Goo Goo Dolls: Name Meaning
Song Released: 1995
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I still can't turn away
Cause all the dreams you never thought you'd lose
Got tossed along the way
And letters that you never meant to send
Get lost or thrown away
And now we're grown up...
Noel Nicole Purser Jun 16th, 2011 6:59pm report
Here's my line by line interpretation of the song;
1. "And even though the moment passed me by
I still can't turn away" Meaning "I missed the opportunity to really bring attention to and help you with your problems, but I just can't give up on you yet even though its looking too late"
2. "Cause all the dreams you never thought you'd lose
Got tossed along the way
And letters that you never meant to send
Get lost or thrown away" meaning "I have seen you simply give up on everything you told me you ever wanted for yourself, things that you seriously wanted to pursue. The things you really felt were important, your values, ideas, dreams, aspirations, completely forgotten about and disregarded".
3."And now we're grown up orphans that never knew their names, don't belong to no one thats a shame."
meaning "And now we have survived a parent-less childhood (not necessarily due to death, many kids' parents are neglectful, abusive or abandon their kids)and because of the chaos and trauma we endured, as well as the pain, we arent sure of ourselves. Nobody was there to guide us (as parents are supposed to)
4. "But if you could hide beside me
Maybe for a while?
And I won't tell no one your name"
Meaning, "But if you could use me as your shield, be vulnerable, let me help you out of this mess maybe there is hope...I won't expose you for what you are, I want to help you become who you were meant to be, I know YOU, I have been there"
5."And I wont tell them your name"
meaning, "I promise not to expose you"
6."Scars are souvenirs you never lose
The past is never far" meaning "The memories of your pain never completely leave you, but you can heal from it"
7."Did you lose yourself somewhere out there,
Did you get to be a star?"
I think here the songwriter is pointing out the reality of the situation to the person, stating the obvious as a question, the person has lost focus of who they are internally. Then the line "did you get to be a star" means "these new, grandiose ambitions of yours, have they taken fruit?" when obviously they have not.
8."And don't it make you sad to know that life, Is more than who we are" here the songwriter is being sarcastic, saying "does the realization that the meaning of life has a lot more depth to it than how much money we make or good we are at something or how famous we are?"
9."You grew up way too fast
And now there's nothing to believe"meaning "You didn't get the opportunity to experience life as a healthy, happy child, you had been exposed to too much harsh reality without anybody there to buffer the blows and filter it for you as your parents should have. You have lost the sense of hope, wonder and faith that naive children and balanced adults easily draw on to help them cope with the difficulties of life"
10. "And reruns all become our history" meaning "now you are following in your parents' footsteps and making the same mistakes over and over again in your life, and now this is what your life has become"
11."A tired song keeps playing on a tired radio" meaning "its the same old story and its getting old"
12. "And I won't tell no one your name
And I won't tell em your name" meaning "I won't expose you, don't worry, I wont judge, trust me."
13."I think about you all the time
But I don't need the same" meaning "You are often on my mind, but not for selfish reasons, I don't expect you to be thinking and worrying about me. I love you unconditionally, even if you don't or can't feel that way for me."
14."Its lonely where you are, come back down, and I won't tell 'em your name" meaning "This place you are in mentally/spiritually/emotionally is lonely, you guard yourself from reality and alienate yourself from those who care about you. Come back to reality, let go of your pride and embrace your shortcomings so you can heal. I won't expose, exploit or otherwise hurt you."
As others have said, this song is about John Rzeznik's experiences growing up as an orphan. The song is apparently spoken from his view, and talking to one of his four older sisters, because they're the only ones who are going through the same experience ("If you could hide beside me, maybe for a while, and I won't tell no one your name"). The lines "Scars are souvenirs you never lose / The past is never far" show that, although his parents' deaths were long ago, he'll live with the pain forever. "Reruns all become our history" is the memory that his family has of the loss, and "I think about you all the time, I don't need the same / It's lonely where you are, come back down / And I won't tell your name" is him speaking to his parents.
anonymous Feb 28th, 2020 2:53am report
I think the song is about Lisa Kennedy Montgomery
anonymous Nov 7th, 2016 11:04pm report
This song is about the MTV vj Kennedy . John admits it in her book list look it up on Wikipedia!!
anonymous Nov 25th, 2013 11:05pm report
to me this song represents a person dealing with a void,most likely left by a parent. Although alternatively it is about death or great loss. I say death because of the line "it is lonely where you are ,come back down". My other favorite line is "don't it make you sad to know that life is more than who you are". This line to me is crucial because it exposes this sense that sometimes life is about where we come from,who are parents are,what are last name. To me it is saying isn't it sad that it isn't just about who we are as people. the line a "tired song keeps playing on a tired radio". Means ,in a sense that it is the same as it ever was. I also feel that when he is saying "I won't tell them your name",he is referencing,on a personal level his fathers struggles with alcoholism ,and he reference the last name association to that and the predisposition to be the same way. I believe he is hoping to call attention to someone wanting,even needing to help another person so that they too can understand the freedom,but also pain that comes with someone,who wasn't a positive influence leaving.
anonymous Jul 13th, 2011 7:04pm report
I recently saw Goo Goo dolls in concert, He spoke of the meaning quickly before this song and it brought me (man) to tears when I heard it and new what it was about, Always loved the song, just was unsure of meaning... Good job,, it is definitely about his parents who died in a auto crash, his dad was a drunk and most likely was drinking. Very sad song, yet inspiring to see what he has done with his life out of determination,, Go Goo Goo Dolls,one of most underrated bands of all time.
anonymous Apr 5th, 2010 4:38am report
to me this song is about lost love in a sense...i know it's about his past but he wrote it in a way that people can reflect in more than one outlook...like someone that's adopted and loves someone that has a painful past as well...no father and a distant mother who got caught in her own problems...while the adopted has never known their parents...a lost soul searching for an answer...when it boils down the moment is lost...so in memory of the love shared they carry the understanding and hold it in the secret of their heart...like titanic where she holds it until the end of her life...while she carries on pieces of her are lost in time..yet they still hold that bond...this song is the definition of unconditional love...going through alot together and witnessing her fall...and being there to hold her up when she needs it...forever they have that stillframe of a day that moved them in a way that defines them...such a moment is rare and to be cherished a lifetime...
anonymous Sep 1st, 2009 9:51pm report
I think the song is about putting all your emotions, trust, dreams into one thing and having it lost. And since all you ever knew was that one thing and never imagined being without it, all you can feel is emptiness and being lost. You go aroyund hopleless because all you knew was that one thing and once it is taken away, you really have no idea what you are doing anymore.
"and even though the moment passed me by I still can't turn away, cause' all the dreams you never thought you'd lose get tossed along the way"
"And now we're grown up orphans that never knew our names, we don't belong to no one that's a shame"
This song is about Buffalo, NY, which is the Goo's hometown, and specifically the neighborhood John grew up in. "The cowboy kills the rock star / And Friday night's gone too far / The dim light hides the years on all the faded girls" could be a commentary on the nightlife there. "You talk about the world like it's someplace that you've been" is an alleged early feeling of the fact that he had never been outside the city. I think he mentioned in an interview once that "You pray to statues when you sober up for fun" is connected to the fact that there was a church across the street from a bar in his development. "You choke down all your anger / Forget your only son" describes his father, and I'm assuming that "You see you'd love to run home, but you know you ain't got one" describes his mother.
This song is abotu Buffalo, NY, which is the Goo's hometown, and specifically the neighborhood John grew up in. "The cowboy kills the rock star / And Friday night's gone too far / The dim light hides the years on all the faded girls" could be a commentary on the nightlife there. "You talk about the world like it's someplace that you've been" is an alleged early feeling of the fact that he had never been outside the city. I think he mentioned in an interview once that "You pray to statues when you sober up for fun" is connected to the fact that there was a church across the street from a bar in his development. "You choke down all your anger / Forget your only son" describes his father, and I'm assuming that "You see you'd love to run home, but you know you ain't got one" describes his mother.
anonymous Sep 11th, 2006 9:13pm report
I don't know anything about him, but I will tell you what I have heard. It is about his parents and that he never knew them or their names. He grew up with his older sister or something like that. This is a very sad song but I love it you can feel the emotion when he sings
anonymous Jul 31st, 2006 7:48am report
I love how people on these sites think they know what went on with john. None of you people will ever know.... Don't assume you know what his life was like until you hear it from him. Being a rzeznik... I actually know, you people need to get a life.
anonymous Jul 2nd, 2006 7:24pm report
It's about his mom. She died when she was young and his dad was a raging alcoholic. 'Now we're grown up orphans' is used because he lost his parents, not to somebody in the orphanage. This is about his mom and broadways about his dad.
anonymous Jun 12th, 2006 6:19pm report
This song is about someone that Johnny Rzenik knows who grew up in an orphanage, hence "now we're grown up orphans", it also means that this person didn't have an identity whilst in the orphanage. They never belonged to anyone, they have no-one in their life! good portrayal of life through different eyes!
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