What does Bittersweet Symphony mean?

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The Verve: Bittersweet Symphony Meaning

Tagged: Poverty [suggest]

Song Released: 1997

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Bittersweet Symphony Lyrics

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'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony, this life
Trying to make ends meet
You're a slave to money then you die
I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down
You know the one that takes you to the places
where all the veins meet...


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    Oct 15th, 2009 10:09am report

    This song is about life, the title 'Bittersweet Symphony' refers to the ups and downs of life. The song deffinately has a great sense of irony about it, the lyrics, 'try to make ends meet, your a slave to money till you die' have a message of inevitablitiy about them.

    The song furthers this idea of the inevitability of life with the lyrics, I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down, you know the one that takes you to the places where all of ends meet yeah'. The 'places' in this case are the end of life or the end of the road in the metaphorical sense the song uses.

    The 'Bittersweet' aspect can also be see in the lyrics, the singer often expresses hope citing music as an important factor in this 'I let the melody shine let it clense my mind I feel free now'. However the 'bitter' aspect is always shown straight afterwards 'but the airways are clean and theres nobody singing to me now'.

    Essentially 'Bittersweet Symphony' is about the realisation that all life will end at some point and uses the metaphor of a road to express this.


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    Nov 21st, 2007 11:53pm report

    I don't really agree...The title "bittersweet symphony" already says something about the song...In my eyes it's about how bitter or sweet life can be..I think he also means the irony of life....how things change in one second to another and it's just bittersweet...The title already discovers the whole song...the flow of life...just thinking about life and all its beautiful or desperate moments...It really makes you think about people and their destinies or even your own destiny..


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    Dec 20th, 2011 12:52pm report

    Thank you for giving me this opportunity to express my views anonymously. Creating accounts is a headache. No I shall give you the real meaning of this song.

    Someone said that this song is about life. Yes, this song is in fact about the reality of life. People who want to keep earning more and more money are the obvious slaves; however, so is everybody else. Those with less money have to work two or three lower paying jobs to earn money. So even when you are poor, you are a slave to money because you cannot follow your dreams when all you are doing is trying to survive. Then there is the concept of being "here in my mould". This refers to how dull and uncreative people become when they become adults. People are trained to respect authority and obey. People are so used to taking orders and using little of their own thinking that they cannot break the dull monotony of their lives and so are stuck in their moulds, unable to ever escape. Finally, a young person who tries to break out and lead a good nice, fulfilling and spirited existence despairs as all his attempts to escape the prison fail: he becomes just another cog in the machine : he becomes meat for the grinder. He says, horrified and desperate, as though in a nightmare, "I can't change". This is a song about human beings; they are allowed freedom when they are young; but they are converted into wage-slaves when they are adults. This is your future young boys and girls. Welcome to the nightmare!


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    Mar 25th, 3:29pm report

    How i interpretated this was that you are born into this life & what ever you do it is already written in the stars what you will amount too.

    Trying to make ends meet, you're a slave to the money then you die.
    (This indicates the General Rat race of Survival)

    I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down
    You know the one that takes you to the places where all the veins meet, yeah.

    (This indicates whatever path you take, you will amount to what will be your destiny, aka.Death)

    Most importantly

    Im a million differnt people from one day to the next, i cant my mold no no, no non no

    (Whatever you attempt to do, you inveitably are who you are and theres no changing that fact)



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    Jan 13th, 2019 1:40pm report

    Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve, real explanation is seen at wikipedia.

    For the Ms. who made a latest comment, sorry to hear about your husband.

    Thanks for reminding me that songs means exactly what they say and it happens to people in real life.

    I comment here sometimes and I make comments to some latest comments. But I usually disregard the lyrics and I think about their situation. I don't think about the lyrics, I comment what's happening in their life.

    Hope you are doing well. God Bless.

    - Browsed this site mostly in 2013-2018 (Forgot to mention yesterday). Browsed this site 1/1/19-1/13/19


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    Jan 13th, 2019 1:20am report

    I know it a bit late but this was actually my song at my first dance of my Wedding.

    So I read it exactly as it says. We did make some money and then he did in fact die.

    Sometimes songs mean exactly what they say. Well did for me.


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    Jul 30th, 2018 7:58am report

    I take the interpretation as this, here we have an angry young man,angry at society and himself.slave to the money then you die.He'll show you some of his life that got no further than his local streets that he travels to the end of to find ? His mates, the pub? He makes excuses for himself that he knows no better 'here in my mould'and probably lies alot bout his life to impress 'different face from one day to the next' he's bo church goer but has found himself down on his knees asking God 'cant you see I'm in pain,feel my pain!I know I can change,I can change but I'm cryn out for help.i find this song by the verve so moving that its inspirational because you're left feeling that he does change, life may be bitter, life may be sweet, but 'thats life'


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    Jan 13th, 2018 1:08am report

    I am surprised no body mentioned that this song could be about a collapsed narcissist, their core pain of the loss of narcissistic supply, and desperate. "The airways are clean" (silence), from their victim. " but there is nobody singing to me now"( can't or hasn't found new supply), and to the narcissistic individual it is pure hell, and threatens to expose their lies, usually a grandiosity and fasle self "I can change, but I am here in my mold" (admitting that they are aware of the empty, false self, yet its their super ego who won't let them change and be their true self, because the true self isn't good enough. "I'll take down the only road I've ever been down" ( the road that leaves their victims just as empty as they are, used up, and once depleted, tosses you away like yesterday's newspaper. The other thing that leads me to this conclusion is the character's actions in the video, its obvious that he cares for nobody other than himself(bumping into everyone) doesn't care if hurts anyone. He looks at himself as a victim of life's handed to him, yet the real victims are the ones he is running into on the sidewalk, shows no empathy.


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    Jul 29th, 2015 7:02pm report

    Life is ever changing. Just when you think you've got it made, got things figured out, take that sigh of relief...guess what? LIFE Happens again...and never the way you expect it.
    Learn to go with the ebbs and flows and expect change always.
    Never get too comfortable being just one person in one place.
    Change and live fully. That's the secret to life.
    Remember No One Gets Out Alive.lol


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    Dec 1st, 2014 12:42pm report

    Many people seem to agree this song is about life and some people believe it's also about someone loving even though they know one day they are going to die and only a few of you think it's about living with a disorder mostly bipolar. But has any of you thought this was just a song about the 'Average Joe'?

    In most of my favorite books and movies, the main character is struggling with the bitter sweetness of life but also dealing with the question "Who am I?" For some people the answer is never answered, that the person thinks the he/she is one way when in truth they are extremely different. Now, the question of who you really are is very hard to answer which is normal for some people but other people find it pit from friends or just living life bit the truth is that you aren't who you really are, the world seems to make this veil over your face locking your real personality in while media and the government make a whole new person of you. Don't believe me? Fine. Bit back to the song, when it says, "I'm a million different people from one day to the next" he is really saying that he doesn't know who he is so the world uses that to it's advantage and makes him believe he's one person though he isn't who he thinks he is.

    Another thing in the song is that it talks about money. Even when i was young, I would worry about money, I always thought that if all the money on the world is the same why haven't we gone broke yet? I only thought that because I can never relax and be calm about anything. But you know how rich celebrities do dumb things? They have so much money, they don't know what to do with it so they do the dumb things because they think that since they have so much money, they're better than anyone and so they do just dumb things.

    Also, the song talks about "take you down to the only road I've been down, you know the one that takes you to all the places where all the things meet," it's saying this person has only ever seen pain and suffering and he will show you where he's been and seen and done. One of those things is freedom. No o e has freedom. You are pretty much a prisoner of the social media, instead of learning about what is happening in the world you learn that some celebrity you couldn't care less about is dating some random person. The celebrities are also prisoners, if the press as so much as see you in sweats with you're hair a mess, they're going to get suspicious (like your taking drugs or just broke up with somebody)even though you only wore that because it's your day off and you probably just woke up. Even the news isn't showing about the world bit about celebrities and random people for no reason.

    And if you are cracking joke about I don't blondes or ladies maybe, you'd get trampled by everyone saying that you are a terrible person even though it was just a joke, especially if your a comedian on public tv.

    So in the end, what I'm saying is that this song is about the ups and downs of life, how we're all under media pressure and can't break free and how no one knows who they really are and just know who they want to be and who the government and social media changes you into. Bit like what Freddie Mercury and David Bowie said, "We're breaking Under Pressure."


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    Feb 16th, 2014 2:03am report

    First and formost I do believe this song is about life and the ups and downs that come with it. It seems to me as if he is talking about society in general and about things that he can change and the things he cant and how that limits him. But here he is breaking through and not let life choose his path but he will be in control and do what he can to change the way his life has unfolded. The video is interesting to this as he is continually walking down a long road, as is mentioned in the song, as if he is striving for something and he is determined not let anyone hold him back and he gets so motivated that he barges people out the way to keep heading straight down the road. He does not react to anybody's anger because in theory, what will that argument change? because everyone will end at the end of the road, death. So why waste time thinking about what others think about you, because it shouldn't matter and does not define who you are. Brilliant tune and video to match. A lesson that life will always have its ups and downs but nothing can change that and in the meantime its what you can do in your ability to change and make that journey to the end of the road a happy one.


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    Nov 13th, 2013 11:45pm report

    How I interpret "I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down. You know the one that takes you to the places where all the veins meet" like this:

    The place where all the veins meet is the heart, for all blood circulates through it! So, the only road that the singer has ever been down is the one that leads to his heart.

    One reason why I've interpreted it like this is because in the video, the singer seems really independent and determined. He runs into people and does not stop. He continues to walk despite other people's reactions.


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    Aug 27th, 2013 8:20pm report

    its about freedom-the yearning for. the author of the lyrics seems like he believes he is stuck in some kind of trap or mold he cant break out of. he wants to change. he wants to break out of the mold and be free but like everyone else hes forced to struggle to get money just so he can survive and then you die. along the way there are glimpses of freedom-sweetness but also times when you just feel trapped with no way out-bitterness. what he doesn't realize is that freedom is all in the mind anyway so if you are happy in life and are living your true purpose then you are free and there will be more sweet moments than bitter ones. besides, we are all immortal anyway so its not like we only get the one life. we all have many lives head of us so cheer up!


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    Jul 16th, 2013 7:26pm report

    This song obviously means many different things to different people. Having an ex that suffers bipolar disorder, the song to me sounds as though the individual may have a mental illness. "I can't change, I can't change, I'm a million different people from one day to the next". "The only road I've ever been down". Just my humble opinion.


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    Mar 31st, 2013 3:05am report

    I think the video clip really says more than the lyrics do, as funny as it sounds. The man is just going down the pavement, not moving for anyone, obviously not caring about other people: It really means no matter what you do in life if you just carry on no one will care, we spend 90% of our lives caring about other people's opinions and their thoughts and opinions on us, but in the end, what will it matter? If you just go through life not giving a shit no one will do anything, people are highly intelligent and self conscious and are highly aware of your behaviour, it doesn't mean they'll do anything to you. Why waste your life caring so much when you don't need to. Caring about money, living, people, love. If in the end, life will stop for you, and it will all end up the same either way and the experience will be somewhat different of course, but who's to say it will be better or worse? This is my interpretation and it's probably way off to some people, so feel free to say what you think! :)


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    Mar 16th, 2013 3:40pm report

    Things only occurs once in the video version. But it is things, not veins.


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    Mar 15th, 2013 3:55am report

    Not about heroin, sorry dudes. The word "veins" does not occur in this song at all. It's "things", not "veins". The lyric in both identical (ie repeated) verses is:
    "I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down
    You know the one that takes you to the places
    where all the THINGS meet..."
    Both times. Listen to the song.
    Really helps with the interpretation to get the lyrics right.
    So would every song lyric website stop copying every other song lyric website. Gets kind of circular after a while.


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    Mar 4th, 2013 3:52pm report

    Isn't it about heroin? "Where all the veins meet", "slave to money then you die". Is not the drug the melody that soothes the pain? Maybe not, I used to think it was about something else.

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