What does The One That Got Away mean?

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Katy Perry: The One That Got Away Meaning

Song Released: 2009

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The One That Got Away Lyrics

Summer after high school,
When we first met,
We'd make out in your mustang, to RadioHead,
And on my 18th birthday, we got matching tatoos

Used to steal your parent's liquor,
And climb to the roof,
Talk about our future - like we had a...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Jun 26th 2011 report

    Katy Perry once said that this Song was about your first love, which would make since as to why this song sounds so deep, as you never forget your first love. The first verse is about the relationship and the little things that shaped it - meeting the summer after high school, making out in his mustang, getting matching tattoos, and climbing up to the roof with their parents liquor talking about what their future would be like - but they didnt plan it to end so soon, something in their relationship went wrong

    In the chorus it gives us hints as to what happened - "In another life, we'd keep all our promises, I'd make you stay, so I don't have to say you were the one that got away". I think he promised her that he'd always be hers, then tried to leave her, and she let him - but later regrets doing so.

    Verse two refers to the fact that they used to be inseparable, and where he's at now - he's moved on (someone said you had your tatoo removed) and the realization that he has finally hit her (it's time to face to music; I'm no longer your muse)

    Verse three says that she's famous now, making slot of money, but no amount of anything could replace how she feels for him, and she can't go back in time to fix what she regrets doing. It also gives another hint as to what happened : "I shouldve told you what you meant to me; cause now I've paid the price" means that she shouldve, when he told her that he didn't want to be with her, said that he meant slot to her, and maybe he wouldve stayed, but she didn't and now shell have to pay the consequences.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Jan 13th 2012 report

    I think that this song is about a girl who loves a boy with all her heart, and she knew deep inside that he was the one for her, but she never told him how she felt towards him, and now he's moved on, because he wasn't reassured that she loved him as much as she did. He left and she's heartbroken. Don't let this happen to you, tell him how you feel, unless you want to lose him. Tell him everyday. I didn't tell mine, he's gone, and he was the one. I know he was.


    #3 top rated interpretation:
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    Oct 8th 2014 report

    i dont agree its necessarily about first love. its about someone you took for granted and realized later on you made a mistake of letting "the one go".

    According to Katy Perry herself, "I wrote [it] about when you promise someone forever, but you end up not being able to follow through. It's a bittersweet story."

  4. anonymous
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    Sep 27th report

    This song always reminded me of my very first crush, Tino. We were probably only eight or nine at the time, but when my family moved away, I missed him so much.
    This song is about a girl who is reminiscing about her ex-boyfriend and all the good times they had. She's saying that if they had lived in another life, she wouldn't let him leave so she wouldn't have to have that one who got away.

  5. anonymous
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    Sep 27th report

    When I think of this song, I immediately think of Jacob and Bella’s relationship in Twilight (if this song was sung in Jacob’s perspective) I don’t think most people knew what kind of emotion and heart wrenching pain Jacob had to go through. But I think this song is a perfect representation of how he felt (especially the chorus). I think the song is about unconditional love. The person loves another person deeply but knows that she has to let that person go because she knows their relationship would never work even though she believe they were perfect for each other. However she still loves him no matter what and hopes that she would have a chance to be with him "in another life".

  6. anonymous
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    Mar 6th 2020 report

    Sometimes you promise someone forever but it doesn’t work out that way.

  7. anonymous
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    Jan 7th 2020 report

    ALWAYS tell them how you feel and how much they mean to you i feel like this is encouraging you to tell them before it's too late this happened to me VERY recently and well i listen to this song and regret SO MUCH ALWAYS ALWAYS tell them please ?

  8. anonymous
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    Oct 17th 2016 report

    I totally agree she's really trying to say that love is precious a gift really remind the guy you care about that he's your one and only. I wish I could do it but remember love is precious and what if the one true love is the only one that you get.Be yourself and be strong and tell him you love him no matter what you should be proud you did your best. love isn't easy That's why we should all work for it

  9. anonymous
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    Sep 29th 2014 report

    the one that got away can be someone in your past or someone in your present (ideal partner fo life) but there's no chance of being together.. one of you is in a relationship and too scared to leave the person for some reason.. maybe because of the long time of being together, they are scared to do something that they'll both regret. but in reality you have this feelings for another person who happens to be your ideal partner..

  10. anonymous
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    Jan 19th 2013 report

    It's about a girl who met her first love and they were perfect for each other, until they disagreed over something and he dumped her and moved on. She soon found she would never love anyone the way she had loved him, and now had to pay the price of her mistakes that she could never fix.

  11. anonymous
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    Sep 19th 2012 report

    This song is EXACTLY my story,he even drove a mustang. But i believe its about how she was in love with him and in the beginning he was as in love with her and promised her forever but then looses feelings for her so used a little fight to leave her,and even though hes moved on,she hasnt because the love she had for him was real,and even though she has alot of money now,she isnt happy because she dosnt have the one she truly wants to be with.

  12. anonymous
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    Apr 16th 2012 report

    I think this song means that she loved that guy but never got to really tell how she felt about him. Now, "in another life," she remembers and regrets she never told him before he died and replaced the time she could have told him with fighting.

  13. hatts_xx
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    Apr 11th 2012 report

    This song is about a first love, they generally don't last, but she wants to hang on to this love forever, because he died fighting! She says that they were so hopelessly in love, they would break the law for eachother, but suddenly, they fight, and although they both know that they want to be together, things heat up and they split. She wants to follow him, and realises her mistake, she thinks that if she could, she would turn back time to reach him, but even all the riches in the world couldn't help with that, so she grew up alone, only wanting him, her first love.

  14. anonymous
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    Mar 14th 2012 report

    I think that it means that at the beginning they were together, and their love was huge for one another. Then towards the middle, he kind of stopped loving her but she wanted him back. At the end of the song, they get into a fight, where he gets so mad that he leaves angrily in his car. All of a sudden, from one of the compartments, out comes her headband (?). He doesn't pay attention to the road, swerves and dies. I think that she regrets making him mad so that he wouldn't leave her by dying.

  15. anonymous
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    Jan 17th 2012 report

    Were she mentions, "Can't replace you with a million rings." i feel that she refers to a million wedding rings. In other words, she could refer to a million lovers

  16. anonymous
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    Jan 6th 2012 report

    I think so many people can relate to this song. It's definitely about her first love. Most people past the age of 30 can recall that first relationship where they fell in love. Sadly, for her, this relationship did not last. As she moved on with her life, she realizes that she'll never again have feelings like she did for him. I do think most people who do not end up with their first love come to a point in life that they realize they'll never again have feelings like that and it's too late to go back. It celebrates the incredible need for love in our lives, "All this money can't buy me a time machine. I can't replace you with a million rings."

  17. anonymous
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    Jan 3rd 2012 report

    Well it's about russel her ex husband :)

  18. anonymous
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    Jan 1st 2012 report

    I Love this song.
    Lol so she thought she found the perfect guy. he ment everything to her,they even got matching tattoos, he acted like a jerk -like in the video-, he left and it says,"Someone said you had your tattoo removed saw you downtown, singing the blues," He moved on,she grew old and didn't move on.. she regrets her past and wishes she would've done something different. :/ I don't know why she wants him back though i see why she would miss him but he was a jerk and she could do better.
    This songs teaches a lesson, Your first love probably isn't your true love,but that doesn't mean hold on to that. Move on or it'll haunt you forever and ever everyone gets hurt, just watch out for the jerks that crush you like they don't care.
    Everyone has to be scared of that happening, you never know who's the right guy. :) thank you for reading!

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