Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset, swiftly go the days
Sunrise, sunset, you wake up then you undress, it always is the same
The sunrise and the sunsets, you're lying while you confess, keep trying to explain
The sunrise and the sunsets, you realise then you forget what you've been trying to retain

But everybody knows it's all about the things that get stuck inside of your head
Like the songs your roommate sings, a vision of her body as she stretches out on your bed
And she raised her hands in the air, asked you when was the last time you looked in the mirror
Because you've changed
Yeah, you've changed

The sunrise, the sunsets, you're hopeful and then you regret, the circle never breaks
With a sunrise and a sunset, there's a change of heart or address, is there nothing that remains?
For a sunrise or a sunset, you're manic or you're depressed, will you ever feel okay?
For a sunrise or a sunset, your lover is an actress, did you really think she'd stay?

For a sunrise or a sunset, you're either coming or you just left, but you're always on the way
Towards a sunrise or a sunset, a scribble or a sonnet, they are really just the same
To the sunrise or a sunset, the master and his servant have exactly the same fate
It's a sunrise and a sunset, from a cradle to a casket, there is no way to escape
The sunrise and a sunset, hold your sadness like a puppet, keep putting on the play

But everything you do is leading to the point where you just won't know what to do
At that moment you may laugh but there is someone there who will be laughing louder than you
So it's true, the trick is complete, you become everything you said you never would be
You're a fool; you're a fool!

Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset, sunrise and the sunsets
Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, the sunsets, the sunrise, the sunsets
Sunrise, sunset, go home to your apartment, put the cassette in the tape deck and let that fever play
Sunrise, sunset, where are you Arienette?
Where are you Arienette?


Lyrics submitted by PLANES

Sunrise, Sunset song meanings
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  • +3
    General Commentthe way conor cries "you're a fool!" is incredible. it makes the entire song.
    fiverbunny9on January 08, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song is just about the big picture of life, and all the "meaningless" events leading up to the final death or the final moment where you are completely overwhelmed and have nowhere to turn. It shows how things are not important at all, a scribble or a sonnet. And when he says your lover is an actress, did you really think she would stay? its almost as if he is just saying "big deal, your gonna die soon" Its a scary song. but so bluntly honest. Its honesty is embarassing.
    Bladen Dayon April 26, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI love this song, and it was also one of my first Bright Eyes songs. Amazing. This song is fantastic in every way.
    I, too, think it is about Bipolar. Every line seems to describe it.

    And now for my long and boring interpretation:


    “Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset, swiftly go the days
    Sunrise, sunset, you wake up then you undress, it always is the same
    The sunrise and the sunsets, you're lying while you confess, keep trying to explain
    The sunrise and the sunsets, you realize then you forget what you've been trying to retain”

    Here it begins it by making an image in our head of watching days pass over and over again (A cycle of sunrises and sunsets, this is an important theme). The days represent the total, the sunrises and sunsets represent current moods, parts of the total. Hard to explain. The next line “you’re lying while you confess, keep trying to explain” Is explain the confusion of who you are. You don’t know who you are, so when you confess to something you are actually lying (Because you can’t confess to anything if you don’t know who you are), and then you can’t explain yourself. And then “you realize then you forget what you’ve been trying to retain” is explaining the cycle from knowing something (and retaining it) to forgetting something (and not being able to retaining it).

    ”But everybody knows it's all about the things that get stuck inside of your head
    Like the songs your roommate sings, a vision of her body as she stretches out on your bed
    And she raised her hands in the air, asked you when was the last time you looked in the mirror
    Because you've changed
    Yeah, you've changed”

    Here he mentions another thing about a mirror. If we go back to his mirror metaphor (That he uses all too often), it describes the views of a person and themselves (in general). So she asks him “when was the last time you looked in the mirror? Because you’ve changed” Saying that the cycle keeps changing him. (and later, “you’re manic, or you’re depressed”). So his views and himself are constantly changing in this cycle.

    ”The sunrise, the sunsets, you're hopeful and then you regret, the circle never breaks
    With a sunrise and a sunset, there's a change of heart or address, is there nothing that remains?
    For a sunrise or a sunset, you're manic or you're depressed, will you ever feel okay?
    For a sunrise or a sunset, your lover is an actress, did you really think she'd stay?”

    The first line makes the cycle part clear (you’re hopeful then you regret, the circle never breaks”), and it also defines the cycle, hopefulness and the regret. And then this next line, “there’s a change of heart or address” The change of heart is not being able to stay in a relationship, and always changing (moods, personality, etc). The change of address is the leaving; running away from things (or to quote another song, “walking away”). And then the next line, “your lover is an actress, did you really think she’d stay?” Is interested since Conor Oberst was in an apparent relationship with Wynona Rider at this time. Could be a coincidence. Anyways, this, I think, is saying that acting is kind of like the cycle, how it’s never the real them. The cycle (Manic or depressed) is never the true them. And then the “did you really think she’d stay?” may be referring to the change of address (“walking away” from trouble).

    ”For a sunrise or a sunset, you're either coming or you just left, but you're always on the way
    Towards a sunrise or a sunset, a scribble or a sonnet, they are really just the same
    To the sunrise or a sunset, the master and his servant have exactly the same fate
    It's a sunrise and a sunset, from a cradle to a casket, there is no way to escape
    The sunrise and a sunset, hold your sadness like a puppet, keep putting on the play”

    And then another leaving/coming idea, “you’re either coming or you just left, but you’re always on the way” can work both metaphorically or literally. Literally I think its referring back to the “walking away” idea and also exactly what the line says. And metaphorically, its referring to the cycle (In the shape of a circle), you leave one spot on the circle (The manic/depressed), but you always are going around the circle and always come back to the next part and then again back the part you were just at. And the next line, “a scribble or a sonnet, they are really just the same” is also metaphorical. It means that the scribble is kind of the depressed stage, and the sonnet is the manic stage, and they are both part of the same circle, or cycle. This next line, “the master and his servant, have exactly the same fate” is meaning that the servant is the depressed stage and the master is the manic, and they always turn into each other, so they have the same fate (They both go around the same circle/cycle). And then the next line is also similar, “from a cradle to a casket, there is no way to escape” the cycle is now going from a cradle to a casket, meaning the cradle is the manic and the casket is the depressed. But there is no way to escape (Similar to an earlier line, “the circle never breaks”). And then this last line, “hold your sadness like a puppet, keep putting on the play” is saying that the cycle is similar to a play, which relates to an earlier line “your lover is an actress” meaning that the cycle is not the real them, or something like that…

    ”But everything you do is leading to the point where you just won't know what to do
    At that moment you may laugh but there is someone there who will be laughing louder than you
    So it's true, the trick is complete, you become everything you said you never would be
    You're a fool; you're a fool!”

    The first line is going back to something earlier I said, about how the circle always repeats itself and “the circle never breaks” or “there is no way to escape” The next line is confusing, but it means
    The next line, “So its true, the trick is complete, you become everything you said you never would be” Is now comparing the cycle to a “trick” And also saying that you are becoming someone else, and are always lying when you say who you are, because the stages always change and thereof you are never the same person. He ends this part with “You’re a fool! You’re a fool!” which is fairly straightforward.

    ”Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset, sunrise and the sunsets
    Sunrise, sunset, sunrise, the sunsets, the sunrise, the sunsets
    Sunrise, sunset, go home to your apartment, put the cassette in the tape deck and let that fever play
    Sunrise, sunset, where are you Arienette?
    Where are you Arienette?”

    At first he repeats the “sunrise, sunset, sunrise, sunset” which is just making the continuous cycle more apparent. The sun continues to set, and then rise, like the cycle. Now, the sunrise seems to be the manic and the sunset is the depressed. And after a while I begin to thing by the manic and the depressed cycle he is talking about Bipolar Disorder.
    And so the cassette tape is now being compared as well to the cycle. How the cassette plays and repeats, I guess. And then we go back to another common thing from Conor, Arienette. I have not exactly thought about the whole Arienette idea all that much yet, I’m still working on it. But to me I think Arienette is a type of sanity, or safety, maybe. So then he’s asking where the sanity/safety is.


    Maybe I took the song too metaphorical or maybe I thought about it too much/too little. Maybe I accepted the bipolar idea to fast and let that control the rest of my thoughts.
    But I also have to comment on his singing in this song. It also goes along with the theme of the sunrise and the sunset (The manic and the depressed), where he’ll switch from loud to soft; from manic to depressed.
    DreamGeniuson September 15, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentread the lyrics closely this song imo is largely about dealing w/ bipolar disorder aka being manic depressive
    deleteme152on March 31, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song is like an orgasm. Good Lord.
    Conor is so amazing..
    clippy.hangeron April 10, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is about how LIFE is a fuckin routine
    SharingThoughts123on January 16, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is completely incredible. so full of metaphors and awesomeness :)
    bluekitty2on April 12, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song leaves me hanging.
    skies are grayon May 24, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the song doesn't leave you hanging. IT connects all the songs to sang at this point.
    popnoiron June 28, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is absolutely amazing. the metaphors are amazing, and just everything it talks about.
    "You are manic or you’re depressed. Will you ever feel ok? It’s a sunrise and sunset, your lover is an actress. Did you really think she would stay? "
    I love that line. Bright Eyes is an awesome band,
    midnighton July 01, 2002   Link

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