"When You Sleep" as written by and John Mccrea....
When you sleep.... where do your fingers go?
what do your fingers know?
what do your fingers show?
where do your fingers go... yea

when you sleep... do they tremble..on the edge.. of the bed
or do you fold them... neatly.. by your head
do they clench like claws against your own skin
when youre living your day all over again

When you sleep.... where do your fingers go?
what do your fingers know?
what do your fingers show?
where do your fingers go... yea

when you sleep... do they tremble..on the edge.. of the bed
or do you fold them... neatly.. by your head
do they clench like claws against your own skin
when youre living your day all over again

do they play guitar in a latin bar
are they strangers or lovers, do they drive your car?
are they swimming submissivly, sex acts of life
or just cutting through jell-o with a very sharp knife
now Zeus was a womanizer
always on the lake
but Hera usually punished her
that Zeus was one to take

when you sleeeeeeeeeeeeep
where do your fingers go?

Are they pulling out weeds form the dusty soil
are they never rewarded fruits of the toil
are they scratching their nails on the chalk boards of death
only seeking attention when everyone in the room has left

When you sleep.... where do your fingers go?
what do your fingers know?
what do your fingers show?
where do your fingers go... yea

when you sleep... do they tremble..on the edge.. of the bed
or do you fold them... neatly.. by your head



Lyrics submitted by Ice

"When You Sleep" as written by John M Mccrea

Lyrics © Cake - Stamen Music

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When You Sleep song meanings
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12 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentThis song seems to be describing a dream. The song takes a sudden turn when he talks about Zeus but then returns to talking about fingers. I have had dreams that twist and turn like that. The lines "are they pulling out... but then never rewarded.." sound like what is done in a dream is lost once you wake up.

    God Bless Victor Damiani :D
    MorningStaron March 27, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthat brian zelinski is a deush bag
    a0g0e7nt86on March 21, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm pretty sure it's about how you can tell what a person is like, and what kind of life they have, by the way their fingers move, and the positions they're in, while the person is sleeping.
    Immortal113on December 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentcould be. And Zeus/Hera could represent different kinds of people.
    rationalevilon January 17, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwell first off this is one of my personal favorites from cake. fingers are a motif representing your inner self. you may not know who you are but cake says to reference your fingers while you sleep. who are you really? "do they tremble on the edge of the bed
    or do you fold them neatly by your head
    do they clench like claws against your own skin
    when you're living your day all over again"? what's your real personality... not your words, not even your actions. just something much more subtle like your fingers while asleep. whenever someone wakes up he/she's in a most natural position. you can control the position you fall asleep but cannot control your posture when you wake up. so you're forced to witness your real self. i think the end part is the most revealing: "when you sleep
    do they tremble on the edge of the bed
    or do you fold them neatly by your head"? are you scared to go to sleep or are you confident that you know who you really are. in other words do you know what your fingers are doing while your asleep??
    mavs41on July 14, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI read in an interview Vince feeling the lyrics of this song being about masturbation, as he mentioned how people generally sleep with their hands near the genital area anyway...I kid you not!
    pharmageekon May 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is straight-up about female masturbation.
    Beef Weezleon March 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyea but even so... don't you ever get the feeling when artists voluntarily tell someone what their songs are about
    they just screw around half the time to see if that person would believe it?
    supernukeon June 16, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's about dreams, and who you really are in your subconscious, with the double entendre of masturbation :)
    pennyroyalon September 20, 2007   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI suspect that any song interpretation occurs at different levels: literal and metaphorical/allegorical. Part of the reason it is so fun is that the song often takes on a life of its own without regard to the artist's original intent. This song doesn't seem to literally apply to anything except masturbation, but the metaphors used lend themselves to a variety of more expansive interpretations.

    I just love the song for the musical quality and the metaphors. I care less about the fact that it may relate to masturbation.

    My favorite two metaphors are: pulling weeds from dusty soil and scratching nails on the chalkboard. I have to admit, however, that I misunderstood the chalkboard lyric. My misinterpretation of it made a lot more sense to me! I thought it said "are they scratching their nails on the chalkboards of DEAF." That lyric made more sense to me from a "futility" standpoint because the following phrase about "seeking attention when everyone in the room has left" suggested futility and desperation.
    ontoicon March 26, 2009   Link

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