"Looking Into You" as written by and Jackson Browne....
Well I looked into a house I once lived in
Around the time I first went on my own
When the roads were as many as the places I had dreamed of
And my friends and I were one
Now the distance is done and the search has begun
I've come to see where my beginnings have gone

Oh the walls and the windows were still standing
And the music could be heard at the door
Where the people who kindly endured my odd questions
Asked if I came very far
And when my silence replied they took me inside
Where their children sat playing on the floor

Well we spoke of the changes that would find us farther on
And it left me so warm and so high
But as I stepped back outside to the grey morning sun
I heard that highway whisper and sigh
Are you ready to fly?

And I looked into the faces all passing by
It's an ocean that will never be filled
And the house that grows older and finally crumbles
That even love cannot rebuild
It's a hotel at best, you're here as a guest
You oughta make yourself at home while you're waiting for the rest

Well I looked into dream of the millions
That one day the search will be through
Now here I stand at the edge of my embattled illusions
Looking into you

The great song traveler passed through here
And he opened my eyes to the view
And I was among those who called him a prophet
And I asked him what was true
Until the distance had shown how the road remains alone
Now I'm looking in my life for a truth that is my own

Well I looked into the sky for my anthem
And the words and the music came through
But words and music can never touch the beauty that I've seen
Looking into you -- and that's true

Lyrics submitted by Howard55

Looking Into You song meanings
Add your thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +1
    General CommentThis is, as the lyrics suggest, about the house Jackson Browne grew up in. According to him (at the 2002 Appel Farms music festival in southern NJ) it was a house that had been built by his grandfather, and his family moved there when he was a teenager. It was a huge and bizarre stone house - including a dungeon in the basement - and it held a lot of nostalgia for him. Like a lot of Jackson Browne songs, there's not a ton of hidden meanings in here. Most of the sentiments are obvious. But that's a little background on the house itself.
    Kafzielon May 05, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis is my personal analysis of the song which i completely relate to, though i think it can mean many things...

    the song starts out with the scene of his old family house which has now been sold or let out to another family. he travels a long way there looking for his roots, for something concrete in his life... he's sick of roaming around aimlessly, the distance is done, the possibilities are too many and he just needs to find something firm to build his future upon. the family invites him in and gives him a taste of what stable home life is...children, predictable future, warmth and love, togetherness....it leaves him high and hopeful, yet when he steps outside this warm familial environment he is again immediately confronted with his need to be free...and his need for something bigger, more meaningful...

    he looks at the faces passing by..."it's an ocean that will never be filled" to me is about people's desperate search for happiness, stability, etc. but the impossibility of ever achieving it in this world. the house that grows older finally crumbles - the life and love he witnessed within his old house is temporary, as is everything in this world, it is constantly changing. i also think of the house as a metaphor for the body, which inevitably grows older and dies, something we have no power over. we are in this world as guests, mortal, and all we can do is try to feel at home while we are here.

    ...his search for a home then becomes a deeper search, for truth and meaning in existence, the same thing the "millions" of people search for. but it is impossible to be certain of it, so it's always an illusion to some degree...he loses hope in finding a universal truth, which even a prophet couldn't give him, as it's his task to search for his own truth. he finds his truth in the beauty of music.. but mostly in his beloved... her soul so to speak, the significance of looking "into" rather than "at". he's come to a point where the only thing that's certain for him is love...and that seems to give him enough meaning in life, he doesn't need to have anything more concrete, or any absolute philosophy or religion...love in its simplicity is better and greater than anything.
    asmitaon October 21, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationHere is how I interpret this song, I guess based upon my own experience:

    It's about how nothing is permanent, but that people, places, or things can have meaning that can last your whole life. The house, for instance. He goes back to visit this house that represents a golden time for him. Lots of experiences and memories during the time he lived there. But he has moved on and so has the house... new owners, etc. And as he says, eventually the house won't even exist any more. But that past time holds a meaning in his life he can look back on and appreciate. The line where he says he is 'looking into you' might mean all these same feelings about a person. A relationship that ended in the past but he can still feel what it meant to him then, and what it means to him now.
    The later part about the song traveler... I agree that sounds like Bob Dylan. It brings up a theme common to many peoples' lives, probably more in the 60s than now. Dylan was one of a few musicians I can think of who drew a following by voicing freedoms and lifestyle choices that weren't really condoned before that. A lot of people got carried away and really did treat such people as prophets, hanging on their every word. As time passed, most realized that not everything in those lyrics was gospel truth. Most who were 'following' these cultural leaders took some of what they said and left the rest, essentially going on their own search for where they fit in this world. 'Until the distance had show how the road remains alone' sort of sums this up.
    hatrabbiton November 23, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti just love how this song is so literal and yet so meaningful. so beautiful, i have this song on tape(old school lol) and i rewind and listen to this song over and over.
    findsomepeaceon August 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love the line "Words and music will never touch the beauty I see looking into you."
    Tmo2199on May 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think "the great songed traveler" is Bob Dylan. Many people have called him a prophet. Sounds like Jackson must have met him.
    bennie6623on December 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIs it about the time he spent in California, before his first album, and could the "great song traveller" be Neil Young?
    I may be wrong, but I think he stayed with Neil Young when CSNY got together, but don't take this as gospel.
    nagromnaion May 01, 2009   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top