What does Run mean?

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Snow Patrol: Run Meaning

Tagged: Loss [suggest]

Run Lyrics

I'll sing it one last time for you
Then we really have to go
You've been the only thing that's right
In all I've done

And I can barely look at you
But every single time I do
I know we'll make it anywhere
Away from here

Light up, light...


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    Aug 13th, 2008 8:29pm report

    I love this song and think it is about losing, or the fear of losing, someone you really love. No matter what the reason. I believe the singer is encouraging that person to carry-on even if they aren't together. I heard this same song sung by a female vocalist, it really seemed to take on the meaning of loving someone despite an impossible relationship.

    Lead singer Gary Lightbody said of the song in Q Magazine April 2007: "I've never told anyone before and I don't want to spoil it for people because it has its own meaning for them. But in 2000 I was on a massive bender and one night I was drinking in the bar of the Glasgow School Of Art. I fell down a full flight of stairs. Jonny Quinn (Snow Patrol's drummer) found me in the stairwell with blood coming out of my head. He said I looked like a police chalk line and he thought I was dead.

    I was very lucky. A fall like that could easily finish you off. I split my head open and my eye was closed and I lost a few teeth. I was put on a plane to see my mum and dad and they were terrified when they saw me. I wrote Run soon after...The words 'Light up, light up' gave this sense of a beacon. There had to be a light at the end of a tunnel."


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    Nov 22nd, 2008 11:29am report

    Its about escaping the harsh reality of losing someone to death probably, hence the title 'Run'. The speaker does so by entering into a state of hopeless encouragement (hmm...ironic) by telling the other party to 'light up, light up' and to be 'louder, louder'. However, admist this self-delusion, the speaker is aware of the unescapable fate that lies beneath, as seen from the phrases 'as if you have a choice', 'i understand why you can't raise your voice to say'. Therefore, all the speaker can do is to run and flee from the hopeless situation by deluding herself with false encouragement.


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    Oct 15th, 2007 10:29pm report

    My nephew just died of cancer at 15 years old, he loves this song and now we know why... He was is so much pain, but didn't lead on to anyone that he was suffering inside.
    We love him and miss him dearly!!


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    Jan 21st, 2015 1:03pm report

    I believe it's about a family that are struggling with a life changing situation, I.e. a member with a terminal illness. The family are solid and trying their best to cope, but keep coming up against obstacles and 'light up light up' is to keep hope flowing, even when the family member feels all hope is gone. Basically it's a metaphor for a family facing difficult times and wanting to encourage the will to keep fighting, even when times are low, and at the same time the other family members are wishing they could just all run to a place where the illness doesn't exist and that they are all together, healthy and well, just like they were once before.


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    Nov 29th, 2014 11:16pm report

    My son has cystic fibrosis and this last year has been horrific. I believe for me that this song is about a mother looking at her son during really difficult times, he's been the best thing she's ever done, she still lives in hope that things will turn around hence the 'light up light up' she wants there to be a light at the end of a tunnel. Things get so bad at times she just wants to pick up her whole family and run, run to a place wher CF doesn't exist and her family is safe from illness and fear of loss. The words 'even when you cannot hear my voice' are the times she tries to reassure her son that things are going to get better, but he doesn't want to hear that because he sees no change despite all his treatment.bathos song makes me cry no matter who sings it! It just touches me so much xxxx


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    Nov 21st, 2014 11:24am report

    I want to ask whether the meaning of this song about the breakup couple or to his scandal who cannot be with him because he already have girlfriend.


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    Aug 16th, 2014 8:06pm report

    I believe this song is about a person in a coma from the point of view of a friend. Even if you can not hear my voice would be because they are in a coma and cant hear. Light up would be to wake up. By possibly not being able to see those eyes would be because they might not wake up from the coma.


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    Dec 16th, 2013 12:28pm report

    I see this as a long running relationship that just isn't working despite a lot of love between the two people involved. Eventually this goodbye that has taken years to finally end is upon them.

    I'll be right beside you dear- I will never stop loving you. If we could escape whatevery reality that stands between us, we would make it, but for whatever reason it just isn't possible for these two people to escape, maybe there are other people involved that make it not the right thing to do.

    So life has to go on, it is an epic goodbye, clinging to one another is ruining their lives, so they will run for their lives and it will be ok.

    A song about real love, love that cannot work at that time and the only right thing to do is to say goodbye.


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    Oct 30th, 2013 10:44am report

    I think this song is about drugs and the dark reality of addiction. Also in my opinion some of the other songs by this band relate to this. Specially the song "finish line" describes a hit of heroin into some one and the euphoria that follows right from the start of the song. And the song 'how to be dead' relates to drugs as well. I have to say almost all their songs can be interpreted ones state of mind. Having said that I think most of their songs can be taken as songs of drug abuse.


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    Jun 15th, 2013 6:27am report

    I personally agree that this song is about someone losing their loved ones. That even if s/he are no longer with them, but they'll always be by their side in spirit.


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    Nov 7th, 2012 11:42pm report

    This song makes the most sense to me when I picture two lovers in a hospital room. One lover is in grave condition and is monitored by medical equipment. At times, the lover looks to the equipment in hope of a sign of life. I think the words of “light up” and “louder” is the bedside lover pleading to the equipment to provide that signal. And then as reality returns to the bedside lover, she seems to understand the futility of the situation and offers words to her lover providing understanding and love.


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    May 15th, 2012 5:20am report

    me and my boyfriend are in a certain circumstance where we have to keep saying goodbye to each other but eventually we will be together. I relate and interpret this song as two lovers who have to keep saying goodbye but eventually will reunite.

    "Light up, light up
    As if you have a choice
    Even if you cannot hear my voice
    I'll be right beside you dear"

    "Louder louder
    And we'll run for our lives
    I can hardly speak I understand
    Why you can't raise your voice to say

    To think I might not see those eyes
    Makes it so hard not to cry
    And as we say our long goodbye
    I nearly do"

    This is when we are at the airport saying our long goodbyes each time, we hold back our tears even when they nearly fall..


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    May 1st, 2012 5:22pm report

    This song strikes me as a couple trying to break from the grip of drug addiction together. It is told from the point of view of one member of the couple, possibly the stronger of the two.

    I think they have made a pact to light up one last time together:
    I'll sing it one last time for you
    Then we really have to go
    You've been the only thing that's right
    In all I've done

    The narrator is afraid that one or the other -- or even both -- may not be able to recover and possibly die in the effort. S/he also fears the relationship will not survive even if both are successful in their recovery. These lines seem to speak to this conflict:

    And I can barely look at you
    But every single time I do
    I know we'll make it anywhere
    Away from here

    The fear of losing one another prompts panic. Should they literally run away to another place? Or should they travel deeper together into their drug-induced world to keep the pain of the world and other threats to their relationship at bay?

    Louder, louder
    And we'll run for our lives
    I can hardly speak and understand
    Why you can't raise your voice to say

    The next lines seem to have a double meaning: I’ll miss using drugs with you (the way his/her eyes look when they get high); and I’ll miss you if I lose you either to drugs or because we can’t stay together:

    To think I might not see those eyes
    Makes it so hard not to cry
    And as we say our long goodbye
    I nearly do

    Maybe there is a way we can find peace and happiness without using:

    Slower, slower
    We don't have time for that
    All I want is to find an easier way
    To get out of our little heads

    And finally, this process (withdrawal) will not be easy, but getting to this point and all that it has cost us wasn’t easy either:

    Have heart my dear
    We're bound to be afraid
    Even if it's just for a few days
    Making up for all this mess


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    Mar 7th, 2012 3:50pm report

    I apologize if this goes long.

    I wanted to understand the meaning behind this song, where every word made sense. I did a bit of research and picked up a few pieces of the puzzle. (*below are just excerpts)

    From Q Magazine April 2007 -

    “...in 2000 I was on a massive bender…"

    From Gary’s Wikipedia -

    "In the early days, Lightbody used to drink very heavily, and in his words, was "irrational, erratic, neurotic". Snow Patrol's lack of financial success had gotten him frustrated, and he felt lost and aimless. He started to swear at the audience and break the band equipment. He found himself breaking guitars they could not afford. This phase ran for two years. He later gave up drinking and now does it "for fun" and credits his band mates for the turnaround."

    "Lightbody's lyrics typically deal with the topic of love.”

    " His lyrics often criticize himself.”

    "Lightbody has been in many doomed relationships, and he blames their failure on only himself, considering himself "rubbish with women". He attributes the failure partly to him "never being in the same place for very long", and admits that at times he's been hopelessly in love.”

    So… Gary began writing the song in 2000, after his fall.

    Prior to that, I THINK he was pretty much drinking himself away to escape the harsh reality of:
    1) the band’s lack of success, despite having two albums praised by critics, and
    2) not yet being able to overcome the pain of letting go of a very special person.

    This song, I believe, is about him & that person. I’m sensing that the situation was not right for them to be together but they did. Seems like both realized quickly that their being together will cause nothing but a huge mess.

    The verses are self-explanatory, but the choruses give the sense of the unwillingness and difficulty from both parties to end the relationship, but they eventually do.


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    Feb 27th, 2012 2:06am report

    I've absolutely loved this song for awhile now, yet, the words have always puzzled me..which is what led me to this site. When I heard it the first time ever, It brought me to tears..but in a very touching and pleasant way. I've just always believed that throughout he was talking about how Sure, they're relationship goes though hardships, like everyone elses do but he's still madly in love with her and the way she ''Lights up''..idk. Its one of my favorites but I like to think of it in a very joyous light(:


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    Dec 23rd, 2011 12:58pm report

    So many thoughtful and creative responses...This is the mark of genuinely poetic lyrics. I think, despite Lightbody's direct references to his 'original intent', his conscious intentions--like those of any good writer in the capture of muse--is only partly in authorial control of his meaning; the more so when the lyrics are as impressionistic (almost dreamlike) as these.

    Indeed, when Gary says, "The words 'Light up, light up' gave this sense of a beacon. There had to be a light at the end of a tunnel..." his seems to be the least insightful look into the meaning of that particular passage. (And it is also not unusual for writers to be somewhat obtuse--often deliberately--when asked about the meaning of their work...) The words 'light up, light up' are directly undermined as any sort of uncomplicated beacon of hope by the immediately following line 'as if you had a choice'. Some have with tremendous sensitivity have referred to the brave faces we put on in the face of the impending death of a loved one. Others have referred to compulsion of addiction. Most have associated it with some sort of attempt at making the best out of a dire reality, and this seems to me to be the most clear emotional impression conveyed by the chorus.

    In my mind, impressionistic lyrics have to be approached impressionistically; that is to say, regardless of the very personal and perhaps specific images and meanings that a song may conjure in our imaginations, if we seek to divine an actual interpretation of such a lyric without doing harm to it (or torturing it into a literalism that is clearly contradicted by its lack of literal, descriptive or narrative passages) then we should probably avoid pinning the words and phrases given to overly precise references.

    Having said that, almost all of the personal interpretations offered here seem to capture ideas and situations that speak with great insight to the overall emotion of the lyrics and melody. About the only interpretations offered among those posted (at least of the ones I've read) the only ones I cannot wrap my head around are those that see the song as ultimately hopeful (in the sense of uplifting). Doomed hopefulness, perhaps (as in 'eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow...') but I cannot take the words and tune together and somehow hear a Hallmark greeting or Sousa march out of the song, or even an R Kelly "I believe I can fly' type of uplift.

    I find it hard to listen to the song without feeling a strong sense of heartbreak (so strong I have a hard time not choking up even after hearing it dozens of times).

    I think its hard not to make some associations to drug addiction or some kind of long-running, tragic relationship; there is for me a sense that we may be listening in on an exchange between partners (at least two, perhaps a family)who are coping with the end stages of long suffering.

    Consider the context Gary L. tells us set the stage for writing: a long 'bender' ending in suffering and fear.

    So many images, impressions, references--some personal, some cultural--fly about in the mind of a writer when pulling together words that will provoke or evoke emotions and sympathetic echoes in the minds of a listener.

    "...I know we'll make it anywhere/Away from here...Louder louder/And we'll run for our lives...Have heart my dear/We're bound to be afraid...Making up for all this mess..."

    These are beautiful and tragic phrases. If one is in a certain frame of mind, you can well conjure the sense of all of life being so tragic: No matter how far or fast we run, no one ever gets out alive or even unharmed. Just to carry on each day, all of us have to figure out how to 'Light up' and we have to act 'as if we have a choice'; we do not--we must light up (whether thru brave cheer or thru synthetic artifice) to cast out that darkness that would swallow us if we were to allow ourselves to be conscious of hurt and end we all must face.

    And to go through this world with a partner--a lover, a friend, a family--is to both have someone with whom to briefly create some small moments of joy (evanescent though such joys must be)and to have someone whom we will ultimately lose--sometimes later, only at the end; sometimes sooner than we are ready for, or perhaps sooner than they are ready for:

    "To think I might not see those eyes
    Makes it so hard not to cry
    And as we say our long goodbye
    I nearly do..."

    And to share this life with someone is also to be intimately connected and caring of someone whom we also know must suffer what life inevitably deals all of us--and we often can do little more than helplessly witness that suffering with little more to offer than small attempts at comforting--a little lullaby, perhaps, to ease the troubled sleep of our beloved:

    "I'll sing it one last time for you
    Then we really have to go.."

    This is a tremendous song and what makes tremendous songs tremendous is how many chords they set vibrating in us, some immediately in mind, some deep down beyond our ability to consciously name.

    For me this is a song that touches the deepest chords of the heroic tragedy that, underneath it all, is life in the world.

    And all we can do with all of it is to Run.


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    Jun 10th, 2011 6:54am report

    To me, this song is about saying goodbye to someone you love because of tragic or unjust circumstances. I just parted ways with a guy that happens to be in the Army due to the fact that he's being posted away for the next few years. How much we care for each other and want to be together was of no consequence. I listened to this song today and it brought me to tears because it felt like he was talking to me. A very touching and tragic song.


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    May 12th, 2011 5:42pm report

    I feel like it's my best friend(he committed suicide last August). I feel that he's talking to me, telling me that he misses me and I just can't help but cry everytime this song comes on.

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