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Nelly Furtado: Say It Right Meaning

Song Released: 2009


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Say It Right Lyrics

In the day
In the night
Say it right
Say it all
You either got it
Or you don't
You either stand or you fall
When your will is broken
When it slips from your hand
When there's no time for joking
There's a hole in the plan

Oh you don't...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    #1 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    May 11th 2013 report

    In the first verse, she says he can tell her that she can talk to him. He won’t hurt her or treat her badly. She says he can cry to her and have faith in her. She says love is an emotion a person feels completely. It’s something a person doesn’t question. She says once he gives in, he can either own up to his feelings or run from them. He stops her in the middle of a dumb joke and tells her they need to talk. She knows he’s realized he can’t control what he feels.

    “In the day/In the night/Say it right/Say it all/You either got it/Or you don't/You either stand or you fall/When your will is broken/When it slips from your hand/When there's no time for joking/There's a hole in the plan.”


    In the chorus, she says he has no meaning in her life. But if he allows himself to fall for her and let her hold him, they could have a wonderful relationship.

    “Oh you don't mean nothing at all to me/No you don't mean nothing at all to me/Do you got what it takes to set me free/Oh you could mean everything to me.”


    In the second verse, she says she’s a lot like him. She’s made a lot of mistakes and often doesn’t know which direction she should go in. She tells him she can be cheerful person but she can be gloomy, too. Some days she would like to flee and live in a place alone. She isn’t certain if she’s living life the way she should, but she tries. She explains he can understand her in the evening.

    “I can't say that I'm not lost and at fault/I can't say that I don't love the light and the dark/I can't say that I don't know that I am alive/And all of what I feel I could show/You tonight, you tonight.”


    The chorus is sung again.

    In the third verse, she says if they begin a romance, he will be appreciated and learn everything about her, even the muddiest corners of her mind. She says he will be loved each time he presses his body against her own. She asks him if he’s ready to take the chance.

    “From my hands I could give you/Something that I made/From my mouth I could sing you another brick that I laid/From my body I could show you a place God knows/You should know the space is holy/Do you really want to go?”


    Furtado has known her crush for a long time. She thought he liked her, but he dismissed it. She became friends with him but believed he hadn’t told her what he really felt. She also knew he had shut people down if they even get near to loving him. However, after almost kissing each other, she finally gets him to break and feel.

    Her pressing, soothing vocals are matter-of-fact, challenging him to face his emotions.

  2. 2TOP RATED

    #2 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    May 30th 2008 report

    I believe she's talking about a man who she loved. And how he's said words he didn't mean, and broke promises because he's scared. She's tired of his ways and gives him the choice to make it right.

  3. 3TOP RATED

    #3 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Mar 6th 2007 report

    She's talking about a guy she just met.
    She's telling him to talk to her so she can figure out whether he's worth it and she really hopes he is:
    "Say it all
    Say it right
    You either got it
    Or you don't"
    Then she talks about how he could potentially be the one:
    "Oh you don't mean nothing at all to me... Do you got what it takes to set me free? Oh you could mean everything to me."
    After that she tells him that she's pretty screwed up too emotionally and she's probably a guilt-ridden person who indulges in dark things:
    "I can't say that I'm not lost and at fault. I can't say that I don't love the light and the dark"
    Then she says that she is willing to open up to him sexually (and maybe a little bit emotionally) if she decided that he is worth it:
    "And all of what I feel I could show you tonight...
    From my hands I could give you something that I made.
    From my mouth I could sing you another brick that I laid
    From my body I could show you a place God knows.
    You should know the space is holy.
    Do you really want to go?"

  4. Joshua_Edery
    click a star to vote
    Feb 4th report

    In the first verse she is a strong independent woman who could do or do without love. The love she seeks is unique and rare and few fit the missing puzzle piece in her heart but many have tried and some have succeeded at wounding her heart hence her cynical persona. She is speaking to a world full of interested guys letting them know they either got it or they don’t when it comes to capturing her heart which has yet to have happened. Say it all , say it right again referring to don’t hide any secrets and tell me in a way that won’t make me run away - again it’s the only way the puzzle piece of love will fit. If they pass this level of courtship they will stand another round if they don’t they will fall.

    When you will will is broken when it slips from your hand- her heart has been broken and she is confessing mentally she has given up on love but in her heart still remains a small spark of hope with lots of jaded skepticism. When there is no time for joking there’s a hole in her plan — again she is speaking of her past to a future candidate for love letting them know that her love was never a joke even though her heart was broken before and her future plan of this person left her with a hole in her heart or what she refers to a plan and vision she had of their would been future together.

    Oh you don’t mean nothing at all to me
    This verse changes meaning and who it’s directed to through each chorus verse. In this chorus She is talking to the person who hurt her and broke her will to accept love again but she is acknowledging they also set her free and she is considering the possibility of love again.
    You could mean everything to me : again she is speaking to the person in the past reliving what it meant to her and her feelings in the beginning before their betrayal put a hole in her plans and their future she is also reminding them they could have meant everything to her because they did. If you notice the ha ha ha ha in the background of when she’s singing the chorus again she is saying sarcastically now she is armored up and that she will have the last laugh because nobody could ever hurt her as deeply as they did ever again and at the same time she is healed now and they can’t hurt her ever again ha ha ha ha ha but at the same time she acknowledged the pain and the person also set her free. It’s very bittersweet for her to move on. She doesn’t have a lot of faith in her long list of perspectives and she sees them all the same until the one missing piece fits. Do they have it? Will they have it? Do they stand? Will they fall? - Who really cares she’s just window shopping and the glass between her and the goods is her armor.


    As she prepares to fully move on from the past and the hurt she makes it clear


    I can't say that I'm not lost and at fault
    She isn’t lost and she acknowledges the heartbreak they caused certainly wasn’t her fault or what she deserved.

    I can't say that I don't love the light and the dark
    Love has its ups and downs she is admitting she prefers the happier of times she is also referring to the dark that put a hole in her plans from her past relationship. She is admitting part of her was used to being emotionally abused and she learned to like it but now she is acknowledging she learned to live with the light and the pain and sees beauty in it all.
    I can’t say - that I don’t love the light and the dark = she is in the moment of meeting someone new and she is answering a question about wether she wants to live alone or love again and she acknowledges the connection between love and pain and that she accepts both - she can’t say she doesn’t.

    I can't say that I don't know that I am alive
    She can’t say that her heartbreak has killed her and that she has given up she is saying that she is alive she chooses not to give up and that her heart does in fact still beat.

    And all though what I feel I could show .. show you tonight
    This is complicated — with all that she feels for the past present and future part of her feels she has so much emotions it has made her crave a sexual release of energy. She knows she won’t feel good about just hooking up but part of her wants to show a complete stranger a side of her sexually that even the guy she planned on spending the rest of her life with never experienced. She knows she won’t feel so pent up and deviant forever. She has confessed it all and wants to hookup and rebound. This will also set her free ( the chorus now applies to the new guy )
    Oh you don't mean nothing at all to me - it’s just sex
    No you don't mean nothing at all to me - but wait do I feel something for you? Something I haven’t felt in a long time ?
    Do you got what it takes to set me free?

    From my hands I could give you, something that I made
    She wants him to know she doesn’t feel she has very much to offer right now as she lost it all. But she wants him to know she has talent - organic talent REAL Talent she won’t buy a unique gift to give rather she will make it her damn self with her hands.

    From my mouth I could sing you another bridge that I made
    She still has a her voice. Will they find it beautiful enough to bring his heart closer to hers and her heart closer to his. Will he value and appreciate her organic talents? This is what bonds two hearts together.

    From my body, (From my body) I could show you, (I could show you) a place, (A place) God knows (That only God knows)
    Again when she loves she loves hard and passionately.. why would he ever want to look at another girl if he has her.

    You should know the space is holy
    Do you really want to go?
    This means a few things let’s start with her heart:
    Should you stray and create a space between us I will find out I will feel it. She lets him know she will embrace that space not accept it — embrace it and she will be gone and won’t look back. She is warning him to think twice before he would ever go because there is no coming back. She is also proclaiming if she lets another guy back into her heart that he better be in it for real reasons and he should know what that space means and to be in it is an honor not many get to experience. Once the door is closed it’s closed.
    2. She is also referencing again female anatomy. She is making it clear just because she hooked up with him and caught feelings doesn’t mean she is a slut and if they fall in love sex will take on a new intimate meaning and should never be cheated on. Again think twice before you go and do something stupid.

    Final verse :
    A confession from within to only her self about the new guy and she will leave some emotion out of it until time proves she can fully trust him
    When she thinks of her new love part of her reminds her Oh you (meaning him) don't mean nothing at all to me -
    She is prepared to get hurt and will never lose it all again if someone wounds her future vision and plans on marriage , having children being a family etc
    No you don't mean nothing at all to me
    She is prepared to love again and acknowledges she does but also that she will flick the switch quickly if needed she reminds herself he could mean nothing to you one day and that’s ok she still gives her self permission to roll with it

    Do you got what it takes to set me free
    Will the flame stay lit forever to the point she can’t say that he doesn’t mean anything to her?

    From her heart to his heart :
    Oh you could mean everything to me

  5. Angelboo
    click a star to vote
    Feb 24th 2019 report

    Nelly Furtado herself has said she herself doesn't know what this song means. So you can interpret this however you want.

    My interpretation is this is about a trouble woman. Probably very promiscuous and wants this guy she met to save her from this dangerous lifestyle that she leads. When she says "You don't mean nothing at all to me, but you could mean evetything to me." She thinks he's like every other guy, but if he says/does (say it right, say it all) the right thing he could mean everything to her.

  6. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Apr 8th 2018 report

    I'm just going to throw this out there because
    I feel like I should. I'm half deaf, but even I can hear the sadness from words never spoken.

    It's having a connection with each, but now it's a long distance. It works for awhile, but has lose ends. Feelings change over night. Feeling disconnected and alone, but you know for you it's temporary. Wishing she'd make that call.

    Ok. Sorry. I don't know what I'm talking about.
    c.y

  7. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Nov 10th 2013 report

    This song is not about sex, relationships, or a boy. This song is about challenging a cultural attitude and portraying women for more than being sexual objects. It's about breaking up with the patriarchal ideas of the Mediterranean culture and wanting to be more. By "say it right" she means acknowledge.

    I can say that I'm not lost any more
    I can say that I don't love the light and the dark
    I can say that I don't know that I am alive
    And I love what I feel
    I can show you tonight

    means that she is not sure of who she is without her culture, but at the same time she realizes that it is the source of her oppression.

    From my hands I could give you something that I made
    From my mouth I could sing you another brick that I laid
    From my body, I could show you a place
    That only god knows

    Shows and interprets parts of the body that are usually have sexual meanings into something else. A transformation of giving them use for her freedom.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  8. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Nov 6th 2011 report

    My understanding of the song is that she's singing about a guy who means nothing to her, she just makes love to him, "In the day, in the night" she wants him to comfort her,say ALL the RIGHT things "say it right, say it all." But she doesn't let him actually mean something to her, although he could. "You mean nothing to me" "You could mean everything to me". She knows he can give her release and save her "you got what it takes to set me free". The song is filled with contrasts. "Day"/"night","stand"/"fall","everything"/"nothing". So she wants all or nothing from him.

  9. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 30th 2011 report

    or maybe simply she is fed up of a boring relationship..and doesn't care anymore :/

  10. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Apr 11th 2011 report

    I think this song is about either losing your virginity or the choice to sleep with someone for the first time:

    In the day
    In the night
    Say it right
    Say it all
    You either got it
    Or you don't
    You either stand or you fall
    When your will is broken
    When it slips from your hand
    When there's no time for joking
    There's a hole in the plan

    The narrator is saying that it's good night or day and if one should "say it right, say it all..." they have it... if they don't say those things, they don't "have it."
    "When your will is broken," kind of has religious overtones. It's as if the narrator is considering giving in to temptation, hence the "hole in the plan" (that could also be a double meaning for something sexual and maybe even sadistic)...

    Oh you don't mean nothing at all to me
    No you don't mean nothing at all to me
    Do you got what it takes to set me free

    Oh you could mean everything to me

    It's as if the person the narrator is considering means nothing at that point in time, but maybe if that person were to "set me free" (again, sexually) they could "mean everything to me."

    I can't say that I'm not lost and at fault
    I can't say that I don't love the light and the dark
    I can't say that I don't know that I am alive
    And all of what I feel I could show
    You tonite you tonite

    It's the narrator fessing up to their own imperfections. Maybe even "saying" that there's a possibility that they can't "say it right" to the person in question. There's a promise being made, however. "I can't say that I don't know that I am alive" is admitting that maybe this narrator isn't all the other person thinks they are cracked up to be, but the narrator assures this other person that they can could "show you tonight / all of what I feel," and that's kind of a challenge... Like, "Can you handle what I've got to show you?"

    From my hands I could give you
    Something that I made
    From my mouth I could sing you another brick that I laid
    From my body I could show you a place God knows
    You should know the space is holy
    Do you really want to go?

    This final verse is what makes me think that the narrator is considering giving their virginity up. It as if only "God knows" about this person's body and such, and that their body is still "holy," so a challenge again... "do you really want to go?" Do you want to go to this holy place (my body) which only God and I know about so far? I'll show you all that I have...

  11. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Nov 28th 2009 report

    I believe the song has a religious motivation and she is singing about Jesus.
    I guess this song is a clearing with her past and her maybe strict catholic nurture.

    "In the day
    In the night
    Say it right
    Say it all
    You either got it
    Or you don't"

    I guess in this verse she is referring to a religious person who is praying. She says you either pray consequently or forget about it. It criticises inconsequent/half-hearted prayer.

    "You either stand or you fall
    When your will is broken
    When it slips from your hand
    When there's no time for joking
    There's a hole in the plan"

    This verse is full of criticism against strictly religious people such as some catholics. First of all it says that there exist only absolutes such as "hot" and "cold" resp. "stand" or "fall" in your relation to god but nothing in between. She criticises that strictly religious people then would give away their free will and make them fully dependend on god ("will broken"). The bad consequence as she sees it would be the "loss" of control of your life ("slips from your hand"). Another bad consequences of religious life as she saw it maybe, is exaggerated seriousness and strictness (towards children). ("When there's no time for joking/ hole in the plan".)

    "Oh you don't mean nothing at all to me
    No you don't mean nothing at all to me
    But you got what it takes to set me free
    Oh you could mean everything to me"

    Now this verse is about Jesus.
    He doesn't mean anything to her but she knows that he could be the one to set her free and that he could therefore mean everything to her.
    Despite knowing about the power to liberate her, liberation is denied to her resp. She doesn't get/want access to it because she is unable to get emotional attraction to him what is kind of a requirement to the liberation. But she also knows that if she wanted, he could mean everything to her. That means she is not powerless because it is also a matter of will and not only of pure emotion.

    "I can't say that I'm not lost and at fault
    I can't say that I don't love the light and the dark
    I can't say that I don't know that I am alive
    And all of what I feel I could show
    You tonight you tonight"

    The doubled negation of her forsakenness is an affirmation of it. That means she knows that there is no salvation but in Jesus. The second doubled negation is an affirmation that se also loves the dark. That means she does not want to quit with her sins resp. behavior of which she is aware of that it displeases god. But she is aware of herself resp. She admits she is a conscious being that could be able to pray this night and get a relation to god(last three lines).

    "From my hands I could give you
    Something that I made
    From my mouth I could sing you another brick that I laid
    From my body I could show you a place God knows
    You should know the space is holy
    Do you really want to go?"

    Here she describes that she could obey the law and make religious efforts/rituals to please god. But she will not give her heart, will, soul and everything to god as he demands. That means god "will go", he won't accept this 'sacrifice' because this is not what god wants but it's the only thing she could offer. She seems to find it kinda sad resp. regret it that it doesn't work the "emotionless/heartless" way of religious practicing to please god and get liberated. -> read Mark 12 verse 30 in your bible or google it.



    I am a believer and I can tell you what I think is her problem: she won't believe resp. get an emotional relation to god unless she doesn't really understand how sinful and lost she is without him. She wil only understand and appreciate the great liberation when she realizes how trapped she is without god. For now she is young, reckless and larking but that will change with age. btw. I am 23, no grandpa :)

  12. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jan 8th 2007 report

    i think the song she is singing is about a boy, and he doesn't mean anything to her anymore because he only wanted her when it was convenient or when there was a "hole" in his other plans, so she doesn't want him either. but then she relises that he has the power to set her free, and that makes him mean everything to her, because all she wants to do is get away from him and be free. "I can't say that I'm not lost and at fault
    I can't say that I don't love the light and the dark" I think that means that she is to blame for some of the things that went rong too, but you can't love the light, and turn around when that's gone and love the dark.


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