"Tiny Vessels" as written by Benjamin Gibbard and Nicholas Harmer....
This is the moment that you know
That you told you loved her but you don't.
You touch her skin and then you think
That she is beautiful but she don't mean a thing to me.
Yeah, she is beautiful, but she don't mean a thing to me.

I spent two weeks in Silverlake.
The California sun cascading down my face
There was a girl with light brown streaks
And she was beautiful but she didn't mean a thing to me.
Yeah, she was beautiful, but she didn't mean a thing to me.

Wanted to believe in all the words that I was speaking
As we moved together in the dark.
And all the friends that I was telling.
And all the playful misspellings.
And every bite I gave you left a mark.

Tiny vessels oozed into your neck
And formed the bruises,
That you said you didn't want to fade,
But they did and so did I that day.

All I see are dark grey clouds
In the distance moving closer with every hour.
So when you ask "Was something wrong?",
That I think "You're damn right there is but we can't talk about it now.
No, we can't talk about it now."

So one last touch and then you'll go.
And we'll pretend that it meant something so much more,
But it was vile, and it was cheap.
And you are beautiful, but you don't mean a thing to me
Yeah, you are beautiful, but you don't mean a thing to me.
Yeah, you are beautiful, but you don't mean a thing to me.

Lyrics submitted by heartattack

"Tiny Vessels" as written by Nicholas Harmer Benjamin Gibbard

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Tiny Vessels song meanings
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  • +13
    General CommentI think the meaning of the song is pretty straight-forward.. but here's my experience with this song:
    I loved this boy, was infatuated. For three years, through two boyfriends I still couldn't get over him. Perhaps a little too romantic? obsessed? maybe... but I laid down next to him and felt myself melt into him. There was something empty about him, though. After we had sex a few times (which is when that "laying" happened).. he played this song while we made love. on repeat. then let it play. devestating. he's out of my life, but that fucking song-- I can't listen to it. crushed and crushed again each time.
    recently, in a nice little moment of masochism we all go through... when i learned he had left my life without a goodbye.. i played the song once more... and it was scratched. felt good. it definitely gave me some strange sense of closure.
    micromanageon April 13, 2004   Link
  • +10
    My InterpretationPeople seem to give Gibbard little credit. With the level of emotion he puts into his music, I would think more people would have also realized that he's more of an emotional person than one just out for sex. That being said, I think there are many people who may be looking at this without a certain maturation one gets from having many relationships. Many seem to think Gibbard is saying he makes empty promises for sex, and I don't see it as that by any means.

    From my experience, there are times where you want to love someone more than you actually love them. I feel that is what the meaning of this song is, rather, coming to the realization of said fact with one person in particular.

    I have had relationships in the past where I liked someone, loved to spend time with them, and a relationship status elevated quickly enough that it seemed like love. After some time and intimacy, however, it became apparent that instead of loving that person in particular, I was just wanting to love someone in general.

    When you realize that you don't love the person that you thought you loved, it can be pretty rough, and I think that is what he is writing of. His lyrics are indicative of similar experiences, so I can only imagine he was meaning that, rather than something so simple and vain as lying to for sex. Tricking someone into a lay is hardly something to write a song about...especially on an album that's mostly about love and life.

    Chalzon January 19, 2009   Link
  • +7
    General CommentI saw them play in April with the orchestra (which was amazing) and I think it is interesting to note that he changed the lyrics in one line.
    Instead of:

    I spent two weeks in Silverlake.
    The California sun cascading down my face

    He said:

    I spent three years in Silverlake.
    The California sun cascading down my face

    I am assuming this is a reference to Zooey Deschanel and their marriage. I thought it was kind of nice and I'm also wondering if anyone has noticed this recently when they played?
    stevenO98on July 22, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General Commentthis song describes the guys of every relationship i've been in.
    schwinnon April 17, 2004   Link
  • +4
    General CommentSomeday, you will be loved.
    thenightstartshereon April 17, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General Commenti just wanted to say..this site is so wicked..i just found it today...and its awesome
    markappleyard_07on June 23, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General CommentOH OOPS and another thing!

    Heh, I know I wrote a lot but I just want to add that I always say "men give love for sex, women give sex for love" and I think that this song totally backs that statement up.

    Yeah, I feel very strongly about this song.
    emogreenon September 26, 2004   Link
  • +2
    MemoryThe first time I heard this song was about a week ago and it is very ironic becauise it describes my current relationship almost perfectly. We have been together for almost seven years and unlike a lot of relationships we have kept our physical connection/sexual desire for each other and lost pretty much everything else that used to define us. I have been told before that he needs more than just a gorgeous woman, which to me is what he is trying to say here. You can have a beautiful physical appearance but without a deeper connection there is no love, and there is nothing special. It is a "cheap and vile" relationship. Sad but true realization for myself.
    kristanicole4on July 11, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commentdeath cab makes me want to sleep, and not because they're boring, but because you can melt into every song they have.

    but it was vile, and it was cheap
    and you are beautiful but you don't mean a thing to me

    ben gibbard is awesome. this song is self explanitory.
    a subtle allegoryon April 14, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis has become one of my favorite songs, ever. there's just so much truth in the lyrics. i love the way it goes straight into transatlanticism too. the two are a perfect pair or opposites.
    acousticon May 01, 2004   Link

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