"(I Am) What I Am Not" as written by and Colin/woomble Newton....
Calling places collecting careless
Sentences I write them down so I ignore them
You should too sing your every word

Calling what you can't surrender
The only way to really learn the alphabet
Made up words could never use them all

If all this wisdom is true
Then I tell it
Could it really have come from you

Then I am what I am not
I am what I am not
Must be something more than
If I had just a thought I know

Faster than a destination
Of knowing where you really are
Is where you'll always be
This is where you can

And happiness did it happen
Sooner than the time it cost
To run from the mistakes that I saw you do

If all this wisdom is true
Then I tell it
Could it really have come from you

Then I am what I am not
I am what I am not
So it must be something more than
I am what I am not
Is this nothing more than
I am what I am not
I am what I am not
There must be something more than
If I am what I am not

Then I am what I am not
I am what I am not
There must be something more than
I am what I am not
I know there's nothing more than
I am what I am not
I am what I am not
I guess there's nothing more than
If I am what I am not



Lyrics submitted by scottishboy

"(I Am) What I Am Not" as written by Colin Newton Bob Fairfoull

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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(I Am) What I Am Not song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentGiven that i interpret the whole album (the remote part) as Roddy's dealings with the concept of identity, i'd do the same with this track.

    So, to me, this song song is Roddy struggling to define himself as anything other than what he isn't. And in doing so, negating to have an identity that exists on it's own (only in relation to 'not being' other objects).

    The first verse seems to be about his obsession (maybe too strong a word) with literature, and learning that the alphabet is is just 'made up of words you could never resist to quote'. I think this is Roddy comparing himself against other authors, and never fully being able to emancipate his own writing from the direct influence of others (possibly ties in with why Edwin Morgan is on the album). His own dealings with the idea of literary individuality?

    When it comes to the chorus, the continual shouts of:

    "if there's nothing more then
    i am what i am not"

    Strikes me as a sort of admission of defeat. That if there is nothing more to the individual than his obsession and difference from others, then he simply exists as a polarity, not as a true identity.

    I can't quite figure out who the 'I' and 'you' are though... as in:

    "You learn from the mistakes that I taught you"

    and

    "then i doubt it could really have come from you"

    It almost sounds like a feud between Roddy any someone else, not sure who though.

    Anyone have any ideas?
    salforsython March 02, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm not sure about the 'I' and 'You' in the above lines, though i think it might have something to do with knowledge (where it comes from and where it leads us) - for example,

    "If all this wisdom is true, then i doubt it could have come from you" - what people have taken to be known in the past has been challenged in the present, so should *I* accept that *your* wisdom is true? If it is derived from a person, then how can one know that it is true? Here i think the "You" is somebody in the past that has passed down knowledge to him.

    "you learn from the mistakes that I taught you" - i think this is kind of the opposite of the above line, with the *you* here refers to the listener/reader. It's makng the same point that any truth that is supposedly put forward by *I* should be questionned, just as he has had to question the wisdom that has been passed down to him.

    I think this song questions the concept of absolute truth, or at least whether we'll ever know it.

    "That the alphabet made up words that you could never resist to quote" - might be completely wrong about this, but he might be saying that because we think in words, and because these words are made up for us already, it's impossible for us to know anything objectively, because we're always working with the same filter - what if our language was flawed at eh basic level? Some languages have words that have no direct translation for us, so we always will miss something.

    I think the whole "I am what I am not" thing states the contradiction that comes from believing that we are purely thinking beings (I think therefore i am etc). It's not possible to be what you are not, so there must be some kind of absolute truth, but how can i find it when i think in something i have created (i.e. language) and am working from other flawed views?

    that's my $0.02 at least...
    moomoosnakeon January 14, 2007   Link

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