What does Slow Cheetah mean?

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Slow Cheetah Meaning

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Album cover for Slow Cheetah album cover

Slow Cheetah Lyrics

Waking up dead inside of my head
Will never never do there is no med
No medicine to take

I've had a chance to be insane
Asylum from the falling rain
I've had a chance to break

It's so bad it's got to be good
Mysterious girl...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Mar 30th 2010 !⃝

    don't read too far into this one, the message is simple. Love doesn't need to be blunt to be powerful, and vague expression is uniquely attractive. The cheetah is the lover. The cheetah is slow to act but it is still a cheetah. By this virtue, the recipient recognizes the power and is also enticed by it, regardless of status quo interpretations of what love may be.


    #2 top rated interpretation:
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    May 29th 2006 !⃝

    Slow Cheetah is by far one of the best songs on Stadium Arcadium. Alone, the title itself represents a paradox, which is clearly obvious.
    He begins narrating himself and refers to his drug use as are found in many other of their songs. "Waking up dead" is another paradox but it is easier to translate because it explains his pathologic activity. Perhaps the reason he cannot think is because of his drug use or other reasons. In the second line, "there is no med" at first, represents medication however, another meaning could be medium; meaning that there no rationale in his head. This introduces extremist idealogy which is harder to interpret.
    His "chance to be insane" was his chance to be madly in love with the girl described later on. Love is complicated in itself and has many interpretations so this is irrelevant to the content which I am interpreting.
    "Mysterious girl misunderstood, dressed like a wedding cake" portrays a metaphor symbolizing the stereotypical bride. The chili peppers want to show the listener that everyone has their own style and it is further upon them to make themselves understood in a society that has so much say and never hesitate. Also, when they tell the girl that she will never look like the woman on the magazine is another link to this subject. Magazines such as Cosmo influence self-conscious women about their bodies, sexual desires, and overall beliefs. How can a woman really know her name if she didn't give it to her herself?
    Slow Cheetah is an escatic imagery in itself. Cheetahs are the fastest animals on earth but in this scenario, the cheetah is conserving its energy. The cheetah symbolizes the love between the two. They can go fast, fall in love, get married, etc. but why do it if you know it is going to happen? Why not justify the reasons and explanations for such karma? The Slow Cheetah also comes to the forest, most likely curious. Perhaps it's about the cautiousness in the love and direction they are going.
    Finally, this song is trying to get the message out that; even if you have the power to do whatever it is you can do, ask yourself why you are doing what is you can do? A cheetah is fast, but is always has many other unique characteristics. The woman must not listen to the noise and become that woman on the magazine cover. Rather she should change her job, hair, location, etc. and interpret her own dreams and actions.


    #3 top rated interpretation:
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    Oct 4th 2009 !⃝

    I think it is a interpetion of what people want to be or expect to be thats why he uses slow cheethah because everyone thinks cheethas are fast. people think they are cheethas and hold up to the expection of being fast. he means what you are meant to be or what you want will come maybe not the way you expected or when you expected it but it will come. the thouhgt and anxienty of wanting it to come can make a person break but there is no meds to take for it. so what someone loves, wants, or what ever their heart desire will come but maybe not fast like every one thinks!

  4. anonymous
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    May 11th 2020 !⃝

    It is a metahforic meaning! Slow cheetah = speed balls = cocain+heroin = Serotonin + Dopamin! It makes you feel quick and slow at the same time! Cheetah is a quick animal (cocain make you feel euphoric and alert) but heroin make you feel relax, slow

  5. anonymous
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    Dec 1st 2019 !⃝

    The overall meaning of the song is about how the Peppers have changed. Their style in albums The Red Hot Chili Peppers-One Hot Minute, compared to the styles in Stadium Arcadium and The Getaway. They were all really fast in playing the music and now they've slowed down. Also one of Flea's favorite things to do.. Slow down.

  6. anonymous
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    Mar 19th 2019 !⃝

    No guys "Slow cheetah come Before my forest Looks like it’s on today".
    Cheetah refers the color skin of the animal which is similar a heroin color, that is, she is seeing the heroine(cheetah) come out of the syringe and entering her (forest) veins

  7. grayson
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    Nov 16th 2017 !⃝

    it's about a Cheetah who is not fast

  8. anonymous
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    Mar 16th 2017 !⃝

    Slow Cheetah is about drug usage. The slow means how heroine make you feel the cheetah refers to how fast it hits you. So when he is talking about the forest. It refers to his veins!!

  9. anonymous
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    Jun 9th 2016 !⃝

    This song is about his use of drugs.

    "Waking up dead inside of my head, will never never do, there is no med, no medicine to take"

    This part can mean multiple things, but the one I think makes the most sense is that after using drugs, he wakes up the next day wishing he hadn't done it. There is no true "cure" to a drug user's urges.

    "I've had a chance to be insane, asylum from the falling rain, I've had a chance to break"

    This part is about breaking away from society's norm. Him having a chance to be insane and break away is about just that. "Asylum from the falling rain" means that if he broke away, he would not have to deal with the judgment and criticism of the norm. The falling rain is the judgment and criticism.

    "It's so bad, it's got to be good, mysterious girl misunderstood, dressed like a wedding cake"

    Drugs are bad for your health, but the user feels good while using them. The mysterious girl is the drugs, because girl is a street term for heroin. They are dressed like a wedding cake - meaning it may look good, but it is not.

    "Any other day and I might play a funeral march for Bonnie Brae, why try to run away"

    Any other day he may have gone down to the street of Bonnie Brae to purchase drugs. He calls it a funeral march because of what the drugs do to his body. Why try to run away means he is giving in to the addiction.

    "Slow cheetah come before my forest, looks like it's on today.
    Slow cheetah come, it's so euphoric, no matter what they say"

    Again this has many meaning. Slow cheetah can mean speed balling (cocaine, fast, heroin, slow), breaking away from society's norm again (slow cheetah is extremely paradoxical), death (Native Americans believed the cheetah is a constant predator: it chases you from when you are born and eventually catches up and kills you), the drugs themselves (the euphoria induced when using drugs), or marriage (taking it slow and not rushing in).

    "I know a girl, she worked in a store, she knew not what her life was for. She barely knew her name"

    This references his old lover, who worked in a store. She was unsure of what to do in her life, and hadn't really been making a name for herself, just living a cookie-cutter life.

    "They tried to tell her she would never be as happy as the girl in the magazine. She bought it with her pay"

    Society told her she needed to be like women in magazines, beautiful, but fake. She bought it with her pay means she gave in and followed the mold and that she believed what those people said.


    "Walking on down to the burial ground, it's a very old dance with a merry old sound. Looks like it's on today. (Chorus 2x)"

    The burial ground meaning is similar to that of him making a funeral march to Bonnie Brae, heading toward his grave due to drugs. Unfortunately I am unsure of the merry old dance.

  10. anonymous
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    Jan 7th 2015 !⃝

    Slow cheetah imho represents an addicts reflection on waking up in withdrawal, and the deep desire to justify mixing cocaine with heroin, thr heroin being the slow, the cocaine of course the cheetah.
    A euphoric combination despite its inherent dangers. So bad its good. I won't expand, except say I agree with many interpretations on many levels. And this literal meaning of slow cheetah is no stretch. But of course, like any real art, poetry, meaning extends outward, in this case from the literal to symbolic icons from within the psyche. Ultimately, true art extends beyond that into thr realm of each observer, giving the piece unique meaning to the individual. Good work folks.

  11. anonymous
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    Jun 20th 2014 !⃝

    I think, this song refers to somebody, who doesn't realize his real potential („slow cheetah“, metaphor for somebody who is wild and fast by nature, but acts slow to please the society). This person is too much fixated on what people say and on the external world, and tries desperately to fit in a society, which has close-minded opinions. This person listens to people, who say „you will never be as happy as...“ and lets other people define his/her identity („she barely knew her name“), instead of following his/her own intuition. Because she isn't happy deep in the heart, she tries to fill the emptiness with superficial, material things („she bought it with her pay“). Against these feelings of emptiness and loneliness, there is no med. Drugs can stun these feelings for a while, but there is always an awakening („waking up dead inside my head“).

    The speaker himself says, he "had a chance to be insane“, means, he had a justification to not have to fit in the society, to be different. From people who are mentally ill, it isn't expected that they fulfill the demands of society, so he had „asylum from the falling rain“ and therefore some kind of freedom. For him, it was possible to regain his freedom („I had a chance to break“), to grow in confidence, to eventually swear off drugs and to find true happiness. In contrast to the girl from the store, who doesn't have the courage to change her life and to be herself. The inner conflict of living a lie and the related incoherence and discrepancy between what somebody is and what he/she pretends to be, comes out in the last verse, where a merry old song is played on the burial ground. Putting a good face on the matter because it is wished-for and not to live out true emotions, is the real tragedy. This song is great because it plays ingeniously with oxymorons and contraries. The oxymoron symbolizes the disunity inside of a person.

  12. anonymous
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    May 10th 2014 !⃝

    This song is about drugs... probably. Idk

  13. anonymous
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    Dec 22nd 2011 !⃝

    For me this a very bitter song about suicide.

  14. anonymous
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    Jun 12th 2011 !⃝

    I think its about being what you're not supposed to be. A cheetah is supposed to be fast, right? They're talking about a slow cheetah. That's how I see it.

  15. anonymous
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    Feb 8th 2011 !⃝

    Slow Cheetah is death.
    Slow cheetah come before my forest
    Looks like it's on today
    Slow cheetah come it's so euphoric
    no matter what they say

  16. anonymous
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    Nov 3rd 2010 !⃝

    This song is about how cheetahs eat anything they want and can also climb trees

  17. misha1234567890
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    Oct 15th 2010 !⃝

    All you people have so much to say, you just talk, talk, talk your lives away. Just shut up and let the song be meant to who or whom created it. Nobody really knows...

  18. anonymous
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    Jan 28th 2010 !⃝

    i really think the title explains it all...i know that's been said a few times below. obviously, cheetahs are quick to act, and i think this song is all about approaching life some degree of reservation. there are several lines that make social commentaries throughout the verses; i think anthony is cautioning against living life with the thougtlessness and reckless abandon he sees around him. it's kinda cool because this seems to be a lesson you learn later in life, and it's almost as he's looking back at his past, warning a younger version of himself. that may be a little bit deeper than his real purpose in writing this, but that's how it resonates with me. i think it's an amazing tune altogether...probably one of my top 10 favorites...and you don't often hear songs written about this subject.

    i also like the interpretation about cats being slow to catch their food. ha!

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