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Imogen Heap: Hide and Seek Meaning

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where are we? what the hell is going on?
the dust has only just began to fall
crop circles in the carpet, sinking, feeling
spin me around again and rub my eyes
this can't be happening
when busy streets a mess with people would stop to...

  1.  

    anonymous
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    Oct 3rd, 2010 10:22pm report


    I Think it means in the early days, when the women had to sit in factories chained at their sewing machines.Oil is still on women's hands, when the boss could have their way with their women workers, somewhere like hidden room somewhere in the factorie or, possibly a washroom or boss's office blinds are down. At those times no harrasment charges. To keep your job you did what you had to do.As you may have young mouths to feed.Need to keep your secret from your husband(playing hide and seek)J.Georgieff



  2.  

    anonymous
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    Sep 30th, 2010 9:55pm report


    All these interpretations are very creative but I personally thought it was about the holocaust. I could be very wrong but I thought the sewing machines mentioned were about the different shapes were stiched on the uniforms in the concentration camps



  3.  

    anonymous
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    Sep 30th, 2010 9:54pm report


    All these interpretations are very creative but I personally thought it was about the holocaust. I could be very wrong but I thought the sewing machines mentioned were about the different shapes were stiched on the uniforms in the concentration camps



  4.  

    reagan
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    Sep 27th, 2010 9:24pm report


    This song I believe is actually about ghosts, and being haunted.

    "Hide and Seek"= to be haunted by something is like a game of hide seek

    where are we?
    what the hell is going on?
    the dust has only just begun to form
    crop circles in the carpet
    sinking feeling

    (describes the feeling when one feels a ghostly presence, ie crop circles, sinking feeling.)

    spin me round again
    and rub my eyes,
    this can't be happening
    when busy streets a mess with people
    would stop to hold their heads heavy

    (disbalief, once again the feeling of being haunted, ie a "mess with people would stop to hold..their heads heavy")

    hide and seek
    trains and sewing machines
    all those years
    they were here first

    ("hide and seek trains and sewing machines" are referring to Victorian era ghost trains and sewing machines that operate without a human running it [probably has a personal meaning to Imogen Heap]. "all those years they were here first" is the most obvious giveaway...the ghosts were there before you)

    oily marks appear on walls
    where pleasure moments hung before the takeover,
    the sweeping insensitivity of this still life

    ("oil marks appear on walls" refers to oil marks left when a human touches a wall, them just 'appearing' shows that it must have been a ghost. "pleasure moments hung" ie pictures on the wall, that were there to remember happy memories which were forgotten when the "sweeping insensitivity of still life" "tookover" aka, before the ghosts began to haunt her/them.)

    hide and seek
    trains and sewing machines (oh, you won't catch me around here)
    blood and tears (hearts)
    they were here first

    ("oh, you won't catch me around here" means she is leaving the place that is haunting her. "blood and tears, they were here first" refers to the ghosts deathly experiences in the place they are now haunting, also may mean that she believes they deserve to stay there, there were there first)

    Mmmm whatcha say,
    Mmm that you only meant well?
    well of course you did
    Mmmm whatcha say,
    Mmmm that it's all for the best?
    of course it is
    Mmmm whatcha say?
    Mmmm that it's just what we need
    you decided this
    whatcha say?
    Mmmm what did she say?

    (this whole stanza is her conversation with the spirits that she believes are telling her to leave, and that they won't be upset if they just do what they have been told. The ghosts want her to believe its fo ethe greater good.)

    ransom notes keep falling out your mouth
    mid-sweet talk, newspaper word cut outs
    speak no feeling no I don't believe you
    you don't care a bit,
    you don't care a bit

    (She does not believe the ghosts are peaceful,it is all just "sweet talk", she thinks they are holding her for "ransom". The "newspaper word cut outs" refer to the newspaper headlines that will cover her death, she doesn't belive them, "they don't care" whether she lives or dies)

    The rest of the song repeats the lyrics in the stanza above until eventually fading out. It reflects her experience being haunted, showing a sense of fear and paranoia.

    The song could be used as a metaphor for something else related to something that happened to the artist, like being haunted by a boyfriends ex girlfriend(ie the pictures on the wall and the whole "what did she say?" stanza)or a dead relative. However, I think the song is literally about ghosts, haunting, and death. The instrumentals in the song are also very creepy and quiet, much like a ghost is. The song is also used on tv and in movies a lot in moments where death is prevalent (ie in the television show "The O.C." the shooting of Trey and Calebs Nichol's funeral)



  5.  

    anonymous
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    Sep 2nd, 2010 9:36pm report


    To be honest with everyone I thought the woman made this song trippin freakin balls on acid.



  6.  

    stillbroken
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    Sep 1st, 2010 9:50pm report


    After two years of lingering pain from a hurtful and confusing blindsided breakup. I feel this song in may ways.

    ---Where are we? What the hell is going on? The dust has only just begun to form.

    I believe Imogen is speaking to the feeling of complete betrayal of trust felt when someone cheats on you for no good reason at all. The end result is no rational understanding of what has just happened and why?
    Disbelief and denial sets in. How to make sense of this. The death and mourning process begins, does it ever end? ---The sweeping insensitivity of this, still lies in my memory.

    ---Hide and Seek, You won't catch me around here.

    I feel that once this pain is felt, we become closed and are now hiding from the pain of this ever happening again. Seek or lack of seeking the possibility of putting your love, trust, your heart on the line again.

    ---You don't care a bit. Ranson notes

    The reality that our love was untrue and not real and only one-sided. Devastating and real pain sets in.


    The interpretation can mean many things to many different people. The best we can do is try to heal and learn to trust again. Thank you Imogen, poetry in motion. Wish I couldn't relate but thank you for this beautiful song.



  7.  

    gillers18
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    Aug 31st, 2010 8:14pm report


    To be honest, I agree with mpete77317 on his interpretation. I don't really think it is about 9/11. She is Brittish born and as much as 9/11 was a horrible disaster...it didn't affect the Brittish the same way it affected Americans. With the simple reason that it was not in our country. And I'm not sayin that we didn't watch the news and feel completly shocked and appauled at what happened. As well as having the deepest sympathys to those who died or were hurt and to their familys. But without trying to sound harsh I don't think a Brittish singer/songwriter would writen a song about it. And if she did I think she is probably one of the first. As a singer songwriter you are going to write about things that are more close to home, things that may affect you in some way. Which is why I think she wrote it about a break up. The way she sings with such sorrow in her voice as if she is actually reliving the split that she had.



  8.  

    anonymous
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    Aug 30th, 2010 8:26pm report


    It is definitely about 9/11.



  9.  

    anonymous
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    Aug 26th, 2010 8:41pm report


    I think this song is about the Holocaust. "Where are we? What the hell is going on?" is pretty much the reaction of the Jewish people. "Trains and sewing machines" is self-explanitory. They were all brought on trains and the women were forced into sewing. "Hide and seek" because the children would hide and try not to get caught by the Nazis. "Oily marks appear on walls where pleasure moments hung before the takeover" is again self-explanitory. The song is basically just representing her emotions about what Hitler did and said (the "What did you say? part), the Jewish people's reactions, and essentially what happened.



  10.  

    anonymous
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    Aug 26th, 2010 8:23pm report


    I can't remember where I heard this, but it made sense when I heard it. That the song is about a woman who finds out that her 'boyfriend' already had a family.



  11.  

    anonymous
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    Aug 15th, 2010 8:27am report


    Some friends and I felt that the meaning of this song wasn't personal, yet more historically rooted. We felt that this song was the Native Americans point of view when British settlers took possession of the land which we now call America.

    The first stanza explains how the Natives just realized what had happened to them and their lively hoods.

    Second Stanza: settlers industrializing and bringing European inventions to America.

    Third Stanza: Hiding from the settlers, being killed, and being lied to.

    Fourth: The settlers trying to rid the natives of their culture and force European beliefs on them, the contacts stating that they would keep their land but in actuality the land was being signed away, and how the settlers were inconsiderate toward them and their livelihood.


    Tell us what you think.



  12.  

    BrokenPoet
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    Aug 1st, 2010 8:57am report


    Despite my *initial*- innate naivety in terms of comprehension in terms of it's actual symbolic meaning- I have always *loved*(no ADORED!!) this song.... and yet now...several years after its unveiling...I feel as though I've finally come to grasp its true meaning....hear me out.

    I believe that "hide and seek" gives personification to the *emotional turmoil* that's masked ("hidden") and then painstakingly realized (and often at a point of no return) endured by a couple (a committed couple) who have decided to welcome a "third-party" into their lives.

    I believe Imogen Heap is referring to what its like to have a *threesome* while in a quote-unquote *monogamous*relationship....What perhaps seems adventurous and exciting in the beginning, too quickly reveals our human tendencies towards feelings of jealously and possession.

    As disturbing as it may be, if you were to google "hide and seek" you would immediately find yourself engulfed in a world saturated by explanations of games pertaining to "sex"-the likes of which predominated by tellings of situations involving more than one partner-

    And to boot-Imogen's tirade (the one riddled with sarcasm) further implicates the presence of an unwelcome "third party".... The following is my own interpretation:

    where are we? (How did you and I find ourselves in this situation?)
    what the hell is going on?
    the dust has only just begun to form (I was living this lifestyle in a sense of *denial*...and am only just now beginning to grasp the meaning/consequences)
    crop circles in the carpet
    sinking feeling (your furniture is gone. You are gone. How did "we" ..."I"?? Let it get to this point?!)

    spin me round again
    and rub my eyes,
    this can't be happening
    when busy streets a mess with people
    would stop to hold their heads heavy (I'm still in disbelief myself...and yet the shame I feel is even more overwhelming. My family...my friends...if they only knew the truth...they would be so ashamed.)

    hide and seek (hide from normalcy- seek unconventional pleasure)
    trains and sewing machines (Trains= boys. Sewing machines= girls.-- seek both. Enjoy both)
    all those years
    they were here first (the innocence of those correlations (trains and sewing machines) were once just that- innocent times that rendered themselves prelude to the "upheaval")

    oily marks appear on walls
    where pleasure moments hung before (the evident streats upon the walls in the bedroom are reminiscent of "pleasures" once felt during acts of love) The takeover (we knowingly "let someone infiltrate *our bond*"...only to eventually find ourselves surrendering our power (our special love) over to them)
    the sweeping insensitivity of this still life

    hide and seek
    trains and sewing machines (oh, you won't catch me around here)---(Been there. done that. Have learned my lesson. Will lever go there again!)
    blood and tears (hearts)
    they were here first (The core of our relationship that took time, understanding, and unconditional love (aka trials and tribulations) to establish)

    Mmmm whatcha say,
    Mmm that you only meant well? (you thought our love could withstand it)
    well of course you did
    Mmmm whatcha say,
    Mmmm that it's all for the best? (you thought it'd bring us closer)
    of course it is
    Mmmm whatcha say?
    Mmmm that it's just what we need (to add adventure and a new sense of passion to our dynamic)
    you decided this (you went through with initializing *it*)
    whatcha say?
    Mmmm what did she say? (she's now come between us... you value her word more than my own- despite our vows to put each other first)

    ransom notes keep falling out your mouth (ultimatums...aka "you agreed and wanted this just as much as i")
    mid-sweet talk, newspaper word cut outs (sentiments far too sweet to be believable- an attempt to cover up "new feelings of likenless" for the third party)
    speak no feeling no I don't believe you (your over exaggeration is palpable and doesn't help to convince me that my biggest fear isn't turning to reality)
    you don't care a bit,
    you don't care a bit (your sights are no longer set on just the two of us - *you and I*...but on *we*...you can see that I regret this and want no part in it any longer- but it's already done. This new reality is all you care about ...you no longer care about *us*)

    (hide and seek)
    ransom notes keep falling out your mouth
    mid-sweet talk, newspaper word cut outs

    (hide and seek)
    speak no feeling no I don't believe you
    you don't care a bit,
    you don't care a (you don't care a) bit

    (hide and seek)
    oh no, you don't care a bit
    oh no, you don't care a bit

    (hide and seek)
    oh no, you don't care a bit
    you don't care a bit
    you don't care a bit



  13.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jul 29th, 2010 7:11am report


    This song is about injustice - specifically, the Holocaust of WWII. But in may also refer to 9/11.

    "what the hell is going on - the dust has only just begun to fall" I think this refers to all the ash that fell after the WTC towers collapsed. I don't think there are any other obvious references to 9/11.

    "busy streets amass with people would stop to hold there heads heavy" I think this is about people seeing some injustice being committed (such as Nazis attacking Jews)out in the street during the day, but were too cowardly to do anything to help; so they "hold their heads heavy" which basically means to look down at the ground and move along.

    "hide and seek" Jewish families on the run had to tell their children that they were playing a game of hide and seek, hiding from the scary men with black uniforms and red arm bands (Nazis), because children were too young to understand what was really going on (that they would be killed if the Nazis found them.)

    "trains and sewing machines" Jews were shipped to concentration camps on packed train cars. Sewing machines could refer to tattoo guns which have a needle, similar to a sewing machine, used to tattoo concentration camp numbers on Jewish prisoners. Or, it could be that Jews were put to work with sewing machines making Nazi uniforms, etc.

    "oily marks appear on walls were pleasure moments hung before" When you shoot someone, the blood splatters on the wall and then dries. Dried blood has a brownish color, like oil. Instead of family portraits of happy times on the walls, now there are blood stains.

    I think the "whatcha say" part is about people's excuses and how they were willing to look away while this genocide occurred. I think maybe it refers to non-Jewish Germans.

    "you only meant well, well of course you did" Maybe someone who had good intentions but lacked the courage to help Jewish refugees by hiding them in their basement or something like that.

    "it's all for the best" Perhaps this person didn't agree with what the Nazis were doing but figured it was in the best interest of their country.

    "it's just what we need" Someone who disliked Jews might say something along these lines.



  14.  

    anonymous
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    Jul 22nd, 2010 7:43pm report


    I've enjoyed getting to read all of the interpretations, however, I feel there might be a deeper meaning in the song. Although this may be a little far out, it seems to me to do justice the lines "Trains and sewing machines/ blood and tears/ they were here first". So here it is:


    Where are we? What the hell is going on?
    The dust has only just begun to fall,

    (What the hell have we [humans] done? Imogen is just now realizing the extent of our mistakes.)

    Crop circles in the carpet, sinking, feeling.
    Spin me round again and rub my eyes.
    This can't be happening.

    (Crop circles are unexplainable anomalies that cause us fear; carpet is a man-made recreation of grass that is meant to provide comfort and safety. It is mostly in homes. Imogen has noticed that even in something so harmless, and useful, there is something strangely wrong and scary.)

    When busy streets a mess with people
    would stop to hold their heads heavy.

    (Imogen notices that everyone in the world is depressed and hopeless with their lives. There are so many people and yet none of them are happy.)

    Hide and seek.

    (The game we play with our lives--we are all trying to find ourselves, define ourselves as individuals, but we are hiding from our problems, from each other, from God. Technology has brought the world closer but closed each one of us off from each other.)

    Trains and sewing machines.
    All those years they were here first.

    (A few of the original machines. They were very practical and pushed human science forward by many years, but are now used less because they have been replaced by more advanced technologies. They were here first but have become obsolete and are now almost worthless.)

    Oily marks appear on walls
    Where pleasure moments hung before.

    (Memories are lost as time goes on, old pictures fade; old wall hangings are thrown out when new families move into houses; the population is growing and changing so fast that they have forgotten the past.)

    The takeover, the sweeping insensitivity of this
    still life.

    (The breakdown of each human's life; that takeover of hopelessness by submitting to the fact that we can't realize our dreams; depression.)

    Hide and seek.

    (The game again.)

    Trains and sewing machines. Oh, you won't catch me around here.
    Blood and tears,
    They were here first.

    (Before even technology was here, humanity was. Blood represents life and death and pain, tears represent suffering and humanity, as animals don't cry. These things still last but have become almost lost. Imogen is saying people don't care anymore about each other, humanity is being lost and machines are taking over [Metaphorically]. We have become obsolete.)

    Mmm, what you say?
    Mm, that you only meant well? Well, of course you did.
    Mmm, what you say?
    Mm, that it's all for the best? Ah of course it is.
    Mmm, what you say?
    Mm, that it's just what we need? And you decided this.
    Mmm what you say?

    (Imogen is accusing "man", all humanity for creating technology and destroying themselves. She is openly mocking "him" for his attempts to defend himself--that he meant well, that its for the best, that it is what humanity needs. But she believes creating technology has caused us to forget about essential human values [family. love, etc.].)

    What did she say?

    (Eve, possibly, the first woman. In the Bible, in the book of Genesis she tells Adam, the first man, to sin with her. She could represent mankind's downfall, or the temptation to better oneself without regards to the costs [technology=the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.)

    Ransom notes keep falling out your mouth.
    Mid-sweet talk, newspaper word cut-outs.

    (Again Imogen is mocking the "man"; every explanation in favor of technology is a ransom note--an acknowledgement of a crime which instead of asking for forgiveness further increases the baseness of a crime by trying to make a profit from it. A ransom note is only hurting "man's" argument in defense of himself. Mid-sweet talk and newspaper word cut-outs are meaningless words and worthless talk, that have no real meaning.)

    Speak no feeling, no I don't believe you.
    You don't care a bit. You don't care a bit.

    (Imogen is saying the man cannot apologize for what he has done, the crime is too great. That trying to defend himself shows he has no feeling or trustworthiness.)

    Ransom notes keep falling out your mouth.
    Mid-sweet talk, newspaper word cut-outs.
    Speak no feeling, no I don't believe you.
    You don't care a bit. You don't care a bit.

    (Further emphasis; a sense of resignation by Imogen that nothing can be done to right the wrongs and that Man will never truly be sorry for what he has done.)

    You don't care a bit.
    You don't care a bit.
    You don't care a bit.
    You don't care a bit.
    You don't care a bit.

    (Even those moved by the song will not change their ways. Mankind will continue its spiral downwards chasing after technology.)



  15.  

    fml
    click a star to vote
    Jul 18th, 2010 7:27am report


    Yeah all these interpretations suck.
    Holocaust interpretation wins purely because of its un-cliche` characteristics and the notion of such cliche` relationships caring so much about the destruction of "what they had" compared, rather, to the love that they "held" for each other when they were together.

    "Where are we, what the hell is going on?"
    Opening line, perhaps speaks of a child's persona, obviously doesn't need explaining.

    "The dust has only just begun to fall,"
    It's new, the holocaust has only just started to begin, with the deaths and the herding of jews into camps and ghetto's and such.

    "spin me round again and rub my eyes, this can't be happening,"
    I always thought the spinning would be from a mother and a son, perhaps playing 'ring around the rosies' or just spinning around and the child remembering better days, happy, blissful days without the contempt for jews that Germans had for the Jewish population.

    "When busy streets a mess with people would stop to hold their heads heavy,"
    When the Nazi's would knock on Jewish doors and abruptly tell them to take all their valuables and possessions and follow everyone; where they would walk down the streets til all the Jews reached the ghetto's - where their valuables and possessions were taken from them.
    And where they would all be packed in houses - 15 to a room and Jews had to be inside and silent and weren't even given food and if they were seen outside would be shot.

    "Hide and seek,"
    Because that was the Holocaust, the Nazis were the cats, trying to seek out the Jews, the mice, who would hide and escape through sewers and such to escape them.

    "Trains and sowing machines,"
    The Jews would be packed onto trains, a hundred people crammed into one cattle pen with barbed wire and small cracks for breathing holes where most people died anyway; children, men and pregnant women.
    Sowing machines where the Jews would sow on Nazi symbols and make Nazi uniforms and other such things.

    "All those years they were here first,"
    Now this could be interpreted in two ways.
    A - all those years that the Jews would there first, living calmly and without reproach until Hitler came along.
    OR
    B - all those years the Nazi's slowly came to power with Hitler and no one suspected anything.
    OR even
    C - all those years the Nazi's came to power AND THEN they were here first - referring to the Jews living in peace.

    "oily marks appear on walls, where pleasure moments hung before the take over, the sweeping insensitivity of this still life,"
    Again, previous to what I've read:

    '"Oily marks appear on walls, where pleasure moments hung before." That has absolutely nothing to do with photographs. It is referring to the oily residue left on dry-wall after someone's hands have touched it.'

    So my guess is after Nazi's had ransacked houses and burnt them, after the Jews had been put in the ghetto's where the Nazis had searched for other valuables. Where photos of "pleasure moments" had hung - family outings, holidays, friends - before the take over, the Nazi's taking over Jews; genocide.
    "Sweeping insensitivity of this still life" How the German population did nothing and rallied for the Nazi's to get rid of the Jews, believing in all the propaganda and not caring that they were humans too.

    "You won't catch me around here,"
    Almost as if in defiance to the Nazi's by the Jews who were so determined, so thirsting for life.

    And then the whole "mm.. whatcha say"'s about the Nazi claim to the Jews that they were their friends, that they were doing it all for their own good, that they were getting rid of them and killing them all because they wanted to cleanse the world of their kind. The claim from Nazi's just like the claims from catholics that they were helping them; burning innocent women at the stake purely because they owned cats or were clever and accused them of being witches.

    "ransom notes keep falling out your mouth, mid-sweet talk, newspaper word cut outs, speak no feeling no I don't believe you, you don't care a bit"
    Referring to the propaganda used by the Nazi's against the Jews, posting illustrations of Jews with big noses and saying that they were half the intelligence of normal human beings.
    And the speaking no feeling referring to the Nazi's who spoke no feeling and tried to have this false show of compassion towards the Jews, as if to be sincere while they were killing hundreds of them every day.

    Sad song, anyway whichever. Fun sharing this all with you :)Am using this for my related text in advanced so feel free to use if you're over in the states, but if you're here in Australia competing for your ATAR this year - back off! >:






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