"Knowing People" as written by and Matthew Sweet....
Are you made like God
When you start to bleed
Do you really know
What it is to breathe
Without a mind to think
Or a hand in fate
You're an animal
Filled with love and hate

And you
And the way you move
And the things you say
Your desperate dreams
Are pathetic

I don't like knowing people
I don't like people knowing about me
I don't like knowing people
I don't like people knowing about me

Why should we care
What we do or say
Why would we long
For yesterday
What is here
And who wants to stay
No lasting life
And no judgement day

And the fact of you
And the way you move
And the things you say
Your desperate dreams
Are pathetic

I don't like knowing people
I don't like people knowing about me
I don't like knowing people
I don't like people knowing about me
What are you lookin' at?

I don't like knowing people
I don't like people knowing about me
I don't like knowing people
I don't like people knowing about me

I don't like knowing people
And I don't like people knowing about me
I don't like knowing people
And I don't like people knowing about me
Get out of here


Lyrics submitted by spliphstar

"Knowing People" as written by Matthew Sweet

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Knowing People song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThis is my favorite song to listen to when I get fed up with the ignorance of the world - needless to say I'm listening to it a lot these days. Most people live the most cynical lives without an eye toward how our actions affect the future.
    angryroboton July 12, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIronic that Matthew Sweet--known primarily for writing sweet, pretty love songs--let loose this bilious tirade. Perhaps it's because it runs counter to Sweet's image that this song seems especially misanthropic and self-hating. (I assume "Sweet" is a pen name; if not, it's an odd coincidence).

    Much of Altered Beast has this dichotomy between catchy melodies and dark lyrics (the very-explicit suicide note "I Need Someone to Pull the Trigger" for example), but "Knowing People" stands out as one of the most bitter sentiments I've heard, from anyone.

    My impression is that--when Sweet vents his disgust, with lines such as, "Your desperate dreams are pathetic"--it's deliberately ambiguous whether he's referring to someone else, or to himself.

    Themes of self-hatred and self-disgust are prominent, also, in "The Devil With The Green Eyes". A contemporary Sweet song, "Superdeformed", was left off the album--perhaps because these two songs are so similar, it seemed redundant. ("Superdeformed" appears only on the No Alternative compilation, probably best known for its uncredited Nirvana track)

    I have severe problems with anxiety, depression and agoraphobia -- so the chorus hits uncomfortably close to home.
    mandcon August 06, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI couldn't agree more, mandc. The lyrics definitely blur the line between hatred directed at others and self-loathing. I think assuming it's only about hatred of other people is to entirely miss the point. I also like that there's a bit of humor to it (the backing vocals, the over-the-top guitar work at certain points etc), despite it being such a markedly misanthropic song.
    EnidCaulfieldon August 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNever thought of the song having elements of parody, but it fits. Someone who truly felt like this--all (or most) of the time--would be too isolated from humanity to have a musical career, or engage in the collaborative process of recording.

    Most of the backing vocals sound electronically mangled (barely human); other are pretty and crooning, and wouldn't sound out-of-place on a mid-period Beatles LP. Another weird combination: similar to the depressed or angry words, clashing with music which tries to be likable.

    Then there's the spoken snippet from the film Caligula at the beginning of Side B. Difficult to take seriously.
    foreverdroneon June 30, 2010   Link

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