What does Never Let Me Go mean?

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Florence and the Machine: Never Let Me Go Meaning

Tagged: Suicide [suggest]

Song Released: 2011

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Never Let Me Go Lyrics

Looking out from underneath,
Fractured moonlight on the sea
Reflections still look the same to me,
As before I went under.

And it's peaceful in the deep,
Cathedral where you cannot breathe,
No need to pray, no need to speak
Now I am...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Apr 15th 2013 report

    I thought this song was about Virginia Woolf...and the fact that she drowned herself after writing her husband a last letter.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Sep 21st 2012 report

    LOL It's incredible how almost everyone is wrong about the lyrics.

    But first, anyone who read the fairy tale "THE LITTLE MERMAID" knows how to interpretate the song. So for those who don't understand or didn't read the tale, I will post my interpretation here.

    Let's interpretate correctly:

    "Looking up from underneath
    Fractured moonlight on the sea
    Reflections still look the same to me
    As before I went under"

    The fairy tale of the little mermaid starts just like this. Sirenette (in this case Flo) is a mermaid who lives in the bottom of the ocean, the underneath. When the Little Mermaid's turns 15 she can swim to the world outside the ocean, the land. When she ventures to the surface, sees a ship with a handsome prince, and falls in love with him from a distance.
    A great storm hits and the Little Mermaid saves the prince from nearly drowning. She delivers him unconscious to the shore near a temple. The prince never sees the Little Mermaid.
    The moonlight fractured on the sea would represent the love, and the ocean, the prince. The moonlight is fractured if you see under the water. So the mermaid cannot feels completely the love of the prince because love between mermaid and man is not possible.
    Reflections look the same to her because even that her love is not possible, she still wants him and it doesn't make difference if it's out or under the water, the love looks the same to her.
    "As before I went under" it's about the interaction between she and the prince. Summarizing this part it's how the mermaid sees the prince. When she saved him in the rocks, she fell in love and moonlight was clear. But when she goes under, the love is not complete, the moonlight is fractured, but even under the water, the love is the same to her.

    Before the next part, let's see what happens to the mermaid:
    "The grandmother of the mermaid explains that humans have a much shorter lifespan than merfolks' 300 years, but humans have an eternal soul that lives on in Heaven. The Little Mermaid eventually visits the Sea Witch, who sells her a potion that gives her legs in exchange for her tongue (as the Little Mermaid has the most intoxicating voice in the world). The Sea Witch warns, however, that once she becomes a human, she will never be able to return to the sea. Drinking the potion will make her feel as if a sword is being passed through her, yet when she recovers she will have two beautiful legs, and will be able to dance like no human has ever ddanced before. However, it will constantly feel like she is walking on sharp swords hard enough to make her bleed. In addition, she will only get a soul if she finds true love's kiss and if the prince loves her and marries her, for then a part of his soul will flow into her. Otherwise, at dawn on the first day after he marries another woman, the Little Mermaid will die brokenhearted and disintegrate into sea foam."
    That's why in the video, each step releases water from her foot, it's painful. And that's why she is skiding, because if she cannot walk because of the pain, she can skid to ease the pain. However she cannot tell the prince she loves him 'cause she is mute.

    Next part:
    "And it's peaceful in the deep,
    Cathedral where you cannot breathe,
    No need to pray, no need to speak
    Now I am under."

    Now she is with the prince and the prince is attracted to her beauty. And she dance every night to the prince despite the pain. And when she cries, the prince thinks it's emotional, but it's not, it's pain.
    But it's peaceful stay with him, in the deep. She cannot breathe because it's not her enviroment to live. And don't need to pray or speak, because she is mute. So anything bad that could happen from saying things to him, don't occur. But she can't prays to her love comes reality too. Now she's in love deeply with the prince.

    "And it's breaking over me,
    A thousand miles down to the sea bed,
    Found the place to rest my head."

    It's breaking over her, because what she's doing it's a sin, it's bad. The pain and the consequences of the love is breaking over her. And it's far far away from the surface, she is really deeply in love. And she now can rest in peace, because she found her passion, her other side of the orange.

    "Never let me go, never let me go,
    never let me go, never let me go"

    It's her appealing. If he goes to love another girl she dies, so she is appeling for his love.

    "And the arms of the ocean are carrying me,
    And all this devotion was rushing out of me,
    And the crashes are heaven, for a sinner like me,
    The arms of the ocean deliver me."

    And the prince is carrying her, he is answering to her love. And she can devote to him now that she can stay with him.
    The price of the love is being paid. She feels the love is a heaven even she's a sinner feeling the ultimate sorrow.
    She believes the prince it's part of her destiny and now that she found her destiny she can rest and love him peacefully.

    "Though the pressure's hard to take,
    It's the only way I can escape,
    It seems a heavy choice to make,
    Now I am under all."

    The pressure represents her pain, because she cries when she dance to him, so it's very hard to resist, but it's the only way she can be with him. The choice of giving your life by his love it's crucial. So she choose to drink the potion to be with the prince. And now she is in love with him.

    Repeating that it's breaking over her and bla bla...

    The chorus again...

    And now another part of the tale: the prince's father orders him to marry the neighbour king's daughter, but he refuses because she wants the mermaid. But when he sees the princess, he thinks it's the woman that rescued him from the drowning. So he loves her and the wedding is announced. The she sings:

    "And it's over,
    And I'm going under,
    But I'm not giving up!
    I'm just giving in."

    It's over! She thinks of all that she has given up and of all the pain she has suffered. Her love by the man is not corresponded. And now she is going to die. But she don't give up because in the story, her sisters brings a knife to her, as if she slays the prince and put her feet under his blood, she will become a mermaid again, and live her life. But she cannot bring herself to kill the prince lying with her bride, so she'll just give in to the ocean, to the peace, to the heaven.

    "Oh, slipping underneath.
    Oh, so cold, but so sweet."

    She is just getting back to the ocean, to the underneath, to her home. The death it's cold, but it's pleasurable.

    "In the arms of the ocean, so sweet and so cold,
    And all this devotion I never knew at all,
    And the crashes are Heaven, for a sinner released,
    And the arms of the ocean,
    Deliver me."

    Now that the prince turned away, after all that sweetness to her but cold for betraying her, she can't know that devotion of the not-corresponding love. She though she would marry but her devotion just faded out.
    Now she's a sinner going to heaven. And as dawn breaks she throws herself into the sea. Her body dissolves into sea foam. She redempted her true love but in vain.
    So in the video she dissolves and the man don't care.

    And that's it. I hope you guys now understand the true interpretation of the lyrics and of the video. If you still do not understand, read the tale, it's beautiful.


    #3 top rated interpretation:
    click a star to vote
    Nov 13th 2013 report

    this song is not about any of this lol its about finding a love so strong and just giving yourself completely to that person...she seems like she never experience true love prob bc she put up walls but than she found someone to break those walls(found somewhere to rest my head) (never knew such devotion) so she found a love she didnt think she was worthy or capable of...he deals with her walls he deal with her flaws and her crap(crushes of heaven for a sinner like me) I think the video part where she is in water is showing her being like cleansed of all the pain and hurt that kept her form love and her just giving in to the love she now has with this guy.

  4. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jan 3rd 2022 report

    I really love this song. I think it can definitely have different meanings, but it makes me think of lost love. I always think of a man I loved dearly and it didn’t work out, le sigh. #ohpsakachopin

  5. anonymous
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    Sep 11th 2020 report

    I also thought it was loosely based on Virginia Wolfe’s suicide? I actually I thought I read that the band actually spoke of this. Maybe I’m imagining things? Lol

  6. anonymous
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    Aug 28th 2020 report

    Art is open to interpretation.
    While it may sound like a suicide song, it could also refer to her changing.
    Thus, the death of a previous image of self, and then finding herself. So death and rebirth. There are also many references to Catholicism.
    Water could represent baptism or the holy font. "Deliver me" from sin, she even states "a sinner like me".
    To add "but I'm not giving up, I'm just giving in". Acceptance of a change/ life circumstances I'd agree with. It's really open to interpretation by the listener.

  7. anonymous
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    Oct 29th 2017 report

    Sounds like a suicide song to me. “I’m not giving up, just giving in” she finds comfort at the bottom of the sea.
    My 2 cents

  8. anonymous
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    Jun 28th 2017 report

    Florence is the most artful songwriter I've ever seen. 'never let me go' is my best composition, so I'll tell you how Welch designed the song to mean different things.
    But the intention or purpose of Welch in 'never let me go' is of retreating to find pleasure of some sought away from the 'cathedral' where Welch finds difficult to 'breathe'. No much grammar, all there is to say is that in the sanctuary, she feels so caged away from the outside world. the pleasures of the outside world is the ocean, it's sinking her, all her devotion to religion is drifting, her crashes/consequence is missing heaven because of her sinful ways. Here-SO COLD, SO SWEET.
    Nonetheless, she says she's not giving up on heaven, but just giving in to the desires of flesh.
    'Never let me go' she says. no one would want to let go of comfort but she's having a second thought.
    Florence and machine write two sidely. To me, that is the true essence of artistry

  9. anonymous
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    Sep 20th 2016 report

    The ocean as a metaphor for God's love is a very fitting interpretation for this song for a couple of reasons. Consider the words of Ephesians 3:17-19:

    17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

    You can see that the vastness of the ocean is a good visual metaphor for what Paul is describing here with regard to the breadth, length, height and depth of God's love.

    Also, the idea of drowning in the flood, of dying, is very clever and fitting if viewed in terms of a Christian metaphor. Christ calls us to die to ourselves so that we may live to God, as illustrated by the following verses:

    Luke 9:23-24 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
    For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.

    Romans 6:2-4 ...How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

    One could also draw a parallel to baptism, the immersion in water. The whole tone of the song is also very uplifting, peaceful and hymnlike, lending itself to that interpretation.

  10. anonymous
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    Sep 22nd 2014 report

    When I listen to this song, I immediately think of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. The ocean, the idea of relief, the pressions. In the movie, the female character jumps into the San Francisco's bay because she thinks she's going mad.
    The title can also be a reference to one of the movie's quotes : « Don't le me go ».

  11. anonymous
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    Aug 15th 2014 report

    I read a quote online that this song writer loves to use old hymns to write her lyrics. So I found this site http://www.hymnary.org/text/the_mercy_of_god_is_an_ocean_divine. There are a lot of old hymns about oceans. Are you guys sure that there isn't a tone of Christian symbolism in this song? Maybe the ocean is a symbol for mercy? Among all the other great layers of meanings already discussed.

  12. anonymous
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    Aug 15th 2014 report

    That's what I like about this song. It seems to have layers of meanings. Literally it does appear to be a kind of suicide if it's not taken as a song or poem. But poetically, it has these great words like deliver me, and devotion rushing out of me. Then there is the title, Never let me go.
    I like the mermaid images, but then there is also this deliverance from some type of guilt or pressure. Just ask this question that no one has addressed. As lyrics, what does the ocean symbolize. If we don't take it literally. What is really delivering her? What is this big, cool, thing that take her far away from her problems and gives her a new angle on everyone?
    I like that there are several songs about water in her album. I truly love all of them. Amazing work.

  13. anonymous
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    Jul 24th 2014 report

    You have this one were she sinks, then what the water gave me, so could be she found something good at the bottom then swimming song where she surfaces and his free. Her trio of water songs has to connect!

  14. anonymous
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    May 25th 2014 report

    Oh, and I think this music is a continuation of What the Water Gave Me. First she sinks, than she accepts it.

  15. anonymous
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    May 25th 2014 report

    I think it's about accepting the difficulties, but not in a good way. Her life is so hard, and she was trying to be over it, but she couldn't. So, she was already sinking, and know she accepted she's under the sea. She doesn't wanna fight anymore, so much that she finds peace inside these problems. "Never let me go" means that the problems will never let her go, they'll be always around. She says the pressure is hard to take, and not caring is the only way to escape. She gave herself to the hell her life became, that's why she says she is a sinner, however she gets cracks of heaven, because she found peace in this hell.

  16. anonymous
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    Mar 9th 2014 report

    Guys it's about her drowning/dying and instead of cowarding away she accepts it and the lyrics instead of giving up I give in

  17. anonymous
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    Jan 16th 2014 report

    I connect it with a movie-Never Let Me Go...

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  18. anonymous
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    Nov 22nd 2013 report

    For me this song is about someone whose going through difficult times and finds God. And the relationship with God is strengthened because of the difficult time.

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