"Shadow On The Sun" as written by Chris Cornell, Brad Wilk, Tim Commerford and Tom Morello....
Once upon a time I was of the mind
To lay your burden down
And leave you where you stood
And you believed I could
You'd seen it done before
I could read your thoughts
Tell you what you saw
And never say a word
Now all that is gone
Over with and done, never to return

I can tell you why
People die alone
I can tell you I'm
A shadow on the sun

Staring at the loss
Looking for a cause
And never really sure
Nothing but a hole
To live without a soul
And nothing to be learned

I can tell you why
People go insane
I can show you how
You could do the same
I can tell you why
The end will never come
I can tell you I'm
A shadow on the sun

Shapes of every size
Move behind my eyes
Doors inside my head
Bolted from within
Every drop of flame
Lights a candle in
Memory of the one
Who lives inside my skin

I can tell you why
People go insane
I can show you how
You could do the same
I can tell you why
The end will never come
I can tell you I'm
A shadow on the sun

Shadow on the sun, shadow on the sun
Shadow on the sun, shadow on the sun
Shadow on the sun, shadow on the sun
Shadow on the sun, shadow on the sun
Sun, sun


Lyrics submitted by ruben

"Shadow on the Sun" as written by Chris Cornell Timothy Commerford

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Shadow On The Sun song meanings
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  • +10
    My InterpretationThe meaning of this song is so very clear to me - every lyric, so it's hard for me to understand why no one else sees this. I've typed my translation next to dash underneath the quoted lyrics.
    "Once upon a time I was of the mind, To lay your burden down" =
    - I used to tell you not to worry, I would take care of your problems, worries, & take away ur pain..
    "And leave u where u stood" =
    - and that she didn't have to do a thing - he would take care of everything.
    "You'd seen it done before" =
    - She told him she had faith in him & knew he could do it.
    "I would read your thoughts, Tell u what u saw, & never say a word" =
    - They had a very very close connection & relationship together, where they knew what each other was thinking without having to always talk.
    "But now all of that is gone, over with & done, never to return" =
    - The relationship ended - no hope for reconciliation.
    "I can tell you why people die alone" =
    - He now believes that no relationship ever lasts.
    "I can tell you why I'm a shadow on the sun" =
    - The sun respresents brightness, happiness, and an incredible energy of love. The shadow represents sadness, pain, and a broken heart. Where there was once blissful happiness is now pain (the shadow).
    "Staring at the loss, looking for the cause, and never really sure." =
    - the relationship ended but he doesn't understand why it did & is in shock cause it did end, something he thought it would never happen at the time.
    "Nothing but a hole, To live without a soul," =
    - There is now an empty place in his heart and soul where she used to be - a great loss, and he feels she cannot be replaced.
    "And nothing to be learned"
    - He thought he had found his soulmate, but it didn't work out - so he will not be moving forward. He thought he finally found the answer to love thru her, but was wrong cause now she is gone - thus, 'nothing to be learned' - he's back where he started.
    "I can tell you why people go insane" =
    - The pain & sadness of the loss of someone you deeply loved can sometimes be unbearable to accept and move forward.
    "I can show you how you could do the same."=
    - Feel my pain and you will understand how I feel.
    "I can tell you why the end will never come" =
    - I no longer believe that soul mates and true love exist or is possible.
    "I can tell you I'm the shadow on the sun" =
    - Where happiness once was, is now pain & sadness. I'm now in the darkness, sadness, and pain and no longer part of the brightness, love and happiness. My flame of love has extinguished itself into darkness.
    "Shapes of every size move behind my eyes"=
    - He's talking about memories & dreams of the person he loved & their past times together.
    "Bolted from within, Every drop of flame, Lights a candle in, Memory of the one who lived inside my skin"
    - He is shutting & bolting the door to his heart & soul, which is now very fragile & needs protected & now only a flicker of flame burns inside & the only reason it is still barely flickering is because enough good memories of her were left behind, to keep a small energy flow to the flame to keep it somewhat flickering. 'the one who lived inside his skin' - that means they were 2 souls in one - the ultimate love connection.
    truehearttrueon October 23, 2009   Link
  • +4
    General CommentPalestinian has the right idea. The song is (quite possibly, since I can't read Chris Cornell's mind) about a person who was deeply in love with someone. They were once in a relationship with that person, and thought that it would last. But complications arose, and they later discovered that the relationship was impossible. Yet, they still long for that person, but there's nothing that they can do.

    The title, Shadow On The Sun, is mentioning the impossibility of the relationship. Nothing can create a shadow on the sun, because the sun is the source of light which creates that shadow. But because nothing is brighter than our sun, a shadow cannot be created on it's surface. The fact that he's refering to himself as "a shadow on the sun" is because he's found it impossible in himself to continue seeing this person, whatever their problem may be. It's a grandiose metaphor for his state of mind.

    Jeez, it's too late at night to be lost in philosophical song analyzation. @_@;
    Jeffirothon August 01, 2006   Link
  • +3
    Song MeaningI read through a few of these comments before I made the assumption that everyone was using Collateral as the meaning of the song, rather than the song itself. This whole "it's about a person who made themselves this way" rhetoric, which I respect as an opinion, seems to do completely miss the point of the song entirely.

    This song is about a person who once could see things clearly, better than most; like we tend to see things better in daylight. However, as the lyrics say, "Now all that is gone, over with and done..." he notes that he no longer able to see things as he once did, because he's the shadow of the sun, which I feel is a poetic way of saying he's a sun-spot you can't see from earth (google for images.)

    He sees the darkness that many don't, because it's him, and he's in it; an exception to the rules most people take as given. Things like "It'll get better with time" or "You'll get over it," generic things people say to make others feel better, this all does nothing to help him. It's like he's telling us, "I know what you guys thing I'm supposed to be thinking and feeling, but I'm not." Yet, as most who've ever been around friends who want us to feel better, they tend to sometimes ignore our honesty in our words and tell us just do this or just do that. Eventually, if you don't, you'll get tired of listening to them and just want to be alone - away from people who tell you should be feeling/dealing with things. "I can tell you why people die alone." They didn't bring it upon themselves, they were sorta forced into it, where they couldn't find acceptance anywhere.

    The last verse:

    Shapes of ever size
    Move behind my eyes
    Doors behind my eyes
    Bolted from within
    Every drop of flame
    Lights a candle in
    Memory of one
    Who lives inside my skin

    He's talking talking about the memories and thoughts that become real within his mind, images that keeps and refuses to express or let out, because he's tired of people misinterpreting them. "Every drop of flame" is those pieces of light that do get through, do nothing but remind him of what he lost; it could be either who he used to be, before he became a shadow on the sun, or it could be a person he is no longer with... either way, that person still exists within him...
    Rev5on July 24, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Commentto me videos and movies warp the actual meaning of a song but thats just me, and I wont relate it to the movie collateral. having that said i think it is about someone has such a connection with another person that they knew what each other wanted without saying anything.

    Once upon a time I was of the mind
    To lay your burden down
    And leave you where you stood
    And you believed I could
    You'd seen it done before
    I could read your thoughts
    Tell you what you saw
    And never say a word
    But now all that is gone
    Over with and done
    Never to return

    Then one of the two was lost to a death or some other cause and the one that was left just felt that there was nothing left to live for and became lifeless, and as for being the shadow on the sun, to me that means when others look at that person all they see is something that could have been brighter but became a shadow due to the loss that was suffered.

    I can tell you why
    People die alone
    I can tell you I'm
    A shadow on the sun

    Staring at the loss
    Looking for a cause
    And never really sure
    Nothing but a hole
    To live without a soul
    And nothing to be learned

    I can tell you why
    People go insane
    I can show you how
    You could do the same
    I can tell you why
    The end will never come
    I can tell you I'm
    A shadow on the sun

    As for the last verse I believe that it refers to how there is still things going on within that person but he/she shuts everyone out because they feel like they are alone in the world and when they remember (drop of flame) the one that was lost they remember what life was like before the one was lost.

    Shapes of every size
    Move behind my eyes
    Doors inside my head
    Bolted from within
    Every drop of flame
    Lights a candle in
    Memory of the one
    Who lived inside my skin

    That is what this song means to me broken down into a few parts, hope this can add to some conversation and give those that have no opinions something to go off of.
    Okey Wanon June 07, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song cuts me every time I hear it. It's about sorrow and guilt. I don't think he's afraid to die alone, he is almost resigned to it. I think he realizes that the pain tore who He was in two and his memories are bolted within the person he can never be. Basically he has let himself become consumed; he knows he will never forget but can never go back. . so he has bittersweet memories he can't let go but can't allow himself to feel either. The conundrum creates this powerful aura around his pain. . .so dark to cast a shadow on the sun. At least it does on mine.
    Evezeroon February 14, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is obviously about loss and love..
    obviously a connection between two people, he explains how it was so good, but its all gone now.
    how he feels he'll never go on without this person
    and explains how it comes about through everyone else too.

    shadow on the sun refers to how he is meerly become a shadow cast by the sun

    ..i dunno maybe im totally off but thats how i interpreted it
    Sadie19on September 20, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwell i think this song is about how he was in love with a girl and he thought that he would be able to relieve her pain, but she leaves him and he feels like he cant fall in love again, no matter how much he wants to
    jaba88on March 19, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWell audioslave had a lot of spiritual music leaning to God in my opinion. I beleive this is another example in this song... everyone seems to have there own ideas on it.. i believe they are all very closely related to my understanding of this song... This song is about Going through Life,(exp. Devorice, tough decisions, loneliness, not being noticed) all the hard times in life.. with out knowing God. in the lyrics

    "Staring at the loss Looking for a cause And never really sure Nothing but a hole to live without a soul And nothing to be learned"

    I belive he was meaning "staring at the loss (that are) looking for a cause" if you go your whole life not knowing God. you have a hole that needs to be filled.. and if its not, its like living without a soul.. and if you dont know God you never get the chance in life to learn his lessons..

    and the title "Shadow on the Sun" he says in the song.. "Im a shadow on the sun" This to me means Next to God he is a shadow on the sun, because Gods love and power is so bright it would cause you to cast a shadow on the sun.. I believe Chis was talking about How he knows God and can See how peoples lives can be with out God. Just my opinion of the song i guess I liked everyone elses ideas it really opens my eyes to how everyone hears a song in there own way.

    IwasEstablished1985on January 15, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song invokes passion from me... Like an inner pain to a point where tears form... But this song to me is about how life doesn't always go the right way and it gets to the point that you don't feel you belong that you're going crazy and that no matter what in the end you'll be alone... The part that reassures this idea of mine is "every drop of flame, lights a candle in, memory of the one, who lived inside my skin" life has gotten to the point that you're not yourself... That you have changed and that you remember who you were and morn for that loss of self.
    spencer89on January 28, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretationhe suffered from alcohol abuse and almost lost his wife. He knew that he would die alone and his life became a torment. He thought about leaving his wife to somehow save hers without having to quit drinking. He wrote this song as a remembrance of his addiction. He almost lost it and he can tell you how to do the same. I believe after he sobered up his marriage was safe. Its a terribly sad song with hope. I am sure faith and love were two things that he felt saved by.
    krisstithepirateon February 21, 2011   Link

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