What does Lightning Crashes mean?

Live: Lightning Crashes Meaning

Album cover for Lightning Crashes album cover

Song Released: 1995

Lightning Crashes Lyrics

lightning crashes, a new mother cries
her placenta falls to the floor
the angel opens her eyes
the confusion sets in
before the doctor can even close the door

lightning crashes, an old mother dies
her intentions fall to the floor


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    May 2nd 2007 !⃝

    Ed Kowalczyk said, "I wrote 'Lightning Crashes' on an acoustic guitar in my brother's bedroom shortly before I had moved out of my parents' house and gotten my first place of my own." Kowalczyk says that the video for "Lightning Crashes" lends itself to many misinterpretations of the song's intent. "While the clip is shot in a home environment, I envisioned it taking place in a hospital, where all these simultaneous deaths and births are going on, one family mourning the loss of a woman while a screaming baby emerges from a young mother in another room. Nobody's dying in the act of childbirth, as some viewers think. What you're seeing is actually a happy ending based on a kind of transference of life. The dedication to Barbara Lewis came after the song was written. But it was something that we hoped would honor the memory of a girl we grew up with and help her family cope with sorrow -- which it seems to have accomplished -- in a fashion in keeping with the theme of the song."

    In other words, this song is about the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. The angel opens her eyes in birth, and closes them in death. The angel is both a symbol of the divine and of life, and the living people themselves (eyes opening for the first time in life, closing for the final time in death).
    The pale blue-colored iris of a newborn baby represents the circle of life. The glory coming out to hide is the spark of the divine hidden within all people. It is there before us in plain sight, but hidden because we see the flesh most often rather than the spirit within.

    It is not about the girl who died in the car accident, nor is it about abortion, miscarriage, etc. It is about the peaceful passing of a life (an old mother whose children are grown), and the joyful if hectic arrival of a new life (the new mother and her baby).


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    Jun 30th 2006 !⃝

    The song "Lightning Crashes" was originally written about the circle of life. Verses one, two, and three all describe three unrelated experiences of life and death. The sequence is life-death-life... The death in verse two appears to take place in the same hospital "down the hall" from the baby born in verse one. "The confusion" that was hers Belongs now to the baby down the hall. The reference to "confusion" describes the condition of life, that in birth, through life, and even until death we never fully understand what's going on. Live later adapted this song to fit the Oklahoma City bombings, including audio from the explosions. By far one of my favorite songs.


    #3 top rated interpretation:
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    Jul 10th 2005 !⃝

    I think this song is about the circle of life and death. In the first verse, it says 'an new mother cries/her placenta falls to the floor' which refers to childbirth. In the second verse, it says 'an old mother dies', refering very obviously to death, and the last line of this verse goes 'the confusion that was hers/belongs now to the baby down the hall'. What I take this to mean is that the band is literally talking about one hospital where you have a baby being born at the same time as a person dies, symbolising the very intimate relationship life and death share. And that the person dying no longer has to worry about the 'confusion' of life, while the baby is just about to enter this confusion.

    Each verse begins with 'lightning crashes' which could mean several things. Either the same crash of lightning that sees new life also sees death, or that while all this life and death goes on, mother nature continues unknowingly.

  4. anonymous
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    Aug 19th 2018 !⃝

    I just saw them sing this live in Massachusetts this weekend. It was insanely moving to me. After the loss of my son, this song always made me think of how precious and fragile the circle of life is. Thank you Eddie and band for the healing through your your words and talent. 25 years and counting... My best, G.

  5. anonymous
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    Aug 11th 2018 !⃝

    This song always had a special place in my heart. Some time back last year I had a very sad Miscarriage. I was pregnant atmosfeer 5 months. White I was with my midwife,I found out that in the room right next to me was a women giving birth to her first child. This song played over and over in my head. Reminding me that even though I have this intense sadness and pain in my heart with wat I am going through, there is always hope for life. It comforted me to know that death will never have the upperhand.

  6. anonymous
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    Aug 4th 2018 !⃝

    It’s about reincarnation.

  7. anonymous
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    Jul 30th 2016 !⃝

    I have loved this song since it first came out. Alot of ppl I know thought it was about a young woman dying in childbirth after delivering a healthy baby while at the same time down the hall a healthy woman gave birth to a stillborn baby and the doctor and nurse switched the babies.

  8. JF
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    Apr 30th 2016 !⃝

    The #1 answer is the best interpretation, but we've left out a part that from the beginning struck me in a dramatic way. Yes, this song is about the circle of life, but it also says to me that we never really die, but rather come back.

    Remember swimming under water in a swimming pool and rising to the surface, emerging from that warm wet, muted, buoyant world into the cool breezy, noisy air and normal gravity above. Imagine being born.

    "Oh I feel it coming back again, like a rolling thunder chasing the wind. Forces pulling from the center of the Earth again. I can feel it."

    It's not just "I feel it", it's "I can feel it /coming back again/." It's "I remember, I recognize this, it's happening, here it comes /again/." with a rush of cold air, a blast of sound, and the heavy pull of gravity.

    Old life traded for new.

  9. anonymous
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    Jul 1st 2012 !⃝

    Consider that the confusion might belong to the author, and now the listener. Before the doctor can even close the door.pp

  10. anonymous
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    Jul 1st 2012 !⃝

    Nobody understands this song. Ed is trying to describe what he has seen, as a bystander at the point of life and afterlife. Sometimes you see things you can't explain. And Ed does a great job of explaining it.

  11. anonymous
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    Jul 30th 2011 !⃝

    The number one interpretation gets it. This is about the circle of life. As one passes another begins. A hospital is the place where this cosmic convergence is seen in its starkness. This is a very metaphysical song. It has a beauty in that its poetry is simple, but potent. I would go so far as to say this is one of the great songs of rock. And this is really what an artist is yearning to create; a song that is timeless. The words are minimal but pack meaning. In many ways the simple beauty of the lyrics mirror the core meaning of this song. i.e. There are currents of powerful forces in the universe and all we often see is just the surface. That is the confusion of life. Or life is chaos confusion etc. It works on two levels.. . . funny thing about this song though, I think the radio powers of censorship decided "placenta" was a bad word,and after this song gained in popularity I recall the offensive word being struck from the radio version. Most ridiculous censorship ever. . . anyone remember that.?

  12. anonymous
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    Jan 21st 2011 !⃝

    @ anonymous "MatthiasMan000":

    how does a placenta falling to the floor equate with a miscarraige? Usually one push AFTER giving birth and the placenta comes out. I think Ed is just saying "falls to the floor" to create some imagery... same with "pale blue colored iris" People read into stuff too much.

    @ everyone else

    THE MOTHER DOES NOT DIE WHILE GIVING CHILDBIRTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe you think that from the video because she appears to be struggling... guess what childbirth isn't easy. If she dies who is holding up the child at the end of the video? some random lady who wanted a baby??

    Read what Ed said in the spin magazine article (above in the #1 top rated)and start your interpretation from there.

  13. MrMugs
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    Jan 21st 2011 !⃝

    I had just herd this song and am completly fasinated by it.In my eyes, the song means that a mother is giving birth to a baby and the baby dies during child birth and that is the sound of lightning crashing and it means that when it says the angels eyes closed was the end of life.Then the next part is a mother is giving birth to a child and the mother dies during birth and that again is the sound of lightning crashing and the angels eyes open, to replace a life that was just lost.I do believe in my term that it was representing the same hospital as a life goes,a new life is risen.The lightning crashing is the sounds of the doors closing when you are born into life and when you leave life.That is my opinion, everyone is allowed to have their own.Some people might agree and some might disagree.

  14. anonymous
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    Jan 2nd 2011 !⃝

    This song is an analogy of the circle of life.

    At the time Ed was writing it, his Close friend Barbara Lewis died in a car accident

    There are two versions of what happened. a> a drunk driver


    b> an armed robber caused the crash.

    He merely dedicated the song to Barb and that is where the legends of abortion, miscarriage, the mother dying during birth, the car crash etc. comes from.

  15. anonymous
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    Sep 7th 2010 !⃝

    The song is a bout the cycle of life in the first verse it is about 'Birth', in the second verse it is about 'death', and the third verse is about 'Rebirth'. The reference to "confusion" is referring to the confusion of living and dying. when the old woman dies and it says "the confusion that was hers belongs to the baby down the hall." This means that the woman that had just passed away was reborn as the baby down the hall, the one they sing of in verse 3. In my interpretation this song is merely about the constant cycle of life, death, and rebirth.

  16. anonymous
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    Feb 22nd 2010 !⃝

    I think that it is about Life and Death and the cycle, but a little more than that. When he mentions confusion when the baby is born I think he is talking about the unknowingness at the begining of life, and when the old mother dies and the confusion is given to the baby, its because the old mother has met a sense of peace and understanding at death.

  17. anonymous
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    Oct 15th 2009 !⃝


    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  18. JasmineStar
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    Aug 11th 2009 !⃝

    This song was on the radio around the time my brother was in intensive care in hospital, and even though i had barely heard the lyrics it was a great comfort to me to listen to this song. i played the song over and over the night my brother passed on. It is a beautiful song for helping us release our grief to lose someone, and also to remember that they are now in a peaceful spirit place. The line that lifts me is "feel it coming back again, like a rollin' thunder chasing the wind", and that line seems to remind me that spirit is stronger than the death of the physical body, and it also lends me towards reincarnation.

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