What does Coming Clean mean?

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Green Day: Coming Clean Meaning

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Coming Clean Lyrics

Seventeen and strung out on confusion
Trapped inside a roll of disillusion
I found out what it takes to be a man
Well,Mom and Dad will never understand

Secrets collecting dust but never forget
SKELETONS come to LIFE in my closet



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    Apr 19th, 2006 4:47pm report

    I have read that this song is about Billie Joe Armstrong (singer and guitarist of Green Day) grappling with the idea that he's bisexual. The lyrics would make sense in this respect: "Seventeen and coming clean for the first time/I finally figured out myself for the first time/I found out what it takes to be a man/Oh, Mom and Dad will never understand/What's happening to me." The "character" in the song is "figuring out" that he is bisexual (or homosexual, depending on your own preference or interpretation). Also, the "closet" referred to in the song could possibly be connected to the phrase "coming out of the closet," meaning to accept and fully realize your own homosexuality. However, the lyrics actually refer to the character having "skeletons" in his closet, meaning that he has secrets he hasn't told anyone about
    (possibly a sexual experiment or otherwise).


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    Jan 11th, 2010 1:36pm report

    The song is about Billie joe discovering he is bisexual. However, the song can be about any secret not shared with anyone, as said in the verse:

    Secrets collecting dust but never forget
    SKELETONS come to LIFE in my closet

    It means that the secrets get older but in any moment can be brought up


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    May 14th, 2010 5:18pm report

    It's about Billie Joe "Coming Clean" with his bisexuallity.


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    Dec 12th, 2015 12:42am report

    I think that Billie was talking about a secret that his parents don't understand (such as drugs, sex, etc) personally, its hard for me to believe that he is bisexual, but I will still be his #1 fan.


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    Dec 21st, 2011 12:27am report

    This song is nothing about sex or other thing..... When Billy Joe was seventeen, he left smoking pot for some time.

    In this song, he says that he was coming clean(not addicted to anything) for the first time but the parents will never understand that he left all the addictions.


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    Jul 15th, 2010 7:14pm report

    Well of course what everybody said that it's really open to interpretation is true. When I first heard the song and listened to the lyrics, I thought it was definitely about drug addiction and coming clean and finding help. I think this because of all their other songs about drugs; and almost none are about his sexual orientation which is the main interpretation here. Maybe he was talking about a social, or mental problem too. You can never be sure unless BJ says so himself and hell he'll probably say it has multiple meanings too.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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    May 23rd, 2008 5:01am report

    It's about a person who has been keeping a horrible seecret that has been bringing him down all his life, it could be anything (sexual orientation, family secret, getting someone pregnant, comitting a capitol crime...) the song doesn't talk about the actual secret, but the guy basically decides to finally talk about it, not to keep it a secret anymore and his parents are either shocked because they didn't know or are angry because they don't understand why he's talking about it openly.


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    May 6th, 2007 5:50pm report

    It's about Billie Joe discovering that he's bisexual. If you go to Wikipedia and search Billie Joe, you can find an article about him talking about his sexuality. The whole 'Mom and Dad will never understand part' comes from how the world is so judgemental and homophobic. It's kinda like saying "Okay, this is who I am, I was afraid to come out before, but now I know that I can't change things."


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    Feb 24th, 2007 2:06pm report

    It's about a guy coming clean about how he's gay


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    Dec 17th, 2006 12:05am report

    This song is about how people had their dreams crushed.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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    May 6th, 2006 5:00am report

    This song is about billie joe wondering wether or not he's bisexual and being confused about a lot of the things that someone that is in the prime of their teenage years has to deal with.


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    Feb 25th, 2006 2:55pm report

    This song is a bit vague.
    It appears to be about a young man ("seventeen and strung out on confusion"), but from there it's sort of open to interpretation. At first, I thought it might be about a guy discovering his sexual preferences/orientation (citing lines such as "I found out what it takes to be a man/ but mom and dad will never understand...what's happening to me" and the mention of his "closet").
    But it could be about him having sex for the first time/ "discovering himself" sexually for the first time (you figure out for yourself what that entails.
    And, on a close examination of the lyrics, it could be him coming clean with a secret (like, that he had sex, so he's "being a man" and owning up cause he got a girl pregnant in the process, maybe saying he will take a responsible role as the child's father, maybe even marry the girl, but he knows his parents won't understand).
    It could even be admitting that he was abused. (as in, he's "being a man" and telling the truth, but he knows nobody will understand). Or even that he did something to someone.

    At any rate, it's a fairly good song, and you can decide for yourself what it really means.

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