"A Fond Farewell" as written by and Steven P. Smith....
The litebrite's now black and white
Cause you took apart a picture that wasn't right
Pitch burning on a shining sheet
The only maker that you'd want to meet
The dying man in a living room
Who's shadow paces the floor
Who'll take you out in the open door
This is not my life
It's just a fond farewell to a friend
It's not what I'm like
It's just a fond farewell to a friend
Who couldn't get things right
Fond farewell to a friend
He said really I just want to dance
Good and evil matched perfect it's a great romance
I can deal with some physic pain
If it'll slow down my higher brain
Veins full of disappearing ink
Vomiting in the kitchen sink
Disconnecting from the missing link
This is not my life
It's just a fond farewell to a friend
It's not what I'm like
It's just a fond farewell to a friend
Who couldn't get things right
Fond farewell to a friend
I see you're leaving me and taking up with the enemy
The cold comfort of the in between
A little less than a human being
A little less than a happy high
A little less than a suicide
The only things that you really tried
This is not my life
It's just a fond farewell to a friend
It's not what I'm like
It's just a fond farewell to a friend
Who couldn't get things right
Fond farewell to a friend
This is not my life
It's just a fond farewell to a friend


Lyrics submitted by angelofthesilence, edited by ghost06, Mellow_Harsher

"A Fond Farewell" as written by Steven P. Smith

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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A Fond Farewell song meanings
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  • +12
    My InterpretationSmith, in many of his songs, captures the emotion and feelings behind heroin addiction. This song is a perfect example of that. As a fellow heroin addict, the meaning of this song is so obviously about the internal struggle of heroin addiction. To me, this song is about giving up or giving in to that addiction, and the denial that accompanies that path. Personally, the verse that stands out the most is
    He said really I just want to dance
    Good and evil matched perfect it's a great romance
    I can deal with some physic pain
    If it'll slow down my higher brain
    Veins full of disappearing ink
    Vomiting in the kitchen sink
    Disconnecting from the missing link
    This is not my life
    It's just a fond farewell to a friend
    It's not what I'm like
    It's just a fond farewell to a friend
    Who couldn't get things right
    Fond farewell to a friend

    Living the life of a heroin addict, to me is quite the romantic adventure. It is just filled with such ups and downs, with such great dramas and struggles, pain and relief. When I hear "...really I just wanna dance. good and evil matched perfect, it's a great romance." I think of this desire of wanting to be able to balance as a functional human being and a regular heroin user. And then like I said, the romance of using heroin, the pain of withdrawal and the struggle of getting the money, all the negatives compared to the final relief of doing that shot. And this is a daily event. Constant pain and then a bit of relief everyday; everyday the struggle continues.

    And then the line "I can deal with some psychic pain, if it will slow down my higher brain. Veins full of disappearing ink, vomiting in the kitchen sink, disconnecting from the missing link, this is not my life."

    It makes me think of the psychological struggle of heroin addiction, the justification of all the emotional/psychological pain for those all too short moment of being high. Any junky understands the brilliance of "veins full of disappearing ink" I think he is just talking about how short the high lasts in full blown addiction. After injecting heroin for years it's like injecting disappearing ink. Instead of being high for hours, it becomes high for a few minutes, normal for a few hours.

    Again the chorus makes me think of this internal struggle of knowing that being strung out is a horrible way to live, but recognizing that it is impossible to win. That addiction will always be there. And so you give up on that one part of you trying to do right. And your brain justifies it with denial. "This is not my life, this not want I'm like" this isn't who I really am kind of thinking

    "I see you're leaving me and taking up with the enemy"
    Again it's that internal struggle, letting go of the good part and follow the addiction.

    The cold comfort of the in between
    A little less than a human being
    A little less than a happy high
    A little less than a suicide
    The only things that you really tried
    This is not my life

    The cold comfort of the in between to me again is about being in active heroin addiction. For somebody who has used for years there is comfort, normalcy in that life style, but really it's a pretty cold and harsh way to live. The next couple lines capture more of those feelings. A little less than a human being, feeling low, feeling incomplete. A little less than a happy high. After years of heroin use you don't really feel it the same. The addiction in you makes you think that next shot is going to be so good, if you just do a little bit more, that will feel so good. But by the time you actually take that shot it always falls short. A little less that a suicide. That life is a life of self destruction of soul destruction. Living as a heroin addict is close to killing yourself but it falls a little short. and then the last line "the only things youve really tried" captures that the feelings of wasted time. So much time has to be devoted to just not feeling sick. For most of the people out there reading this, for a heroin addict to feel the way you do now, they got to get money, go wherever they go to get drugs, and find a vein they can stick a blunt needle into. And they got to do this every 20 hours, or 12 hours or 8 hours. It becomes impossible to do anything else. And even if the addict gets clean there is still that constant drive to self destruct. Anyways, brilliant artist, brilliant song.
    Thanks Elliott for making the world more beautiful.
    kopaarwes09on January 02, 2013   Link
  • +9
    Song MeaningHere's the literal meaning of the first lines "The Lite Brite's now black and white, cause you took apart a picture that wasn't right"

    The Lite Brite, for those too young to know about it, was a creative toy that consisted of a box fronted by a panel of holes in a honeycomb pattern and containing a lightbulb. You put a black paper template in the frame, which mad marked on it the pattern that showed how to insert translucent pegs of various colors. As you inserted a peg into the panel it would break through the paper and let the light come through, colored whatever color the peg was. In this way you could create a picture where each peg was like a pixel. It was a beautiful contraption. I remember the jingle in the commercials went like this "Lite Brite making things with light, out-of-sight making things with Lite Brite"

    After you were done (or if you gave up because the picture "wasn't right") you could simply take the pegs out, leaving a black paper with white light shining through the empty holes. This is why the Lite Brite "is now black and white"

    My interpretation is that killing oneself is compared to the simple action of deconstructing a displeasing picture. The metaphor seems to point to the idea of another chance in a next life, since you could always put a new fresh template paper into the frame and start on a new picture.

    Anyway, as a contemporary of Elliott's who also was entranced by this beautiful toy, I wanted to share this bit in hopes of enriching other's enjoyment of this amazing songwriter. Requiescat in pace, Elliott.
    LoBallon March 19, 2011   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThe line "pitch burning on a shining sheet" stands out, often heroin use is sort of glamorized but only in the context of needles, lines like that are rare. Nothing's very glamorous about boiling smack off tinfoil, and the reference is disguised, people probably don't notice it unless they have first-hand experience with it whereas needle/vein references are obvious. The context of the song gives it away more though... but I really like that line.
    cannedfamineon December 28, 2004   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThis song means a lot to me. My ex boyfriend is a drug addict to the fullest extent and he loved Elliott Smith. I am not the best at detecting the most logical meanings behind songs, but the lines

    "i see you're leaving me
    and taking up with the enemy
    the cold comfort of the in between
    a little less than a human being
    a little less than a happy high
    a little less than a suicide"

    hit me really hard. The entire time I was with this person I tried so hard to help him, to get him off drugs but I was never enough. I eventually had to break up with him because he turned into an entirely new person that I no longer recognized. He left me for drugs long before I left him. I still feel like he never really tried to get off dope and I don't think he ever will.
    boogheron January 08, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General Comment....my name makes it obvious as to how much i appreciate this song
    a fond farewellon April 09, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAlot of people think that this song is about suicide and I really don't think it is. I think it is about putting his old life behind him and moving on, and promising himself "this is not what I'm like" and he's saying goodbye.
    When he sings "really I just wanna dance" it gives me the chills, because Elliott loved to dance! Nobody knows that though, because the media portrays him as this depressed guy all the time, but he was a normal person who just "couldn't get things right." His friends remember him for his love of dancing, and he also loved to do the robot :-)
    kateion December 20, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHehe, Katei, you read the SPIN article? I thought it was adorable. That line makes it all the more poignant.
    NishFetson December 20, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think the song's about heroin addiction.
    "pitch burning on a shining sheet"
    "veins full of disappearing ink"
    "vomiting in the kitchen sink"
    Really sad when you think about it.
    seanmon December 21, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe only lyric that I don't think has been touched upon properly (and I, myself, could be totally wrong) is the line "vomiting in the kitchen sink". It seems to me that right after "Veins full of disappearing ink", it's referring to the good sick that one gets after one does up. I could be wrong, though. If any of the addicts that posted earlier are reading this, could you clarify? Am I right? Wrong?
    Lereyaon June 07, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYou people know that he has been quoted in many interviews that none of his songs have any meaning. They are just writings on a page and each quote has him saying that they are in no way some sort of diaries or inner feelings.
    deadhead05on February 09, 2007   Link

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