Here are the lyrics to the song:
I shed my skin
When the party was about to begin
I’m light years away but I’m walking back tonight
Of all nights
When I should be feeling just right
Don’t want to be in public
My head is full of chopstick
I don’t like it
Something on my mind
Breaking open doors I had sealed up before
Something on my mind
Makes me run when I thought I’d run too far
Somebody shaking my tree
Maybe that somebody is me
I’m standing in the light but
I’m making a break for the shadows
On the cinema wall
They should be mine but I’m not that tall
Now I’m saying this in privaate
If I had a car I’d drive it
I’m looking for cracks in the pavement
Unlike The Reflex, there are not as many interpretations online for this song. There are a few theories, though. They are as follows:
*Feeling out of place
*Having a mental breakdown
Those are interesting theories. Could it be that the song is about being high? The line about the “head being full of chopsticks” could refer to that. Yet, it seems to me that I would really have to stretch to get the other lyrics to match drug use. :A break for the shadows” could be about hiding drug use or hiding when making a drug purchase, but again that would be a stretch. Perhaps, the theory really is that the lyrics isn’t about being high but written while high. I have no idea about that, but I tend to think that these lyrics are pretty coherent, if that was the case.
If the first theory doesn’t really fit, what about this idea of obsessive-compulsive disorder? I immediately have a hard time with this theory because mental illnesses like this were not talked about as much as they are now or even 10 years ago. Thus, I’m already dubious, but let’s look at the lyrics with that lens on anyway. Before I do, though, it is important to note, what characteristics are common with OCD. According to the DSM-IV (manual of mental illness–yes, I own a copy. I work with children with emotional/behavioral disorders.), a person with OCD has persistent thoughts/impulses/images that cause stress and demonstrate repetitive behavior or acts done to ease that stress. In all seriousness, typically, the behaviors seen include things like washing hands, counting, checking locks, turning on/off lights, etc. Now, of course, OCD is often used to describe someone who pays a great deal of attention to detail and has to have everything just so. (I, of course, have never been described in this way, especially not when it comes to things like the tour binder. No way. Absolutely not.) Does the song indicate any/many/all of these characteristics? Well, “Something on my mind” and “makes me run when I thought I’d run too far” could indicate persistent thoughts and compulsive running. Again, though, the rest of the lyrics would be a stretch.
Keeping to the topic of mental health, does this song imply a mental breakdown? Obviously, the line about having someone on my mind could be that there is a lot of activity going on. Likewise, the line about driving the car insane could imply some sort of mental illness. I suppose the line about having a head full of chopsticks could imply some sort of mental health issue. My problem with this theory is that not every struggle, mentally and/or emotionally, about one’s life indicates a mental illness or a mental break. All people struggle, emotionally or mentally, at various times. That’s normal and this song feels like the person is dealing with something normal/common, at least to me.
What about the third theory? Could it be about feeling out of place? It seems to me there are some lyrics to fit this, including lines like “when I should be feeling just right, don’t want to be in public”. Even the line about standing in light but seeking out the darkness could indicate that the person doesn’t want to be spotted and talked to because the person is feeling out of place. Heck, even the shadow he is producing doesn’t match. Thus, this theory out of all of them seems to make the most sense but I think it could be even less complicated than that. Couldn’t it just be that the person isn’t feeling like himself? “I shed my skin” could be saying that they are feeling open, feeling vulnerable, emotionally. This, of course, is particularly problematic when you are leaving for a party. Instead of being excited about the party, you are thinking about something else, something in the past and can’t let it go, which leaves you feeling like your head is “full of chopsticks”. In fact, these thoughts are shaking this person, meaning that these thoughts are upsetting. Perhaps, then, the person decides to try to avoid people and his thoughts by going to the movies but that doesn’t even work. Maybe, the car reference is that whatever happened in the past, happened somewhere else. Thus, if a car was available, he would drive to this other place or time but that wouldn’t help either. It would only “drive” him crazy.
What do the rest of you think? Do you think one of these theories make sense? Do you have a different idea?
P.S. What song should I tackle next???