"Powerless (Say What You Want)" as written by Gerald Eaton, Brian West, Nelly Furtado, Malcolm Mclaren, Trevor Horn and A Dudley....
Paint my face in your magazines
Make it look whiter than it seems
Paint me over with your dreams
Shove away my ethnicity

Burn every notion that I may have a flame inside to fight
And say just what is on my mind
Without offending your might

'Cause this life is too short to live it just for you
But when you feel so powerless what are you gonna do
So say what you want, say what you want

I saw her face outside today
Weather worn, looking all the rage
They took her passion and her gaze and made a poster
Now it's moccasins we sport
We take the culture and contort
Perhaps only to distort what we are hiding

'Cause this life is too short to live it just for you
But when you feel so powerless what are you gonna do
But say what you want, say what you want, say, say

Hey you, the are the one outside, are you ever gonna get in, get in
Hey you, the one that don't fit in, how ya, how ya gonna get in
Hey you, the one outside, are you ever gonna get in with your
Broken teeth, broken jaw, broken mojo

Yeah, this life is too short to live it just for you
But when you feel so powerless, what are you gonna do

'Cause this life is too short to live it just for you
But when you feel so powerless, what are you gonna do
'Cause this life is too short to live it just for you
But when you feel so powerless, what are you gonna do

Say what you want, life is too short
Say what you want,
Say what you want, gonna do
Say what you want,
Say what you want, feel powerless
Say what you want to
Say say say, do what you wanna do
Life is too short, just for you
Feel powerless, gonna do


Lyrics submitted by Brutin

"Powerless (Say What You Want)" as written by Brian West Gerald Eaton

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Powerless (Say What You Want) song meanings
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23 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentPortugese is ethnic, Nitts, ya gronk! Even if she was born in Canada. Have you been to Canada? It claims to be multicultural but it's so evidently white-washed and conformist, and that's North America for you..
    mezzon June 30, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLook INSIDE the box, yeh mate, I lived in Canada for a while, so yeh I do know. I'm a Spanish-Filo ethnic born and raised in Australia. But hey, if you think people use their ethnicity as a novelty, well, we do, haha! Whatever.
    Anyway the point I was tryin' to make was the silent pressure she feels from lack of empathy from white-washed North American media, if you're white and you're first language is English, you really won't understand. There's a whole history to it and EVERYDAY LIFE you have to experience.
    Yeah Trillium, it does have a good beat, and Nelly has this mad thing on melody.
    mezzon October 25, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOK, obviously Nelly has touched on a touchy subject in quite a cool song. I mean, just look at our responses here and how inflamed they are, and look what she did with this song.

    This song really is about Nelly Furtado and celebrity in general. She is from Vancouver, and Portugeuse are a major ethnic group there. They do tend to live in many of the same neighborhoods and they often play much of their own music. Nelly's music is influenced by their type of music among others, including classic dance pop.

    She does identify with her ethnic group, but many people who don't know better only see her as a white pop star. She is talking about the homogenization of fame in this song - how many people end up losing their identity once they become famous, and this song expresses her desire to fight it. Ever notice how many female stars are small build, skinny, light skin with long hair? She's saying that just because she might look nice and white doesn't mean she's just another celebrity and does not want to be manipulated to be one. Female pop stars do face strong pressures like this I'm sure. I think this is a very cool song.
    stoolhardyon March 01, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWell, did anyone see that magazine cover where they had digitally altered tohe photo to make her whiter and her skirt shorter? she wrote this after that. I think it's a very powerful message, I like how she's so bold.
    FutbolChicaon August 05, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commenther parents were born and raised in portugal and immigrated to canada, where she was born... so she is ethnic nitts

    love the song =)
    w1shfulxthinkingon February 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat's up with the part about stripping away her ethnicity and the magazine trying to make her look whiter?
    Ummmm yeah.
    You're born in Canada and of European descent. How very "ethnic". She's not even an immigrant and she often claims.
    Sorry sweetie, it's boring to be plain old euro-trash descendents like the rest of us, but what are you gonna do?
    If anything she's shoving away her Euro-ethnicity to create something more sexy/interesting??
    nittson May 21, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNitts: you're an idiot. but since you're only five years old I'll forgive you.
    Brutinon May 31, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think she might be talking about someone else. especially when she says, "I saw her face outside today". And it's about N.F. a little bit, too.
    Nespitheon June 24, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHow is european ethnic? Last time I was in Cascais it looked pretty white-washed to me. A few black people cleaning the restaurant, that was all I saw in 3 weeks of working there.
    I guarantee cities like New York and Los Angeles have people born in more different countries than just about anywhere on Earth, and certainly more than the homogenous Western Europe!!
    nittson September 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell, of course, she's talking about things in general. Not just HER. *sigh* Also, Canada IS multi-cultural, people just don't realize it. People need to look INSIDE the box sometimes. I should know, I live in Canada myself, and am half-Scottish (yes, my dad is a Scottish immagrant) thank you very much.

    Either way, I love this song! I don't really care what it means. It has a great beat.
    Trillium07on October 05, 2004   Link

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