What does If It Makes You Happy mean?

Sheryl Crow: If It Makes You Happy Meaning

Album cover for If It Makes You Happy album cover

Song Released: 1996

If It Makes You Happy Lyrics

I've been long, a long way from here …
put on a poncho - played for mosquitoes,
and drank till I was thirsty again
we went searchin’ through thrift-store jungles
found geronimo's rifle, marilyn's shampoo
and benny goodman's corset and pen...

  1. anonymous
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    Jun 3rd 2021 !⃝

    I do know that where she grew up she did play for mosquitoes if she went outside at night in the summer and played her guitar. You would have to know the area in order to understand what I am talking about. I used to go outside at night in long sleeve in the summer to strum. I live about 20 miles from where she grew up.

  2. anonymous
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    Oct 22nd 2020 !⃝

    It’s being in love with someone who says they want you but nothing you do is good enough and you know the reason they are pretending it’s you making them miserable when they really are the sad one because of their own behavior or brokenness. Like I could hang the moon for him and he would say yeah thanks but it’s crooked

  3. anonymous
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    Apr 19th 2018 !⃝

    She was on a late night talk show and when asked to perform a song ,she chose her newest hit single,"If it makes you happy".Everyone then applauded whistled etc.then was asked to tell a little about the song before she took stage.
    She stated about how many people condemn what other people do in their lives basically looking down upon them judging what's right / wrong etc."For me she said this was about my first time experiencing anal sex, it was an emotional thing for me but I loved it! there was no Right or wrong"
    To my astonishment along with others everything got quiet for about 2-3 seconds
    Then the audience clapped.Sheryl Crowe everybody she got up and started singing......
    Wow....I thought.

    Frank from Phx

  4. anonymous
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    Feb 3rd 2018 !⃝

    I have a different interpretation
    I believe that she is declaring the power that people now have to choose to be happy and if they feel sad they need to look at the ways that society/ religion mores norms have judged people negatively

    for doing and being all kinds of things
    getting high
    being LSBT
    being hetero or anythjing and enjoying sex when the norms of a society try to guilt trip you for liking certain sex ,from intercourse to masturbation
    in other words Sheryl is trying to give support to those who know they are experiencing hapiness but the society tells them that so and so is bad and the person INTERNALIZES those judgements and so starts to feel conflicted i.e. "sad"
    but Sheryl urges you to reject the self criticism because if you are happy then it can't be that bad
    in contra distinction to what the mores try to dictate, especially religious anti sex stuff for the last several hundred years
    my 2 cents

  5. kooljohn176
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    Mar 20th 2015 !⃝

    Love Sheryl Crow's song about a relationship that got caught in a unhealthy pleasurable wants that are played out acts in their own seperate minds that feels good to both, but becoming more lopsided by the needs of the man, feeling that he is stretched out on the crossroads looking sad for his brains to be picked. Probably 'cause he feels that in ''it'' he is becoming a beast of burden to her in keeping the relationship satisfied at the cost of neglecting his spiritual needs to share with her to be truly in a loving relationship that would make both content to smile, not just happy.

  6. anonymous
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    Dec 7th 2012 !⃝

    I see it as a plea to a friend or partner who is addicted to some kind of substance (probably heroin) the point in the second verse that she'd basically take care of the person in a bad state an then makes a comparison in drug severity with marijuana is a giveaway to me

  7. anonymous
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    Jul 27th 2012 !⃝

    This song is all about drugs and it's effects.
    Nothing more that that, really.

  8. anonymous
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    Feb 3rd 2011 !⃝

    i think this song is talking about her and her exes relationship..
    whe she is says ive been a long long way from here its talking about how she use to be close to him, and she has done all of these things without him..but she really is just pretending to be happy..but she really just wants to be with him. And he has moved on..but he claims that he isnt happy but he continues to stay with his new girlfriend..when it says if it makes you happy then it cant be that bad..because he is happy with his girlfriend but he is still sad being with her...so she is confused..so she is trying to tell him that she might not be perfect..but they could be perfect together.

  9. thomasfly
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    Jun 20th 2009 !⃝

    actually, i take it all back ... i don't think the lyrics to this song are especially impressionistic - although, perhaps, slightly so. the beginning of the song is a little odd, and kind of surreal, but (especially with the admission, "OK - i made this up!") it's really just kind of whimsical (albeit, in a very creative way).

    "A Change would do You Good" - on the other hand - is right up there with "I Am the Walrus" ... although the moods of those 2 songs are nearly polar opposites.

  10. thomasfly
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    Jun 11th 2009 !⃝

    This song is an example of "lyrical impressionism," of which John Lennon was a master, if not the originator of the genre. The most obvious example, by Lennon, was “I Am the Walrus;” others were "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and “Come Together,” while the first such example by Lennon was “Hey Bulldog.”

    From WikiPedia: the "musical impressionism (of the 19th century) focused on suggestion and atmosphere rather than strong emotion or the depiction of a story."

    In the case of popular / rock music, impressionism is characterized by lyrics that “superficially appear to be nonsensical and meaningless – which, in fact, (may) HAVE NO concrete meaning - but which, nonetheless, strongly suggest some kind of meaning … conveying an interpretation and / or feeling subliminally.”

    As a means of creating “atmosphere,” or suggesting meaning, such songs often contain aphorisms – little gems of truth – such as “you … derail your own train - well who hasn't been there before?” here, or “one thing I can tell you is you got to be free,” in “Come Together.”

    Of course, different songs may fit this definition to different degrees, and like beauty, the extent to which song lyrics are “impressionistic” is to some degree in the eyes of the beholder. The examples by Lennon, however, fit a pattern that is difficult for anyone who is not blind to fail to notice.


    It’s worth noting the similarity between Sheryl Crow’s ironic “and drank till I was thirsty again,” in this song, and the “surrealistic logic” of Lennon’s “got to be good-looking 'cause he's so hard to see,” in the Beatles’ “Come Together.”

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