"Somewhere a Clock Is Ticking" as written by Iain Archer, Gary Lightbody, Mark Mcclelland and Jonathan Graham Quinn....
I've got this feeling, there's something that I missed
(I could do most anything to you)
Don't you breathe, don't you breathe
(I could do most anything to you)
Something happened that I never understood
(I could do most anything to you)
You can't leave, you can't leave

Every second dripping off my finger tips
(I could do most anything to you)
Wage your war, wage your war
(I could do most anything to you)
Another soldier says he's not afraid to die
(I could do most anything to you)
I am scared, I'm so scared

In slow motion the blast is beautiful
(I could do most anything to you)
Doors slam shut, doors slam shut
(I could do most anything to you)
A clock is ticking but it's hidden far away
(I could do most anything to you)
Safe and sound, safe and sound

(I could do most anything to you)
(I could do most anything to you)
(I could do most anything to you)
(I could do most anything to you)
(I could do most anything to you)
(I could do most anything to you)


Lyrics submitted by Mopnugget

"Somewhere a Clock Is Ticking" as written by Mark Mccelland Gary Lightbody

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Universal Music Publishing Group

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Somewhere a Clock Is Ticking song meanings
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  • +2
    My InterpretationThe distance of the refrain "I could do most anything to you..." makes me imagine a separate entity - time itself. The individual lines, from "every second, dripping off my fingertips" (which actually doesn't make me think of blood, for whatever reason. I suppose I'd rather just view it as a particularly vivid metaphor.) to "In slow motion, the blast is beautiful" suggest the inevitable ravages of time, watched helplessly. The entire song... reminds me of the moment I'm sure we've all experienced: when we are suddenly crushed with being truly -aware- that we will die, that we are impermanent, that nothing can save us in the end and the world will rush on without us. Only time survives - "hidden far away/safe and sound". Time neither loves nor hates us - it does not wish us to suffer, nor does it care for our suffering.

    It reminds me strongly of Percy Bysshe Shelley's sonnet "Ozymandias":

    [I met a traveler from an antique land
    Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert...Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.]
    Kanouseion April 21, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My OpinionThe composition of this song is no less than brilliant — in its melody, harmony, lyrics, and structure. Ultimately, I think the song is about one man’s struggle to come to terms with his own mortality.

    In the first stanza, the man is in a room with a ticking clock. This is suggested by the constant refrain of the phrase, “I could do most anything to you.” In the song, the phrase is sung in perfect, repeating rhythm just like a ticking clock.

    The constant ticking of the clock stirs anxiety within the man who engages in an internal dialogue with himself. This internal dialogue is made clear by the alternate use of the words “I” and “you” in each line. He begins by exclaiming, “I've got this feeling that there's something that I missed.” This realization immediately strikes anxiety in his heart as he tries to think of what it is that he missed. He’s frozen momentarily by his own anxiety and tells himself, “Don’t you breathe, don’t you breathe” as mind scrambles to identify what it is exactly that is missing. Then it comes to him: “Something happened that I never understood.” He then tells himself “Don’t you leave, Don’t you leave” until he can make himself understand. Although the man doesn’t himself initially reveal what exactly happened, the listening audience already knows because the clock keeps telling us what that “something” is: that time can do most anything to anyone at any moment and in the most seemingly arbitrary fashion (“I could do most anything to you.”) So, in the first stanza — or first act — of the song there are 3 voices: The clock’s voice, the man’s voice, and man’s subconscious’ voice. Because the clock’s voice overlaps that of the man’s and his subconscious, it is intended that only the listening audience can hear what the clock is revealing.

    In the second stanza — or second act — of the song, the man states that it is, in fact, the passing of time that is causing him distress, acknowledging “[e]very second, dripping off [his] fingertips.” To counter the helplessness of this notion, the man’s subconscious tells him to “wage your war, wage your war” against the passing of time pointing out that “[a]nother soldier says he's not afraid to die.” Indeed, we all are, in a sense, soldiers waging our own individual wars against the passing of time. But to what end? We all ultimately die. And, this is what is so frightening to the man who openly admits that, “I am scared, I'm so scared.” Again in this stanza/act, there are 3 voices: The clock’s voice, the man’s voice, and man’s subconscious’ voice.

    In the third act of this story, the man notes that “[i]n slow motion, the blast is beautiful.” In real time, however, the blast — any blast — is horrifying. Thus, it stands to reason that a horrifying event can be made into something beautiful simply by manipulating the time frame in which it happens. Of course, we all know that putting things in slow motion or speeding them up is only a false manipulation of time. Nobody can alter the passing of time. But, the man doesn’t accept this or even acknowledge this fact. Rather, he talks himself out of his fear of death through false reasoning based on this fatally flawed premise. He then leaves the room with the clock (“Doors slam shut, doors slam shut”) telling himself that because the clock, while ticking, is hidden far away, he is somehow safe and sound (“A clock is ticking, but it's hidden far away/ Safe and sound, safe and sound.”) But, the listener knows better and is immediately and repeatedly reminded by the clock’s voice that time can do just about anything, at any moment, without warning, and in the most seemingly arbitrary fashion (“I could do most anything to you.”) Indeed, the title of the song reaffirms this notion by telling us that “Somewhere a Clock is Ticking.” Even though one clock may be hidden behind a slammed door, there’s another one ticking somewhere. We are all at the mercy of time and have absolutely no control over its passing.

    That’s what the song means to me. Your thoughts?
    Blair27on June 02, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment.reminds me of when im stoned and zoning out.
    whiskeyfairyon June 26, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me, this song is about the moment you realize that you control nothing in your life. Honestly, most people go through life thinking "Nothing bad will happen to me" until something does. I think this song embodies the moment when that bad thing happens.
    The recurring "I could do most anything to you" shows that time will take all away and that humans aren't really in control of anything. Also, the lines "safe and sound" kind of show the way people feel until the worst happens. It makes you think, I'm here away from war and death and everything else crappy about the world.
    SilentSong19on October 16, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAmazing song. Absolutely amazing.
    antennason September 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about death.
    And how nobody can stop time.
    ThePythonon October 12, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"i could do most anything to you"
    brightestfireflyon October 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBest Snow Patrol song ever. Absolutely brilliant.
    chemicalnovaon November 24, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentpossibly pretending what he could do to his g/f, good or bad? could have possibly made a mistake and regretted it, but i think that would be too simple, it's an interesting song and i love it though. If anyyone wants to prove me wrong go right ahead cause i have no idea what it is about right now.
    clumsy_childon December 09, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song is rather abstract, but I he's marveling at how so many different things are happening at once. Somewhere someone is dying, somewhere a war is being fought, the world is playing out its drama. In the meantime time is very constant, "safe and sound," and nobody can mess with time. The song and the title has a similar feel to Coldplay's "Clocks," it has a chilly, zoned-out feel and I the title might be Lightbody's way of paying tribute to that band.
    stoolhardyon January 10, 2005   Link

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