"Only" as written by and Michael Trent Reznor....
I'm becoming less defined
As days go by
Fading away
Well you might say
I'm losing focus
Kinda drifting into the abstract
In terms of how I see myself

Sometimes
I think I can see right through myself
Sometimes
I think I can see right through myself
Sometimes
I can see right through myself

Less concerned
About fitting into the world
Your world, that is
'cause it doesn't really matter
Any more
No, it doesn't really matter
Any more
None of this really matters
Any more

Yes I am alone
But then again I always was
As far back as I can tell
I think maybe it's because
Because you were never really real
To begin with

I just made you up
To hurt myself
I just made you up
To hurt myself
I just made you up
To hurt myself
And it worked
Yes it did

There is no you
There is only me
There is no you
There is only me
There is no fucking you
There is only me
There is no fucking you
There is only me

Only only only

Well the tiniest little dot caught my eye
And it turned out to be a scab
And I had this funny feeling
Like I just knew it's something bad

I just couldn't leave it alone
I cut off that scab
It was a doorway trying to seal itself shut
But I climbed through

Now I'm somewhere
I am not supposed to be
And I can see things I know
I really shouldn't see

And now I know why
Now I know why
Things aren't as pretty
On the inside

There is no you
There is only me
There is no you
There is only me
There is no fucking you
There is only me
There is no fucking you
There is only me

Only only only only only only?


Lyrics submitted by ab0ve, edited by keh61991

"Only" as written by Trent Reznor Michael Reznor

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Only song meanings
Add your thoughts

180 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +4
    General CommentHe's saying his self-worth is not based on what other people think of him (there is no fuckin' you, there's only me).

    And that any concept of what other people are thinking, are imaginary to him (I just made you up to hurt myself).

    And his realization of this is strange, something that he shouldn't know (Now I'm somewhere,I am not supposed to be, And I can see things I know, I really shouldn't see).

    Thus,

    "Less concerned
    About fitting into the world
    Your world, that is
    'cause it doesn't really matter
    Any more
    No, it doesn't really matter
    Any more
    None of this really matters
    Any more"
    intricaticon August 01, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThere is no YOU there is only ME

    I am unto myself. I can't get inside anyone's head, really. People can tell me about themselves and I can make connections, but that's it. Every person I come into contact with is going to be seen according to ME. YOU is a logical fallacy because of this fact. YOU cannot exist because YOU precludes that I know YOU and that YOU are REAL. If YOU are real, then so are your thoughts, ideas, opinions, actions, and so on. If YOU are not real, then all of your thoughts, opinions, actions and so on are actually just existing in my head. And I'm modifying my behavior to suit these ideas thoughts opinions that I attribute to YOU, that I externalize outside of MYSELF to justify modifying my behavior. When it's all really just a construct inside MY head that, if validated by ME, is allowed to continue. It restricts and modifies my behavior. This is what society is based on, one giant YOU. YOU is a reflecting mirror that makes ME self conscious, self doubting, unsure. YOU force ME to have a "YOU" that I think others see when they look at me. Of course, nothing could be further from the case. I am matter in motion, constantly changing and never frozen. All living creatures are in constant flux. I can look in the mirror and have the illusion of a fixed appearance for a moment, but even that is a lie, because when I walk out that door into different lighting, I look different. When I start talking to people, I look different. When I get into the flow of life, I am changing every second to be in that flow. I am like water. YOU is frozen forever, it is a lie. YOU assumes that there is a constant ME, that there is:

    A: a fixed notion of how I should act according to YOU.
    B: a fixed ME that is unchanging

    Nothing is fixed, everything is in flux in the material world. Therefore the idea of YOU is absurd, an illusion, a lie.
    bizzolizzoon January 09, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"Only" is a self-evaluation of the artist's reality. I'm sure i'm touching on what many of you have said earlier, but i want to point out a couple more things.

    The song begins with a confident statement, "I'm becoming less defined...kind of drifting into the abstract" That entire stanza reveals that the artist feels as if he once was focused, or had his mind set on "reality" and such, but that more and more he finds himself slipping away into the unknown, or the mysterious. The world that he has lives and that he was percieved to be true is slipping away from fact towards myth. He no longer grasps with such strength the reality the society has created for him. Relationships fade away into the meaningless, love drifts into the lies, and life, in general, can no longer be viewed as this clear, black-and-white reality.

    In the second stanza, the artist then delvs into himself, saying that he no longer gives the same efforts to try and see the world as everyone else does. he refers to the world as "you world" which i think means society's world. And why, because it doesn't really matter. All the instituions he held to dear are slowly less important and more meaningless. Laws, religion, media, peers- they all don't matter any more, because, as far as the artist is concerned, they are not real, he only PERCIEVED them as real.

    The third stanza brings in some tendancies of mentally "ill" patients. The artist says he was alone, and always was. All other people, again "you", as in society, are not real. People are just a manifestation of his imagination. Like in the movie "Vanilla Sky", he has imagined this entire world. Nothing is real, except himself. he created everything. He created the concept of earth, the universe, everything could just be one huge dream of a man in a coma finally realizing that he is jusy dreaming. Kinda of scary :(

    The fourth stanza repeats "there is no you" which affirms that society is not real, and that the only real thing is the artist himself.


    Now, the fifth stanza is where i think the artist describes HOW he got to thinking this way. He say a small dot, maybe he experienced something, say saw a car crash that altered his views of the world. He somewhow got to thinking that nothing is real and as such, everything is meaningless. Once he saw this dot, he couldn't quite picking on it, because it was like a scab. As a scab, it itched, it itched to be opened. And the artist ithced it until he could climb through it, metaphorically. The dot transformed into a scab and then a doorway. From one incident, or person, (i have no clue who/what) his whole perception of the world has been fundamentally altered. And now, the artist says "I can see things I know I really shouldn't see" as if he really shouldn't be thinking this way. Well let's face it, if he was dead serious about this, why even live? If life is just a dream that you are dreaming, why don't you just wake up? So the artist realizes that the world he has entered is not pretty, it's not pretty on the inside. He has this knowledge, and i'm pretty sure he regrets thinking this way. Maybe this is a declaration of instanity, or, just maybe, reality!
    dmangler00on March 03, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song is about hell.

    Real hell - not fire and brimstone, but complete alienation, from God and others.
    malcolmchaos7on May 08, 2007   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningI think this song is about seeing someone for who they really are after idolizing them & having a false impression of them for a long time. The line "I just made you up to hurt myself" is a cry of futile pain after realizing that he really doesn't know the person at all, and his perception of them was just a smokescreen. That line really rings true for my relationship with my ex. I made excuses for him, defended him, told myself he was the same good person he was when we first met even after he descended into a vicious cycle of drugs & self-abuse.
    Cenobyteon October 01, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Commentyea who the fuck are you guys kidding, theres no, im the only one that exists.. Ive made up all your usernames and comments in my head.
    homerunhydockon December 15, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentNice song again from NIN! Nice piano effects and singer has the best voice in the world!
    Meltsion April 26, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDoes anyone else feel the song is about God? He describes how he use to believe and confide in God but realized the only person he had was himself and that there is no God (this probably makes me song Atheistic). I think the song "Terrible Lie" also has a similar meaning.
    hogepron September 14, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is the most inspirational and beautiful piece of music ever written by man or woman and is my favorite song in life thus far. To me, its about self realization, something trent has a lot of expierience in in its struggles and triumphs. Its about a person who begins to realize the reason they are unhappy is because they arent being who they are at heart and that its part of why theyre blue is because they know who they are but theyd rather go about being self consious and hurt. I cannot describe the balls it took reznor to write a song with such truth, depth, emotion while still maintaining a wicked beat accompanied by larger than life sounds. you wont find honesty like this anywhere else... THANK YOU TRENT REZNOR.
    Treznor 111on January 05, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWe all hear voices and sometimes it becomes difficult to attach to one over another which one is produced by ME deliberately pushing the thought forward. I do believe that, on top of hearing the voices of what others have thought in an esprit de l'escalier (posterior to the event of encountering them), we also hear our own voice in two streams. One of our self-actualized self the other of you in your current temporal dimension with your current stock. This is conjecture or confabulation, if you are also heady, but evoking these entities seems to explain alot about the intangibility of experience, the mental life. Like the seed contains an imprint of the plant it is to be within itself, a being also contains its final state. We hear from this 'voice' all day, it IS you. There are no identical reduplications of this being from an external standpoint. But you are not it yet, you must become acquainted with it and step out in direction towards it. We have encountered those people who speak straight to you, who beyond believing to know you in some high self-regard, actually become you (as you see yourself, they seem to have a grasp of the twice-removedness of consciousness and hack into it with self-relinquishment and delighting effect). They have recompiled themselves, much like placing two acetate sheets one atop the other for a complete image. The being of this self-actualized voice has no bearing on the linear progression of time, though likely it has seen all YOUR behavior before: 'sometimes I see right through myself'. Upon realizing this dichotomy, ME, the only entity, who I have a direct handling of rebels. 'I just made you up, to hurt myself' can equate in a state of distress to 'I cannot be you, my complete experience as I experience it, in the forum', your presence hurts me, I am abysmal in comparison. Another re-prompt of one aspect of present day cognitive dissonance. The problem arises, if you were to ask me, from pragmatic, everyday linguistic practices which have it that the I becomes rendered an object 'me' for practicality sake in conversation. In our own free time none of us can 'stop picking at that scab' of selfhood. Nice places to eat are far and few between, so we chew at our edges. Ever seen a nailbitter really go at it, and rather that become repulsed, explored the prompt 'what has taken hold of him'? Ah people on the metro. In any event, it seems that we are alone as we always were, with company. This language which spawns the problem is called sometimes 'the language of things'. It would see the self as a thing. Perhaps not substantive, but fixed, with parameters and spacio-temporal dimensions. There are other modes of speaking. Of course one must be discrete and unassuming in their practice, otherwise in spite of all intents and purposes one may come off as an utter babbling goon. I covers a wide schematization of entities, likely, all of which belong to that I without being products of the psyche as it is currently. This is an ontology. To any curious to read an astounding examination of the phenomenal self (I in its totality as it appears to me, cap) allow me to draw out Sartre's essay The Look for your pleasure.
    hehkateon December 26, 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