"Abel" as written by and Matthew D. Berninger Aaron B. Dessner....
Well, my mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right

Abel, come on, give me the keys, man
Everything has all gone down wrong
Abel, come on, give me the keys, man
Everything has all gone down wrong

I see water on the bridge
Well, you better hold my hand through this
Turn around, turn around, take me back
I can't calm down
Turn around, turn around, take me back
I can't calm down

Well, my mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right

Abel, come on, give me a reason
I am not as bright as I could be
Abel, come on, take me with you
Everything has all gone down wrong

You turn me good and god-fearing
Well, tell me what am I supposed to do with that
I'm missing something
Yeah, I'm missing something
My mind's gone loose inside the shell
My mind's gone loose inside the shell
Well, I'm missing something
Yeah, I'm missing something
Abel, my mind's gone loose inside the shell

Well, my mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right
My mind's not right


Lyrics submitted by countzero

"Abel" as written by Matthew D. Berninger Aaron B. Dessner

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Abel song meanings
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29 Comments

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  • +3
    My OpinionIt's kinda weird that no one has mentioned the Dessner Brothers, co-founders and lead songwriters of The National. I can't help but think they're related to this appropriation of the infamous Biblical bros, Cain and Abel, especially when the lead singer (Matthew, another biblical reference :D ) has slyly referenced 'family' as being pertinent to the song on multiple occasions.

    My guess- the song is about someone who feels out of control and pleading with his brother for help, but the help given is insufficient and only serves to further frustrate the song's narrator.
    j0nnynonameon June 10, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentEverything has gone wrong and the narrator no longer has control. He needs some security and friendship - he doesn't know what to do.
    the_associateon December 20, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think this song is told through the perspective of this abel character. his life is out of control, in the sense that he's driving drunk, but at hte same time going w/ the cane and abel thing. once abel started down that path to killing his brother, his life spun out of control. I think ultimately it comes down to being about realizing things have gone to far, but not being to far down the line to change that fact.
    n0bion February 16, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe cd doesn't have the lyrics, but it does on the band's website. Here's the missing ones...

    Abel, come on, give me a reason
    I am not as bright as I could be
    Abel, come on, take me with you
    Everything has all gone down wrong

    You turn me good and god-fearing
    Well, tell me what am I supposed to do with that
    I'm missing something
    Yeah, I'm missing something
    My mind's gone loose inside its shell
    My mind's gone loose inside the shell
    Well, I'm missing something
    Yeah, I'm missing something
    Abel, my mind's gone loose inside the shell

    I thought maybe there are two characters speaking in the song but now im not so sure...maybe its just one narrator who's talking to this abel guy and seems to feel like he needs his help.

    This page got me into the national by the way, it was the latest comment so i clicked on it and then thought i'd check out the band, and saw the soho riots video and immediately bought the cd. So thanks to songmeanings!
    Oh and sorry this comments so long and rambling
    electricoceanon May 21, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI always interpreted the song as the lyrical interpretation of an anxiety attack. It actually has a lot of the same things that I think and/or feel during one. He uses Cain and Abel as a metaphor for his mind, Cain being the rational side and Abel being the side that's out of his control, but is taking over his emotions.
    JonesieSuckson June 23, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFrom the first time I heard it I thought of Abel as the little brother of Cain and identified the first person as the evil brother, Cain. To me it's an interpretation of the difficult relationship between two brothers: Abel, good and rational and worried for his brother, Cain anxious and into trouble, at the same time trying to get his brother's sympathy ("my mind's not right") and trying to talk him into helping him to break loose and do something wrong ("Abel c'mon, give me the keys man..."). I can imagine this modern Cain being an addict, or a potential suicide, or a and his little brother Abel keeping him locked to prevent him from reinciding in his habits.
    notagoodideaon June 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThere's a line missing where he says "You turn me ______ god fearing. Now tell me what am I supposed to do with that? I'm missing something I'm missing something. My mind's gone loose inside its shell." Maybe it was left out of the liner notes or something.
    impacton May 29, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is a complete scenario interpretation but it seems to me as if someone is letting their drunk buddy drive them home, and they're starting to have second thoughts about letting this person "Abel" drive.

    This could also be an analagy to something else...
    The_Variableon November 08, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti agree with variable... and i still wonder if there's a connection to CANE AND ABEL. The name abel isn't real common.

    It could also be that the narrator WANTS to drive drunk in a sort of james dean/ timmy taylor suicide sort of thing
    midwesterneron February 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe biblical character's name is cain by the way. yout comments gave me this impression of a candy-cane bludgeoning someone to death.
    proximaon March 14, 2006   Link

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