Don't you think that I'm bound to react now?
Well my fingers definitely turning to black now
Yeah maybe I'll put my love on ice
And teach myself, maybe that'll be nice yeah
My books are sitting at the top of the stack now
Well the longer words are really breaking my back now
Yeah maybe I'll learn to understand
Drawing a square with a pencil in hand yeah
Mathematically turning the page
Unequivocally showing my age
I'm practically center stage
Undeniably earning your wage
Well maybe I'll put my love on ice
Teach myself, maybe that'll be nice yeah
Listen master can you answer a question
Is it the fingers, or the brains
that you're teaching the lesson?
Oh I cant tell you how proud Iam
Im writing down things that I dont understand
Well maybe I'll put my love on ice
And teach myself, maybe that'll be nice yeah
Yeah
Yeah
Yeah


Lyrics submitted by ruben

Black Math song meanings
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54 Comments

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  • +5
    General Commentjack white said exactly this in a interview about this song "I was thinking about a time in high school when I turned my books in to the math teacher and said, 'I refuse to learn from you anymore.' The song is about asking questions. A lot of people are taught just to regurgitate information. People don't care if you learn anymore. Opinion gets trampled on."
    gionationon November 09, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThe song is about having to learn things that you think you don't need to know, like complicated maths (calc, trig, analytical geometry etc.). You don't have to understand it, you might not need to know it in the future, but here and now, you can only pass beyond this point if you get it right.
    dubhshlainon September 15, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song could be taken as an attack on the value that America places on formal education.

    First, the lyrics talk about someone drowning in a sea of books, words, and concepts that he doesn't really understand. He is 'proud' that he can write down things that he doesn't understand.

    The lyrics complain about black fingers from too much writing with ink, and speculates "Is it the fingers, or the brains/that you're teaching the lesson? " meaning that the teaching he has recieved has little to do with understanding and more to do with wiriting down a lot of meaningless nonsense.

    Finally, it states that: "Well maybe I'll put my love on ice" indicating that he desires to be free of the educational system and just learn life on his own.

    This can apply to learning guitar, but I think it applies to a much more general imprssion of education.
    And teach myself, maybe that'll be nice
    nanometeron March 09, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with the bit about learning and school in general. Jack White told me (met him after a show...) that he thinks the only reason we go to school is so we learn to do things that we don't want to do.
    SallyBowleson June 18, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThere's truth in that, and this is coming from a certified school teacher.
    OpinionHeadon June 21, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti happen to know that jack's brother leo is a brilliant mathematician(it's math way way over my head) so maybe jack got inspiration from leo for this song. check out leo's webpage. i can't remember the address but just google him.
    blueveinson January 25, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think there's some truth to what a lot of people have said. Jack is, I think, recalling his high school days. And by doing so he is recalling the way school was taught, and how he didn't like it. The second verse especially seems to imply this, what with the "are you teaching the finger or the brain" and the "writing downs things I don't understand." Like others said, he was simply being taught to repeat information.
    Problem is that doesn't always work in math. Often, you have to be able to really understand what you're doing.
    So it really get good grades in the classes, he had to study to the point where he was teaching himself, maybe? Putting his love on ice might be an indication of the sacrifices me made to get by in school?
    Just something I was thinking.
    TheSilverNobleon June 03, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentplato_03 is an example of an over-analytical music junkie who loves to attribute meaning to songs that don't have it. Jack White, a professed anti-intellectual, would never pack one of his songs with the load of bullshit that good ol' Plato is claiming. And if you really think about it, would the White Stripes stretch that far from comfortable Detroit to write a song about the fucking Freemasons? The answer is no, and if you disagree, go write a doctoral thesis on how Superman affected Trinidad's economy by imitating Nietzsche's model and sticking to the tenets of a phallus centered literary world.
    drmurphysjelloon October 07, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think its about how learning from a book is superficial.... you can't truely learn unless you experience, reading books going to school is fine but its kindof a black way of learning. you'll just go through the motions, not really learning about yourself.
    IIIon June 25, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAH AH AH AH AH AH AH AH AH AH

    Best part of the song, for sure. I love Jack White.
    kaweenuhon October 18, 2009   Link

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