"Lightbulb Sun" as written by and Steven John Wilson....
The sun is a light bulb
A candle's a treat
The curtains stay closed now
On my little retreat
And I'll only take medicine
If it's followed by sweets
A sickly pink liquid
That puts me to sleep

My head beats a better way
Tomorrow a better day

And I can watch TV
While I'm wrapped up in bed
And mother makes sure that
I'm watered and fed
My best from school will
Come over and stare
At me in my bubble
Of germified air

When I'm asleep the smoke fills me
I feel the heat
My illness leaves me

The sun is a light bulb
A candle's a treat
The curtains stay closed now
On my little retreat
But after a while
The noise from the street
Is making me wish I
Was back on my feet


Lyrics submitted by Ministry, edited by CharMarRules

"Lightbulb Sun" as written by Steven John Wilson

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Lightbulb Sun song meanings
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30 Comments

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  • +9
    General CommentI can easliy see how this song could be about opiate addiction. "A sickly pink liquid that puts me to sleep," could easily be a reference to Methadone, a reddish-pink liquid used to treat heroin addicts. I've actually been an opiate addict so maybe this is just me interpreting it how I want it to be, but the song describes my life as it was when I was taking that sickly pink liquid every day, another thing, Methadone causes STRONG sugar cravings "And I'll only take medicine, if it's followed by sweets..." Then he sings "My head beats a better way, tommorrow a better day," basically the ANTHEM of any drug addict.... tommorrow will be better, i'll be better. Then comes "And I can watch TV, While I'm wrapped up in bed, And mother makes sure that I'm watered and fed. My best friend from school will Come over and stare At me in my bubble Of germified air." I know that I spent most of my time on methadone in bed, I was only 16, my mother took care of me.... my friend's from school would come over and it was as if I was in my own little bubble, the way they stared at me it was like I wasn't even who I used to be. "When I'm asleep the smoke fills me, I feel the heat, My illness leaves me." This part especially is meaningful, the best part of opiates including methadone is this heat, or warmth that you feel wash over you and you feel like you're in heaven and your withdrawals (illness) just slip away as you sleep. Then the last part of the song is also meaningful to me, I would always lay in bed with the curtains closed, drifting through opiate bliss.... the sun looking like a lightbulb, just watching the clouds go by and just daydreaming. "But after a while, The noise from the street, Is making me wish I, Was back on my feet," this would obviously in my theory be the addict hearing the sounds of the world he has secluded himself from and starting to miss his old life, laying in bed sick from withdrawals and taking medicine every day to fix it begins to get old and you want to become your old self. Just what it means to me, it's probably not what it meant to Steve Wilson.
    SemiCharmedLifeon September 13, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is one of my all-time favorite Porcupine Tree songs. I love the vibe and everything about the song.

    Anyway, it seems pretty clear that the lyrics tell of nostalgia that one feels for their childhood. In this case, even memories of being sick (staying home from school, watching TV, being cared for, and craving to finally be able to go outside and see the world again after you get over your sickness) can cause someone to be nostalgic for their childhood.
    Tabuckton January 26, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song definitely doesn't seem like it has to do with nostalgia. I can see the drug themes in the song, but those could just be imagined. After all, sometimes we see what we want to see.

    This definitely talks about someone who is bedridden for whatever reason. Could be drugs, could be an illness. That would explain why a light bulb would be a sun for him since he's inside all the time.
    Kinethon June 05, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI recently read the lyrics to this and discovered it somewhat biographical for the phase of life I'm in now and kind of crazy how much things sync. As an earlier poster said, this sounds like someone who's recovering from opiate addiction which I am. What's so freakishly cool is the "sickly pink liquid that puts me to sleep" which is the suboxone I take to stop withdrawl and reduce cravings. Suboxone is a pink orangeish fluid when absorbed in your mouth and it puts me to sleep easily and used by recovering opiate addicts. I fall asleep listening to this song. My curtains are always closed. Still, the sound of the street and outside life makes me wish I was well enough to go out and socialize. But I don't think I am quite there yet.
    spiraleyeson June 17, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI know it is certainly a cliched response but there seems to be a strong drug reference running through this song. Firstly a lightbulb can be used to smoke drugs. Next, 'sickly pink liquid' - you can get wasted off cough syrup. The protagonist lacks motivation...'when I'm asleep the smoke fills me'. Seems to be about a drug fallout perhaps, in relation to memories of childhood, or it could be entirely innocent. Just something to think about. If anything it seems to be about no motivation, no desire to see the outside world...living in a 'bubble'...and either likening yourself to a schoolkid or it literally being about one.
    mrpieeateron September 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm surprised more people haven't commented on this, actually. It's probably my favorite song by them. It makes me feel good whenever I listen to it.
    CoyoteLongshoton April 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't know, it certainly seems more like nostalgia to me. Lines like "Mother makes sure that I'm watered and fed" and "My best friend from school" Obviously implies that it's a kid, and the lighthearted feel of the song sort of radiates "The good ol' days". I think it's a nostalgic song, and SW just chose to sing about being sick because it's a good example of how everyone else would take care of you as a kid, and you never had to worry about yourself, and missing school was kind of like a "little retreat" whereas when you grow up, you can't just skip school or work or whatever without consequences.
    CoyoteLongshoton June 09, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song. Completely disagree about the drug references though, that's seems a bit stupid. As people have said, it's just about the nostalgia of being a kid and staying home from school etc. As for the song title's meaning, to quote Kineth, "That would explain why a light bulb would be a sun for him since he's inside all the time".
    Crujebsulon July 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's just about a sick boy being treated in a "bubble of germified air". I don't know all these weird interpretations arise.
    woscafrenchon August 31, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song might be showing how the curiosity of humans keeps us from simply spending all our time indoors even when we have everything handed to us on a plate.
    SAS_Hexenon October 04, 2007   Link

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