"Older Chests" as written by and Damien George Rice....
Older chests reveal themselves
Like a crack in a wall
Starting small, and grow in time
And we always seem to need the help
Of someone else
To mend that shelf
Too many books
Read me your favorite line

Papa went to other lands
And he found someone who understands
The ticking, and the western man's need to cry
He came back the other day, you know
Some things in life may change
And some things
They stay the same

Like time, there's always time
On my mind
So pass me by, I'll be fine
Just give me time

Older gents sit on the fence
With their cap in hand
Looking grand
They watch their city change
Children scream, or so it seems,
Louder than before
Out of doors, and into stores with bigger names
Mama tried to wash their faces
But these kids they lost their graces
And daddy lost at the races too many times

She broke down the other day, yeah you know
Some things in life may change
But some things they stay the same

Like time, there's always time
On my mind
So pass me by, I'll be fine
Just give me time
Time, there's always time
On my mind
Pass me by, I'll be fine
Just give me time


Lyrics submitted by BlueAndStarry

"Older Chests" as written by Damien George Rice

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Older Chests song meanings
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24 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentI gained a new perspective when listening to this song the other night... although I have heard this song many times before, a heard a different, deeper meaning to the song. I may be totally out in left field... but this is what I heard:

    Older chests reveal themselves (Problems, depression, etc. we have and hide from others)
    Like a crack in a wall
    Starting small, and grow in time (if they aren't resolved, they will grow)
    And we always seem to need the help (the only true remedy is to be open to a 'dark night' of your
    Of someone else soul, you must face your problems)
    To mend that shelf (shelf being the soul)
    Too many books (books = things Western society avoid talking about)
    Read me your favourite line (he is offering an ear to listen)

    Papa went to other lands (Eastern philosophies are more open to spirituality and growth
    And he found someone who understands (and embracing life's difficulties as an opportunity to grow)
    The ticking, and the western man's need to cry (Ticking = fast paced, Westerners using
    He came back the other day, you know (prescription drugs for just about everything
    Some things in life may change (instead of embracing and facing life fully)
    And some things
    They stay the same

    Like time, there's always time (he is saying he is okay with his depression or
    On my mind (whatever he is currently dealing with and to let
    So pass me by, I'll be fine (him be, because he just needs time to work through it)
    Just give me time

    Older gents sit on the fence
    With their cap in hand
    Looking grand
    They watch their city change (older generation seeing so much change)
    Children scream, or so it seems, (children with A.D.D., etc... hyperactivity, seems
    Louder than before (so many children are diagnoses with disorders and are
    Out of doors, and into stores with bigger names (on prescriptions, they are taught to not express)
    Mama tried to wash their faces
    But these kids they lost their graces (divine grace)
    And daddy lost at the races too many times (addiction)

    She broke down the other day, yeah you know
    Some things in life may change (no matter what, the need to cry is necessary)
    But some things they stay the same

    Like time, there's always time
    On my mind
    So pass me by, I'll be fine
    Just give me time
    Time, there's always time
    On my mind
    Pass me by, I'll be fine
    Just give me time
    GracieLou83on July 11, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis whole song is to do with the fact damien hates change, or so i have heard. the whole song talks about how people change and how they dont care anymore. the lines:
    "Older gents sit on the fence
    With their cap in hand
    Looking grand
    They watch their city change"
    this talks about older people sitting back and watching the place they knew change all around them into bigger things, a materealistic world where people care more about themselves than anyone else. also the lines:
    "Children scream, or so it seems,
    Louder than before
    Out of doors, and into stores with bigger names
    Mama tried to wash their faces
    But these kids they lost their graces"
    highlights the fact of change and how children have gone from playin in the street to going to big shopping centers and gettin introduced to newer things and not caring about the past. As far as i am aware of damien hates change
    light_up_light_upon May 05, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOne of his most touching songs. He said in an interview that this was about how people percieve changes, using the example that if you see someone every day, you don't notice their hair getting longer, but if you see them again after a long time, you'll see that they have longer hair. He also said it had to do with certain places like Italy, Rome, Venice, maybe, where certain buildings never change and others do all the time, and family values and beliefs, etc. change through the years, but certain things, like father-son relationships are consistent and have been the same forever.
    TheThornBirdson March 24, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song's about the Westernising ("into stores with bigger names") of several cultures across the world that have remained stable over centuries, only to change in the blink of an eye ("Some things in life may change"). However, whilst all around them is changing, "some things they stay the same," and at the core of these corrupted people is the culture that runs deeper than any modernising.
    boss_2kon May 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI saw Damien Rice perform at the Carling Academy in Glasgow and he told a story of when he was in France he visited a vinyard which reminded him of a more simplistic and purer time which gave him inspiration for this song....like the rest of his work, its genius.
    stickle4on June 05, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI saw Damien last year and he talkjed about why he wrote this song. Damien wrote this about a crappy apartment his friend had. He was looking at a shelf that was crammed so full with books that it was falling down. The "Older Chests" represent furniture that is cheap and falls apart. It represents our culture's lack of appreciation for things. Then the song goes into how we don't appreciate anything anymore. We own all these things and don't even appreciate what we have: "too many books, read me your favorite line" - we have so many books that we don't even know what they're about or have time to read them.
    pnkseashelon November 29, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI am 53 and music is a passion to me. But I can tell you that even though we get older..we never 'resolve' the fact of change and it's desperate ways to convince us things are better. ........they are not! We remain restless and this 18 year old that hides inside me still seeks for the simplicity.
    ShannyHon May 19, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe idea about his dislike of change makes sense.... about finding a constant, like time. Time is always changing but always there....unlike people or places.
    abscababson February 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti reckon this song like shannyh is about change...it doesnt suggest any hatred of time change lyrically but certainly not a like of it.........the whole crack in the wall thing thats cool cos its like at first u hav this small problem but u dnt think anything will happen but soon the crack gets bigger and bigger but no one cares cos its been like it so much just like in the real world..no one will ever fix it them selves they always expect others to do it until the problem just gets passed on and no one fixes it...it also says about his dad coming back and thats like saying how things can chnange but they dnt always and often things just stay the same..not noticed like the books that are never read etc
    kay123on February 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI didn't read this as necissarily being against change (though if the the man himself says so, I suppose it's true). I just took it as an sad observation of modernisation and globalistaion, rather than an attack.

    I can see with what's been said about having too many books etc, but don't you think the way Damien sings is almost wistful? Almost like a good-natured challenge.
    Lita08on February 16, 2006   Link

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