"Chicago" as written by Timothy Mosley, Nate Hills, Justin Timberlake, Jordan Houston and Paul Beauregard....
I fell in love again
All things go, all things go
Drove to Chicago
All things know, all things know

We sold our clothes to the state
I don't mind, I don't mind
I made a lot of mistakes
In my mind, in my mind

You came to take us
All things go, all things go
To recreate us
All things grow, all things grow

We had our mindset
All things know, all things know
You had to find it
All things go, all things go

I drove to New York
In a van, with my friend
We slept in parking lots
I don't mind, I don't mind

I was in love with the place
In my mind, in my mind
I made a lot of mistakes
In my mind, in my mind

You came to take us
All things go, all things go
To recreate us
All things grow, all things grow

We had our mindset
All things know, all things know
You had to find it
All things go, all things go

If I was crying
In the van, with my friend
It was for freedom
From myself and from the land

I made a lot of mistakes
I made a lot of mistakes
I made a lot of mistakes
I made a lot of mistakes

You came to take us
All things go, all things go
To recreate us
All things grow, all things grow

We had our mindset
All things know, all things know
You had to find it
All things go, all things go

You came to take us
All things go, all things go
To recreate us
All things grow, all things grow

We had our mindset (I made a lot of mistakes)
All things know, all things know (I made a lot of mistakes)

You had to find it (I made a lot of mistakes)
All things go, all things go (I made a lot of mistakes)


Lyrics submitted by beastiefreak00

"Chicago" as written by Sufjan Stevens

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Chicago song meanings
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105 Comments

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  • +7
    My InterpretationI think this has to do with a guy who keeps dropping everything to restart his life. He first tries to be optimistic and drive to Chicago. (I fell in love again. All things go, All things go. Drove to Chicago.) By saying he fell in love AGAIN, that must mean he "falls in love" and drops his life to move for a girl often. "All things go" means he dropped everything he had to move for her. He couldn't even afford it so he had to sell his clothes to the state. He sold everything and gave up his life for this new one. Eventually, he found out moving for her was a mistake and he shouldn't have dropped his life to restart it with this girl. Then, he ends up doing the same mistake over again. He wants to be optimistic and restart his life in New York. Him and his buddy take a van over to NY and he can't even afford it. He's so poor he has to sleep in parking lots. It's like history is repeating itself. He had to sell his clothes in order to afford living in Chicago and now he has to sleep in parking lots in order to live in New York. He then says "If I was crying, it was for freedom, from myself and from the land." This is to show how he now hates New York and wishes he never moved there. He then found out that was a mistake, too. So he keeps reiterating "I made a lot of mistakes. I made a lot of mistakes." because he realizes you shouldn't drop everything and everyone for wishful thinking. "You came to take us, to recreate us." - That is his inner self talking about how he wanting to recreate his life and in doing so, it was a huge mistake. He shouldn't have been seeking a new life somewhere else. He should have been trying to fix his current one.
    omgitbekristinaon February 25, 2012   Link
  • +5
    General CommentI've listeend to all of Illinois (it's been leaked), and I must say that the entire album is beautiful. This song though, is the centerpiece of the album. It's so phenomenal. I love it. I don't think Sufjan can ever disappoint me.
    Jugendon April 26, 2005   Link
  • +5
    General Commentthis is straight from an interview, when he was 19 he took a trip to chicago to get away from school with a couple of friends, they had to make it the whole weekend on 20 dollars each, they ended up staying with a group of homeless guys around the same age as them in a run down abandoned school, the new york part is obviously about his move to new york, he says the song is about running away from things
    searchingforabandon March 28, 2006   Link
  • +4
    My InterpretationTo me this song is about idealism. I can relate to it on a lot of levels. When I was younger i would read about this exotic places and imagine what my life would be like there. Like when he says he "was in love with a place, in my mind, in my mind" but when he get there i don't think it was the place he built it up to be in his mind. Which explains why he then goes to New York once again hoping that this will be the place where he'll be free and be himself. But it seems like me he found that nowhere is going to really live up to what you make it out to be in your mind. You have to be realistic and make the best of where ever you are. We live in an imperfect world and nowhere is going be great all the time.
    chuck9259on October 28, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commenthow come every1s talkin about the pronunciation of sufjan instead of what the songs actually about?
    kaligulaon August 15, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentevery artistic work has a superior meaning amongst its multiple meanings. Whats the point of interpreting an artists work in shallow incorrect way just to make it resonate with ur own experiences. Wouldnt u rather fully understand in depth what the artist is trying to say, and from that, learn something etc
    thats gotta be more important than talkin about pronunciation.
    I gotta analyse this song as part of a group assignment. I wanted to know what he means when he's says that they sold their clothes to the state, I'm from Sydney, Australia so I dont know what he means
    kaligulaon August 30, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentand i mean this place is called songmeanings.net so...
    kaligulaon August 30, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI simply took this song to mean that the narrator was coming to Chicago to escape from the things haunting his past. "I've made a lot of mistakes in my mind" makes me think he's done something wrong, but he's making it out to be a lot worse than it is. He's crying for freedom because he can start over in a new city without people judging him.

    This song and John Wayne Gacy create a theme of regret and remorse throughout the album. Anyone else agree?
    sabertoothedblisson February 16, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"I fell in love again, all things go". Obviously the song is about falling in love again and the regret of a past relationship. It's often difficult to subjectively look at a situation you are in while you are in it. However, when it ends, and you reflect, you see the bigger picture. And yes, God is a big part of his journey. Even if you screw up, you can always start fresh. This IS a "song of hope"-- to quote Robert Plant.
    robdharmaon March 02, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwell, since apparently myopinionisafact\'s opinion is indeed a fact, i guess it\'s like i\'m arguing against Galileo in his scientific discoveries, which he claimed that all of his statements were the sole, right argument. however, first of all, i have looked hard and long to try to defend his stance on this song being about abortion, but that is so far-fetched it\'s like saying since man starts with m, and so does makeup, that all men are made from makeup. sure, you could argue that, but it\'s far-fetched and miniscule. personally, i see this song about getting away from the hubbub and nonsense of society and taking an introspective journey a la road trips. seeing things as an objective observer, you notice what you\'ve done wrong, as sufjan repeats over and over, as well as recognizing the beauty in things most often taken for granted by all of us. but hey, the letter A appears a couple times, so it could be about Abortion.
    geoffkon May 08, 2006   Link

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