I sit here shooting blanks
Out at emptiness
Ain’t nothing really want to kill
Maybe time I guess
I sit and spin the world on its flipside
And I listen backwards for meaning

'Cause I’m a stickman
I live with one dimension dead
Trying not to think too many moves ahead

I draw from memory
The stillest kind of life
Slide after slide
Mental pain's the sharpest knife
Project what's done for everyone to see
To me it's just a reversal

And I'm a stickman
In frames that go one by one
If I sped it up
You'd see I'm on the run
From some monster off-screen
Killing sons

Lonely makes me blue
Envy turns me green
Hate might paint me red
If I load my magazine
But not just now when it's easy to stay clean
When no one sees where you're bleeding

And I'm a stickman
Stickman


Lyrics submitted by valard, edited by dogcity, MulletBrush

Stickman song meanings
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25 Comments

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  • +1
    My InterpretationThe slides are his songs. "If I sped it up" = if you looked at his songwriting career as a a sequence, the film would show him trying to escape the lingering effects of child abuse at the hands of his stepfather. I don't usually interpret his songs autobiographically, but this song asks for it.
    barnesignobleon December 06, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthow has no-one commented on this one yet???
    this is such an amazingly powerful song, i love it
    the bit at the end where he is babbling incoherently to the crowd scared the shit out of me though....what the hell is he saying? it is really disturbing...RIP
    badgeon May 23, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentindeed badge, i love this song too.. very eerie and sorrowful.. wonderful.
    pollyethyleneon August 02, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is fabulous, especially the studio version. Sounds so different from what i originally thought it would sound like.
    somerocksongon December 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthese lyrics have a lot of errors... lots of flawed versions have been floating around but this is what i've gathered after many, many listenings of the demo and i think it's nearly completely correct

    I sit here shooting blanks
    Out of emptiness
    Ain’t nothing really want to kill
    Maybe your time I guess
    Sit and spin the world and its flipside
    And I listen backwards for meanings

    'Cause i’m a stickman
    I live with one dimension dead
    Try not to think too many moves ahead

    I draw from memory
    The stillest kind of life
    Slide after slide
    You know pain's the sharpest knife
    Project what's done so everyone can see
    To me it's just a reversal

    And I'm a stickman
    Frames they go one by one
    If I sped it up
    You'd see I'm on the run
    From some monster off screen
    Killing sons

    Lonely makes me blue
    Envy turns me green
    Hate might paint me red
    If I load my magazine
    But not just now when it's easy to stay clean
    When no one sees where you're bleeding

    And I'm a stickman
    Stickman
    trippyappleon January 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwell, my interpitation is that he is telling us, or trying to but not too directly how some one is sitting around, just rapidly bringing up negative things about life and they are doing everything they can to make sense of it all. they cant see life for all its values, just by waht theve experinced. they are obsessed with the fear of somthing horrilbe happening no matter what. and they dont want people to see that they are hurting.
    emiton May 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOh my fucking god! This song is so depressing and scary! It would be so bad if I heard this when I used to take medication! OOoohhhh..... I wounder if it was really personal or a metaphore. But he did se I a lot. Elliott once said something like, "I don't think that I could own a gun, or that I should, b/c guns spell out trouble."
    Candymiseron June 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOne of my recent favorites I'd say.
    doesntevenmatteron September 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenttrippyapple has the lyrics right.... Just like most of smith's songs, it is about mental disorders (i.e manic depression) and suicide. I see it as this:

    "I sit here shooting blanks
    Out of emptiness
    Ain’t nothing really want to kill
    Maybe your time I guess
    Sit and spin the world and its flipside
    And I listen backwards for meanings"

    Ever been so depressed and bored? nothing to do at all? i get imagery of him killing time. Playing with the idea of suicide "shooting blanks". He is looking for hidden meanings in life in boredom by playing the records backwards.

    "'Cause i’m a stickman
    I live with one dimension dead
    Try not to think too many moves ahead"

    This is elliott smith's self esteem in a nutshell. He is a stickman. Nothing deep. Nothing special. He never realized how amazing he was even when everyone said so. He says don't look too deep into what he's saying or think he's that special with "try not to think too many moves ahead." Just think stickman. That isn't really a positive way to think of yourself.

    "I draw from memory
    The stillest kind of life
    Slide after slide
    You know pain's the sharpest knife
    Project what's done so everyone can see
    To me it's just a reversal"

    One of the more complicated stanzas. When one is depressed, one only draws upon the past. The good times are always remembered, and nothing else really matters at the present or future. Smith draws upon the beauty of what he was. Not what he is. He refers to this depression through "I draw from memory/ The stillest kind of life." "Slide after slide" can refer to 2 things in my mind. First, it can refer tot he chess pieces he refered to before. A metaphor for the moves in his life, or it can refer to the next line keeping the imagery with the knife. Smith has a tendacy with his songs to keep imagery repeating throughout. The king's crossing is a good example of that. "Project what's done so everyone can see/To me it's just a reversal." I feel smith is saying he is hiding his pain rather than revealing it to the world. These thoughts of suicide he does not project to the world, but instead, it'st he reversal. He keeps it in to himself.

    i'm tired... and i'll come back to the others later.
    ginteardropson January 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentalternate version lyrics as well:

    I sit here shooting blanks
    Out at emptiness
    Ain’t nothing really want to kill
    Maybe time I guess
    Sit and spin the world on its flipside
    And listen backwards for meanings

    'Cause I’m a stickman
    I live with one dimension dead
    Try not to think too many moves ahead

    I draw from memory
    The stillest kind of life
    I cut slide after slide
    You know pain's the sharpest knife
    Project what's done so everythings in place
    To me they're color reversal

    And I'm a stickman
    Frames that go one by one
    If I sped it up
    You'd see I'm on the run
    From some monster off screen
    Killing sons

    Lonely makes me blue
    Envy turns me green
    Hate might paint me red
    If I load my magazine
    But not just now when it's easy to stay clean
    When no one sees where I'm bleeding

    And I'm a stickman
    in black and everything is clear
    empty in fact
    but for the fact I'm here
    loading my blanks to make a silent sound
    some make me smile
    that make the cruel clown
    who drew me this way proud
    rollercoastersonjaon February 11, 2007   Link

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