What does Houdini mean?

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Foster the People: Houdini Meaning

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Song Released: 2011


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Houdini Lyrics

Rise above gonna start the war
whatcha want whatcha need whatcha come here for
well an eye for an eye and an 'F' for fight
Takin me down is a prisoner's riot
got shackles on, my words are tied
fear can make you compromise
lights turned up...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    #1 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jun 19th 2012 report

    I think its about fulfilling your potential and going for what you want i.e go after your dreams and over-come your fears,
    'Houdini' which means escape artist implies getting out of the 'shackles' that are holding you back, the 'shackles' would be something different for each individual e.g. the opinion of others on what you should be doing esp. your parents (like someone might want to be a musician but they would never go after that dream because their parents want them to be a doctor and they think music is a waste of time). It could also be your own negative thoughts holding you back.
    'Fear can make you compromise' sometimes you really want something but your not sure if your good enough or if you would be able to cope and you might compromise what you really want for something easier,that you think you can do and that others would approve of.
    'gain again what they want to steal' this might imply that a person should ignore negativity from others who are only holding you back, they may be jealous or think they know better.
    'When i feel kinda bad and don't want to stress/just pass it off on ability' when you're not fulfilling your potential, you start to become hard on your self and you may start telling your self that this is all you are able to do.
    'sometimes i wanna disappear' its easier just not have to deal with any of this, because your stuck between following a dream that scares you and sticking to something you don't want to do but you may do anyway for the approval of others or just because it's the easier and safer choice.
    'Never knew what i could find'
    if you give yourself the chance you don't know what could happen, you might be amazing
    'Why couldn't you realize'if you leave it too late and keep telling yourself you can't, you'll regret it because you never realised your true potential.
    'yeah you're undecided/i just want to leave here/but i don't wanna run away' your dream may be a difficult industry to get into e.g musician, writer, actress and you know its hard, but you don't want to do what your doing now, you're fed up and you want to get away but you don't want to give up.

    Basically, go after your dream don't scare yourself out of it and don't tell yourself you can't! TRY! you don't how amazing you might be! and don't let the opinions of others or expectations of others hold you back either!! FOCUS ON YOUR ABILITY!

  2. 2TOP RATED

    #2 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Nov 14th 2011 report

    I believe this song is about the fear of standing up in front of peers.

    Got shackles on, my words are tied / Fear can make you compromise / Fast enough it's hard to hide / Sometimes I want to disappear

    "My words are tied / fear can make you compromise" means that no matter how much you prepare for a speech, or debate, or any other type of public speaking, when you stand up there for real, you experience distress and you suddenly forget everything you're about to say. And what do you do when you forget everything? You feel embarrassed, and you want to "disappear."

    After the chorus is repeated for a second time, a second voice is added to the song, and I believe this is the person's subconsciousness telling them to stand up, and focus on their ability, what they've prepared so long for, and that they have nothing to fear.

    "Gain again what they want to steal / Gain again what they want to steal / Gonna gain again what they want to steal / Gain again what they want to steal"

    "They" are the audience. The people who mock the speaker for their lack of bravery. What they want to "steal" is his self-esteem- that is, they want to take his confidence away, and the presence of them makes the speaker gravely embarrassed. To "gain again" what they want to "steal" means to recover from the initial shock of standing in front of your peers, gather up your self-esteem again, and just do it.

  3. 3TOP RATED

    #3 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    May 16th 2012 report

    for me its about life in music industry.
    Its called Houdini cause he was an escape artist,and this shows that you cant escape from the music company`s hands,even if you die you will be used as a puppet in the music industry
    "rise above gonna start the war": things aren't gonna be good when you rise to fame.

    "lights turned up it's hard to hide": it's hard to get away now since you're famous and everyone know you.

    "sometimes i wanna disappear": sometimes i wanna get away from this trap.
    "well you got whatcha want whatcha never knew": what you thought is fame and fortune, actually its a trap.
    "running around cause i'm filled with fear
    and i can't go cause my life's a wreck": scared and trying to find wats to get out of it, but cant go.

    "throw me in to the sea
    for my ability" got into this mess for my ability to sing.

    "i just want to leave here
    but i don't wanna run away": i just wanna leave this trap, but not the fame and fortune.
    "you got focus on your abilty, focus on your abilty,focus on your ability, focus on your ability":focus on your singing.

    "gain again what they want to steal"(this is supposed to replace the'can't get what they want to steal', the lyrics above is wrong.):cant get back the freedom they stole and you're stucked in this trap

  4. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Feb 1st 2019 report

    It's "Got shackles on my wings on tight (I searched up the official lyrics). I think it means even though there are alot of things trying to hold you back, you should focus on what you CAN do, hence the verse "focus on your ability".

  5. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    May 16th 2012 report

    for me its about life in music industry.
    Its called Houdini cause he was an escape artist,and this shows that you cant escape from the music company`s hands,even if you die you will be used as a puppet in the music industry
    "rise above gonna start the war": things aren't gonna be good when you rise to fame.

    "lights turned up it's hard to hide": it's hard to get away now since you're famous and everyone know you.

    "sometimes i wanna disappear": sometimes i wanna get away from this trap.
    "well you got whatcha want whatcha never knew": what you thought is fame and fortune, actually its a trap.
    "running around cause i'm filled with fear
    and i can't go cause my life's a wreck": scared and trying to find wats to get out of it, but cant go.

    "throw me in to the sea
    for my ability" got into this mess for my ability to sing.

    "i just want to leave here
    but i don't wanna run away": i just wanna leave this trap, but not the fame and fortune.
    "you got focus on your abilty, focus on your abilty,focus on your ability, focus on your ability":focus on your singing.

    "gain again what they want to steal"(this is supposed to replace the 'can't get what they want to steal', the lyrics above is wrong.): gain back the freedom they stole

  6. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Nov 16th 2011 report

    This song is about the magician Houdini and how even though you have all these tricks you still are putting yourself out there and you have stage fright


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