"Citizen Erased" as written by and Matthew James Bellamy....
Break me in, teach us to cheat
And to lie, cover up
What shouldn't be shared
All the truth's unwinding
Scraping away at my mind
Please stop asking me to describe

For one moment
I wish you'd hold your stage
With no feelings at all
Open minded
I'm sure I used to be so free

Self expressed, exhausting for all
To see and to be
What you want and what you need
The truth's unwinding
Scraping away at my mind
Please stop asking me to describe

For one moment
I wish you'd hold your stage
With no feelings at all
Open minded
I'm sure I used to be so free

For one moment
I wish you'd hold your stage
With no feelings at all
Open minded
I'm sure I used to be so free

Wash me away
Clean your body of me
Erase all the memories
They will only bring us pain
And I've seen, all I'll ever need


Lyrics submitted by 3ssence

"Citizen Erased [Live]" as written by Matthew James Bellamy

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind


Citizen Erased song meanings
Add your thoughts

102 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +11
    General CommentNow many of you may call me insane but i think this song has a deeper, darker meaning than what most of you have thus far been able to articulate. To me the song appears to be about the effect of human frailty on a persons view of themselves, at birth we are new to the world, free of any outside influence, from that moment onwards our lives, our personalities are moulded and dictated by the actions of those who surround us, it is from them we learn everything from morals and values through to speech patterns and getures. When Matt sings "break me in, teach us to cheat
    and to lie, cover up
    what shouldn't be shared?" he is documenting the unfortunate effects that experience can have on the human soul, the morally clean slate gifted at child birth, is slowly and surely disolved as one becomes consumed by the fatal instincts of modern life, lie, cheat steel, emotionless sex( what shouldnt be shared)

    The chorus is Matts appeal to the creator, whoever that may be according to his personal beliefs, he is wishing to hold his stage, to be able to manipulate the hands of time, so that his soul is cleansed, cast back to the pure state of infancy.

    The last verse is an emotional appeal for all the madness in the world to stop, a plea to whomever or whatever is responsible for his decaying moral and physical identity, as matt sings
    wash me away
    clean your body of me
    erase all the memories
    they will only bring us pain
    and i've seen, all i'll ever need

    he is pleading that the faults that he has learned through life in this modern world be stricken away, and that the moral decline our society experiences is having nothing but a negative effect on the mental well being of the planets occupants, that is we the people of earth. In many ways Citizen Erased reminds me of the poetry of the great William Blake, in particular his Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience collections, in which Blake studies the effects of the outside world on the minds of London's inhabitants, taking in the optimistic, unlearned view of Innocence felt at childhood, and contrasting it with the stagnant, depressing view of one whom has learned from the experiences of the world. Whether or not Bellamy is a fan of Blake's works i am unaware, but the connection is almost uncanny.

    The awesome power of the lyrics are only further entrenched into the listeners pysche through the faultless mixture of technical prowess and emotional cleansing that make up the songs structure. The music is nothing short of majestic, the soundscapes so diverse it transcends definition.

    Citizen Erased is Matt Bellamy's depiction of the effects of the state of inocence and experience on the human soul, much like other visonary artisits before him, particularly William Blake, he has chosen unparralled power in his expression, only Matt's guitar,falsetto vocals and intricate piano, when coupled with the mystical abilities of the rythm section, screams a hell of a lot louder than poetry and etchings ever did.

    MY REVIEW:
    LYRICS: 5/5
    MUSIC: 5/5
    PERFORMANCE:5/5
    EMOTIONAL EFFECT: 5/5
    TOTAL: 20/20
    emokid86on June 28, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentMatt: It's an expression of what it feels like to be questioned. I spend more time than most people being asked about purpose and it's a strange feeling. I don't really have the answers and I have to respond on the knowledge I have obtained so far, but the problem is that it gets printed and something else has come along thats made you completely disagree with what you said.

    That's exactly what Matt thinks it is.

    I think the title is a reference to George Orwell's '1984' in which citizens are erased and lies control society. Then it would fit in with the futuristic theme of Origin Of Symmetry.
    thecomaboyon December 18, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwash me away
    clean your body of me
    erase all the memories
    they will only bring us pain
    and i've seen, all i'll ever need

    this is the best part of the song....it's sad, yet melodic and everytime i hear i think of what could have been....
    Miseryheadon March 12, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt says on the Muse Wiki that the song is about Matt's constantly being asked questions about his purpose, and his struggle with having to answer these questions. He feels that, after these things are put into print, he's already changed his mind and there is no way he can really explain or describe to people how he feels about his work. After reviewing the lyrics, I really feel that this is what the song is about, at least in some aspects. The lyrics seem to suggest that he feels trapped, forced to fit into people's ideals of who he should be.

    But then. Maybe not.
    telegramon April 11, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMy favourite song. Ever. This will never get old.
    Motherwar_xxon October 14, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentErving Goffman's book "The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life" uses the metaphor of theatre as the social interaction of people. The "front stage" is what you show people during your "act" and the "back stage" is what you hide from people.

    Citizen Erased seems like it is about this symbolic interactionism ("dramaturgy" with the references to the stage). Basically, society has shaped people to what they are today. It has corrupted them and prevented them from showing the back stage, meaning their entire personality and character. They want to be open minded and free to express themselves but simply cannot due to the "impression management" that is stifling.

    Society restricts freedom.
    Society is corruptive.
    Synchon October 26, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI remember reading this in an interview back in 2001

    Matt Bellamy: it's an expression of what it feels like to be questioned. I spend more time than most people being asked about purpose, and it's a strange feeling. I don't really have the answers and I have to respond on the knowledge I have obtained so far, but the problem is that it gets printed, and something else has come along that's made you completely disagree with what you said
    museamaniacon March 26, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDisappointed that this wasn't featured on HAARP. Cracking song, would have loved to have seen Matt sing this with everyone singing along.
    Beautiful stuff
    xx
    AmyEricon March 27, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentPossibly my favourite song of all time. Encompasses everything that is good about Muse. Brilliant riffs, piano interludes, thumping drums and a sweet bassline. Plus that screaming falsetto we love.

    For me, this song was key when I got really angry with 'friends' of mine. They wouldn't reveal their true selves to me in a way. I guess I related to the lyrics "For one moment, I wish you'd hold your stage." Then when the friendship ended it fitted in well with the lyrics,
    "Wash me away."

    That's just my interpretation though.
    Absolute Blisson October 28, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhen people say that it's about a relationship I think people are only scratching the surface; most Muse songs can be related to relationships.

    To me, it's about when someone is born, new to the world and you're free, then you're quickly civilized and corrupted (break me in, teach us to cheat)
    Then the bit when he says "I'm sure I used to be so free" is when the character is looking back to a time he barely remembers when he used to be free, now a distant memory, though he is yearning to feel it again.
    Eventually, the "wash me away" part is when the character it dying, returning to the great freedom, and saying that he has saw all he needs to in Earth "and I've seen all I'll ever need", and that he's happy to finally return to the freedom he's been longing after since he was thrown into this world.
    To me, it highlights how cruel and harsh this world is, and how we expect people to conform to our way of thinking, or suffer dire consequences.
    ^_^
    spookfeston October 28, 2008   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