"Albatross" as written by Keith Levene, John Wardle and John Lydon....
Slow motion, slow motion
Getting rid of the albatross
Sowing the seeds of discontent
I know you very well, you are unbearable
I've seen you up far too close
Getting rid of the albatross

Frying rear blinds
If I wanted
Should I really
If I run away, run away

Riding along on the crest of the wave
Getting rid of the albatross
Another will not forget
I know you very well

Run away, run away
Should I
I run away
Getting rid of the albatross
I know you very well, you are unbearable
I see you far too close
If I wanted to, if
Run away, run away
I ran away, I ran away


Lyrics submitted by oswaldtherabbit

Albatross song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentAFAIK, John Lydon thought it would be funny to put an atonal, 10-minute jam session with meaningless lyrics at the start of the second album in order to further annoy/alienate the people who were criticizing him because his new band didn't sound like the Sex Pistols.
    heartbeats_xxxon May 23, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThat is the sound of disco dying.
    Dweedon January 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAlmost certainly alluding to Samuel Coleridge's 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner'...
    fuzzyslipperson February 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDictionary.com has a definition of 'albatross': "a seemingly inescapable moral or emotional burden, as of guilt or responsibility." The easiest interpretation is that the singer is getting rid of the burden of the Sex Pistols, thought Lydon did that already with 'Theme'.
    Tristax!on June 13, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe "rear blinds" part was certainly misheard. It's also "I have seen you far too close". But to end my nit-picking...

    Another possibility is that it's about some horrible incident on a ship. I believe that it is a seafaring tradition that to kill an albatross is sure to bring bad luck. Or is it any appearance of it... I can't recall.

    It reminds me of a incident in which a ship was found with only two survivors after a terrible storm and several months. The two men left had lived by eating the others remains, and were discovered staring each other down from other sides of the deck...

    Appropriate, I think, for the same fellow who penned "Poptones".
    Cynothoglyson June 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThese lyrics are from the liner notes.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… is about the poem where the albatross reference is from.
    Tristax!on July 01, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentScratch it all, I read an interview with Lydon in which he claims he improvised the lyrics pretty much on the spot, in a sort of trance, à la Damo Suzuki at a live Can performance. But perhaps that validates every answer here...
    Cynothoglyson January 13, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about the Sex Pistols and perhaps in effect, punk, which Lydon was very disillusioned with at the time. Getting rid of the unbearable albatross with slow motion "non music."
    robwyattfanon November 01, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAccording to Mr Lydon: 'A song like “Albatross” is about the confusion of things. It’s about the [antiwar] riots outside the American Embassy [in London] in 1968. It’s really about nothing. The song really tries to capture that, the confusion of that moment. You can’t really sum up a riot in a verse-chorus format. It’s a slow, grinding, deliberate, purposeful examination'.
    magus23on April 08, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo start with, these lyrics are not complete. One of the lines left out of them is "kill the spirit of '68". What this line refers to is getting rid of Frankfurt School liberalism. 1968 was the year of the West's cultural revolution. In other words, this song is about getting rid of liberal Baby Boomer, hippie culture. This interpretation is in keeping with Lydon's well-known dislike for "drugged out rock and rollers".
    Dunnyvegon April 06, 2014   Link

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