What does Shake it Out mean?

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Florence and the Machine: Shake it Out Meaning


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Song Released: 2011

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Shake it Out Lyrics

Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play

And every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to...


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    Jul 21st, 2014 7:23am report

    I believe that the song is just referring to the addictive nature of human beings in general. In order to live free, one has to let go of their attachment to things. So when she says "It's hard to dance with the devil on your back so shake him off.", the devil is anything that we identify with and attach ourselves to that is fleeting. If that thing or situation or job or relationship is taken away, we lose our happiness and your happiness is your ability to "dance". So in my opinion it is something along the lines of Buddhist ideology which says that attachment leads to suffering and in order to quell that suffering one has to be able to enjoy things and let them go when the time is up since everything in life is constantly changing. If everyone could live like this then we would be free from jealousy and hate and violence because we would be unattached and would understand that everyone else has struggles just like us. She says "I am done with my graceless heart, tonight I'm gonna cut it out and hit restart" this is indicating that she's through with placing conditions on people and situations in order to be happy and OK. She is deciding to practice unconditional love where she did not before. That is what grace is. Grace makes life not fair because to love unconditionally means that you treat everyone the same regardless of their status in society. Life then becomes "unfair" in the most positive light because your happiness no longer depends on the actions of others or the conditions of a situation. So to shake the devil off means to live in grace and love unconditionally, because the devil is in your mind and lives only through your own judgement of the situation at hand. Hope this helps!


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    Jan 18th, 2012 1:01pm report

    I think its about dragging your burdens everywhere you go and it many ways it holds you down. but in the song its like deciding to finally break free from those burdens and having a new look on life


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    Aug 7th, 2012 8:36pm report

    It is about an abusive relationship. The devil is the abusive partner, the horse is the dead relationship that she has tried so hard to keep alive. She needs to bury it and get on with her life.

    Looking for heaven put the devil in me is about her doing something against her deepest values but it was necessary to get away. Now she is away from the devil she can dance

    My interpretation is based on my listening a lot to this song in the months prior to my wife leaving 23 April 12 and since. My relationship with her had been stuffed for a long time. In spite of having a beautiful wife, 5 kids and a home I was chronically depressed and abusive. She is a good woman but it became too much. She cut herself off from me and started a relationship with a guy at work. Now she can dance.

    I have left home and now am not sure what to do with my life. I took her granted. I am writing this to express my sorrow for hurting her and for being an idiot I am among other things. I can't heal the breach of trust.


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    Mar 26th, 2015 3:19am report

    I think it's about trying to live your life as it's meant to be and not worrying about the past or future and you need to take everything that's bothering you and shake it out. The 'looking for heaven, found a devil in me' means that she is the devil on her back.


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    Jan 29th, 2015 1:07am report

    I will dissect this lyric by lyric:

    (Regrets collect, like old friends,
    Here to relive, your darkest moments,
    I can see no way, I can see no way)
    I think this is about how she's led a bad life, sinned, dated bad people, done stupid things, and her alcohol problem.

    (And all of the ghouls come out to play
    And every demon wants his pound of flesh
    But I like to keep my issues drawn
    It's always darkest before the dawn
    I can see no way, I can see no way)
    This seems like a filler except for I can see no way, and It's Always Darkest Before The Dawn is a very old phrase around long before Ms. Welch.

    (I'm always dragging that horse around
    Our love has pastured such a mournful sound
    Well tonight I'm gona bury that horse in the ground)

    Pastured means gone bad, the horse is her love, you get the point, bye.


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    Sep 9th, 2014 9:41pm report

    I think it is about abuse. For example, every demon wants his pound of flesh. I think she wants that song to be about women abused by men then she goes back out there and finds someone else.


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    May 30th, 2014 5:18am report

    Looking for heaven found the devil in me. Seems to me like someone that is addicted to opiates. Dragging that horse around. Burying it in the ground. Making the decision to kick the habit. And what a habit it is. It's always darkest before the dawn.


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    Jul 23rd, 2013 7:11pm report

    The song is about personal forgiveness, with allusions to an external Christian context of redemption. "Keeping some things to myself..." or "issues strong" is not being able to forgive yourself for past mistakes or allowing the "accuser" Satan to always remind you of them - "devil on your back", "ghouls come out to play", "demon wants his pound of flesh". "Looking for Heaven found the devil in me" is very similar in meaning to the C.S. Lewis quote... "When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him." Or more specifically, the clearer you see Christ in His Glory or draw closer to Heaven, the more apparent your own fault, sin, or "devil in me" becomes. "Let it happen to me" in the personal context could refer to finally forgiving herself or in the external Christian allusion, she could finally see herself as Christ does, forgiven. In the end the details are up for interpretation, but the main meaning is certainly forgiveness.


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    Feb 25th, 2013 2:26am report

    This song can relate to anyone and everyone. I mean, we all know what it means to Ms. Welch, and that Glee put their interpretation to the song. But that's the power of music...this song can reached to anyone in that moment of hearing the song those words for the first time. For me, it's about addiction. Music is so powerful, and when an artist has the abitlity to reach everyone and anyone that is truly amazing. For me, to have the open minded to see how others see or feel things that are different from my thoughts and feelings.....speechless


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    Feb 20th, 2013 2:29pm report

    I just have a question: Has anyone else wondered whether or not the line "I'm always dragging that horse around" is an allusion to the Trojan horse? It probably sounds silly, but that is just what I've always thought of when I hear that line...


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    Feb 11th, 2013 2:20am report

    i feel as if this song is trying to convey to us that shes living in darkness bad realationship problems- family issues- and being depressed but she doesnt want it anymore she justs wants to have fun but she doesnt see how she can- i can see no way i can see no way- and shes saying that even when she thinks of the possibility of living a life in peace all of the pain and demonds and gouls come out to play with her heart and make her even more sad but then she's like i dont even care ima shake them all off and do what i got to do and shes saying if it's gonna be bad oh well its alredy bad so im taking a chance she doesnt care what the consequences are and basicly shes like just fuck it!. im gonna let it happen to me.
    and when she is trying to find the good and the peace in her she can only see the bad- looking for heaven found the devil in me- its a really deep song and i love florence and i basicly had to deal with that too.


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    Nov 28th, 2012 11:38am report

    I think its about a drug addiction; but I receive it to fit my own life and placey problems and struggles in place of the devil on your back... and it gives me this redemptive notation that leaves me feeling free from burdens and reminds me im forgiven for my sins and that God want me to be free to dance...that is all


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    Sep 16th, 2012 9:11am report

    This song in my opinion is mostly about how you have so many problems in life and you try to forget about those situations that you can never leave behind. When she says, "And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back So shake him off", means that a bad "spirit" won't let you move on(your conscience) and makes you bring back those bad memories, so you need to forget about those problems in order to relieve yourself from those memories. But you have to be strong and shake him off. You have to let go of all those problems you have and go on with your life. And i don't think this song is mainly about a relationship. But mostly problems that a person may be having within themselves. You need to learn to get over problems that were caused by people who weren't worth your time. Those memories will never go away as long as you keep them to yourself so you have to learn to let go and BE STRONG.


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    Aug 23rd, 2012 8:58pm report

    I am inclined to think that this song, like her others, is much more deep and meaningfull than she lets on in that interview. Many of her songs use biblical imagery and language. Although this one doesn't use much explicitly biblical material, you can tell that she's referring to the evil inside her. She is trying to get rid of it because it's weighing her down like a dead horse. Yet at the same time she also has some level of desire for this evil. So the song is also about her deciding that although she enjoyed some of the pleasure of sin, she must find away to do away with it. I think we can safely assume that she isn't Christian, but she is well versed in it's principles and concepts. Enough so to write about it. It seems that although she doesn't have a relationship with God, she recognizes that there is something basically wrong inside people, and that there is a struggle to overcome darkness.


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    Aug 14th, 2012 8:32pm report

    To me it goes much deeper... Several of her songs has this occultism thing going on ,you can see on her videos... To me,is about her spiritual battles,and struggles... Its like she is always battling good and evil inside of her,she is a troubled soul,and her songs are just expression of her battles... Its like her soul is trapped,she is looking for peace and joy,and she cant find it...She is willing to be free,but at the same time,she is trapped and cant move on...She is a talented woman,but to me she is looking for "heaven" in wrong places... First,she needs to figure out who she is... Find her true identity,then she can be free to be what God really created for.


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    Jul 21st, 2012 7:05pm report

    I think the situation that fits most to the lyrics (Our love has pastured such a mournful sound/ It's a fine romance but has left me so undone) is a negative or abusive relationship (with a person or with anything) from which she is unable to get away from. She's immersed in a psychological loop that does not allow her to move forward, although she has already realized she's in a dark place and that she's ultimately the one to blame ("found the devil in me"). She has the last word in deciding to leave her lover or overcome that issue she's not sharing with anyone and that is tormenting her, no matter what she does. But it's always darkest before the dawn, and she has the hope and determination of seeing that light at the end of the road. I want to believe "tonight" is that day in which she really realizes her power and shakes off all her demons and constraints that are holding her back in a new dawn.

    On the other hand, I think it can be applied to anyone (especially the introverted ones that don't like to share their issues or have never asserted themselves) who has let negativity and regrets to take over their lives. Their regrets become demons that eat their life and well-being away. They are also in a self-destructive psychological loop full of doubt (I'm damned if I do, I0m damned if I don't) habits they cannot let go of(If I had the chance, Would i take any of it back?) They cannot get away from that psychological trap and habits that are slowly dragging them down, until they realize that is not other people's fault, that the devil that does not let them dance/enjoy life is really them. They have the last word in deciding to shake him off and not letting themselves fall again. But it's always darkest before the dawn (I think at the beginning it's said with the idea of, "it's supposed to be like that, it's alright, it's gonna get right soon", and at the end is a real "This is so bad, I have hit the bottom, it seems this is the point of no return and that's exactly when I've realized it's me the one who decides to shake my demons off and enjoy life.


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    Jun 17th, 2012 6:58pm report

    i think she said these r the emotions she felt while having a hangover... u start thinking of all ur regrets and just wanna shake em out ur head whether it b from a relationship or just partying the night before


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    Jun 7th, 2012 6:18pm report

    I think it might be about how her and her partner have been having troubles with their relationship... Leave all the bad behind, and start anew, get rid of the dark and shed light into it.

    It's always darkest before the dawn, things look bad now, but wait for it.

    Everyone has a happy ending. If you are not yet happy, it is not yet the end.

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