What does Paper Tigers mean?

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Owl City: Paper Tigers Meaning

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Paper Tigers Lyrics

Well I’ve been huddled up alone
By the fire even though
I’m not exactly feeling cold

And I’ve been bundled up for days
Too confused to be amazed
At all the icy water in my veins

Why do I feel so alone?
Yeah I’ve been moving in and...

  1. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Feb 21st 2018 report

    I believe this is a song about a breakup.

    Well I've been huddled up alone
    By the fire even though
    I'm not exactly feeling cold
    He's trying to regain a sense of normalcy and doesn't really know what to do with himself.

    I've been bundled up for days
    Too confused to be amazed
    At all the icy water in my veins
    He hasn't done much since the breakup

    Why do I feel so alone?
    He's single and feels like a part of him is missing.

    Yeah I've been moving in and out
    Of this old split level house
    But I'd just as soon burn the whole place down
    He feels lonely in his house all by himself. Things around there remind him of his ex

    Cause I quit working lumberyards
    To build a mansion out of cards
    But I feel so thin behind these paper walls
    He quit something steady to do something risky (music business). He's built himself up (lives in a big house and is famous) but he still feels empty.

    'Cause the angriest bark is always worse than the bite
    Maybe when the breakup occurred, they had a fight, and insults were exchanged. Things said in their anger hurt even more than the breakup and her leaving.

    Like the ache in my chest my heart didn't invite
    He didn't realize it would hurt like this

    'Cause if the prettiest romance isn't perfectly right
    Then every love lost is a holiday every night
    If all relationships have flaws, then why bother? He might as well be better off single

    Well I've been painting through the night
    In the basement out of sight
    Brushing paper tigers black and white
    He's been trying to do things to occupy his time. He tries to simplify the complex issues. Paper tigers are a metaphor for a tough exterior but weaker interior. These represent complex issues. Brushing them black and white represents trying to simplify his problems.

    'Cause come tomorrow afternoon
    I'll fill a helium balloon
    And set them free into the baby blue sky
    He'll let go of his problems

    So they won't have to be alone
    Taking the paper tigers as literal in this line, he doesn't want anything else to feel his loneliness. In a way, he is saying he wishes he were like the paper tigers and not alone

    But when I close these heavy lids after dark
    Each sweet dream is a target
    And all my shots are so consistently wide of the mark
    He is unable to sleep because of nightmares. These are most likely caused by his breakup. This could also represent that he believes he makes bad decisions in picking partners, as he's always wide of the mark. The dream could represent a dream relationship.

    But how my heartache hit the trail
    When a paper tiger tail
    Fluttered down, I guess I'll never know
    A part of his past problems came back to haunt him, but they now seemed insignificant to him. He felt better, because he saw his problems in a different light. He felt that they could be tackled and that his heartache and loneliness were temporary. This could also be that he saw a reminder of something positive in his sadness (painting paper tigers) which made him feel better.

    This is all my interpretation. Who knows, he could've had something totally different in mind

  2. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Aug 25th 2013 report

    This song is about someone who's been alone for a long time, either physically or emotionally, and he feels lonely and unappreciated. It's gotten to the point where he's starting to hurt others without realizing it. (too confused to be amazed at all he icy water in my veins)
    He's having problems deciding what to do with his life, and is considering just starting again from scratch. (just as soon burn the whole place down) Even with his desire to be noticed and appreciated, he'd much rather do or be something that he wants rather than what society wants him to do or be. (I quit working lumber yards to build a mansion out of cards)
    He attempts to convince himself that things will turn out all right, and if relationships don't work out, then new ones will form. (‘Cause the angriest bark is always worse than the bite
    Like the ache in my chest that my heart didn’t invite
    But if the prettiest romance isn’t perfectly right
    That makes every love lost just a holiday every night)
    He makes a last-ditch attempt at getting people to notice his efforts,(painting through the night, paper tigers, black and white) yet doesn't expect anything to go differently then it already has. (each sweet dream is a target, and my shots are so consistently wide of the mark)Then maybe he sees his name in print, or something else happens that finally acknowledges all the hard work he's done, and he starts to believe what he's been trying to convince himself for so long: Things just might turn out ok.

  3. anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Mar 6th 2013 report

    This song was written and released in 2012 sung by adam young.


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