The Greatest Lyrics - Cat Power

Review The Song (26)



Once I wanted to be the greatest
No wind or waterfall could STALL me
And then came the rush of the flood
The stars at night turned DEEP to dust

Melt me down
into big black armour
Leave no trace
Of grace
Just in your honor
Lower me down
TO CULPRIT SOUTH
Make 'EM WASH A SPACE IN TOWN
FOR THE LEAD
AND THE DREGS OF MY BED
I'VE BEEN SLEEPING
Lower me down
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PIN ME IN
Secure the grounds
For the later parade

Once I wanted to be the greatest
TWO FISTS OF SOLID ROCK
WITH BRAINS THAT COULD EXPLAIN
Any feeling
Lower me down
PIN ME IN
Secure the grounds
FOR THE LEAD
AND THE DREGS OF MY BED
I'VE BEEN SLEEPING
For the later parade

Once I wanted to be the greatest
No wind or water fall could STALL me
And then came the rush of the flood
The stars at night turned DEEP to dust






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A Self Portrait | Reviewer: Joyful | 11/10/13

This song shares what many of us has endured at least once in our life...some more than others. There is a desire to be...The Greatest"...for some it can be... "the greatest"... love affair, success, etc. We start out...as "a force to be reckoned with." Then comes the challenges or insecurities...and we allow it to chip away our confidence and as we forge ahead...not being able to gain ground...we start second guessing ourselves...which can bring depression. Sleep becomes our way to escape...but that only last for a moment. Because when awaken...we have to face...the problems...hurts, fears, etc...because they are still there. Many times we go running back into that haze called sleep...which empowers the situation of depression. If depression is not treated...it birth despair...and despair is... "The Greatest"... thief that steals and sometimes kill life...passion...dreams....

Not quite making it | Reviewer: Molly | 2/14/13

I think this song is about failure. And not like 'glass half-empty' but just, accepting not quite making it. She wanted to be the best she could be, but she settles for just being good. She gives up trying to be "the greatest" and settles to just be good enough for someone else. A sacrifice? Or accepting things as they are. I think it's about waiting too. But she was defeated and now she's stagnate. .. Perhaps this is more negative analysis than is accurate..

Let Cat Power tell you what it's about!! Go watch one of her interviews. | Reviewer: Anonymous | 10/20/11

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LYK_lOod0k&feature=youtube_gdata_player

This song is not about Ali...Go to the you tube link (above) and Chan Marshall
(aka.. Cat Power) will tell you exactly what its about! It's about all the hardships
we all go through in life, the human condition, being poor and having
to work constantly just to make it. It's about finally being able to rest
in the end. It's about being at peace with death and understanding
that in the end we are all the same.The imagery is southern because she ( like myself)
is a southern girl. Take my word for it or simply get it from the Cat's mouth!
Sorry about that, I couldn't resist!! ;)

Hero | Reviewer: Anonymous | 10/10/11

This song makes me think of fallen soldiers who have been laid to rest. Wanting to be strong enough to protect, and to bring about a peace through explaining.

It made me think of my friends brothers any my brother who have been laid beneath the ground, and it's almost like it's the song they sing to us so we know they're ok, that it wasn't all bad. That they did this for us or something. It kind of breaks my chest open in a way.

Cat Power has definitely taken up a residence in my heart.

need My Blueberry Nights | Reviewer: Anonymous | 9/30/11

My son first introduced me to Cat Power and this song. Then I heard it in the movie "17 Again" and "My Blueberry Nights"...the second film, which starred Norah Jones, made the song more meaningful for me that I have to listen to it a few times a week. It is soulful, sad, dark yet makes one reflect on life. Few songs touch our souls in this way and it is indicative of how Cat Power puts all her emotion into her music.

Life happens | Reviewer: pegs | 1/24/11

I think this song is about young ambition and life getting in the way and crushing that ambition. You just have to accept it and keep living your life. When you're young everything feels like it's at your finger tips, but as you get older you realize your limitations. Sometimes those limitations are of your own decision making for-fitting greatness for happiness. Everyone has regrets about who they were gonna be. But as a wise man once said "The great are never happy and the happy are never great."

Acceptance | Reviewer: Heart Broken Friend | 1/15/11

The interpretation of this very song has only one very specific meaning. I had a friend who in her time was a strong loving person always there to protect her children. You see in their eyes she was a hero in essence she was the greatest. In 2005 "came the flood" she was diagnosed with cancer in it's later stages and she was only given 6-8 months to live. She the strong woman with fist of solid rock was now in acceptance of reality that she was not invincible as she once strived to be for her children. She fought her battle every step of the way but in January 2006 she lost her battle. The references to melt me down to a black armor leave no sign of grace only in your honor were her options of cremation and lower me down to culprit south make them wash a space in the town pin me in secure the ground for the legs and the dregs of my bed I've been sleeping Is in reference to her in her cofin and lowering it to her final destination. Secure the grounds for the later parade is the gathering of her loved ones. The reference to stars at night turn deep
To dust is in reference to her death and being buried she would no longer be with the stars but only deep with the dust in the ground. She was an amazing person and my heart will always hurt for her.

the thinker.... | Reviewer: Anonymous | 11/20/10

I love this song!! Everytime I hear it I get a different meaning,,,,
But as I listen to it I think it talks about obviously being the gratest, but then everything falls down and everything you expected "turns deep to dust"....

"the dregs of my bed i've been sleeping" ....the tears she left at bed thinking about the end....

"lower me down pin me in secure the grounds"..... like bury... secure the grounds so that she can scape from all those things,,,,,, prefer to be dead than dissapointed,,,,,

'two fists of solid rock with brains that could explain any feeling" ... those rocks refer to her brain and thoughts being down the grounds......

I dont know its hard to explain but thats how i see it... and everytime I listen to it.. it makes me think about the future,,,,, how sad and dissapointed can be to discover that you are not the greatest... the awesome person you thought you were going to be.....

awesome voice too! :D

The greatest | Reviewer: Anonymous | 8/30/10

The ultimate acceptance of comfort. This song makes me forget all the worry I have stored deep within. This song speaks with me. It just lets me know somebody in this world, a single soul is there for me. Such a beautiful feeling.

Cat Power's Amazing Odyssey | Reviewer: Donald T. | 7/20/10

There are butterflies that must endure all that Earth places in the way for over 5,000 miles on their spectacular but lonely journey to their destination.
Our response to Cat's lovely voice is, perhaps, the echo of her personal and private agony with our own. All of us, on this journey, must endure the silence between the magic of love and its loss and ask little in return. When Cat implores, "leave no trace of grace, just in your honor." She, in her darkest place of the soul, makes that one small imploring request we respond too each time from our own pain. Perhaps fearful destiny awaits us, yet we endure as best we can on our journey...to the undiscovered country.
Cat Power herself, her very soul, invites us to become airborne again and again, like the butterfly...as she transcends life's storm, and soars into legend, we, sadly, and happily, are tearful admirers of Cat Power's amazing odyssey. I post this with love to a woman I will never meet, but always admire so very much.

The greatest | Reviewer: Ivan | 7/3/10

If this song was about Mohammed Ali that would be disappointing, I think it's far more universal. There are so many people with such more tragic faith than him. He was a rude and arrogant person, I can't possibly connect this song with that man.

Nicodema | Reviewer: Anonymous | 3/9/10

The sense of cynicism and ultimate acceptance in this song is overwhelming and heartbreaking, no matter what specific incident it's about or reference to which it pertains.
"They should teach these kids more lit crit"--how do you know this song is definitely about Mohammed Ali? Did Chan tell you this personally?

thanx chan. | Reviewer: Anonymous | 12/10/09

ive just completed recovery program of alcohol abuse and i'd only heard this song 2 mnths ago. i'd come out of a bad relationship which i'd messed up and almost lost my little girl. this very song changed my outlook on life. i do want to be the greatest so i got help and now i see my little girl every weekend and have developed a friendship with my ex. im writting and caring again.

time goes by | Reviewer: Anonymous | 8/14/09

Human being human being
I just want to share the incredible peace of mind and focus on my intentions this song gives me, I appreciate the fact that I got to listen to this song in my life time.

We could all identify as human beings trying to be the greatest at something, and the song reminds me that we can all accomplish our intention by paying attention.

I thank life for everything.

Mohammed Ali = The Greatest | Reviewer: They should teach these kids more lit crit | 5/17/09

Boxing gloves on the eponymous CD cover. "Two fists of solid rock." ... and more subtle references.

No way you can get the song unless you understand that it's a direct reference to Mohammed Ali, whose famous moniker was "The Greatest" -- and whom later suffered from Parkinson's (which some speculated was caused by his boxing career, the condition boxers call "punch drunk").

Yeah, sure, it's also a metaphor for the artistic life, for pushing forward in the midst of failure, and for Cat Power's personal life as well. But the main theme of the song is Ali, no way around that...


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------ 09/17/2014

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