The lunatic is on the grass
The lunatic is on the grass
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs
Got to keep the loonies on the path

The lunatic is in the hall
The lunatics are in my hall
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paper boy brings more

And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
And if there is no room upon the hill
And if your head explodes with dark forbodings too
I'll see you on the dark side of the moon

The lunatic is in my head
The lunatic is in my head
You raise the blade, you make the change
You rearrange me ' till I'm sane

You lock the door
And throw away the key
There's someone in my head but it's not me

And if the cloud bursts thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear
And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes
I'll see you on the dark side of the moon


Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae, edited by anka

Brain Damage song meanings
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198 Comments

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  • +9
    General CommentA man's final descent into insanity. The whole album itself was posing the question "Can everyday life make you go insane?". The themes expressed in Time, Money, Us and Them, and so on all lead up to this when this normal person finally goes insane from his normal life. And for the record, I've never heard anywhere that DSotM was about Syd. Wish You Were Here was of course. All I've ever heard about this album is that the members of Pink Floyd wanted to know if everday life can make you go insane so they stopped people on the street and asked them questions, then they put them on the album. Trivia note: Paul and Linda McCartney were among those interviewed but they weren't put into the album because they thought that they sounded "too average".
    BrainDamageon August 24, 2002   Link
  • +7
    General CommentOkay...I just want to say what I think this one verse thing is about. Cause my friends think I am strange for this view...but I just think they all are crazy.

    "The lunatic is in my head
    The lunatic is in my head
    you raise the blade, you make the change
    you rearrange me ' till I'm sane
    you lock the door
    and throw away the key
    there's someone in my head but it's not me"

    Basically, the "raise the blade" and "make the change" is saying to a doctor "Hey...you're giving me a lobotomy, aren't you?" And if you don't know what a lobotomy is, look it up sometime. "You rearange me till I'm sane" is about the doctors messing with his brain mentally and physically. Very interessting...I wonder, could it be in connection with Syd?

    Oh, yeah, and the last lines, basically, is just someone being locked in a room, possibly believing that a crazy person is stuck in his head.

    I do like the maniacle laughter in the middle of the song. It is very fitting.
    Jaspin Demotheneseon April 17, 2002   Link
  • +6
    General CommentOnly shallow lyrics deserve shallow analysis. Shallow analysis involves trying to pick out things like every possible drugs reference. The Dark Side of the Moon has very deep lyrics and they deserve better than that. And when I say deep analysis, I don't mean vigorous, I mean emotionally deep.

    "The lunatic is on the grass" - this is obviously a reference to the notorious "Keep off the grass" signs. So the man who is considered insane is sitting on the forbidden turf, in his own happy world of "games and daisy chains and laughs". Insanity is looked on as stepping off the boundaries of accepted society ("the path").

    Then we have the lunatic being mentioned again, but we discover he is only one of several "lunatics" being held down and repressed. Repressing insanity and trying to keep people in place becomes routine, as "every day the paper boy brings more". Essentially doing the same unnatural thing to many naturally different individiuals. There is no nature in it.

    The first chorus builds up to the title line of the album. If disaster strikes and "the dam breaks open many years too soon" and there is limited refuge "on the hill", it leaves a silent question as to what would happen to the people in society that we don't value. It also asks us what'll happen if the same thing happens to us, and says that's if that's the case "I'll see you on the dark side of the moon". More on the title line later.

    The other verse is actually told in the first person, a person who is mad. And the "lunatic" is something deeper. "You raise the blade" and "make the change" does indeed imply brain surgery, but it could be psychological. But it shows how society will try to fix and "rearrange" people and questions the need for this. The last part ("You lock the door and throw away the key") says we abandon and repress insanity, as though it is the victim's fault when it isn't. He just surrenders to society. Just like Syd Barrett being left behind by the band, and as his own song 'Dark Globe' shows, you shouldn't get the impression Syd wasn't aware of himself.

    The end of the song is about a "cloud burst", a huge and powerful force. Why then does the thunder only go in one ear and (presumably) not the other? It's a strong and terrible force, and when you shout for help "no-one seems to hear". But this chorus is now in the second person, and we are the lunatic. We get another clear Barrett reference hear, which needs no explaining. I've always interpreted it that Roger was guilty of leaving Barrett behind.

    "I'll see you on the dark side of the moon" - Roger felt he could relate to Barrett's own feelings, and also to our own madness. The moon has often been associated with Insanity and darkness. And the moon itself is split between a bright side and a dark side, slowly moving between the two. The light and dark imagery - we hear that at the end of Eclipse.
    noonebeatsdylanon June 24, 2010   Link
  • +5
    Song MeaningI have a lot of ideas over what this song means. I love Pink Floyd because they deal with something that I think still is not dealt with enough and that is metal illness. I recently read a couple of essays from a book called Speak To Me: The Legacy Of Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon. Again, I do not any finite interpretations of this song. However, I thought it interesting that the book talked a lot about the anti-psychiatry movement. Specifically it mentioned the ideas of such figures as R.D Laing and Thomas Szasz who are both well known for there unique view on mental illness and the entire field of psychiatry. I also found it very interesting that the members of Pink Floyd actually went to R.D. Laing himself to see if he could help Syd Barret. This leads to believe that the members were no doubt influenced by R.D Laing's ideas. Laing was very critical of psychiatry. He did not believe that people suffering from mental illness were really suffering from any illness at all. Rather, he believed that the people who society is quick to call "insane" and throw into an institution, lobotomize, or give a pill too were really people who were suffering from some existential crises. Laing further asserted that it should be the ultimate goal of psychiatry to help a patient find the root of this crises. I don't want to go any further for I feel like I don't no so much about Laing as to feel confident in explaining his unique view of mental illness. I will give those who might be interested in his views a link to a Wikipedia explanation of the anti-psychiatry movement and another link to R.D. Laing in particular even though Laing never identified himself with the anti-psychiatry movement. Nevertheless, form my own interpretation of The Dark Side Of The Moon I do think the album is asking an interesting question. What right do "sane" people have to call other people "insane"? I think Waters really wanted to bring to light how the people who deem themselves "sane" might be even more insane than the "insane". Furthermore, it just might be the "insane" who are more "sane" for not being able to live in the place that Roger Waters lives amongst himself, in his case England. A modern industrialized world where people strive to be fulfilled through money ("Money") or making enemies to win wars ("Us And Them")as they live their lives in conformity watching the time fly by ("Time") never daring to be an individual to seek a deeper and more lasting fulfillment. I am with Roger in thinking that the masses have no right to call those who never conform "insane". If you look at the way most people live their lives in my country of America as well as his country England I would never want to be considered "sane".

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    jpmarin21on January 13, 2009   Link
  • +5
    General Comment"The lunatic is on the grass"

    These words mean everything. The song is about the indignation of societies contempt of uncustomary behavior. People walk on the pavement, the man who steps on the grass is the "lunatic".

    "you raise the blade, you make the change
    you rearrange me ' till I'm sane
    you lock the door
    and throw away the key
    there's someone in my head but it's not me"

    As already mentioned on this forum, these lines refer to a lobotomy, which is metaphorical for sociological conditioning. Pressure to conform, and escape the socially destructive label of lunatic, overwhelms, and people are changed mentally, their idiosyncratic ways perish, and as a result we all live with "Someone in our head, and it's not us".
    verumon July 25, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI suppose insanity is not a topic to laugh at.. but whenever that bit comes in with the guy laughing.. i cant help but laugh along with him... gets me every time.
    anna118kon June 05, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think it's about being labeled as insane for being different, and then being driven insane by being forced to conform.

    .....The lunatic is on the grass
    .....The lunatic is on the grass
    .....remembering games and daisy chains and laughs
    .....got to keep the loonies on the path

    He spent his childhood (games), grew up (daisy chains, meaning series of connected experiences), and found happiness (laughs) in his own way (on the grass). But since he is different, he's considered insane and is forced to live by the rest of society's standards (on the path).

    .....The lunatic is in the hall
    .....the lunatics are in the hall
    .....the paper holds their folded faces to the floor
    .....and every day the paper boy brings more

    Folded faces = the people on the front page of the newspaper. He is examined and ostracized for being different.

    .....The lunatic is in my head
    .....The lunatic is in my head
    .....you raise the blade, you make the change
    .....you rearrange me 'till I'm sane

    The lunatic is in my head = His way of thinking is considered crazy. Doctors treat him (or tool with him—"raise the blade, make the change" as in, for example, adjusting a table saw to do wood work) until he is thinking the way society wants him to.

    .....you lock the door
    .....and throw away the key
    .....there's someone in my head but it's not me

    They have succeeded in changing him. He knows the person he has become is not his true self, but they force this upon him anyway, literally driving him out of his mind.

    ---

    I think the meaning of "dark side of the moon" is found in Eclipse. Everything under the sun is in tune (everything you do goes together to make up who you are), but the sun is eclipsed by the moon (you can be completely separated from who you are). When the sun is eclipsed by the moon, the Earth is on the dark side of the moon.

    So when he says:

    .....And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
    .....and if there is no room upon the hill
    .....and if your head explodes with dark forbodings too
    .....I'll see you on the dark side of the moon

    and:

    .....And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
    .....you shout and no one seems to hear
    .....and if the band you're in starts playing different tunes
    .....I'll see you on the dark side of the moon

    I think he's basically saying "when you can't take it anymore and finally lose it, I'll see you there; they got me too."
    t4ron February 21, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's about Syd. Waters said that the whole album was about Syd... well, not about him... but the themes of insanity and death (I'm not sure why death came in) were inspired by Syd (which is the whole album).

    -The Prynce
    theprynce.com
    theprynceon June 09, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe mental health system is a disgrace. give the crazy people some medication to shut them up, and just hide the problem. what the staff does not realize, is that they are only covering up the physical symptoms. have a hole in the wall? put a picture frame over it. roger waters seems to share my view on this, portraying the faults of this system with his ever present angst and sarcasm. way to go roger!
    piperatthewallon August 24, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me this song is brilliant. Worded so beautifully, that it will make you stop and think about its meaning. The loonies that are out on walk from the local insane assylum are walking through a park. One remembers playing games and having fun in a field (maybe the one in the song) and runs onto the grass, not aware or maybe not caring of the sign that says to keep off the grass. "Got to keep the loonies on the path". maybe thats what that part means....hmmm....next....The loonies that make the news for example, politicians, presidents, criminals etc. are printed in the daily newspaper. The paperboy wraps them up and delivers them to peoples houses. So now we have "the lunatics are in my hall. The paper holds their folded faces to the floor, and everyday the paperboy brings more." COuld be the meaning to that part...hmmm...next...Last but not least and by far the best part of the whole song. The man goes insane, and is admitted to the local insane assylum, and we all know how the insane were treated and cared for back then. They gave him a labotomy, and fed him medications. Changing the meds until they found a suitable state of mind that made the insane calm and managable. They throw him in a padded cell and leave him there. And the sad thing is, is that the insane man knows there is something wrong with him and no one will believe him. "You raise the blade, You make the change, You re-arrange me till im sane. Lock the door, Throw away the key, There's someone in my head but it's not me" Could that be the meaning? Who knows other than the writer of the song. And oh yeah, the last part "And if the band your in starts playing different tunes, Ill see you on the dark side of the moon" is about Syd when he would play the wrong song during performances near the end of being with Pink Floyd. The chorus lines about seeing him on the dark side of the moon is what the voice in his head is telling him. Especially that last part about Syd. Imagine your completely gone off of drugs, you took a trip and never returned, youre up on stage and your playing your guitar like its the last time your ever going to play, and you realize the rest of the band is playing a different song than you. Not the other way around, you realizing you are playing a different song. Your not at fault the band is. Maybe im right, maybe im wrong, but hey, it makes you think doesnt it?
    ImTheLunaticon September 07, 2005   Link

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