There comes a time when you swim or sink
So I jumped in the drink
Cuz I couldn't make myself clear

Maybe I wrote in invisible ink
Oh I've tried to think
How I could have made it appear

But another illustration is wasted
Cuz the results are the same
I feel like a ghost who's trying to move your hands
over some ouija board in the hopes I can spell out my name

What some take for magic at first glance
Is just sleight of hand depending on what you believe
Something gets lost when you translate
It's hard to keep straight
Perspective is everything

And I know now which is which and what angle I oughta look at it from
I suppose I should be happy to be misread-
Better be that than some of the other things I have become

But nobody wants to hear this tale
The plot is cliched, the jokes are stale
And baby we've all heard it all before
Oh I could get specific but
Nobody needs a catalog
With details of a love I can't sell anymore

And aside from that, this chain of reaction,
baby, is losing a link
Though I'd hope you'd know what I tried to tell you
And if you don't I could draw you a picture in invisible ink

But nobody wants to hear this tale
The plot is cliched, the jokes are stale
And baby we've all heard it all before
Oh I could get specific but
Nobody needs a catalog
With details of a love I can't sell anymore


Lyrics submitted by AgathaKavka, edited by ShootTheM14

Invisible Ink song meanings
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15 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentThere's a lot about this song that sounds like a break-up. She's trying to communicate to her ex that she wants to try again and he's not getting it or he's not interested.

    "What some take from magic at first glance
    is just slight of hand depending on what you believe"
    Love at first sight may be how she sees it and she's never lost that, but the ex sees different.

    "But nobody wants to hear this tale
    The plot is cliche the jokes are stale
    and baby we've all heard it all before
    oh i could guess this selfish thought
    nobody needs a catalog
    with details of love I can't sell anymore"
    She's missing her ex for a long, long time. She's told everybody about it and done everything she can to get him back. It's not working and it's old. No one wants to hear anymore. Joking about it's not funny. Nobody cares but her.
    rburtonon December 01, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThere comes a time when you swim or sink
    So I jumped in the drink
    Cause I couldn't make myself clear
    I realize, you have to understand what I am trying to say now or never. So I makes a desperate attempt (I jump in to see if I will swim or sink).

    Maybe I wrote in invisible ink
    maybe it's my way of communicating that's wrong...

    But another illlustration is wasted
    cause the results are the same
    but every way I try, nothing works.

    What some take for magic at first glance
    is just slight of hand depending on what you believe
    people's ability to carry a meaning accross is just "slight of hand." You can get lucky, or not.

    And I know now which is which and what angle I
    oughta look at it from
    The fact that you don't understand tells me that deep down, you don't want to. So it would only make things worse if you did. I know now not to be so frustrated about this inability to get to you since I know it's better to be "misread" than to be what I will become in your eyes otherwise.

    and aside from that this chain of reaction
    baby is losing a link
    Not only is the love fading, but I can't even get that accross to you.


    I like her first verse. It shows that she understands exactly what she is doing when she gets emotional. She jumps in on purpose to make herself clear. Because some people just don't understand that there's a fire if you say it calmly (in this case, the fire is the fact that the relationship might end).
    hypnodeeperon February 13, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI feel like it's a song about trying to tell someone you love them, but they just don't get it. Maybe it's an initial declaration of love, or trying to get someone you're in a relationship with to commit and they can't even hear what you want them to hear. I love the line about the ghost and the ouija board, what a beautiful metaphor for hoping that someone will connect the dots and love you the way you love them.
    colum1225on November 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn the first verse about her jumping into the drink, i think she is talking about her not being able to understand herself, so she goes to drinking. this song is pretty, but i don't really understand it.
    HannahOrange7on March 27, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt seems to me that she is trying to communicate her deepest and darkest feelings to someone. But, for some reason the person is refusing to or just cannot connect with how she is feeling. It's like writing a 10 page letter that is stained with blood, sweat and tears, and then sending it to the object of your affection. But by the time the person receives it, all they see are 10 blank pages. And when you follow up by asking with nervous apprehension, "So, what did you think?” the person responds by saying, "What did I think about what? You sent me 10 blank pieces of paper." This is just an analogy of the hurtful feelings that can result when people are not emotionally compatible. When she refers to the cliché, to me it seems that she is referring to the saying that 'Communication is the key to healthy relationships'. And with a bit of sarcasm, she seems to be responding that while the concept sounds nice, it's easier said than done.
    ophelia219on September 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me, she's a girl who is trying to tell someone something that he just doesn't understand. No matter how hard she tries to explain, or illustrate, it's invisible to him. I love the line "I feel like a ghost who's trying to move your handsover some ouija board in the hopes I can spell out my name." She's trying really hard to make him understand and to love and value her, but in the end, it's her doing all the movement and work like someone playing Ouija. She knows things have lost the glamour of their initial attraction, but she can't explain why and he doesn't see it the same way she does, so they can't fix things. My other favorite line is "I suppose I should be happy to be misread, better be that than some of the other things I have become." I think she's saying that in a way, it's good he doesn't understand... because she doesn't think he'll like the person she is now, anyway.

    This is a wonderful song, and sends chills down my spine along with most of Aimee's other songs.
    ShatteredPoetesson October 16, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI can't tell if she's singing to a man or to her fans? She may be talking about how her fans sometimes misread her lyrics, similar to the Indigo Girls' song "Burn All the Letters". But the lyric about "magic at first glance/is just sleight of hand depending how much you believe" does sound like a reference to love.
    kazuon April 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis does sort of sound like a song written about her fans but the line, "I feel like a ghost who's trying to move your hands over some ouija board in the hopes I can spell out my name" seems way too personal for that. When I think of Ouija boards, I think of an experience between people that are very close, even if it's just playing for fun--that's not something you would write about in reference to people you don't know.
    citizenaimon September 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy favourite Aimee Mann song. I interpret it the same as ShatteredPoetess - about trying to communicate something incredibly meaningful to somebody you love, without success.
    auxocromeon September 03, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthese lyrics are all kinds of wrong.. wtf
    HighOnSunday51on July 10, 2008   Link

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