What does Glycerine mean?

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Bush: Glycerine Meaning

Song Released: 1995

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Glycerine Lyrics

Must be your skin that I'm sinkin in
Must be for real cause now I can feel
and I didn't mind
it's not my kind
not my time to wonder why
everything's gone white
and everything's grey
now your here now you away
I don't want this


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Oct 8th 2007 report

    Gavin has claimed to never write a song soley on one topic. He also is very hesitant to explain songs thoroughly, because he likes the listener to take something personal away from the song, and figure out what it means to them!

    So, all I can offer you is my opinion. To me, and many others, the song "Glycerine" is about a doomed love. The type of relationship you know you shouldn't be in - because you aren't meant to be together, you are destructive to one another, and yet you can't leave. You can see this through various lines in the song, "If I treated you bad/Youd bruise my face/Couldnt love you more.."; "Now you're here/Now you're away"; "I don't want this/..I'll never forget where you're at"; "I needed you more/When we wanted us less"; "I'm never alone/I'm alone all the time", etc. The whole song, basically is made of up these contridictions. She abuses him, but he loves her. Shes always there, but he feels alone. I doesn't want the relationship, but he'll always remember her...and so on. The whole relationship is a contradiction...how could you be in love with someone, and yet be so distant, hurt, and yearning for something else?

    To further back that up, you can also look towards the title and chorus "Glycerine". Glycerine is actually another form of the word "Glycerin", which is used as an elixer, a soap and a lubricant (among many other things). But think about it, an elixer is something you take to make you feel better, a soap is something that makes you clean, and a lubricant is something to smooth something out or...make something smoother...following me? Glycerin's job is to make something easier to work with, something to help you swallow a pill, so to speak. Therefore, "Glycerine"...is about a relationship that is very difficult, and Gavin is singing "could have been easier on you", saying he could have made this hard relationship easier, such as Glycerin does when used as a lubricant, elixer, etc.

    Another way to look at the word "Glycerine" and to still back up the point of the song, is to know that Nitro-Glycerin is an explosive!! And "Glycerine" is...an explosive relationship! Doomed from the start, ready to blow at any given second


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Jul 24th 2014 report

    My take on the song meaning- my personal meaning. It is about a relationship where two people are living apart and see each less of each other.


    "It must be your skin I'm sinking in
    It must be for real 'cause now I can feel"

    She is with him, so he is feeling real or something tangible being able to touch her. She is something he has been longing for or starved of. It has been so long that he has seen her and he dreamt of her and now she is with him and her can feel and touch her.

    "And I didn't mind
    It's not my kind
    It's not my time to wonder why"

    He doesn't question it nor does he mind it right at this early stage (infancy) of their arrangement (long distance relationship), he merely accepts the moments they are together.

    "Everything's gone white
    And everything's gray
    Now you're here now you're away"

    Everything's good when she is there and then it is sad, and empty when she leaves. A gloominess is creeping in at this stage when she leaves.

    "I don't want this
    Remember that
    I'll never forget where you're at"

    He doesn't want to be apart from her, although they have busy schedules, and it is her choosing to be apart from him- (derived from I'll never forget where you're at) - meaning she chose her schedule to be away from him. Or they are both at stages of their life where some other things keep them apart

    "Don't let the days go by"
    She let's time slide and he spends it in isolation looking for some other solace. And she shouldn't spend so much time apart from him.

    This is where the glycerine or explosive pressure is building on him - the first stage of being upset

    "I'm never alone
    I'm alone all the time"
    Although he is busy and has people around him, he misses her. He misses her touch and he feels alone. Next stage where his gloominess, doubt and fear is getting stronger

    "Are you at one or do you lie?"
    Next stage is she faithful ? Is she truly alone ? Is she with someone else, has she found someone else to replace him, is that why she spends so much time away from him ?

    "We live in a wheel
    Where everyone steals
    But when we rise it's like strawberry fields"

    He is questioning her being faithful to him and apart from him and her motives. How can she bare to be apart from him when he longs for her and misses her so much. And they both are together they pretend time being spent apart is okay for them and they're coping well.

    "If I treated you bad
    You bruised my face"
    His doubt and fears, isolation, frustration is now building and he is treating her bad, because he feels she is hurting him by staying away and bruising his ego.
    If he treated her bad, it was because she hurt him and he wanted her to hurt just as much, to feel his pain.

    "Couldn't love you more
    You got a beautiful taste"
    His need for her feels like an addiction and feels a bit obsessive.

    Don't let the days go by

    He needs her and she stills stays away and the pressure is mounting and his frustration is growing.

    "Could have been easier on you
    I couldn't change though I wanted to"
    He could have endured their dispute
    But he couldn't change what he was feeling inside, missing her so much. And that lead to them fighting.

    "Should have been easier by three
    Our old friend fear and you and me"
    Doubt and fear of losing her crept in and clouded his thoughts and that made suspicions grow more, adding to them fighting more.


    "Don't let the days go by"
    His plea to her and anger not to neglect him.


    Don't let the days go by


    *Anger is setting in, and that's why he shouts this glycerine

    "Black moon white again
    Black moon white again
    And she falls around me"
    She takes away all the pain and anguish and isolation when she returns to see him and they make out, his anger simmers and his faith in their love is renewed.
    Or his anger and frustration turns to love again when she pleads with him to be understanding and patient.

    I needed you more
    When we wanted us less"
    Then the melancholy returns and the need when she leaves.
    He wanted her more to chase away this doubt, but she stayed away and wanted something else ( and it is actually her career she wanted to concentrate on) rather than being with him.

    "I could not kiss just regress"
    He couldn't hold onto to his love for her, he had to regress or pull away from it. And everything is becoming frustrating.

    "It might just be
    Clear simple and plain"
    If he can't connect with her, it clear and simple they should part

    "That's Well, that's just fine
    That's just one of my names"
    This is frustrating him, the isolation and he pretends that breaking up is easy for them.

    Don't let the days go by
    Could've been easier on you, you, you
    "I regret letting you go but it happened .. Moving on"

    *this gylcerine is regret, sorry but it was sweet.

    This merely tracks the evolution (need, doubt, fear, isolation, turbulence, parting ways, regret, apology) of a relationship where two people are trying to make distance, schedules and their goals work, and isolation, fear, doubt, frustration creeps in and the relationship can't survive. Each time he mentions the word gylcerine it represents an emotion building up to frustration that cause him to explode and end the relationship and the final ones are sorry, regret . Basically glycerine (ingredient) is the substitute emotion or cause that lead to the breakup.


    #3 top rated interpretation:
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    Jul 4th 2007 report

    First off, I love the song! The first time I heard it I bought Sixteen Stones and listened to Glycerine over and over. . .
    Anyway. . . Although used in many things, explosives and soap are chief among the uses of Glycerin (Anyone seen FIGHT CLUB?). When I thought about this I thought that it could show the duality of love. Sometimes it destroy and sometimes it cleans. It can kill us and save us at the same time (Soap saves lives?). Some of the lyrics seem to hold hope for love or the relationship in question, others seem to show the pain and suffering of the particular relationship.

  4. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 11th 2020 report

    OK i see a lot of good stuff here but i think we are missing something. This song is documented to be about the past relationship of the writer and Jasmine Lewis. The author is white, Jasmine is black. So the reference to skin "sinking in" is that the author now understands the relationship fell into trouble because they are different races. "and i did not mind it's not my kind" - same thing, author is saying he did not care initially their skin color was different but now he is starting to wonder if race was a factor in their breakup. "Everything's gone white" more and more color references. "I don't want this" is race intruding on their relationship. Next two stanzas are how much he loves her. "Bad moon white again" could not be more clear - race intruding again. "It might just be, clear simple and plain". Better to face reality is my interpretation - race messed with their relationship. He regrets it, feels like it is unfair, but "i could not change although i wanted to". Glycerine plus two acids = high explosive. To sum up, the white author is attempting to explain on what probably is a subconscious level how and why he broke up with his black girlfriend. They had an intense love for each other that floundered on the rocks of racial differences. My two cents.

  5. anonymous
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    Jan 23rd 2020 report

    Maybe this song is about heroin from the perspective of heroin. Hmmmm.... Not sure but this song is one of my favs and love the versatility of it.

  6. anonymous
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    Mar 24th 2019 report

    Its about his relationship with heroin. End of

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  7. anonymous
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    Jul 19th 2018 report

    I always thought it was about regret in a romantic relationship, but it reminds me of a drugged state where you don't care if you physically live or die...
    I think he's talking about his sadness and regret to the Universal energy/God, as he entertains the idea of slipping away.
    "It must be your skin, I'm sinking in. It must be for real cause now I can feel" -So high and in that peacefully acceptance lifted. Glycerine feels/makes things feel smooth. "Like this must be what it feels like to be embraced by God".
    Reviewing his life: "I didn't mind, it's not my kind, s'not my time to wonder why," slipping past that, everything all white, but memories coming back in greys it up. Now you're here, now you're away.
    I don't want this -to actually die, to leave... remember that, to her or God: I'll never forget where you're at.

    I think he's probably disrespected life/god plenty in his time as most of us do, so I treated you bad, you bruised my face -feels like it is to both, or life in general (himself).

    To God: "Are you at one, or do you lie? We live in a wheel where everyone steals, and when we rise it's like strawberry fields" I personally use the phrase strawberry fields for heaven in my daily life... -so he's asking why.

    Don't let the days go by, abusing yourself, your life, and each other, drinking-glycerine in play again, referring to partying frittering life away in unmeaningful ways. Could've been easier on you -I so believe he's talking to himself here. Could've been easier by 3 -his higher self, his demons, his inner child.

    Bad moon, wine again... red wine, blood moon, falling into dirty life, unhealthing way, not strong enough, dragging friends down with him, beckoning for glycerine (soap) to cleanse him, rather than push him down further.

    Probably wrong and way too complicated, but I like it. Thanks for reading if you made it through.

  8. anonymous
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    Jun 26th 2018 report

    Oh, for the first time i tasted women strawberry lube last night on my girl.....its strawberry flavoured glycerine. The song is about lube!!!!! Makes much more sense to me now

  9. anonymous
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    Nov 17th 2016 report

    This is song is clearly about a toxic relationship, and not with a girl. "It must be your skin, I'm sinking in" sounds like a needle plunging into a vein. "Bruise my face. Could love you more, you've got a beautiful taste" Snorting cocaine or meth, the numbing and punch in the face feel it gives your face and the taste of it. The whole song, to me, is about Addiction.

  10. anonymous
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    Nov 1st 2014 report

    Oh boy... no one saw the rock u mentary of Gavin from late 90s? He briefly explained his bro-mance w Richard Gere...? No one?... ill brief.

    Gavin n Richard met through B list acquaintances and were buds. They hung together often and became close and long story short... Gavin stuck the gerbil up Richard Gere's ass!

    Their "bro-mance" was a bitter sweet that ended bad... especially for Richard Gere and the gerbil.

    I thought that Gavin just had a badass sense of humor when I heard his blured explanation with Richard Gere... hell I fell off the couch. But when I met my wife's sister (birn and raises in LA) she told me that when she was the head RN, now MD, at an LA hospital (im not saying the name... cant afford that law suit) that she was on shift when poor Richard Gere was admitted and who do you think brought him to the ER and stayed by his side?.... Gavin Rossdale!

    Sux to know this cause its such a badass jam... fuck man! God damn Richard Gere and the gerbil!.... Sorry this popped peoples bubble. Wish I could find that video.

  11. anonymous
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    Sep 28th 2014 report

    So, I don't think you can take this song too literally, or assign it just one interpretation. After discussing a few lines from Glycerine, Rossdale says that most of his songs are about the human condition, the mistakes we make and the ways we can make up for them, rise above, etc. He does seem to be referencing a relationship in his song, possibly the back-and-forth of a romantic relationship, the indecisiveness and the love/hate that can go hand-in-hand with deep, intense love. In the beginning (first stanza) he dives in head-first ('it must be for real, cause now I can feel' makes me think of first love, and a young person's assumption that just because the relationship is so intense and passionate, it must be *true* love) without much question (not my kind/time to wonder why), but by the second verse is experiencing conflicting emotions (the juxtaposition of white/grey, here/away). When he says "I'm never alone/ I'm alone all the time" this doesn't necessary need to be taken literally- it could explain how a person feels very isolated, even when in the company and presence of other people. The lines about living in a wheel, where everyone steals, and the mention of strawberry fields, re-illustrate the idea of duality- we live in a cynical world, but where there are still good things and beauty to be found. The next part could describe the nasty way people treat each other, in spite of the fact they "couldn't love more" and how they are both to blame for what's happened. The end really wraps the song up in an achingly beautiful way to me, when he says "I needed you more/ When we wanted us less/ I could not kiss just regress"- he wants what he can't have, feels he "needs" her even though they both "want" the relationship (us) to end (less)- but when/if she gives him another chance, he knows it'll be the same problems all over again. He can't just love her (I couldn't kiss), but instead goes back (regresses) to how he felt/treated her before. Overall, I think the song is about how life will break your heart, and how sometimes the most passionate and intense loves simply aren't meant to be. Also about how people can't just get it together, even for someone they genuinely love- their pride, insecurities, questions, pasts, get in the way, and no matter how much they may want something, they screw up. This is best illustrated, to me, with the stanza "If I treated you bad/ You bruised my face/ Couldn't love you more, / You've got a beautiful taste"- it's so starkly different, changes so quickly from negativity and blame to something good... It's like the singer just can't make up what the heck he wants. I can see now why someone mentioned manic/depressives in reference to this song!

  12. anonymous
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    Sep 17th 2013 report

    I think it's about an abusive, unhealthy relationship that needs to be ended soon. (Been there, done that.) I have an abysive father and I haven't talked with him in months. Hell, I'm 13 and I don't even know if my own father loves me or not. Screw it, I just don't care anymore...this is one of my fav songs ever. But I think the live version with Gavin's wife, Gwen Stefani, is better. <3

  13. anonymous
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    Jul 2nd 2013 report

    The song is about fucking lubricant, like actually fucking-lubricant. The very first lyrics are the feeling of fucking. The astroglide has got him sinking into her skin.

  14. anonymous
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    Jan 31st 2013 report

    My ex bf sent me this song a few weeks after we broke up. He was the one that ended it.
    When I thought this was his way of maybe trying to fix things, he said I miss understood the lyrics, and that it was referring to the singer being a bad person and one that could never change??
    I don't know if I got that vibe from the song, more that he regrets his part and takes some responsibility for his actions in the relationship.
    Why after 2 weeks of no contact he would send me a song that can be interpreted so many different ways I'm unsure lol

  15. anonymous
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    Jan 1st 2013 report

    I searched up the definition of the word glycerine, and glycerine is a sweet alcohol. keep that in mind and listen to the song. :)

  16. anonymous
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    Aug 31st 2012 report

    This is going to sound completely absurd, but I was watching a youtube video of Laminar flows and this song just clicked.

    "Must be your skin that I'm sinking in, must be for real cause now I can feel."

    This is at the beginning of the experiment when the color drops are being added to the glycerine.

    "I didn't mind, it's not my kind, not my time to wonder why. Everythings all white, everythings grey, now you're here now you're away."

    The drop of color consists of molecules which distinguish it from the viscous field in which is suspends. It's not the time to wonder why because, though the drops are suspended in a white (or clear) field, with the turn of the cylinder, the colors mix to grey. A hand-crank apparatus churns the glycerine and the colors swirl together. "Now you're here, now you're away" could mean that where all of the molecules of the drops were close, the separate as they travel through the field.

    "I never wanted this, remember that, I'll never forget where you're at. Don't let the days go by...glycerine."

    The molecules "want" to remain a cohesive unit in the drop but motion mixed them all up. However, they remember where the others are as they travel their distance over time, "don't let the days go by."

    "I'm never alone, I'm alone all the time, are you at one or do you lie. We live in a wheel which never runs still and when we rise it's like strawberry fields."

    Never alone yet alone all the time sort of describes the particles. They are not united (at one) but are spread about by the turning wheel. "Or do you lie" could refer to maths, probably not, of course, bit is fun to consider. I know the lyrics say "which everyone steals" but I've always heard which never runs still but either way, everyone stealing could be that during their journey, they take eachothers energy. Never runs still however, means continuous motion. Anyhow, "when we rise it's like strawberry field" is the particles that move to the top create a pink layer to the grey, like a pink field.

    "Treated you bad, bruise my face, could love you more you've got a beautiful taste...glycerine...could have been easier on you, I couldn't change though I wanted to, should have been easier by three, our old friend fear when you're with me...glycerine."

    Easy...neutrinos ;p The flavors and aren't there three of them? When they abuse eachother they make the heaviest elements. I read that somewhere else as neutrinoes are not part of the experiment.

    "I needed you more, wanted us less, could not kiss, just regress. Might just be me, clear simple and plain. That's just fine that's just one of my names.

    This is the most remarkable part of the experiment. When the cylinder is turned the opposite way, the particles regress back to their clear, simple and plain state of individual drops of color. There is no longer a swirling mess of grey.

    "Bad moon wine again, bad moon wine again and she falls around me."

    I like to hear it as "bad moon wind again" since it sort of alludes to repeating the experiment and the particles "fall" from their structured drop of color.

    These interpretations above are really creative and insightful when comparing ro relationships and I initially thought that glycerine could represent a constipated relationship as glycerine is the main ingredient of suppositories. If you think of it like that and reread the lyrics, a funny story emerges, you just have to use your imagination, lol. Reguardless, the strings are gorgeous! Lonng time favorite, this song!

  17. anonymous
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    Jun 5th 2012 report

    Its a love story, with the typical complications. The song title has no relevance, every song needs a title, irregardless of what Glycerine is made out of, its basis is not the point.

    The song is about a 18 year old soldier who leaves a 15 year old girl, the love of his life to go off to basic training, and AIT. When he comes home they common law marry, and live as normal as two kids can. But there are so many variables, and even though the love is real, the complications eventually erode the foundation on which the relation ship sits. Before either party can react, the wife then finds comfort in the arms of the now 20 year old soldiers best friend, in which the soldier walks in to witness. Grieve stricken and sorrowful, the soldier then assaults the friend, and the wife steps between to break it up, at which point the soldier out of reaction punches the wife in the face. Now even more grieve stricken, the soldier flees, in dismay at the collapse of his love life, and falls into a traumatic depression, desperate and clinging to anything he can to take back the foundation, and remain her love. Yet disgusted that she could consider another man. The things they learned together, a break up without closer. Now the soldier looks back over 16 years, knowing this was their song, and sees the irony of how accurate and superficial the relation ship was. Don't think for a second all those tears the soldier cried, were for no reason, however he still urns for her embrace and touch, after all. He just needed to listen to her, and not be so stubborn.

  18. anonymous
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    May 1st 2012 report

    This song is about suddenly finding a love that was so powerful that he didn't know it was possible to have. It is such a powerful love that it seems impossible so it is doubted so they push it away. "I'm never alone, I'm alone all the time" shows that without her, he is just a empty soul" But when we rise, it's like strawberry fields" says that when he is with her, it is like a dream world. "Don't let the days go by" is him simply asking for time. At the end of the song he finally realizes when he has lost and knows that he will forever regret it.

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