I tried to save a girl I truly loved
And didn't quite know how to help her
So now she's sleeping as her parents up above
Cry over things that they can't tell her

And when I did my good deed
I thought I'd feel unbroken gladness
But standing in the street alone
I just felt sinking sadness

Girl, your dad will not us bless
So hang up your veil and dress
Look at me and take one guess
Where this best-intentioned love will lead us

I once felt a feeling fully through
Though I knew I shouldn't feel it
Because to act on it I'd be a person
Who should be slapped into a straitjacket

So every time it comes around
I just let it die inside me
You said, "I only come around
Because I just need you to hide me"

So we knelt in those dead weeds
Sticks and sharp rocks cutting into our knees
And I thought that we would freeze
But there was just too much warm blood in our bodies

I'm not going to make you take the pills
Though you should really think about it
The fire by which we both were almost killed
Glowed so beautiful—don't doubt it

But we have to make a choice now
Can we glow without it?
There's a space I tried to fill
But I'm seeing now I never will
You fly around while I stand still
Until I slowly just get smaller and smaller

I tried to save a girl I truly loved
And I never would desert her
But we both found out that I was dreaming
Of the day I thoroughly could hurt her

And I saw myself inside her eyes
This shrinking would-be savior
Resented her for never needing him
And couldn't wait just to betray her

So we drove back to her place
From the temporary home that we had made
And I stepped back into the street
Feeling the fullest moment of my life
Slowly shrink away from me

With my good deed
With my good deed
With my good deed


Lyrics submitted by bootu, edited by Parsnip42

My Good Deed song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentFirst off, what an amazing band. I'm so lucky to have stumbled onto their music.

    Anyway, I'm gonna start off by making the assumption that perhaps the girl in this story is dead. Why else would her parents be "crying over things they can't tell her?" She most likely committed suicide, encouraged by a mixture of the breakup and her refusal to take her pills (which were most likely anti-depressants.) Johnathan then goes into the past to explain their love.

    So the father does not approve of their marriage, or their love... Perhaps he even forbids it. Jonathan (assuming he wrote this based on his experiences) has some sort of understanding of this... Which is why he believes that he'd be crazy ("Who should be slapped into a straitjacket") if he were to act on his feelings.

    "The fire by which we both were almost killed, glowed so beautiful, don't doubt it."
    I think that the fire he speaks of is metaphorical. I believe their chemistry together is hazardous to the lifestyles set for them. This would explain why the dad forbids their relationship, and why Jonathan subconsciously agrees.

    He tries to create a role in which to fit into her life, but it doesn't seem to work, and he is deprived of his need to be needed... He then goes off into explaining how this eventually turns into a bitterness which is bad for the relationship, but he isn't clear as to whether or not this has anything to do with why he wasn't good for her in the first place.

    And so he breaks off the relationship, and we're back to the first verse of the song.

    I personally have friends who've dealt with similar struggles. Being in a relationship with someone who takes anti-depressants is extremely difficult. How would you feel if you knew that you weren't enough for the woman you loved? That she could never be happy even with you, because she would always have a need for the pills?

    What a beautiful, but sad song.

    StevenRafaelon June 04, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe music, especially the ending, is so damn beautiful.
    Way_AEon September 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI can't get over how much I still love this song even after 3 years. Absolutely amazing.
    catchinstarson November 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyes.. i love this song too..
    but, the meaning.. lets get to the different meanings it could have!
    basically, i had sort of a hard time figuring out what this meant.. like the story itself.
    so i asked a friend. she said, basically.. its about this guy and girl who i guess were going to get married. the girl had some sort of problem.. perhaps..besides that her father wouldn't bless their choice of getting married.. and so he wanted to help her.. but somehow he didn't and he never thought of hurting her.. or betraying her.. but now he does?
    eh. im not too sure. i'll have to discuss this again sometime. :]
    although, yes it is very very beautiful. one of my favorites! XD
    mushr00mfarton October 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti completely understand this...but just cannot explain it to anybody...

    just get this, we are all flawed, in the most perverse ways...
    sharanx182on December 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI've been listening to this song a lot and i know it's a little far-fetched but i think it makes a lot more sense if all the "us" and "we" means himself and his evil intentions.

    So every time it comes around
    I just let it die inside me
    You said, "I only come around
    Because I just need you to hide me"

    in this part his evil intentions are basically saying "i only exist so you can hide my existence" because that's what the first two lines of that part make him feel like he's doing.

    when he says "we knelt in those dead weeds" he is again talking about himself and his evil self.

    I'm not going to make you take the pills
    Though you should really think about it
    The fire by which we both were almost killed
    Glowed so beautiful, don't doubt it

    In this part maybe his pills are suppressants so he tries to convince his evil side to take the pills. the second half might be his evil part talking back

    "There's a space I tried to fill
    But I'm seeing now I never will
    You fly around while I stand still
    Until I slowly just get smaller and smaller"

    Here he could be seeing his evil part become the dominant one

    "we both found out that I was dreaming Of the day I thoroughly could hurt her"

    Here it's both of himselves finding out, which I think makes more sense than him and her.

    "I once felt a feeling fully through
    Though I knew I shouldn't feel it"

    This "full" feeling is obviously bad. Probably something evil he wanted to do to the girl.

    "Feeling the fullest moment of my life
    Slowly shrink away from me "

    And I think in this part he actually did it, and as he walks away he's loosing his adrenaline rush, that's why it "shrinks away"


    This is completely different from what your first impressions might tell you but if you listened to the other songs sung by Will Sheff like "For Real" or "Westfall" in his current band Okkervil River, this seems much more true.
    novistadoron May 08, 2010   Link

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