Steve Kilbey stated in an interview back in 1988:...
Sometimes when this place gets kind of empty
Sound of their breath fades with the light
I think about the loveless fascination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Lower the curtain down on Memphis
Lower the curtain down all right
I got no time for private consultation
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

And it's something quite peculiar
Something shimmering and white
Leads you here despite your destination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find
Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

And it's something quite peculiar
Something shimmering and white
Leads you here despite your destination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find
Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

Under the Milky Way tonight
Under the Milky Way tonight
Under the Milky Way tonight


Lyrics submitted by straycat

"Under the Milky Way" as written by Steve Kilbey Karin Gunilla Jansson

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, MUSIC SALES CORPORATION

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Under The Milky Way song meanings
Add your thoughts

64 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +6
    General CommentMy impression of the song is that is very simply and straightforwardly written, about the writer's feelings at a certain moment in his life. i don't think this is meant to have much hidden meaning.

    From these lyrics, I imagine that once after a show in Memphis, after the crowds had gone and the lights had faded, the songwriter/narrator was feeling pensive, lonely for lack of a relationship due to having been on the road for a while. "loveless fascination" means adoration of the fans during his tour, but without someone for him to love. "got no time for private consultation" simply means he wants to be alone, under the stars (without being bugged by fans, perhaps). "under the milky way" and "something shimmering and white" both mean the stars in the night sky. "leads you here despite your destination" = he was heading for his hotel, but decided to gaze at the stars instead.

    mliem411on July 26, 2011   Link
  • +5
    General CommentInteresting to see that many interpret this as "he" the narrator being the one who hurts the girl. I always interpreted it the other way around. The narrator himself is the one who is seeking true love. The girl, however, is "looking for" something else, although she keeps coming back to him. Note the words......"got no time for private consultation"........he is saying that he is getting frustrated with her, in essence he is saying, if you're not going to be with me, stop treating this like a relationship by telling me all of your problems.

    Also, "leads you here, despite your destination". She keeps coming back to him, despite her "destination" which is ultimately another guy who she deems a better fit for her, even though he wishes that would be him.

    Lastly, the "loveless fascination" is what he is reflecting about. He doesn't understand why she keeps coming back, but doesn't love him like he loves her. It is her "loveless fascination" in him that drives him crazy.
    esmjlm080507on January 03, 2013   Link
  • +3
    General CommentTo me, this song is about an emotionally uneven sexual encounter, where the girl expected a bit more... "wish I knew what you were looking for... might have known what you would find". The narrator is depressed, lost in life, and is looking out for himself... but nonetheless considers this encounter to be a significant and deeply emotional moment, but did not realize that the other person expected more and ended up hurt.
    chemboy777on May 14, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe Church was probably the best band to come out of Australia and probably of the eighties. Of Skins and Hearts was their first album, which was brilliant ie unguarded moment, and then they just added to this.

    This song, from discussions with a self-confessed male Church groupie is according to him and supposedly the band, about drugs - main reference was Heroin.

    It's "lifeless fascination", with "breaths that fade with the light" and it "leads you here despite your destination" all links in with the insidiousness of the drug.

    "Lower the curtain down all right" "I got no time for private consultation" - with this drug you don't talk, you vegitate and shut down externally

    ...Under the Milky Way tonight
    chat2ul8ronon October 20, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentDonnie Darko ? You aren't frickin' serious are you guys?...This song has been around for a lot longer than "Donnie Darko"! I heard this song in heavy rotation on "MTV's 120 Minutes" show back before alternative went mainstream(1988-1991). Its a beautiful, and haunting song about the immensity of the world we live in and a human beings capacity to love and hurt. Some people around here believe that Pearl Jam are a classic rock band. Stop listening to the radio!
    tommyrockon January 10, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI have to agree with tommyrock on this one.Yeah i'm showing my age but the first time I ever slow danced with a girl,I was 12 years old and it was at a roller rink(do they even still have those) this song was playing in the background.Her first name was Kim if I remember correctly,she was taller than me with feathered black hair and I still had a mullet.Hey it was 1988!!Anyway that was the first time I ever heard the song,back when it was new,and it's one of those great memories that makes me miss that childhood innocence.Beautiful song.Can listen to it over and over and never get tired of it,even to this day 20 years later.
    tyranny_soulson October 26, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Commentreading these comments, i am kind of wishing this song wasn't in Donnie Darko.
    i've never seen that movie before, i am australian and know this beautiful song for simply what it really is - not "that song from donnie darko", but as an Australian classic; the thinking-man's unofficial national anthem, if you like.
    i really really desperately hope that this is what the song will be remembered as.
    because it's beautiful and deserves more than simply a film reference..
    meg;on December 15, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI have heard this song is about:
    a) an Egyptian temple priest speaking to his apprentice
    b) Elvis' last night on Earth, driving home
    c) a hash bar in Amsterdam (from Steve Kilbey)

    Great song.
    owennnnnnnnnnon December 08, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI honestly would like to believe that owennnnnnnnn's interpretation a) is correct, that just makes it seem all the more poetic. I adore this song, it takes me away to some mystical far off dreamscape and makes the universe seem so mysterious. I heard this song on the radio long before Donnie Darko hit the theaters and first mistook it for U2!
    Sozlukon April 27, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's just a great song. :)
    Thia007on November 14, 2011   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain