they never feel
they don't even seem real
they never try, so why should i
something is wrong
something invisible is gone
they never mind, so why should i
don't you get hurt
don't you ever need a cure
don't you get tired
and why and why
after awhile
after neither one (abides?)
they wont decide, so why should i
when they hand it over
give it all away
well how can you explain
when they hand it over
no one gets their way
no one gets their (brain?)
don't you get tired
of everyone that you admire
they'll never die, so why should i
something is wrong
something invisible is gone
they never mind, so why should i
when they hand it over
give it all away
well how can you explain
when they hand it over
no one gets away
no one gets the blame


Lyrics submitted by Rockin-Robin

The Host song meanings
Add your thoughts

7 Comments

sort form View by:
  • 0
    General CommentWow. Ridiculous. There should be dozens of comments on this one.
    doesntevenmatteron September 22, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNot ridiculous to me given it's one of their songs that no one ever talks about and never gets played live.

    I couldn't get this song out of my head in the summer of 2003, and I'd rack my brain trying to decipher what the hell Doug is talking about exactly. Then I was led to a long article about the making of Ancient Melodies of the Future for the Experience Music Project in Seattle. Doug talks about this song and literally said the song is "meaningless" (this was my introduction to this common trait of a lot of Doug's lyrics). The sounds of the words used are the driving force of the song, and there's no real meaning behind them. I felt kind of cheated when I found this out, but live moves on and it's still one of my very favorites by the band, even though I'm assuredly in the minority here. Unfortunately the article no longer exists online.
    naknion July 12, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThanks to archive.org's Wayback Machine, I was able to find Doug's quotes about the song:

    "Lyrics don't really mean much to me, so, you know, they don't really come from anywhere in particular. Lyrics for me are probably 90% just filler, just words for me to sing. When I write a song, first I'll write a melody and I'll have no lyrics for it and sometimes just the random thing that I sing when I'm making up the melody gets stuck and that becomes lyrics. With one of our new songs, "The Host," it had a lot to do with certain vowel sounds and making a lot of rhymes with the "I" sound in them. And the lyrics don't really mean much at all. So it's more to me how it comes across sounding than what it comes across meaning. Basically it's about finding something to fit the meter of the music."

    OK, so the lyrics "don't mean much at all" instead of being completely meaningless. But not too much energy should be spent analyzing them. The only analysis I've seen of them is an article discussing the plight of indie rock after its heyday in the 90's, and the author believing the lyrics "Something is wrong, Something invisible is gone" were written to convey that that era is over and that Doug is mourning the loss of it.

    Many people are confused by or don't like the placement of this song as Track 2 on the album, but I was quite happy it was given a prominent position.
    naknion August 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthere is truth to what Doug said, but it's not like he wasn't thinking those words. He's not going okay "cure" here and then "tired" here and then "why." If they were truly meaningless he wouldn't have lyrics at all. He's just the type of guy who is not going to get in the way of the song.

    Built To Spill is all about the tricks our minds can play on us and the tricks we can play on our minds.
    gochnatiaon November 19, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDoug might have been just trying to avoid the question or something. If I were him, I would want to be defining my art in any certain way; I would want others to interpret it.
    I think it is about conforming. It talks about kind of questioning the invisible driving force that makes us motivated and all, while also connecting this to why somebody would ever try to paddle against the current of society. He talks about us becoming drones. Err, I'll stop there for tonight. Anybody understand what he is talking about with giving stuff away?
    Abeautifulgreengluestickon February 23, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThis song seriously moves me. The meaning seems pretty obvious to me (though I could be wrong of course). To me it's clearly about feeling like you've lost the thing that's the most important to you, the thing you've been fighting and competing for all this time. You had a special quality inside yourself that allowed you to do well in your quest for that dream, but now you've lost that special quality, and you're watching other people racing forward and reaching that dream that you wanted so badly. And you're comparing yourself to them - "why are they able to reach that dream goal, but I'm not able to?"


    > they never feel
    > they don't even seem real

    These people who are able to achieve my dream goal, they don't even seem like real human beings, they seem like they're impossibly talented / capable /smart /strong /whatever



    > they never try, so why should i

    They seemed to achieve the dream without even having to work hard for it, so why do I have to nearly kill myself with endless effort just to wind up not achieving my dream at all? It's cruelly unfair.



    > something is wrong
    > something invisible is gone

    At some point in the past, I had that special quality in me that allowed me to easily race towards the dream and I easily achieved successes, but now something has changed and I don't have that ability or luck or magic or whatever that made me one of the special people who were able to achieve the dream.



    > they never mind, so why should i

    Nothing bothers them (probably because their setbacks are small and infrequent), so why do I have to go through all this emotional hell just to try to get what they achieved so easily? In fact, this whole thing is crazy, why should I be trying to achieve this goal at all? Maybe I should just give up



    > don't you get hurt [ ? ]
    > don't you ever need a cure [ ? ]
    > don't you get tired [ ? ]
    > and why and why [ ? ]

    (I added the question marks to the lyrics transcribed here, because that's clearly the way the lines were meant.) Why does that person seem like their life is nearly perfect and everything always goes well for them? Doesn't anything ever hurt them?! Don't they ever have any problems? Don't they ever fail at anything? Don't they ever get depressed or frustrated? Don't they ever feel like they can't go on? etc.?



    > after awhile
    > after neither one (abides?)
    > they wont decide, so why should i

    These lines aren't really intelligible in the recording, so I can't say exactly what they mean, but it seems to be in a similar vein. They don't have to do (whatever it is) just to survive/succeed, so why do I have to do it just to keep my head above water?



    > when they hand it over
    > give it all away
    > well how can you explain

    They easily achieved the dream that I wanted so badly and that I worked for so incredibly hard for, yet could never attain. They easily achieved my unattainable dream, and to them it's like it's nothing. (either they treat the dream thing/position like it's junk and just let it fall to pieces, or that they're so good at what they do that they decide to freely share the wealth/knowledge/whatever with people, and even when they share their knowledge/skill/whatever, it's still something that I just can't grasp.



    > when they hand it over
    > no one gets their way
    > no one gets their (brain?)

    Again, these lines are a bit unintelligible in the recording, so it's hard to say exactly what they mean, but again, it seems to be in a similar vein. They either let the dream slip away / or they freely share their wealth/knowledge/skill whatever, and yet we're all still losers who can't ever achieve that thing that those people achieved so easily.



    > don't you get tired
    > of everyone that you admire

    I looked up to these people that "made it," and I wanted to be like them, but now that I've tried so hard and so long to achieve the same success that they have, but I've failed to achieve it, and now it seems clear that I'll *never* be able to reach that dream, because I simply don't have what it takes. So now I'm just sick and tired of thinking about these successful people, because now thinking about them only points out how much of a failure I am, and that I'm never going to be able reach that dream that I wanted so intensely and work my life away trying to reach.



    >they'll never die, so why should i

    (This is taking the idealization of the successful person to the most extreme levels of irrational unreal comparison thoughts) These people's lives are so perfect and they've achieved so much that their contributions to the world will always be remembered forever / or their contributions to the world will continue to ripple forward through humanity forever.



    > something is wrong
    > something invisible is gone
    > they never mind, so why should i
    > when they hand it over
    > give it all away
    > well how can you explain
    > when they hand it over

    (repeated lyrics, same meaning as above)



    > no one gets away
    > no one gets the blame

    I'm incredibly depressed and destroyed by the realization that I'll never attain my dream, but I can't blame my failure on anyone. I can't blame the people who did succeed, I can't blame my parent, I can't blame my grade school teachers, I can't blame my bosses, roommates, bandmates, lovers, or anyone. I probably can't even blame myself, because I tried as damn hard as I possibly could've. Yet I still failed. And somehow that makes it much worse. I can't blame anyone for my failure. The only reason why I failed is because, at my core, *I* just simply don't have what it takes to make my dream happen. I failed because I am inherently not good enough to do the one thing that I really wanted to do in life.



    TL;DR - I suck.
    garbuhjon October 22, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think all this "lyrics don't mean nothing really" it's just a way of a introverted guy don't expose your feelings...

    Just i thinked that this song is about a divorce? maybe martsch parents divorce...

    "The host" is how he feel about their relationship

    (sorry for the "engrish" guys)
    Ymoron October 16, 2011   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
explain