"Side Of The Road" as written by and Beck Hansen....
Something better than this, someplace I'd like to go
To let all I've learned tell me what I know
About the kind of life I never thought I'd live
Till the ugly truth showed me what it did

Let it pass on the side of the road
What a friend could tell me now

A borrowed dime in different light
You might see what the other side looks like
In a random room, an iron door
Kick an empty can across an empty floor

Let it pass on the side of the road
What a friend could tell me now

Lyrics submitted by saturnine

"Side of the Road" as written by

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Side Of The Road song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentCome on guys... this is such a great song, why no comments? Anyway, I guess the whole album's about breaking up, and after all the epic emotional battling he does with himself on previous tracks he comes to this simple conclusion. Let it pass on the side of the road. I love the way Sea Change has such meaningful lyrics, that old nonsense he used to write was starting to get stale after Odelay.
    Wrapidon January 17, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"What a friend could tell me now" is reminiscent of the situation in a relationship - or when a man is pining over a woman - during which the man's friends tell him what is truly best for him, but he does not listen because his reason is overpowered by his emotion.
    bjengles3on March 17, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about changing your life and leaving your friends for a lover, then seeing what that does to you, and being unable to go back to the way you were before, and missing your friends' guidance.
    ndoon February 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentbeck's sea change album reminds me so of nick drake.
    endlessskieson February 27, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me, this songs talks about the void left in your life after the one you love has left you. The first speaks about his wish to escape this state of despair, maybe he's been in this position before, but everything he learned last time makes no difference now, because she's still gone.
    The first four lines of the second verse seems to me to be about how if he could just stop thinking about her, maybe it will all be ok. The next four lines are about how he's been with her for so long, that even the familiar surroundings of (presumably) his home, seem cold and strange now that she's left. The line about the iron door could be about how he feels trapped here (in this position or state of mind), with no means of escape. The last two lines of the second verse show us the emptiness that is left inside of him, where she used to be, and how it feels like nothing has meaning now. "Let it pass on the side of the road, what a friend could tell me now" is about how he wishes his friends were here to help him, but he feels isolated (physically or emotionally) from them, and now must work through his depression by himself.
    A very beautiful and touching song about a subject I know all too well.
    Fripodon December 16, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentendlessskies - yeah, I think Beck is a fan actually; I love the album art for this and the fact that the cover is pink .. maybe a hidden tribute to Nick?

    Fripod - great assessment, I agree; I too can relate and really am floored by the empty can across the empty floor line - Beck is the empty can, and the empty floor is his environment - his friends are not there

    Of course, another analysis would be that the "borrowed dime" is the whole album - we, the listener, are being taken through his experience and can make of it what we will - we are kicking the empty can across the empty floor - or blank state - of our own listening experience

    I just broke up with my girlfriend yesterday. Tonight, I went for a night drive, listening to Sea Change .. kind of a catharsis .. I sobbed like a baby during a lot of it, but by the time it got to this song I felt ok

    If the final songs are leading to emotional acceptance, perhaps this last song of the album is that he wants to share it all with us - for artistic reasons of course but also that maybe we can take away something from it ourselves beyond commiseration
    Hawkeye2008on October 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFirst time poster and compelled to give you my on an amazing song and great end to what I think is Beck's best album.

    I don't think it's about love at all or a relationship like a lot of you do. I'm taking it a lot more literally.

    So first verse sets the scene...someone who's on the wrong side of the law, reflecting on their current predicament, how they've got there and that they haven't learnt from their own mistakes.

    The second verse invites the listener to think about what it would be like for them, without a dime, on the other side of the door...kicking a can across an empty floor.

    I find the first line of the chorus and title (!) slightly confusing. "Let it pass by the side of the road". The second line, fits with my view in that the singer thinks a good friend would've helped them make better decisions, etc.....One train of thought is that this is a direct reference to the reason for incarceration and that perhaps if they had, "let it slide", they wouldn't be locked away.

    Anyway. Enjoy! The whole LP is one of absolute favs!

    freaknouton March 22, 2012   Link

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