The Pretender Lyrics - Foo Fighters

Review The Song (24)

Keep you in the dark
You know they all pretend
Keep you in the dark
And so it all began

Send in your skeletons
Sing as their bones go marching in... again
The need you buried deep
The secrets that you keep are ever ready
Are you ready?
I'm finished making sense
Done pleading ignorance
That whole defense

Spinning infinity, boy
The wheel is spinning me
It's never-ending, never-ending
Same old story

[Chorus (x2):]
What if I say I'm not like the others?
What if I say I'm not just another one of your plays?
You're the pretender
What if I say I will never surrender?

In time or so I'm told
I'm just another soul for sale... oh, well
The page is out of print
We are not permanent
We're temporary, temporary
Same old story

[Chorus x2]

I'm the voice inside your head
You refuse to hear
I'm the face that you have to face
Mirrored in your stare
I'm what's left, I'm what's right
I'm the enemy
I'm the hand that will take you down
Bring you to your knees

So who are you?
Yeah, who are you?
Yeah, who are you?
Yeah, who are you?

Keep you in the dark
You know they all pretend

[Chorus x2]

What if I say I'm not like the others?
(Keep you in the dark)
What if I say I'm not just another one of your plays?
(You know they all... pretend)
You're the pretender
What if I say I will never surrender?

So who are you?
Yeah, who are you?
Yeah, who are you?

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Please | Reviewer: Thompson | 1/27/14

There are a lot of good comments on this great song, but, please don't tell me Nirvana "invented" grunge. That's disrespectful to all the musicians that helped inspire Cobain, with the help of his band-mates, to create some great music. For fuck sake, grunge didn't come out of nowhere and appear as Nirvana.

Brilliant | Reviewer: Anonymous | 11/3/11

Grohl is a genius. This song speaks to the ascendance of individual free will over the conservative influence of community and is a seminal distilation of contemporary American ethics. His railings against "they" who will keep "you" in the dark bespeak our distrust of power. The song, in my view, is about the certain and inevitable long term triumph of the will of the masses over tyranny if thought, word, and deed. Democracy is not only the best bad system of government invented it is also the nearest approximation mankind has made in governing to a concordancew with universal law vis a vis Darwin.

Independence | Reviewer: Manawyddan | 9/29/10

Whether or not one was alive for the advent of Grunge is irrelevant; I wasn't alive for the birth of Jazz, but I still feel it like any other Jazz cat out there.

...and to those that are flaming, I do believe that it's better for you that the Internet is anonymous, because you guys really do look like jackasses.

The "who" this song is written to is up for interpretation, and no one can fault another person for reading their own lives into the lyrics. That said, taking the rest of the album as the context to which should be applied to the song, it looks purely political.

"Keep you in the dark/You know they all pretend"

It's referring to the way that the mainstream media is controlled by very few people, and all of those people have ties to the major political parties in this country, and thus have a vested interest in not telling you the truth, thereby "keeping you in the dark" and "pretending".

What is the "truth"? That's up for debate. Both halves of the political system in this country will tell you that the "truth" is different for each.

"What if I say I'm not like the others/What if I say I'm not just another one of your plays/You're The Pretender/What if I say I'll never surrender"

He's declaring his independence from the mainstream shepherds of corporate media (be it Liberal or Conservative) and the political aspects of government. He's not going to be another one of those people that they play and pit one against another. He'll "never surrender" to "The Pretender"

"I'm the voice inside your head/You refuse to hear"

Conscience. The politicians in this country are put there for the better of the People, and because they're not doing that, but are bowing more to other interests, they need to listen to their conscience.

"I'm the face that you have to face/Mirrored in your stare"


"I'm what's left, I'm what's right/I'm the enemy"

Free thinkers are the enemy of people in power, because they are much more difficult to control. Controlling bodies have historically despised free thinkers and have demonized them throughout history, and today is no different in that regard.

"I'm the hand that will take you down/Bring you to your knees"

Thus the reason free thinkers are so feared by any body of power; they will pull back the curtain, so to speak, and expose those in power for whatever it is that they're not what they say they are, or are what they say they're not.

This song, and most of the rest of the album, is about how the narrator will not be subject to what someone else says; will not do as they're told; will not believe a certain way because someone on TV or the radio tells them to. This song is about independence and free thought and bringing the feet of those in power to the fire, holding them accountable for their actions, pulling their skeletons out of the closet for all to see, so the People that are supposed to be running this country can make a true judgment based on all the evidence, not just what the mainstream media wants you to see.

But that's just my interpretation.

Take back the power.

Wage peace.

---end transmission---

Fucked Over For Sure! | Reviewer: Mac | 9/10/10

I think this song is about being fucked over. Being played and taken for a ride. By who? That's up to your interpretation.

I've been played by a girl before and to me... this song fits exactly with how I felt about it after.

"I'm the hand that will take you down and bring you to your knees."

That was my motto at that moment, and she got her comeupance. This song, to me, is about being played by the girl... and letting her know she fucked with the wrong person (or a guy playing a girl, also possible).

I'm aware, though, that its interpretation is 100% relative... but I see it that way.

I know what this song is about | Reviewer: Yahuwceph | 7/20/10

This song is about the Impostor, the "antichrist", and the remnant's knowing who he is and what he's about, and our rebellion against him because we are now free from the deception the establishment taught us and enforces because they are under these authorities of this world. We are the victors and our King, the true Sovereign, is who will take him down. But so few know the impostor will be named JESUS, and our King was and is named YAHUWSHUA. See our video with this song on youtube, my channel is my name.

re:anonymous 1/10 | Reviewer: a woman scorned | 6/12/10

Ur the idiot! And if uv never been fd over-I hope u experience it just once!In In a 2007 interview with XFM, frontman Dave Grohl stopped short of explaining the meaning behind “The Pretender,” but alluded its roots go to current political unrest. Grohl noted:

That’s the thing with lyrics, you never want to give away specifics, because it’s nice for people to have their own idea or interpretation of the song. But, you know, everyone’s been fucked over before and I think a lot of people feel fucked over right now and they’re not getting what they were promised, and so something to do with that.

a fav of mine | Reviewer: moe | 3/27/10

I've been listening to this song for about three yrs now and always thought the lyrics were great with a general message that could be applied to whatever but jus the other day as I listened I really felt like it was written about politicians and government lies/secrets. Idk

alex 12/31/09 is a moron | Reviewer: Anonymous | 1/10/10

you obviously don't really know grunge from the way you talk about it. you must just read one magazine article about it.

how old are you? 12? you must not have been around when grunge came out originally

and you think this song is about a girl? wow you are stupid. what a dip !! go read a bit more somewhere before you comment next time.

lucky for you the internet is anonymous because you just made a fool of yourself. jackass

such a good song | Reviewer: Anonymous | 12/30/09

makes me think of how my gf cheated on my ("what if i say i'm not just another one of your plays") and she won't listen to me ("i'm the voice inside your head, the one you refuse to hear")about how the guy she's with now is trouble ("i'm finished making sense") and so i stopped talking to her but now ("i'm done pleading ignorance") and her new bf is starting to be a dick so she wants to come back to me but is scared ("I'm the face that you have to face Mirrored in your stare I'm what's left, I'm what's right I'm the enemy") but i won't let her come back ("I'm the hand that will take you down Bring you to your knees")because she doesn't realize who she's become ("so who are you?")

I think this has a little bit of grunge! | Reviewer: Alex | 12/31/09

Reveiwing that two of the members of foo fighters were in Nirvana(The band who invented grunge) I think its about a girl who messed with her old relations with men.And whats to do the same with them and shes known as "The pretender"

What does it mean? | Reviewer: Zoey | 12/24/09

This is the first song I've ever heard by Foo Fighters, I had heard from someone that they were good so I went to check them out. I am VERY impressed. Does anyone know what exactly this song is talking about? I get the impression that it's very general, and just talking about being assertive, and standing up against what you know is wrong. Makes me think of government conspiracies for some reason :P Anyway, any ideas, lemme know.

deep lyrics | Reviewer: BOB | 11/28/08

Very catchy tune, but the lyrics are awesome. I think this song is about your ego and how that little voice in all our heads dictate what we do.

"I'm the voice inside your head
You refuse to hear
I'm the face that you have to face
Mirrored in your stare
I'm what's left, I'm what's right
I'm the enemy
I'm the hand that will take you down
Bring you to your knees"

Usually we are ruled by this voice because we're afraid. I even did it in this post by capitalizing and using correct punctuation to make me look more credible so people will read. regardless, this song makes you think, which makes it amazing

Interesting lyrics. | Reviewer: Anonymous | 10/13/08

These Lyrics are catchy, yes, but better then that, they actually MEAN something. That is what really gives this song credit. The best Foo Fighters song ever, and my second favorite over all song. (Beaten by Miserere by The Cat Empire.)

Video | Reviewer: Matt | 10/9/08

THE VIDEO FOR THIS SONG IS FREAKIN' AWESOME. I love the whole part where it slows down, Grohl sings the the lines "keep you in the dark/you know they all... pretend", and then the glass shatters as the song picks back up again. Awesome.

amazing song | Reviewer: adam | 5/21/08

This is my favourite foo fighters song, along with best of you and everlong, but I think this is slitely better, the lyrics are fuckn amazing, first time i heard it blew me away, love how it starts slow, then blows youre fuckn brains out, and the chorus is amazing

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------ 11/23/2014

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