The song's stanzas reference the sequence of an NVA (Nth Vietnamese Army) or VC (Viet Cong) mainforce attack in the Vietnam War....
Gonna close my eyes
Girl and watch you go
Running through this life, darling
Like a field of snow
As the tracer glides
In its graceful arc
Send a little prayer out to ya
'Cross the falling dark

Tell the repo man
And the stars above
That you're the one I love, yeah

Perfect summers night
Not a wind that breathes
Just the bullets whispering gentle
'Mongst the new green leaves
There's things I might have said
Only wish I could
Now I'm leaking life faster
Then I'm leaking blood

Tell the repo man
And the stars above
That you're the one I love
You're the one I love
The one I love

Yee hee, yee hee

Don't see Elysium
Don't see no fiery hell
Just the lights up bright, baby
In the bay hotel
Next wave coming in
Like an ocean roar
Won't you take my hand darling
On that old dance floor

We can twist and shout
Do the turtle dove
And you're the one I love
You're the one I love
The one I love

Yee hee, yee hee


Lyrics submitted by pharmdoc299, edited by MarkR

"The One I Love" as written by David Gray Craig Mcclune

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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The One I Love song meanings
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38 Comments

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  • +2
    General Commentagreed that it's a soldier (an American soldier, more specifically)...agreed that it's the Vietnam war because the twist and shout and turtle dove both fit the time period...the repo man I think could be literal and figurative, but mostly i think it's literal since during that time period the woman he's singing to that he's in love with probably couldn't support herself and pay for their belongings bc of the repression of women that still existed so prevelantly during that time period...also they were probably lower class to begin with bc upper-class young men went to college and largely as a group avoided the draft and the military..also the way he dreams of the "big hotel" and dancing as he dies makes him seem like a lower class guy as well..if he was upper-class, he'd call it the ritz or whatever...he'd call it by name...you know? just my opinion...and yes, EricWill it's definitely a girl not his country, but you're not completely off...I think "the stars above" are the stars in the flag and they represent his country (America) bc he wants her to know that he loves her more than he loves his country, and that he died trying to give her a better life with finer things (things that they probably couldn't afford...hence the "repo man")...he's saying he died fighting a war for his country, but he was doing it out (fighting) out of his love for her, not his country...that's my opinion anyway..
    JMB1988on May 27, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLets work through it bit by bit:

    'Gonna close my eyes
    Gonna watch you go.'

    The man is dying. As yet, we've not established why. By closing his eyes, he is seeing the person he loves for the last time, as he watches her fade.

    'Running through this life, darling
    Like a field of snow.'

    People often say that when close to death, your life flashes before your eyes.

    'As the tracer glides in its graceful arc,
    Send a little prayer out to you
    cross the falling dark.'

    Tracers being the bullets and flares that are fired on a battlefield. Ahhh, so he's a soldier...As he knows he is dying, he is literally sending a prayer to his lover. The falling dark, probably being the light fading as he nears death.

    'Perfect summer's night
    not a wind that breathes.
    Just the bullets whispering gentle
    amongst the new green leaves.'

    Confirmation of his being a soldier. I'd take a stab in the dark that its a Vietnam soldier, for reasons I'll explain shortly.

    'Don't see elysium
    Don't see no fiery hell.
    Just the lights all bright baby in the big hotel.'

    He's saying he isn't having a religious experience - does heaven or hell exist? If they do, he doesn't see them yet. Elysium being a place in Greek mythology of ideal happiness, entered after death - ie Heaven.

    'Next wave coming in, like an ocean roar'

    Hmmm, could be the next wave of attack, or the next wave of pain, I can't decide.

    'We can twist and shout,
    do the turtle dove,'

    Right the kicker for me, suggests that its a Vietnam soldier. Both popular dances in the 60's when the Vietnam war was raging. Also, the mention he makes of 'new green leaves' suggests a forest/jungle war theatre as opposed to the recent desert wars we've had in the 90's.

    There you go, thats what I think.
    dushanbeon April 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnother great song by David Gray, well heres my opinion about what its about, its about someone he loved who he has lost the only way he can see her is close his eyes and imagine her
    "Gonna close my eyes, Gonna watch you go" also the "repo man" i think this could be God as he has reposed her from him and taken her too heaven. Then as the song goes on you can see he is starting to miss her more and regrets all the things he didnt get too say and he feels like hes dieing without her

    "These things I might have said
    only wish I could
    Now I'm leaking life faster
    than I'm leaking blood"
    Scottish_Lionon August 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTell the repo man huh?
    stoolhardyon August 23, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIs it not about a person who is dying on a battlefield, and he's singing to his lady back home far away from the scene of the war
    Athlete***on September 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe repo man puzzled me, but I think Scottish Lion has it correct. However I agree with Althlete***, that she is alive and it is he who is dying.

    I'm not sure where the contributor found these lyrics, but I would like to offer some small corrections:
    in the first verse, "send a little prayer OUT to you
    'cross the falling dark"
    in the second, "perfect summer's night,
    not a wind that breathes"
    in the third, "just the lights so bright baby, in the Bay Hotel. Next wave coming in, like an ocean roar".

    And I love this song.
    Unpredictableon December 12, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentdeffo, the repo man could be god, or indeed leader of those he is in war against perhaps, or his own leaders and goverment who have conscribed him to battle!perhaps

    pretty sure tis bout him being on a battlefield in war time
    Athlete***on December 15, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about a man dying on the battlefield who is hoping (and about) to be reunited with his love. He's dying, worried about whether he'll end up in heaven with his love. And It's almost as if he's trying to get her to guide him to her.
    dazedandinloveon December 21, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentits actually "girl and watch you go"
    lisegrinon January 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always thought it might have been 'reaper' man, myself. Other thing is - as well as the whole God analogy - it could be reference to his love trying to survive without him, and her/his stuff getting repossessed as she tries to carry on.

    It is, however, definately about the last thoughts of a dying soldier; telegraph.co.uk/arts/…
    aldo_14on January 19, 2006   Link

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