"I Was Meant for the Stage" as written by and Colin Meloy....
I was meant for the stage,
I was meant for the curtain.
I was meant to tread these boards,
Of this much I am certain.

I was meant for the crowd,
I was meant for the shouting.
I was meant to raise these hands
With quiet all about me. oh, oh.

Mother, please, be proud.
Father, be forgiven.
Even though you told me
'son, you'll never make a living.' oh, oh.

From the floorboards to the fly,
Here I was fated to reside.
And as I take my final bow,
Was there ever any doubt?
And as the spotlights fade away,
And you're escorted through the foyer,
You will resume your callow ways,
But I was meant for the stage.

The heavens at my birth
Intended me for stardom,
Rays of light shone down on me
And all my sins were pardoned.

I was meant for applause.
I was meant for derision.
Nothing short of fate itself
Has affected my decision. oh, oh.

From the floorboards to the fly,
Here I was fated to reside.
And as I take my final bow,
Was there ever any doubt?
And as the spotlights fade away,
And you're escorted through the foyer,
You will resume your callow ways,
But I was meant for the stage.


Lyrics submitted by sendthestars, edited by Amasterd20

"I Was Meant for the Stage" as written by Colin Meloy

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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I Was Meant for the Stage song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentActually, if you look at the language of the song, you end up with a much different interpretation. It's made primarily of feminine rhymes ("curtain"/"certain" "shouting"/"about me") in relatively forced context ("of this much, I am certain"), which are, in English, pretty awkward. Furthermore, the lines are delivered a repetitive, plodding tone, and even the bridge (such as it is) is just an instrumental repetition of the verses until it becomes a cacophony. Finally, the entire album is full examples of slow verses that lead into moving choruses (put to much better use in “Shanty for the Arethusa” and “The Gymnast, High Above the Ground”) but all of the other songs that use this basic formula manage to do so without becoming tedious, while these lyrics are plodding and self-indulgent. Taken together, they sort of indicate that the speaker isn't really someone to be revered. He's a poor lyricist, an unimaginative songwriter and audacious enough to declare that he's a child of destiny without really showing anything for it. Maybe it's just because I know so many, but it seems as though it's a self-indulgent art student waiting for his comeuppance, which arrives in the cacophony at the end, unlike Shanty, which ends with a continuation of the baseline, indicating that the corsairs have returned to sea (or something similar), and Gymnast, which ends with a repetition in utter calm, indicating that the performance has ended and the excitement of the choruses is over.
    betaraywilon March 12, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Reminds me of dead poets society"

    Yeah, I know, right? I just watched that earlier today, and now I'm just sitting around listening to The Decemberists, and suddenly, "WOAH!" I love it when that happens. I always liked this song, but now it *reminds* me of something, and now I LOVE it.

    On a more . . . correction-y note, shouldn't, 'Father, be forgiven' be, 'Father, be forgiving'? It doesn't make sense in terms of meaning or in terms of rhyme otherwise.
    bertieismyhoon August 07, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"father be forgiving" is what sounds right to me too.
    kinda fits with the "mother please be proud"
    otherwise why would he be saying "mum, love me, damnit. oh and dad, yeah you're alright"
    its' a bit out of context.
    also yeah foyer is pronounced correctly
    i think it's just because its' a french word, and most people tend not to realize the french basically skip pronouncing the last half of most of their words
    i'm not hating on them or anything, i love the language, its' just a little confusing sometimes.
    this song always makes me feel so happy inside
    a bit rebellious, and very proud.
    i think it was a really neat idea, basically what gun_left_behind was saying
    its the anthem for anyone out to chase their dreams.
    massromanticon October 12, 2006   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningThe narrator of this song is deluded. He is a pathetic, narcissistic character who, seemingly in reaction to some criticism, derision, or perceived slight, is bombastically reaffirming his greatness.

    The song is entirely from his own point of view -- we don't get to hear an external opinion. What we do get is a litany of affirmations about the narrator's own heaven-declared greatness, without any discussion of merit or background on why these things are true.

    Within that litany, the things that he chooses to mention (and affirm) are specific and, as such, give us insight into what the narrator feels necessary to rebut. "Mother please be proud / Father be forgiven" tells us that he's expecting pushback or friction from his family.

    In his self-aggrandizing way, he dismisses them melodramatically gently, as if they could not possibly be privy to the information he is privy to. He even goes so far as to paraphrase (or bastardize) the quote of Jesus on the cross ("Father forgive them, they know not what they do") in comic inversion.

    In fact, there are other examples of self-delusion wherein the narrator visualizes himself messianically: rays of light shining down on him; the heavens at his birth; the complete non sequitur of "all [his] sins being pardoned".

    Within his mind, at "the end" he believes his detractors will likely receive their cosmic comeuppance -- "And as I take my final bow / Was there ever any doubt?" -- following it up with a pointed jab at the philistines that ostensibly could never understand him: "And you're escorted through the foyer / You will resume your callow ways".

    The song ends gradually with the narrator's reverie crashing down around him amidst what sounds like the jeering shouts and abuse of .. other schoolchildren (?) around him. No wonder he'd want a fantasy world.

    I feel a little bad for the people talking about how this song defines them. Yikes.
    Dabizion June 13, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is a suicide note. After either failing to find success as a performer, or being unable to even try to follow his passion, the narrator decides to end it all.

    He tells his mother to be proud of his accomplishments, and asks his father to forgive him for ending his own life.

    The last several minutes of the song are the narrator's violent death, probably from pills, poison, or a noose. Just before he dies, his friends or relatives rush in, and see him convulsing. Then, it all fades away.
    Vladithon June 12, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Commentjust gorgeous. colin is a true wizard.

    this song is quite obviously about a stage performer who believes he was meant for the stage. i don't think there'll be any argument there.

    meloy has to be one of the greatest songwriters of our time. he just hasta!
    LittleUnicornBoyon January 29, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentjust gorgeous. colin is a true wizard.

    this song is quite obviously about a stage performer who believes he was meant for the stage. i don't think there'll be any argument there.

    meloy has to be one of the greatest songwriters of our time. he just hasta!
    LittleUnicornBoyon January 29, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentActually I think the song is a general metaphor for anyone who wants to do something "off kilter", that may not make them much money but fulfills them.
    gun left behindon March 14, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentReminds me of dead poets society
    Noodles15on March 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't think any other song makes me feel quite like the way this song does. colin is quite a songwriter.
    surfwaxcanada1on May 03, 2005   Link

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