"What Ever Happened?" as written by and Julian Casablancas....
I wanna be forgotten
And I don't want to be reminded
You say, "Please don't make this harder"
No, I won't yet
I wanna be beside her
She wanna be admired
You say, "Please don't make this harder"
No, I won't yet

Oh dear, is it really all true?
Did they offend us and they want it to sound new?
Top ten ideas for countdown shows
Whose culture is this and does anybody know?
I wait and tell myself, life ain't chess
But no one comes in
And yes, you're alone
You don't miss me, I know

Oh Tennessee, what did you write?
I come together in the middle of the night
Oh, that's an ending that I can't write
'Cause I've got you to let me down

I wanna be forgotten
And I don't want to be reminded
You say, "Please don't make this harder"
No, I won't yet
I wanna be beside her
She wanna be admired
You say, "Please don't make this harder"
No, I won't yet


Lyrics submitted by Stoney

"What Ever Happened?" as written by Julian Casablancas

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What Ever Happened? song meanings
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  • +8
    General CommentThe line "Oh Tennessee, what did you write?" is definitely referring to Tennessee Williams and, more specifically, to his play 'The Night of the Iguana'

    In the next line ("I come together in the middle of the night"), Julian is comparing himself to the character Lawrence Shannon, a shamed priest. After Lawrence suffers a nervous breakdown, Hannah comes to his aid and offers him advice in the middle of the night.

    The next two lines ("But that's an ending that I can't write cos I've got you to let me down") are a reference to the end of the play where Lawrence tears the cross from his neck, metaphorically freeing himself of the ties of the church that have caused him so much stress. The fact that Julian "can't write" that ending shows that he is unable to free himself from what it is that is stressing him out (which, given the context of the rest of the song, is probably a recently ended relationship).
    thediscobiscuiton June 09, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me, its pretty much about how he's feeling after breaking up. The fourth verse really throws me off though. I'm assuming its in reference to Tennessee Williams, author of the play, A Streetcar Named Desire. Whether or not I understand the connection or not, my favorite verse of the song and the part that really made this song one of my favorites off the album.
    nightsunon June 30, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOh dear, is it really all true?
    Did they offend us and they want it to sound new?
    Top ten ideas for countdown shows...
    Whose culture is this and does anybody know?

    that's gotta be about the dreaded "Second Album Blues" (want it to sound new) that many bands face after releasing a debut that is hyped up and hailed as one of the best recordings ever. happened to these guys, happened to the vines, and its gonna happen to jet eventually, when they can be fucked writing another album instead of taking speed and stealing ac/dc riffs.
    atthedrive-inon December 05, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm more akin to agree that this song is about the Second Album Blues and that "she" is a metaphor for the media, the fans, the critics and other bands. Great song to start a second album with!
    bkat004on March 16, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAre these lyrics from the CD insert? I'm not hearing some of this stuff.

    Tennessee certainly references T. Williams, the playwrite. I looked up plays by him containing "come together" but I didn't find much.
    jamisonlikewhaton January 17, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Oh dear is it really all true?
    Did they offend us and they want it to sound new?"

    Julian may not be the new Morrissey, but he can write some brilliant stuff. It sticks in your head, and you end up writing the line on a desk in math class just to share how good that line is. Well, for me anyway.
    I figured out how to play the solo today, it kicks ass...
    deenaon April 16, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis is a wonderfully written song, as basically all strokes songs are. even if they aren't immediately catchy hits, they are ALL well-written & performed. these guys are all really talented & all their songs have something to say. isn't that what being a creative musician is all about? commenting about anything & everything that means anything to you? evil critics need to just shup up. true music fans will listen to these songs & get something out of all of them. i'll say it again: i have not heard a crappy strokes song yet & i am someone who really LISTENS to music. and thanks to everyone here who posts their thoughts because it helps me too. i love this band!!!
    terri kayeon August 15, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentQUOTE: by terri kaye on 08-15-2006 @ 01:48:38 PM
    " evil critics need to just shup up. true music fans will listen to these songs & get something out of all of them. i'll say it again: i have not heard a crappy strokes song yet & i am someone who really LISTENS to music. and thanks to everyone here who posts their thoughts because it helps me too. i love this band!!! "

    CHEERS to you!! I totally agree with you.. seems like every Strokes song page you read there has to be at least one person who puts them down. Why do you guys do that???
    I mean I really can't understand why there's so many people who go "Huh the Strokes? i think i've heard of them"... "or those guys? i think they're weird" and the most hated comment: "i used to like them but now they've changed".

    People don't stay 20 or single or say, sad/happy forever!!! People should be happy that there's a band out there who actually puts in hours of hard work for the money they make They don't get payed like some other "artists" for writing like 20 songs about bullets and blood (no offence to emo fans, actually sometimes i listen to MCR but for their guitar lol), or cuz they look good on those junky teen magazines, you get the drift....

    If you really listen to their music and even to their few lowlites (e.g. killing lies) you will see that compared to other people... these guys are "the artists". Their music follows musical theory/rules, all of their lyrics are genius poetry, and Jules' vocals... well his voice never gets annoying, and do you know anyone who sounds as real as him live??? I think he might be one of the best original singers right now... (...sigh r.i.p. K. Cobain). Sometimes I think that it's ok that they're not getting the mainstream recognition of say RHChili Peppers or even Coldplay. Cuz you know the commercial success will eventually hit you in the head...
    but i think their commercial success is finally coming... Probably for sure after their fourth album (if nothing goes wrong). This song "What Ever Happened?" is featured on the "Marie Antionette" Kirsten Dunst movie. Also, they wear chuck taylors under their dresses. (cool). Apparently the director's a fan. i think "Fear of Sleep" is also featured on some movie?? I'm not sure...

    uuhhh... i should be heading to class... i was supposed to add my interpretation of this song but got distracted by the idea of Strokes putdowners... well you have to accept the fact that we're 6B people and we're all bound to love stuff hate stuff...
    !!!! But you can't deny that The Strokes have revitalized rock!!!!
    endless_strokeon October 20, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI first heard this song on the Marie Antoinette commercial and the song is honestly half of what makes me want to see the movie it sounds so good! I did not know it was by the strokes and when I looked it up i was excited to see that it was. it fits awesome on the commercial!

    my thoughts on the meaning: i can really see how the "media" theme fits on the oh dear is it.... part, but the first two verses are the ones that remind me all too well of a point in life, perhaps a breakup, that you just want to put behind you and not think about.
    janesmithon October 22, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwhen he's live he says "i wanna be inside her" (6)
    blaahon January 25, 2007   Link

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