"Circumstances" as written by and Alex ; Lifeson Geddy Lee Weinrib....
A boy alone, so far from home
Endless rooftops from my window
I felt the gloom of empty rooms
On rainy afternoons
Sometimes in confusion
I felt so lost and disillusioned
Innocence gave me confidence
To go up against reality

All the same we take our chances
Laughed at by time
Tricked by circumstances
Plus ca change
Plus c'est la meme chose
The more that things change
The more they stay the same

Now I've gained some understanding
Of the only world that we see
Things that I once dreamed of
Have become reality
These walls that still surround me
Still contain the same old me
Just one more who's searching for
A world that ought to be

All the same we take our chances
Laughed at by time
Tricked by circumstances
Plus ca change
Plus c'est la meme chose
The more that things change
The more they stay the same


Lyrics submitted by shed27, edited by digitalman

"Circumstances" as written by Gary Lee Weinrib Neil Elwood Peart

Lyrics © OLE MEDIA MANAGEMENT LP

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Circumstances song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentI like the song "Hemispheres" better. But there's no page for it.

    Hemispheres what a catchy song. Anyone agree?
    zaqwert777on October 26, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentInteresting back story. But nobody seems to have addressed the actual "meaning" of the song.

    In the first verse he moves away from home in order make some grand change in his life. But things are bleak and that's the reality of the situation. The innocence of youth enables him to delude himself and push on anyway. That's cool. Nonetheless, whatever we will, we're at the mercy of the fates. And wherever we go, whatever we do, we're never really in control.

    In the second verse he has grown older and wiser. He's a rock star and has gained much of the success that he dreamed of as a boy. Nonetheless, "wherever you go, there are." He's still at the mercy of the universe, like all of us.

    I always thought this song was somewhat influenced by, or a response to the Yes song "Perpetual Change". It was written a few years prior to "Circumstances". Here are some lyrics:



    "As truth is gathered, I rearrange,
    Inside out, outside in, inside out, outside in,
    Perpetual change.

    And there you are,
    Saying we have the moon, so now the stars,
    When all you see
    Is near disaster gazing down on you and me,
    And there you're standing,
    Saying we have the whole world in our hands,
    When all you'll see,
    Deep inside the world's controlling you and me.

    As mist and sun are both the same,
    We look on as pawns of their game."



    With this song in mind, one can imagine Neil Peart saying 'Yes, we are pawns of random forces beyond our control. Yes, things do perpetually change. BUT, the more things change...' Well, you know the rest.
    turantualon May 29, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentNeil lived and worked in London for a while and this could be his take on things at the time. I love this song a great deal - Neil seems to be commenting on peoples' ability to never be satisfied, regardless of how much they try to change things. Geddy's vocals on this song are amazing.
    lerxstgkon November 19, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is about a now famous true story..... Neil was looking for a band that was as serious as he was, he wasn't having any luck in Toronto and decided he needed a big change, he would go to London and try there. His Dad helped him build a crate for his drums, and he had copied from some of his favorite albums the names of record companies and music business contacts in London and off he went. After arriving he started knocking on the doors of London's music businesses, he said he remembers one lady saying "Well, you're vary brave", meaning "you're very naive". With his money running out and still no prospects he went home.

    "A boy alone, so far from home,
    Endless rooftops from my window.
    I felt the gloom of empty rooms
    On rainy afternoons.
    Sometimes, in confusion,
    I felt so lost and disillusioned,
    Innocence gave me confidence
    To go up against reality."

    "All the same, we take our chances,
    Laughed at by Time,
    Tricked by Circumstances.
    Plus ca change,
    Plus c'est la meme chose,
    The more that things change,
    The more they stay the same".

    He then went to work at his Dad's farm equipment company and continued playing drums. one day someone came into the store and said that this band called Rush was looking for a drummer, would he be interested? And the rest is history.
    allen2112on August 12, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is great song i can't belive only 1 person commmented on it rush rocks
    *Modest_ Mouse*on April 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI saw them perform this song live last week. Neil looked he wasn't enjoying keeping up with all the time signature changes in the song. Needless to say, he played it flawlessly. 'The more that things change'... like the time signatures.
    DesertRaton August 05, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDefinatley about Neils personal life and career. More generally I see it as a song about the negative circumstances in our lives we all have a internal ability to change it. To go up agianst the circumstances we dislike in our life and change things for the better
    MattK87on September 13, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPlus ca change
    plus c'est le meme chose is different than
    Plus ca change
    Plus c'est le meme chose. The capitol letter changes it to Plus it's the same thing instead of more it is the same thing. Then again the more that it changes the more it stays the same.
    digitalmanon July 29, 2013   Link

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