"Digging In The Dirt" as written by and Peter Gabriel....
Something in me, dark and sticky
All the time it's getting strong
No way of dealing with this feeling
Can't go on like this too long

This time you've gone too far
This time you've gone too far
This time you've gone too far
I told you, I told you, I told you, I told you
This time you've gone too far
This time you've gone too far
This time you've gone too far
I told you, I told you, I told you, I told you

Don't talk back
Just drive the car
Shut your mouth
I know what you are
Don't say nothing
Keep your hands on the wheel
Don't turn around
This is for real

Digging in the dirt
Stay with me, I need support
I'm digging in the dirt
To find the places I got hurt
Open up the places I got hurt

The more I look, the more I find
As I close on in, I get so blind
I feel it in my head, I feel it in my toes
I feel it in my sex, that's the place it goes

This time you've gone too far
This time you've gone too far
This time you've gone too far
I told you, I told you, I told you, I told you
This time you've gone too far
This time you've gone too far
This time you've gone too far
I told you, I told you, I told you, I told you

Don't talk back
Just drive the car
Shut your mouth
I know what you are
Don't say nothing
Keep your hands on the wheel
Don't turn around
This is for real

I'm digging in the dirt
Stay with me I need support
I'm digging in the dirt
To find the places I got hurt
Open up the places I got hurt
I'm digging in the dirt
Stay with me I need support
I'm digging in the dirt
To find the places I got hurt
To open up the places I got hurt

Digging in the dirt
To find the places we got hurt
Digging in the dirt
To find the places we got hurt
Digging in the dirt
To find the places we got hurt
Digging in the dirt
To find the places we got hurt
Digging in the dirt
To find the places we got hurt
Digging in the dirt
To find the places we got hurt
Digging in the dirt
To find the places we got hurt


Lyrics submitted by Novartza

"Digging In The Dirt" as written by Peter Gabriel

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Digging In The Dirt song meanings
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35 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentI agree with what mandc wrote basically.

    The second stanza (This time...) above is Peter's thoughts, and the third stanza (Don't talk back...) is the snapping reply of his demon, the pain from his past that still discourages him on a subconscious level. It controls the "drive" of his thoughts. In the chorus / fourth stanza (Digging in the dirt...) above, Peter takes a step back to plea to his therapist or friends/family; anyone who can help him in his effort to heal. The fifth stanza (The more I look...) above is talking about how, as you try to heal and uncover your past and pain, so many factors come into play that it's hard to make sense of it all. The things he discovers in the dirt haunt him and permeate into every facet of his life. The chorus is repeated over because that is the central message of the song: Help me, don't give up on me, stay with me because I need you to. I am also reminded of psychotherapy and the painful, long, arduous struggle involved in recovering from a mental illness.
    XianSnakeon December 06, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think this is a song about psychotherapy and psychology and digging up feelings.
    smallwonderroboton April 14, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI disagree with a lot of what's already been said.

    I believe it IS about psychotherapy, but also the horrible feelings and behaviour that comes about through the process. This is about someone opening up old wounds, and is behaving badly as a result - shouting at his partner, being generally vile.

    I think the chorus is an apology to his partner. "Stay with me I need support" (I thought it was "someone") is a way of explaining himself. He's shouting at them in the car, one minute, then crying for help from them the next.

    "This time you've gone too far" - this is over-reaction to whatever the partner has said. The trigger of his aggression - but it could very well have been ANYTHING.

    All stuff that can happen when you'rein therapy . . .
    jonnyboymach3on May 24, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song seems to me to be about looking back on an angry, abusive relationship, and stopping to realize how badly you fucked up. and that's what digging in the dirt is. wading through the anger and pain to learn from your mistakes.
    TheSyndicate88on January 17, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOn the whole, I'm with Ballsong. This is a very sinister song. That said, TimTheSurvivor's reading is, I fear, a bit biased--which is not to say that the singer, the protagonist, may not have suffered some such trauma as child abuse, only that the precise nature and origins of his anger can't be readily identified.

    Whatever it is, the literal interpretation is probably the best to start with: the protagonist-- Gabriel's character--is evidently a dangerous psychopath or a sociopath, and he appears to be threatening someone--quite likely a woman--who's driving a car, while episodically making these oracular and vaguely intimidating comments about his state of mind. There's a tendency in the interpretations above to assume that the car and the wheel and the driving are all metaphorical--I don't see any reason to suppose they are. I think instead that we are witnessing some variety of kidnapping or carjacking, possibly a prelude to violence, being perpetrated by a deeply disturbed individual who's alternately muttering semi-coherently and screaming at his intended victim.

    I have also felt (and for this I admit there's perhaps less evidence in the lyrics themselves) that the driver/victim is not an acquaintance of her captor's prior to the incidents which find them in the car together. I know that the speaker addresses her as though they were lovers or intimates of some sort, but I can't help feeling that that's only further evidence of his insanity: he's mistaken her, or is using her as a substitute, for some other figure, real or imagined, who he believes to have wronged him in some way.

    That's not unusual, is it--a violent lunatic with a powerful misogynistic streak who takes out his frustrations with womankind on a single woman. As for "digging" and enlisting her "support"... yes, I think he could very well be digging a grave; he could also be imagining, in his desperation and delusion, that somehow this woman can help him, that he can make her love him and empathize with him; or that somehow he can, through her, expiate the "hurt" that haunts him. Chilling, really.
    Decimalon May 04, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it's psychological. But not logical. I think it's about being human and dealing with one's failings and even going to therapy.
    redshiftdazzleron July 29, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThe lyrics seem to me to about mental health in general and healing from the mental trauma that causes said problems. However to me the music video depicts something much more specific.

    Going by the music video, to me it seems almost like it is recounting childhood and adulthood psychological and physical abuse and how destructive they both can be to a person, cumulating in their justifiable rage and distress at the events:

    Firstly the “father” knocking over the child's sandcastle and pouring hot tea over him while the “mother” laughs at the event, followed by the “father” unleashing wasps on the child.

    This is followed by the wife of the protagonist relishing/enjoying (look at her expression in the Rear-view mirror) to him being stung by a wasp, only to recall in horror [yet deservingly] to his reaction in killing the wasp, smashing the apple and punching out the windscreen of the Jeep.

    To me the song in combination with the video is about coming to terms with and discussing the bad events in your life, including the bad ones orchestrated by the ones who were supposed to love, care and protect you.
    solsburianon January 01, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song I believe is about a person trying to get over being abused as a child
    BigDave1967on July 12, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentRelationships disintegrating, this is a hopeless cry from someone who can't let the past go, or who feels they'll never be truly forgiven.
    soberlokion July 10, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIMHO, his best song by far.

    Definitely singing to his shrink.

    "Just drive the car" means sit there and listen to me vent.
    rpupkin77on September 29, 2006   Link

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