Til the need seeps in,
You're low anymore,
Collect your novel petals for the stem,

And glow,
Melt and flow,
Eviscerate your fragile frame,
And spill it out in the ragged floor,
A thousand different versions of yourself,

And if the old guard still offend,
They got nothing left on which you depend,
So enlist every ounce,
Of your bright blood,
And off with their heads,

Jump from a hook,
You're not obliged to swallow anything you despise,
See, those unrelenting buzzards want your life,
And they got no right,
As sure as you have eyes,
They got no right,

Just put yourself in my new hooves,
And see that I do what I do,
Because the old guard still offend,
We got nothing left on which we depend,
So we waste every ounce,
Of your bright blood,
And off with their heads,

Jump from a hook
And you're not obliged,
To swallow anything that you despise

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Interpretation | Reviewer: Jesse | 12/30/13

Go without [sleep] (hence the name sleeping lessons)unless you need to, and spend your time in the present "glowing" and "flowing" out of yourself aka be yourself for all it is and show it

"They've got nothing on you which you depend" -you don't have to answer to everyone, do what you want, because no one can tell you that you can't

"Jump from a book" -Be a character from a book (hero,imagination,anything you can think/dream of), don't do anything you don't want to/be in control of your input/make it pleasant, no one has the right to tell you that you can't live your life to the fullest

"Just put yourself in my new hooves, and see that I do what I do" sort of justifies the above interpretation. The use of the word hooves (instead of feet/shoes/conventional human words to describe the phrase) goes along with "jumping from a book" idea of thinking outside of limitations. "See that I do what I do" goes along with doing what you want without anyone telling you so, and how it's an exclamation aka something meaningful

idea? | Reviewer: E | 4/9/13

I think this song is about breaking free from the ties of addiction. He talks about being low...melting..every ounce of bright blood...swallowing what you despise. I believe hes telling this
Girl that she doesnt have to live like that anymore, that her addiction doesnt have to have such controll over her and define who she is. That she can break free, learn to live again and be herself. This idea probally makes more sense if you have an addicts perspective. This is just how i percieve it.

Perfect for me. | Reviewer: Anonymous | 6/28/12

This song helps me quite a bit with my situation, I don't want to go too in depth but the situation involves my parents not allowing me to be with a girl I love and care for. So when Mercer reiterates the line "You're not obliged to swallow anything you despise" it hits me rather hard. A fantastic song that is both masterfully written as well as it is performed.

Melt and flow with the universe | Reviewer: Anonymous | 3/22/12

I think this song should be taken more literal and less for interpretation, it says what it says, i can even watch a movie in my head while I'm listening. It is an amazing song that invites us to be melt and flow with the air and be free in the universe, to appreciate more what he have inside and left in a second plane the frame, which is something that is not going to pass thru this life.

Projection | Reviewer: Hzzz | 8/25/11

This song is clearly about my opinion being correct and projecting my issues in a manner as presented through my opinion, I am sure several of the people above would agree. Good thinking people, try a little harder next time before putting face values on things.
Because we all know if you take the third letter of every sixth word, my grandmothers secret recipe for cooking cauliflower is transcribed.

Blazed | Reviewer: Ivaneezy | 1/20/11

I think this song is about a guy showing a girl his new self, trying to prove that he is better than before. Especially when he brings his memory of her when he says "glow glow." then he explains that forget what others will think or say. The "enlist your bright blood" sounds like he's saying get your self ready for the relationship. Guy, girl, vs the world, the right girl. Take no less from what you have wanted.

Ending Worries | Reviewer: Anonymous | 8/5/10

I always saw this song as a way to cure my own insomnia. If there's a person in your life that you're not so sure about, then you go without them until you can't anymore, then you go to them and tell them everything about how you need them. Change for them if you're still willing. And if the old you still offends them, then you have nothing left to depend on them for, and forget about them. And then, my friend, you can sleep.

song meaning | Reviewer: Nathan Kofman | 7/8/10

the song clearly is talking about just being yourself and how not too resort to following trends that you dont even like (your not despised to follow anything you despise) just to seem "cool." just be yourself "and see that I do all I do".

what its about | Reviewer: Anonymous | 6/17/10

To me this song is about how all the relationships in your life won't always be there. They won't always be good for you("They've got nothing left on which you depend") This song is about letting go of those old relationships and moving on even though it will be hard("Enlist every ounce, of your bright blood")

MIXED signals HERE | Reviewer: What really is a name? | 3/1/10

In a scientific language we could be considered an animal, but in most other languages including the law it means something much more insulting. However, after the first three lines I would say the song clearly appears to those who are seperated from the CULTure. Through my glasses life is meaningless(entropy)----> from that then I came to the conclusion that people who give you a meaning, such as the old guard, are totally full of shit, and like george carlin eloquently puts it, "I have a very low tolerance level for bullshit". If you tell me a meaning you can't prove your full of shit!

you low animal | Reviewer: Anonymous | 1/6/10

i love this song, and i've enjoyed reading all your different interpretations. This song makes me think of breaking from societal norms and just living life your own way. These lyrics coupled with the song make my heart ache.

truth. | Reviewer: england | 1/23/09

the truth of the matter is:
not everything is being enunciated correctly.
but that is completely irrelevant.

the lyrics are beautiful,
the interpretations countless.

who can say what is meant,
but for each his own?

not to worry. | Reviewer: izzy | 4/5/08

don't think too much on what it means. we can all basically guess it's about being original to ourselves from the feel of it, and investigating it will only ruin the fun and the flow of the words.

let's be mellow mellow mellow. <3

history of philosophy | Reviewer: Scott palmer | 3/29/08

I am reminded of several ideas from several great thinkers. From freeing of chains from Marx and engels to anti instituion from Calvin to God is dead from Nietche. These hard earned ideas are so important to live. Individually we must understand them and collectively we must build a better world.

Bright Blood | Reviewer: Cuando | 3/3/08

I think this song is telling us that we should be individuals, like many of you have said, but that we need to take personal action and invest ourselves (enlist every ounce of your bright blood), not continue to be the passive, apathetic culture we have become. It's time to invest ourselves in a revolution that makes a difference in the world, and the only way to do that is to be brave enough to make the personal change that will cause change in the world around us.

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------ 11/24/2014

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