"Desperately Wanting" as written by and Kevin Griffin....
Past the road to your house
That you never called home
Where they turned out the lights
Though they say you'll never know

I remember running through the wet grass
Falling a step behind
Both of us never tiring
Desperately wanting

When they pumped out your guts
Filled you full of those pills
You were never quite right
Deserving all the chills
They say the worst is over
Kicked it over and ran
Then they ask what went wrong
When they turn you on again
They turn you on again.

I remember running through the wet grass
Falling a step behind
Both of us never tiring
Desperately wanting

Kick them right in the face
Make them wish they weren't born
And if they bring up your name
Well they'll say you won the war.
Baby burst in the world
Never given a chance
Then they ask what went wrong
When you never had it right

Oh, the letters have dropped off
Though they say you got them all
I finally figured out some things you'll never know.
Take back your life and let me inside
We'll find the door if you care to anymore.

I remember running through the wet grass
Falling a step behind
Both of us never tiring
Desperately wanting.


Lyrics submitted by oofus

"Desperately Wanting" as written by Kevin Griffin

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Desperately Wanting song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentI love this song. The lyrics just kind of burn into your soul.
    angeleyeson March 06, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Commenti agree with 'malachiconstant' also for the most part...it's definately not about frats. or vietnam...

    it is about someone he loved, i'm guessing a girl. possibly a girlfriend or a best friend..altho i do differ with the whole death thing. he just said she was never quite right again. that doesnt mean she died, she could just be turned into a vegetable now so he can't do all the things he used to do with her. and he now misses all the small things - like running through the grass, just chasing each other around and giggling. - being carefree. i think he lost the person some how because of the "Oh the letters have dropped off
    Though they say you got them all
    I finally figured out some things you'll never know.
    Take back your life and let me inside
    We'll find the door if you care to anymore." i think she's still alive...maybe she's shut him out because of all that and she's distanced herself from everyone and everything...or she lost the battle and even after all that she still struggles with a drug addiction...
    NothingIsPermanenton May 15, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song has nothing to do with any fraternity. It's about two friends, one who has his life together (the one narrating if you will), and his friend who has screwed up his or her life with drugs due to a poor upbringing. Just read the lyrics and you can clearly see that.
    esmjlm080507on November 08, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General CommentMaybe it's just me, but I tend to take the words in the song and use them to form a context for a song. I do the same with books, comic books, films, TV. etc. I don't care what the writers say about a song outside the song.

    I don't see any indication in this song that it has anything to do with a fraternity or pledging a fraternity. To state that this song has to do with a silly frat initiation is dumb.

    It's clear in the lyrics what the song is about:

    Two friends -- one raised well with good parents, the other, after he/she "burst in the world, never given a chance," raised poorly by awful parents.

    The friend raised well is trying to save his/her friend raised poorly and who messed up their life.

    "They" are the physicians trying to help the second kid after a suicide attempt.

    There's more to it, but it has absolutely nothing to do with pledging a frat or the initiation.
    HellBlazerRaiseron May 07, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI agree with nothingis permanent. I have been a fan of bte for years. On the cd jacket of friction baby that this song is on. There is a picture of a perscription pill bottle turn over and pills going into a sink. Beneath the picture is a lyrics from desperatley wanting. I think its about drug addiction, succide, and a girl being confused. Its just about a girl who was born without any answers, answers that everyone else was born with. He trys to help her with her addictions, and the answers but she doesnt want to help herself.
    southernchick82on May 17, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Comment this is my interpretation of the song.

    Passed the road to your house
    That you never called home

    (To me this is the place the 'person' grew up,
    but it was a house, not a home for whatever reason)

    Where they turned out your lights
    Though they say you'll never know

    (to me the 'they turned out your lights' part could be reference to the
    pills and drugs mentioned later, some of those drugs can really
    change a person.. so to say they turned out your lights could be reference to that,
    losing spark or life.

    and i believe the 'they say you'll never know' is their denial that anything changed for the negative)

    I remember running through the wet grass
    Falling a step behind
    Both of us never tiring
    Desperately wanting

    (i don't know- possible attempted escape or maybe a throw back to a time in youth
    when they were happy)

    When they pumped out your guts
    And filled you full of those pills
    You were never quite right
    Deserving all the chills

    (i think this is self explanatory but the 'deserving all the chills' part not so much...)

    They say the worst is over
    Kicked it over and ran
    Then they ask what went wrong
    When they turn you on again
    They turn you on again

    (people around (who? family?) believe its all fixed, the drugs are administered and all SHOULD be ok
    but it isn't and they wonder why?)

    I remember running through the wet grass
    Falling a step behind
    Both of us never tiring
    Desperately wanting

    Kick them right in the face
    Make them wish they weren't born
    And if they bring up your name
    Well they'll say you won the war

    (blame shifting? maybe they let themselves believe that they tried to do everything for the best
    but the person fought them every step of he way and in the end WON in that they gave up trying")

    Baby burst in the world
    Never given a chance
    Then they ask what went wrong
    When you never had it right
    Well, you never had it right

    (i liked an above theory of how can anything go wrong when it never started out right?)

    Oh the letters have dropped off
    Though they say you got them all
    I finally figured out some things you'll never know

    (i get the impression that they are talking about actual letters perhaps he?she wrote again and again for a long time
    but over time the responding letters dropped off and the suspicion is they were being withheld from the person,

    and the narrator seems to have gained some insight to the whole situation).

    Take back your life
    Let me inside
    We'll find the door
    If you care, if you care to anymore

    (a last ditch attempt at getting away and healing)

    I remember running through the wet grass
    and falling a step behind
    Both of us never tiring
    Desperately wanting

    Great song no matter what :)
    jupiter001on February 15, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentKevin Griffin himself has finally cleared up the issue of whether the song is related to Kappa Sigma: it isn't.

    Several people on here asserted that Kevin had explicitly stated the song was about pledging, along with nice comments like "do some freaking research." As I assumed, since no one actually included a link, research turned up nothing. However, in an LSU article yesterday Kevin is quoted dismissing the myth:

    "For some reason it got out that ‘Desperately Wanting’ was about being a pledge, but the reality is it had nothing to do with that."
    lsu.edu/departments/gold/2011/02/…
    vastblueskyon February 26, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentSorry, Kappa Sigmas. You're misinformed.

    lsu.edu/departments/gold/2011/02/…

    'And what of "Desperately Wanting," the 1996 hit that reached No. 10 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock charts? The one widely rumored to be about Griffin’s experiences with the Kappa Sigma fraternity at LSU?

    Not true, said Griffin.

    "Jim Payne (touring keyboardist/guitarist) and I were in the Kappa Sigma fraternity at LSU," said Griffin. "For some reason it got out that ‘Desperately Wanting’ was about being a pledge, but the reality is it had nothing to do with that. But all around the country, whenever we play it, guys in their [Kappa Sigma] shirts love it."'

    The meaning I get from this song probably is not exactly what the author intended, as it relates to someone I knew as an acquaintance as teenagers and had a relationship with years later. The point is, Griffin has clearly stated it has nothing to do with Kappa Sigma. So sorry to burst your bubbles.
    TripperKiddon May 06, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentSomeplace, past the road to your house (which was never a home), (The “Where” in “where they turned out the lights” refers to either the someplace, past the road to your house, or the house itself, explaining why it was never home.

    Turned out the lights relates with the “turn you on again” later. For some reason there is a switch that “They” have some control or influence over.

    “Though they say you’ll never know” relates to the singer realizing some things you’ll never know later in the song. In the first case, it seems to relate to the subject of the song, and in the case it is used to refer to everyone one as a general statement, while indicating that in this, the singer too doesn’t know.

    The chorus at this point is mostly sung for song structure, but also alludes to the ending, or point of the song, that at this point isn’t clear.

    When they pumped out your guts, tells indicates that the person consumed something they shouldn’t, while deserving all the chills line tells us it was intentional, likely a suicide attempt by drug overdose. This line also refers to They. It would be the medical staff who pumped out someone stomach, but certainly he means that They had it done, referring to everyone excluding the subject of the song or the singer.

    “You were never quite right” may mean that as a result of the incident you were never quite right again, or as a statement of fact, that the subject was never in their life quite right, either way, the singer thinks that the subject deserved the gut pumping, because consuming what was pumped out was intentional; “deserving all the chills”

    When they say the worst is over, They seems to refer again to some sort of medical staff or figure of authority, to reassure themselves. The worst is over is a commonly used phrase to indicate that worst thing has happened and it can only get better from here, and that the incident won’t happen again.

    Kicked it over and ran, shows that it did in fact happen again, and the They are surprised and ask “What went wrong”, everything was suppose to be better. The singer indicates that “They turn you on again” which seems out of order. It seems “They” thought everything was fine and turned the subject on, which means “They” pushed the subjects buttons, triggering another incident, or that they let the subject back into society, turning the subject loose, but things go wrong, and they ask themselves what happened.

    Chorus continues to allude to point of the song

    Now the story is being told from the singer’s standpoint. He explains that he understands the battle, about fighting against the “They” until they give up and allowing the subject to win.
    He continues by explaining the subjects past, how the subject burst into the world, and was never given a chance, and the They don’t understand how the subject went of track, but the singer knows that the subject never had it right to begin with, which is why I think the “You were never quite right” from earlier doesn’t mean the subject was never the same after the incident, but was never quite right, even before the incident.

    The singer mentions that he dropped off letters for the subject, but he doesn’t know whether the subject actually got them or not. The they assured the singer the subject did receive them, however there must have been no replies, and the singer realizes he may never know what happened, but he says it in such a way that the singer seems to agree with the They when they said “you’ll never know” earlier in the song.

    The next part seems to paraphrase what the letters says, shows the singers intentions and ties in the chorus. The sing says

    Take back your life (from the control of the They, and the drugs)
    Let me inside and we can find the door (we can fix this)
    If you care to anymore (this indicates that the person has almost completely giving up, and correlates to the song’s chorus of desperately wanting)

    The Chorus also seems to be part of the letter telling of a time they were together playing
    Falling a step behind may refer to a younger child chasing after the older, not quite keeping up. This to me indicates that the subject maybe the singer’s older sibling that they looked up to.
    Both of us never tiring (full of energy and life, in contrast to current events), desperately wanting (also in contrast to current events, and what the singer believes is the key to the subject salvation)


    I think, overall, the They are well meaning people who, by helping, are actually doing more harm than good. They are keeping the person alive, and think its enough, but what they fail to realize is that the incident (suicide attempt) wasn’t the problem, but the subject’s solution to a much greater problem, which the singer sees clearly, a lack of wanting, and a loss of hope, that he vividly remembers the subject having when they were younger.
    TornMoonon March 11, 2014   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think it's about a friend who maybe was molested as a kid, grew up to be a drug addict. The doctors saved her/him after they overdosed, then pumped her full of pills again and then wondered how she relapsed when they "turned her on again."

    The narrator is angry at all the people who fucked up his friend---her family, her doctors, all the people who never really gave her a chance to succeed. I think this song is telling her how he understands how she may want to kick them all in the face. He wants to help her to truly recover and get straight if she would give him the chance.
    OttieKaton October 28, 2014   Link

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