"Friend of Mine" as written by and Matthew D. Berninger Aaron B. Dessner....
Hey, where the hell are you
You don't call me back, John
Won't you come here and stay with me
Why don't you come here and stay with me

Hey, where the hell are you
You don't call me back, John
Won't you come here and stay with me
Why don't you come here and stay with me

Show up here loaded with bells on your toes
I don't care what you're into
I'll put velvet ropes around you, if that's what you need

Why did you listen to that man, that man's a balloon
Oh, you gotta get out and get back to me
John, you gotta get out and get back to me

Why did you listen to that man, that man's a balloon
Oh, you gotta get out and get back to me
Take his limousine, you gotta get back to me

I'm getting nervous
Na, na, na, na, na, na, na
No sign of a friend of mine
Na, na, na, na, na, na, na
Red hair and blue eyes
I'm getting nervous
Na, na, na, na, na, na, na
No sign of a friend of mine

I was in a train under a river when I remembered what
What I wanted to tell you, man
What I wanted to tell you, man
I got two sets of headphones, I miss you like hell
Won't you come here and stay with me
Why don't you come here and stay with me

I'm getting nervous
Na, na, na, na, na, na, na
No sign of a friend of mine
Na, na, na, na, na, na, na
Red hair and blue eyes
I'm getting nervous
Na, na, na, na, na, na, na
No sign of a friend of mine
Na, na, na, na, na, na, na

Why did you listen to that man, that man's a balloon
Oh, you gotta get out and get back to me
Why did you listen to that man, that man's a balloon
John, you gotta get out and get back to me
Why did you listen to that man, that man's a balloon
Fake a heart attack, you gotta get back to me
Why did you listen to that man, that man's a balloon
John, you gotta get out and get back to me


Lyrics submitted by countzero

"Friend of Mine" as written by Matthew D. Berninger Aaron B. Dessner

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Friend of Mine song meanings
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16 Comments

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  • +9
    General CommentIn an interview today, I got to ask Matt Berninger (Thanks Jen!) about this song. Basically what he said was it was based on an actual event in his life between him and a friend. The song is about a friend who was in a tough situation and Matt, trying to be a good friend, gave him advice. However, this advice only lead his friend off in the opposite direction and ultimately brought even worse results. He said he felt terrible afterwards and just had this sinking guilt that was hanging over his head.

    I think it's a situation everyone can relate to. When you bring a friend in the wrong direction you have nervous panic weighing down on you. And if it's bad enough, it's all you can think about, wondering if there's anything you can do or say to make things better.

    Matt never said exactly what the situation was or it's results, nor did he say whether him and his friend ended up alright.

    As far as the "balloon man" goes. I asked him and he said that he was referring to himself when he said "that man's a balloon", meaning that he felt sort of "like an airhead" or foolish for giving him bad advice.

    Anyways, I hope this helps.
    Resonanton August 27, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentSo someone's just explained what it means, after interviewing the singer who told him, yet you still think you know better? Interesting.
    tbcon July 26, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI love how someone will explain direct from the horse's mouth what something is meant to mean, and yet someone else will still give a different (and plainly wrong) explanation!

    caitsith01on June 22, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI love the "Fake a heart attack, you gotta get back to me" line. It's kind of grimly funny.
    Wolfensteinrevisedon June 24, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI thought people who like The National would be liberal types but I'll be the first to state the obvious...isn't it about a gay couple, one's been seduced by some rich balloon creep with a limo. The narrator just wants his boyfriend back no matter what kinky shit he's picked up on his travels.
    Beekarryon July 18, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"that man's a balloon"
    I've always taken this to mean that he's filled with hot air. He's fake and leading his friend the wrong way.
    Dmack24on August 27, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"i have 2 sets of headphones i miss you like hell"
    love it!
    neamsingon July 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWanting to get a friend back safe and sound away from the seediness of balloon men and limousine usery.
    the_associateon December 20, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmethinks it's about heroin addiction
    WeedManon April 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI can't believe more people haven't commented on this song. I think it's one of the best on Alligator.

    Anyway, I think this song is about caring for someone deeply, seeing them in a situation that you know isn't good for them, and wanting desperately for them to get out of there for their own good. It's a very selfless song, and it's written out of honest care and in the best interest for another person.
    desperoon May 13, 2007   Link

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