"Ain't No Love" as written by Paul Michael Barry, Mark Taylor, Graham John Stack and Kenny Thomas....
Maybe that it would do me good
If I believed there were a god
Cut in the starry firmament
But as it is that's just a lie
And I'm here eating up the boredom
On an island of cement
Give me your ecstasy I'll feel it
Open window and I'll steal it
Baby like it's heaven sent

This ain't no love that's guiding me

Some days I'm bursting at the seams
With all my half remembered dreams
And then it shoots me down again
I feel the dampness as it creeps
I hear you coughing in your sleep
Beneath a broken window pane
Tomorrow girl I'll buy you chips
A lollipop to stain your lips
And it'll all be right as rain

This ain't no love that's guiding me
This ain't no love that's guiding me

No it ain't no love guiding me
No it ain't no love guiding me
No it ain't no love guiding me

This ain't no love that's guiding me
This ain't no love that's guiding me

On winter trees the fruit of rain
Is hanging trembling in the branches
Like a thousand diamond buds
And waiting there in every pause
That old familiar fear that claws you
Tells you nothing ain't no good
Then pulling back you see it all
Down here so laughable and small
Hardly a quiver in the dirt

This ain't no love that's guiding me


Lyrics submitted by Joekubrick

"Ain't No Love" as written by David Gray

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Ain't No Love song meanings
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  • +2
    My InterpretationTo Nabokov?
    this is a beautiful song.

    i think certainly, it could be about feeling uninspired, unable to believe in god or spirit. "an island of cement"... i think we all feel that, the diconnection from nature and the earth that suppresses the spirit of our culture.

    but i think perhaps also, and this may be a stretch, it may be a bit of a salute to Nabokov for his Lolita. he says "the next morning i'll buy you chips, a lollipop to stain your lips, and it'll all be right as rain" ...In Lolita, (if you don't know lolita, the main character is a middle-aged man who is obsessed with an 11-ish girl and eventually manages to seduce her. his obsession stems from an unfulfilled love from his youth that he could never forget) Humbert seduces her and the next morning, in an attempt to alleviate his guilt, buys her chips and a lollipop at a gas station to make things right, which of course, only accentuates her youth and thus the absurdity of the situation.
    elleemmeeon March 09, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI feel this song is perhaps one of David's most depressing.

    The most important line in the song is line 4. "as it is that's just a lie" - this is in regards how it would maybe do him good to believe there is a God - except he realises it's a lie. His conclusion is that "Love", or God if you will won't guide him.

    Then there comes the moment of hope. In winter there we see the beautiful image of this tree with glittering colours. Yet then when we pull back - look at it from perspective we realise it's barely a "quiver in the dirt"

    While in my opinion a song about losing hope - but the question remains. Something is guiding him in this song - if not God - what?
    the_sas_manon September 04, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree elleemmee, he's not guided by love, he's being guided by fear and desperation.

    He wants to see the beauty, to feel the love, to trust in god but can't stop looking at everything too closely and critically, obsessing until it all becomes absurd and disgusting.

    I think it's about times in our lives when depression and self doubt and anxiety rule all our thoughts and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. We are after all, only tiny specks in a ruthless universe, right?!
    gillian123on April 10, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about the deadness of life sometimes in my opinion. He's making his way through days that just pass and seem to have no point other than to take time. There isn't any love or passion waking him up in the mornings telling him to go and live life to the last ounce.
    He remembers the days that he spends chasing some naive dream, probably recollected from long ago, and dusted off to simply give him something to believe in again, but it never lasts. He tries to pretend that tomorrow it will change and turn out alright still.
    The end of the song is a sort of resignation, and I think something we all find out eventually. The character starts by seeing the beauty of a tree covered in fresh rain but the slow depression coils its way around him still, even in the face of such an image. The character pulls back from himself and finally sees how insignificant it all really is now. He sees himself standing there next to that tree, hardly moving, hardly a quiver in the dirt, and realizes his own insignificance. It's not an awful realization, in my opinion, just the knowledge that no matter how much it hurts, it's still only a day passing amongst a thousand of them.
    The song is supposed to embody the spirit of those rainy days you spend watching out your window wondering how it all went wrong. You wonder why you still wake up daily when there's no great love in your life. What carries your soul when there's nothing around to pick it up?
    Jag3892on November 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI really like Jag’s interpretation and description; I do think there are some things he discusses in the underlying theme of this song. However, I believe The Sas Man has a better grasp on the true content here.

    (And, as much as we like to try to interpret songs, we could always be way off. Take the Beatles for example: They were high, not deep in thought! So, I’m just throwing in my two cents.)

    Anyway…

    What a poignant and tragic song. The Sas Man picks out the most important line and states what it all really comes down to: “Something is guiding him in this song - if not God - what?” That is exactly where the focus lies.

    The song is so poignant because for those of us who have separated ourselves from the many beliefs of the world to look at life beyond the concepts formed by religion, the conveyance of emptiness, a melancholic bitterness, and the overwhelming sense of solitude are made tangible (not quite the word I’m looking for, but it’ll have to suffice for now). Only a truly creative and talented artist could portray/ effectively communicate such profound, emotional reflections. There is no question of there being substance in these lyrics.

    The song is so tragic because it is “the truth [that’s] loading” (from his “Disappearing World”…hang in there with me) for him, the realization that we really have no great figure beyond our world that is generating love and guidance towards us. Maybe there is a god out there (this is more me, not David Gray), but if there is, it sure seems to have left us on our own.

    So what keeps driving us? What keeps us trudging through all of this heartache and pain? What is the purpose to this existence of ours? And, is it really possible to come to the conclusion that we really aren’t as special or significant as we thought we were? We want to believe that there is a purpose. We want to believe that there is always something “out there,” watching over and caring for us when nothing else in this world seems to. We want to believe that this whole thing called life, existence, the universe, and whatnot, wasn’t just some big accident. And, how could it be? How could this amazing and beautiful life all just be chance?

    Then my mind wanders in the direction of…Is this really as great as this life gets, with no greater thing beyond us to look forward to? Is it really possible that there could be some greater thing out there just observing us, without wanting to interact with us?

    One of the most depressing parts of the song – I think – is:

    “Some days I'm bursting at the seams
    With all my half remembered dreams
    And then it shoots me down again
    I feel the dampness as it creeps
    I hear you coughing in your sleep
    Beneath a broken window pane
    Tomorrow girl I'll buy you chips
    A lollipop to stain your lips
    And it’ll all be right as rain.”

    This portion of the song shows how life just seems a process we all experience and try to struggle through together. We cling on to one another because we are all we have got; we’re each other’s heroes. We try to make the experience of living as wonderful as possible, try to discover and create things that make it seem worth our while.

    For some reason, the broken window pane seems to me a representation of how we build things to protect ourselves and keep us going. But, just as the window pain is broken and lets the cold and dampness in, allowing the opportunity for one to become ill, so are so many aspects of this beautiful yet sad world imperfect and flawed. The chips and lollipop are the little simple pleasures we get out of life that make it seem not so bad, but the fact that the half-remembered dreams, coughing, and broken window pane are still there is unavoidable/inescapable.

    Might seem like a simple song, but the gravity of its message is unmistakable.

    Yes, David Gray’s depictions of life are most unique; so glad I’ve discovered them.
    mjohnson10on January 25, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI suppose Jag's interpretation would explain the cyclic sound of the chords and melody David uses.

    The chords and melody simply repeat in groups of three bars each, cleverly suggesting some kind of unfultilled routine.

    This song, especially its lyrics, is just brilliant.
    LukeBon April 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment... just a thought, and i hate to throw these out there, but is it just me or does the background dun dun dun, sound like the "Let It Be" piano, I know its not the same, but it sounds lots like it.... (I'm thinking of the Beatles version BTW.) AND if you put the songs together so they start singing at the same time, lots of the lines start at the same time... kinda freaked me out the first time i did it... lol he must have stole the song from Paul Mccarthy's coat after he died... -gray is good
    babberwockyon December 25, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis and Lately are my two favourite David Gray songs, and I love David Gray.

    David Gray is a self proclaimed atheist, but I think this song gives away an unavoidable (for him) faith. The word love has had a fairly consistent meaning in his songs "If I'm honest, I still don't know what love is". I think he's uses the word love to describe a life force. Something is driving us, beyond the basic chemical instincts to eat and breed, but we don't know what.

    I'd love to be atheist, but I have a feeling, a 'something' which makes me 'know' more.

    I'm rambling, I've drunk too much DAB.
    Dudeyon July 13, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYou idiots! The entire album is themed around the concept of doomed love, death, and broken promises... If you actually LISTENED to the lyrics of this particular song, you will notice it starts of with a simple, child-like theme, on a harpsichord; and in the background is the sound of a recording, of a children's school playground, heavily distorted... He then goes on to sing of his current sexual partner, who wants to eat lolly-pops and eat bags of chips... It's a song about paedophilia (or 'near paedophilia'), obviously. Everything is diseased and broken. Everything is 'a quiver, in the dirt'. He despises his life, but is enchanted by its passion. Go and listen to it again, and stop talking bollocks. It's a work of genius, it really is... Which is why people don't understand it, because people are brutish and stupid, and are unable to grasp poetry. Ok?
    terence148on November 25, 2014   Link
  • -1
    General CommentI think Jag got it right^^^

    I just wanna say that the words "ain't no love" are unique in that a lot of people world say there's no "purpose" or "job" to guide them, while David says there's no "love".
    It's great in giving the feeling of depression and how the most difficult emotion is uselessness and the sense that nothing matters.
    XianSnakeon December 12, 2005   Link

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