"A Shot in the Arm" as written by and Jeffrey Scott/bennett Tweedy....
The ashtray says
You were up all night
When you went to bed
With your darkest mind
Your pillow wept
And covered your eyes
And you finally slept
While the sun caught fire

You've changed

We fell in love
In the key of see
We walked along
Down by the sea
You followed me down
The neck to D
And fell again
Into the sea

You changed
Oh, you've changed

Maybe all I need is a shot in the arm
Maybe all I need is a shot in the arm
Maybe all I need is a shot in the arm
Maybe all I need is a shot in the arm
Maybe all I need is a shot in the arm
Maybe all I need is a shot in the arm
Maybe all I need is a shot in the arm
Something in my veins bloodier than blood
Something in my veins bloodier than blood
Something in my veins bloodier than blood
Something in my veins bloodier than blood

The ashtray says
You were up all night
When you went to bed
With your darkest mind

You changed
Oh, you've changed

What you once were isn't what you want to be any more
What you once were isn't what you want to be any more
What you once were isn't what you want to be any more
What you once were isn't what you want to be any more
What you once were isn't what you want to be any more


Lyrics submitted by Spacecow

"A Shot in the Arm" as written by Jay Bennett Jeff Tweedy

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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A Shot in the Arm song meanings
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32 Comments

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  • +3
    General Commentcontrary to many peoples idea of a sort of heroin addiction theme, a "Shot in the arm" can also mean a spot of encouragement or a pep talk. What he may have been thinking is that he needs encouragement, now, to love the woman, even though she has drastically changed from the girl he fell in love with to the restless, more guilty, and nervous woman that she is now. This song always makes me think of "I'm Looking Through You" by the Beatles, which is also about a girl who changed, perhaps this song gave some inspiration to Wilco's "A Shot in the Arm?"
    QueenPoon May 28, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti just like the first two lines, such a way to say them
    wilcokidon October 27, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAbout a herion addiction. The repetition of the phrases really emphasizes the severity of the addiction. The song ends on the lines

    ' What you once were isn't what you want to be anymore '

    Seems like he's trying his hardest to overcome the addiction and move on.

    Such a damn good song though!
    leonperkinon October 16, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with Kid.

    I love the line "We fell in love/to the key of C" The Key C is natural-- there aren't any sharps or flats. I guess the only other natural key is A minor, and... that's minor. It's sad sounding, so... I guess they wouldn't have fallen in love to A minor.

    Great images. "And you finally slept/While the sun caught fire."
    Greyshoeson December 16, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYou should all download the live version from Kazaa. Search for Jeff Tweedy. He plays it with such passion, solo acoustic.
    reefpaddleron December 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's odd that someone thinks this is about addiction. The 'shot in the arm' stuff seems to be more metaphor than straight truth. I don't know, just my opinion. Great song though.
    imajaron February 17, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentImajar is correct, this isn't about heroin addiction. Think a little deeper: What exactly does he want "shot in his arm." Yes it conjures images of drugs, but what he wants is some kind of substance injected into his system that will allow him to love this woman again. She has changed from her previous self. He cannot love this changed person without help from some fantasy injection. The first stanzas simply articulate how this woman feels terrible about what has happened.
    couldBanyoneon March 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentUm- if it's not about drugs explain the "something in my veins, bloodier than blood." Heroin would be something in your veins bloodier than blood, sort of.
    But actually maybe that works with couldBanyone's idea. Like she's so changed even her blood is different.
    Maybe?
    Sarahluvsu182on March 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSarah, I see your point: what exactly is he shooting up? and why does it have to be "bloodier" than blood? To clarify this: someone's "blood" is oftentimes indicative of their "passion." To say someone's blood is "boiling" doesn't literaly mean the have hot blood cells it means they are angry or impassioned. Carrying over this common expression to "A Shot in the Arm" one can notice that the narrator is experiencing what I would describe as a "dissillusioned relationship" brought about by changed personality and demeanor of an ex-lover. So this narrator requires something to be injected into his veins that will be bloodier (read: more impassioned) than his own blood (which is devoid of passion for this woman). Now he doesn't actually mean he wants some passionate person's blood transfusion. All it means is that he is searching for a means to ressurect a relationship whose dynamic has changed.

    (P.S.) Sorry for all this verbage, I just love this song :)
    couldBanyoneon March 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyeah, i think this is one of those songs where the repetition of "maybe all i need is a shot in the arm" gives me goosebumps.

    great song to scream at the top of your lungs to, while driving.
    crystlon July 14, 2006   Link

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