Nirvana: Lithium Meaning
Song Released: 1992
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They're in my head. I'm so ugly. But that's ok.
'Cause so are you. We've broke our mirrors.
Sunday morning. Is everyday for all I care.
And I'm not scared. Light my candles. In a daze cause I've...
1TOP RATED#1 top rated interpretation:anonymous Jul 30th 2006 report
There was some comment about the first entry being 'copied and pasted' from another site and so for that reason dismissed it. However, I think it is correct when it references the notion of religion as the 'opiate of the masses'. Religion is the drug!
The title 'lithium' is used in a somewhat generic way. Perhaps chosen at random to represent the drug that religion is. But more likely as a very clever metaphor because lithium is a drug that would tend to nuetralize the ups and downs of a persons bi-ploar condition. Similarly, there are people that use religion as a way to feel better about (or nuetralize) the ups and downs of everyday life knowing that everything will be good in the afterlife. Meanwhile, they live their life 'in a daze'.
The lines "i'm so ugly, but that's okay, cause so are you" refer to the notion that everyone is with sin (ugly).
The lines "i'm so excited, I can't wait to meet you there" obvously refer to the afterlife...Heaven, I suppose.
The lines "i'm so horny, but that's okay, my will is good" refer to the general limitations placed on sex by religion.
I could go on with other lines and how I feel they fit the notion of relgion as the 'opiate of the masses'. But I'm sure my ramblings are getting tiresome already. So I'll cut it off here.
2TOP RATED#2 top rated interpretation:anonymous Jan 3rd 2006 report
The song "Lithium" describes bi-polar disorder, also known as manic depression. Bi-polar disorder is characterized by episodes of frantic highs (mania) and catastophic lows (depression). There is some debate about whether Kurt Cobain suffered from bi polar disorder, but there is no doubt that the lyrics describe a number of the condition's most common symptoms:
"friends ... In my head" - hallucinations (both manic and depressiev)
"I'm so ugly .. So are you" and "I'm so lonely..." and "I'm to blame..." and "Sunday morning ..."- in depression, feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, dissociation and distrust of others
".. I found God" and "my will is good" - bi-polar disorder can lead people to re-examine their beliefs and their faiths. On a less healthy note, sufferers who experience psychotic episodes sometimes come to believe they have been chosen by God or that they have tapped into a spiritual truth that others cannot perceive. Delusions of grandeur / an exaggerated belief in one's power or influence is relatively common in severe mania.
"I'm so excited..." and "I'm so horny.." - both an elevated mood/energy and increased sexual drive are very common symptoms of mania.
The chorus of "I like it.... etc" reflects the frenzy, desperation and intensity of a bi polar condition. Some sufferers are aware they are bi polar but choose not to medicate as they do not wish to lose the manic highs. The progression of "I like it, I miss you, I love you, I kill you" reflects trying unsuccessfully to ride out a manic episode, an being determined not to crack.
The structure of the song itself is reminscent of bi polar disorder and its irrational thought patterns and short attention spans, jumping rapidly from image to image with little or no connection.
Lithium itself is the most common treatment of bi polar disorder, and is also used in treatment of schizophrenia. However, it carries its own horrors. It is relatively toxic and it is common to experience tremors, nausea, diarrhea, lethargy and dehyrdation. It can cuase damage to kidneys and thyroid. It can also leave the sufferer feeling tired, dull, empty and lost.
People interested in songs about bi polar disorder should check out Macy Gray's "Relating to a Psychopath". I also like "Girl Anachronism" by the Dresden Dolls.
3TOP RATED#3 top rated interpretation:
The first interpreter got that little description from the Nirvana website, and probably doesn't understand the terminology outside of "Copy & Paste."
The song is a contradiction, the high & lows of being bi-polar. (Doesn't necessarily mean he was, just because he spoke about it) It's a contradictory, 1st person narrative mixed with a dark, yet radiant humor, which made the song sound borderline insane and interesting. Truly craftsmanship at its finest.
And whats this shit about making explosives with Lithium? Perhaps some people should rest assure their uncertainities about sanity, quiet as kept.
anonymous Aug 6th 2021 report
"Light my candles"
-:a ritual, much like the ritual of getting high or injecting drugs.
"In a daze cause I found God"
-: literally him saying being high is god, being high is heaven,going to stay in a daze and out of this world.
"I'm so ugly, that's okay cause so are you"
-:him and his friends don't care about looks, popularity, anything materialistic that's meant to cause conflict between people. They are cool with each other and nothing else matters.
" I'm so horny"
-: probably mocking sex. Most heroin users say that they would rather do heroin than have sex. He is probably making fun of people who brag about being whores or sluts because they don't like it when he brags about loving drugs more than anything. Also, he just really wants to " get off" all the time...
Friends in his head are people that allow him or enable him to do drugs, because those people treat him how he likes and he would call them a friend.
Like, if you never did hard drugs, most of this guy's intelligence and ability is going over your head. Yes he was smart, but he was a smart drug user and proud of it. He constantly makes little jabs at how things are and how they should be to the rest of society and that nothing matters to him because he already found what makes him feel complete.
Personally I think that the song is a story about a man whose girlfriend dies from an STD and becomes a Christian "as a last resort to keep himself alive. To keep him from suicide" -Kurt Cobain
"Sunday morning is everyday for all I care.
And I'm not scared. Light my candles. In a daze cause I've found God" = the protagonist becoming religious
"I'm so excited. I can't wait to meet you there." = The protagonist being excited to meet her at Heaven or at her house for sex.
"And just maybe I'm to blame for all I've heard. And I'm not sure/I killed you. I'm not gonna crack" = The girlfriend died from an STD that he gave her
"I'm so horny. But that's ok. My will is good." Ironic because his will gave in. :)
anonymous Aug 11th 2012 report
I believe this song is about someone who has lost a loved who, and becomes depressed because he feels it was his fault, or he could have done more, as many of us feel when we lose a loved one. However, this man becomes so depressed, that he has no other choice, but to become religious, mainly christian .
"I'm so happy. Cause today I found my friends."
He is happy because he has found his "friends", since they are in his head, this is, in my mind, a reference to God.
"Sunday morning. Is everyday for all I care."
Sunday is an important day in the Christian faith.
"And I'm not scared. Light my candles. In a daze cause I've found god."
He is not scared to die, and in fact he wants to(see later) because now he has "found God" which is his "friend in his head."
"and just maybe
I'm to blame for all I've heard. And I'm not sure."
The person feels he is the one to blame for his loved ones death, but he is not so very sure. I think he is unsure, because he is high. We can see many drug references as well such as:
" I'm so ugly. But that's ok.
'Cause so are you. We've broke our mirrors."
Drugs are self-deprecating, and breaking mirrors might refer to a way to snort cocaine.
"I'm so excited. I can't wait to meet you there."
He can't wait to go to Heaven to see his loved one.
"I like it. I'm not gonna crack.
I miss you. I'm not gonna crack.
I love you.I'm not gonna crack.
I killed you. I'm not gonna crack. (x2)"
This is the part where I really feel the separation from a religious sort of song, from a drug son comes into play. I think possibly he is using God as a way to make sure he doesn't commit suicide! But he can't wait to see him(last verse), yet committing suicide is a sin, thus he wouldn't get to see his loved one.
Just my thoughts...
anonymous May 4th 2012 report
Speaking to the first "interpretation" and all those that follow that focus on the way the song seems to refer to the highs and lows experienced by people who have bi-polar disorder: OK, just wrong. (and, BTW, hallucinations are NOT a symptom of bi-polar, but belong to schizoid illnesses.) As someone with experience in all these things, but wasn't when the album came out: the lyrics speak to the thoughts and emotions that one still has while ON lithium, but doesn't have the energy or care to do anything about. He's not gonna crack 'cause he's too medicated to get upset enough to crack (and here I really know what I'm talking about). This is the side of mental illness that can drive some people, esp. perhaps the creative among us who need the intensity to be productive, to suicide: I can live, but I won't feel anything. That's what (the experience of being on) Lithium is about: here are all these things happening, things I'm noticing, and they're just floating by, not touching me.
anonymous Mar 8th 2012 report
Hey Guys. When Kurt was growing up he lived with a short time with a friend who was christian. Kurt got saved and was christian for a little while. This song is about his experiance during that time.
anonymous Nov 26th 2011 report
kurt had depression based on the contrast that he had between, how he used to say, "his own world" in his head and the real world.
he used to fantasy a lot, creat a total different world on his own head. it's clear when he said that even on his childhood he used to pretend that he was kind of alian's son.
"I'm so happy /'Cause today I've found my friends/They're in my head" on this part is "his world" on his head
"I'm so ugly but that's okay,'Cause so are you, we broke our mirrors" on this part shows he's insecure and he ignoring that
anonymous Sep 24th 2011 report
This song is about a man dealing with depression from the death of his girl friend. In the song he finds god and this prevent him from commitong suicide. This info was derived from an interview with his producer i heard on NPR.
anonymous Jul 20th 2011 report
i think this song is about how he had confused emotions. He was diagnosed bipolar, and lithium is used to treat bipolar disorder. i also interpret the part how he says " Sunday morning, is every day for all i care," he is not a christian or it means nothing to him, since Sunday is sabbath day and christians go to church on Sunday"light my candles, in a glaze cause i found god" he is refering to how religion can cause people to become blind to worldly problems and are to focused on their religion and closed minded. Mainly through out the song he is mixing his emotions to happiness, sadness, anger, and sexual, and he is confused which is what bipolar people experience.
anonymous May 28th 2011 report
i dont know what the lyrics means but i think it talks about kurts life as a child because he lived with a religious family in one point of his life so he says (Sunday morning is everyday for all I care ) because they used to prey every day and not just on sundays and then he talks about his sins so and at the chorus he doesnt want to crack and give him self away to depression although he carries alot of emotions that goes between happiness and sadness (i like you.... happiness , i kill you ... sadness that carries alot of hate .
but am just 16 so i cant tell what he really meant but still nirvana rules :D:D
signed by :: reem :D
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