What does Once in a Lifetime mean?

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Talking Heads: Once in a Lifetime Meaning

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Song Released: 1981


Once in a Lifetime Lyrics

You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
You may find yourself in another part of the world
You may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
You may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
You may ask...

  1. anonymous
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    Oct 27th 2020 report

    Sometimes we live in near autopilot and dont fully comprehend how our actions lead to our destinations.
    Every action has a reaction and a result.

  2. anonymous
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    Jan 9th 2020 report

    A man has many possessions he's Rich he has a beautiful wife and beautiful car a very good life and yet he ruined it all by the things he did he did drugs he cheated on his wife he lost all of his money then he looks back and he goes oh my god what have I done he's drowning in the sorrow and misery of his miserable life that he now lives he lost everything I know this happened to me my husband did this to me he had a beautiful wife brand new cars a beautiful home and he blew it he said that this song made him think of his life he died nine months ago broke and lost everything this song describes our life together then apart

  3. anonymous
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    Nov 30th 2019 report

    When I replace 'water' with black/illegal/slave money the song suddenly makes more sense as a complete story to me.

    About a guy who has it all... then when time goes by he loses it all (into the blue again) and gets corrupt (underground water) and makes money again, but dodgy money and then he loses that again but then he is caught in the vicious circle of illegality - same as it ever was.

    So to me it's a song about someone who ended up in the wheel of corruptions and doesn't see a way out.

  4. kooljohn176
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    Mar 8th 2016 report

    Finding and recycling ourselves out of disillusionment to wash away our illusions methaphorically, asking ''how and why'' they came to mean and be that way to influence our position in life, where the man lost his Wife, home and material possessions to become an outcast. Unfortunately only after he[we] having to make and reel his[our] American dream, but within time many of us became disillusioned at least ''ONCE IN A LIFETIME'' that affected our identity we developed by the cult of illusions,lies and divisions of many kinds in our democratic culture. For example, many of us believed for to long that a man went and walked on the moon in 69 as a grand illusion that made many of us feel like Neitzche's Superman without the proper discipline that flew to high to still believe anything was possible, Until reality hit him[us] with a beautiful house,Wife,kids,job[s],money,religion,politics,gambling or whatever we got ourselves in by the decisions we foolishly made with them that gradually left many of us way down in the left and right field bleachers. Losing our middle ground and family life drifting to be taken under by the deep current waters that eventually recycled us to resurface to the top of being blue and broke again, but without a wife and money. Now becoming philosophical, asking ourselves questions to how in the hell we got to this point in our life when people's idea's in society became to chaotic to listen and follow that just didn't make sense anymore. Now looking to take responsibility, not to be in denial about learning the truth if ever possible by asking ''MY GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE'' to my[our] life that needs to still stay high above water and to look beyond the ''same as it ever was'' and start over .

  5. anonymous
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    Jul 6th 2011 report

    Today, this is what I think it means: We (human beings) take the acquisition of material possessions so seriously that it becomes what we work for. Meanwhile, time continues to pass and, one day, we realize that we have just worked solely to obtain these things and neglected to enjoy our lives. If we do this, the material things become our definition of who we are. What happens, then, if these things are lost? We no longer have the identity that we have blindly created by collecting "things" and we don’t know who we really are.



    The water flowing is the passage of time, which is the constant. We get one chance to make life meaningful so we must be smart about it, examine our choices and decide what will bring us real joy and contentment. If we continue doing what we think is expected of us in this life, without examining our choices, we may miss the things, people, events that would have really brought our life meaning.



    If you ask me this again in six months, I will probably say something a little bit different. Today, this makes perfect sense to me. God bless David Byrnes’ heart :)


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