"When in Rome" as written by and Chris Thile....
Where can a sick man go
When he can't choke down the medicine the old doc knows
A specialist came to town
But he stays at home
Saying no one knows so I don't
Honey when in Rome

Where can a teacher go
Wherever she thinks people need the things she knows
Hey those books you gave us look good on the shelves at home
And they'll burn warm in the fireplace teacher
When in Rome

Grab a blanket sister
We'll make smoke signals
Bring in some new blood
It feels like we're alone
Grab a blanket brother
So we don't catch cold
From one another
I wonder if we're stuck in Rome

Where can a dead man go?
A question with an answer only dead men know
But I'm gonna bet they never really feel at home
It they spent a lifetime learning how to live in Rome

Lyrics submitted by yamahasixstring

"When in Rome" as written by Chris Thile


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When in Rome song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentI love this song. . . the stomps really add something different. And look for all the angel references in the video. . .like when Cris is on his back playing. . . the puddles look like wings.. . .
    Rinse_It_Awayon January 11, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentEach of us has the potential to make a difference; to step out of the boundaries that society's insecurities has drawn around us. Where do we go when we need help, when we want to make a change for the better? We cannot solely look to what others have done; it means nothing if we only give to others what we find useful or meaningful- we must make use of the things we need and learn and grow through them, or they will go to waste, dragging us along with it. So let's change the world! Let's embrace people who feel the same rather than getting caught in the routine that the stereotypes and stigmas have set. Let's break conformity, because we will never fully be satisfied or contented by living as others expect us. We must, rather, discover our true emotional, spiritual,and mental potential as beings when in Rome.
    andilaineon February 16, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI believe the opposite of what Sandman541 posted. "When in Rome" doesn't speak about the church in Rome. In fact I believe it's criticizing society and it's attempt to conform to the well-known debauchery and sinfulness that had filled Rome before the creation of the church.

    It's obvious it's playing off the cliche of "When in Rome do as the Romans" and not "do as the Catholics". The commentary that they focus on are values that have begun to fade such as education: "those books you gave us look good on the shelves at home, and they'll burn well in the fireplace teacher when in Rome".

    The thing that really grabs my attention and make me think that it's actually speaking towards Christianity in a positive way is the last verse: "Where can a dead man go... when he spent a lifetime learning to live in Rome?" This is speaking to the knowledge that Christians shouldn't consider this world their home and understand that we are set apart as the bible says. If you conformed to the sinful nature of this world, where do you go when you die? How would you function after learning to live sinfully and then be presented in death with an eternity of living selflessly, serving God.
    truthbehinditallon July 21, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have no idea really but the music is awesome. The video is almost haunting.
    Rachondalooseon September 12, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPeople are always just trying to blend in and do as those around them are doing-- like the saying, "When in Rome..."

    If you get too caught up in this, though, you lose your individuality, and so you wonder if you're "stuck in Rome."
    Buddha of Suburbiaon January 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is amazing. I think I first saw it on launch... The song, lyrics, video, EVERYTHING blew me away. It's just... such a fantastic song. Absolutely wonderful. Bluegrass/folk like this is amazing.
    SoakedinMercuryon January 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwe must cast down our pre-conceptions because they bind us with the connotations of the word prejudice.
    claymoreon April 23, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have noticed that Nickel Creek doesnt really do any more religious songs. To me "when in rome" is a slap in the face to religion. Rome being the home of the vatican. The final verse holds the strongest meaning for me. A man will be dissapointed after death if he spend his whole life living under the restrictions of the church to go to heaven, especially if there is no heaven. Other strong referances are the book burnings and "bring in some new blood" because the churches popularity is fading.
    Sandman541on May 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe saying "when in rome" ends with "act roman." Back in the roman empire, if you weren't roman you were looked down on. So that is where the saying came from. When in rome, act roman.

    This song takes that idea and applies it to modern life. Rome is this world as a whole. The song touches on how we don't make wise decisions, how we burn knowledge for a bonfire party, and how we make each other sick by our own bad habits.

    Then it poses the question about the afterlife. If we spent all our life learning how to live in in this world ( aka rome ) for our entire lives, will we fit in with those in the afterlife? Will we be worthy of what is on the other side when we act the way we do?
    patdudeon April 10, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentActually, the sayng is "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."
    This song is about Nickel Creek's move away from more traditional bluegrass & folk music into the rock (and other) influenced sound, and the backlash they received from the bluegrass community.

    "Bring in some new blood/it feels like we're alone" speaks to the alienation from much of the more traditional community. The end of their production relationship with Alison Krauss was a first step, and the eevolution of their music continued down that road.

    Too bad they split up - they were phenomenal, inventive, and original.
    phillkensebbenon June 20, 2008   Link

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