"Unknown Soldier" as written by and Benjamin Burnley....
Border line
Dead inside
I don't mind
Falling to pieces
Count me in, violent
Let's begin feeding the sickness
How do I simplify?
Dislocate the enemy's on the way

Show me what it's like
To dream in black and white
So I can leave this world tonight

Full of fear
Ever clear
I'll be here fighting forever
Curious, venomous
You'll find me
Climbing to heaven
Never mind turn back time
You'll be fine
I will get left behind

Show me what it's like
To dream in black and white
So I can leave this world tonight

Holding on too tight
Breathe the breath of life
So I can leave this world behind

It only hurts just once
They're only broken bones
Hide the hate inside

Oh
(Forever, one I'll be fine)

Show me what it's like
To dream in black and white
So I can leave this world tonight

Holding on too tight
Breathe the breath of life
So I can leave this world behind


Lyrics submitted by moesix, edited by Grim_Poet

"Unknown Soldier" as written by Benjamin Burnley

Lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company

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Unknown Soldier song meanings
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  • +6
    General CommentThis song is about borderline personality disorder (which I have). For example:

    the title "unknown soldier" - with borderline personalty disorder there is usually a confusion about identity and not knowing anything about ones self, this can manifest itself as constantly shifting values and beliefs.

    The word "borderline" is the first line in the whole song.

    "dead inside" - people with borderline personality disorder often feel dead inside, empty and hollow. Self-injury is commonly used to not only makes ones self "feel alive" but also to deal with unwanted stimuli and emotions.

    "count me in, violent, lets begin, feeding the sickness" - Borderline personality disorder is often accompanied by uncontrollable anger, which can sometimes turn into a psychotic episode where one loses control over their actions.

    "show me what it's like, to dream in black and white, so I can leave this world tonight" - another term for borderline personality disorder is "extreme black and white thinking" (or emotional dysregulation disorder). There is no grey area, for example friends are either your best friends ever or you never want to talk to them again, and there is no in between.

    "so I can leave this world behind" - statistically, 8-10% of borderline complete suicide.

    "It only hurts just once, They're only broken bones, Hide the hate inside" - Borderline personality disorder is usually accompanied by self-injury (not just cutting, any self-injury inflicted), this is often used for several reasons.
    1)to combat the feeling of being dead inside, making one feel alive.
    2)people with borderline personality disorder often feel worthless and self hate, this leads to engaging in self-destructive activities
    3)to leave a state of dissociation. In dissociation, one often views themselves in the third person or has lapses in reality, for example ill be helping my mom make dinner and ill just reach down and grab the heating coil in the over SEVERLY burning my hand, but then "snap" im back to the moment right before i open the oven, it actually never happened (me grabbing the heating coil in the oven), but there is no way to determine whether im dissociating or not. This leads me to question whether what im experiencing at any given moment is actually reality or another dissociation.
    inthepretendworldon January 21, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"Unknown Soldier"

    Border line,
    Dead inside.
    I don't mind,
    Falling to pieces.
    Count me in, violent
    Let's begin, feeding the sickness.
    How do I simplify,
    Dislocate - the enemy's on the way.

    Show me what it's like
    To dream in black and white,
    So I can leave this world tonight.

    Full of fear,
    Ever clear.
    I'll be here,
    Fighting forever.
    Curious,
    Venomous,
    You'll find me
    Climbing to heaven.
    Never mind,
    Turn back time.
    You'll be fine - I will get left behind.

    Show me what it's like
    To dream in black and white,
    So I can leave this world tonight.

    Holding on too tight.
    Breathe the breath of life,
    So I can leave this world behind.

    It only hurts just once.
    They're only broken bones.
    Hide the hate inside.

    Oh.

    So I can leave this world behind

    Show me what it's like
    To dream in black and white,
    So I can leave this world tonight.

    Holding on too tight.
    Breathe the breath of life,
    So I can leave this world behind.
    This song is about a war hero, who has fought for as long as he can remember. His whole world has been death, war, and killing. He is haunted by the things he has seen, his dreams are of people (his friends) and how some of them died, he wants to dream in black in white so the pain is dulled. He is so battle hardened, that he has forgotten how to not be a soldier, but he desperately wants to move on from the world of war that he lives in but is afraid that he can’t and thinks that he will be left behind. He also knows that he has done all he needs to do in combat and possibly in life, he thinks death would be better than having to live out his life the way it’s going.
    js143906on January 12, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIf you have Borderline Personality Disorder...

    you can relate to this song. Very, very, well.
    jebLueon January 25, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is a very powerful song. The lyrics allude to two themes- perception vs. reality and authenticity.

    Perception vs. reality---

    The first line says, "Borderline dead inside" I don't mind falling to pieces.

    He may be talking about the gap between people at war vs. civilian life; what politicians feed us and what really goes on, the media vs reality, ect. He doesn't mind falling to pieces because he knows the world is full of smoke and mirrors blinding us from an ultimate truth which few decide to face– soldiers or warriors.

    He then says, " count me in, violent, and feeding the sickness"
    - All of which might relate to him giving up on hope. War is the ultimate sickness, yet it is also part of reality and occurs on a daily basis- He has given up believing things will get better.

    The next part is super important because it's the main chorus of the song.

    Show me what it's like
    To dream in black and white,
    So I can leave this world tonight.

    - This is his plea to everyone fighting in war; the people who have chosen to face reality head on and live in the authentic world; hence show me what it's like to dream in black and white.
    Black and white refers to the cold facts about reality, war, and the truth behind lives lost. He is not fighting, but he desperately wants to feel the soldier’s pain- he wants to understand and feel the pain of facing and seeing death first hand. He wants a glimpse into their reality and humanity.

    full of fear
    everclear
    I'll be here
    fighting forever
    curious
    venomous
    you'll find me
    climbing to heaven
    nevermind
    turn back time
    you'll be fine
    I will be left behind

    The next part of the song talks about the reasons why this soldier has chose to face death. He is full of fear just like everyone else would be, yet he remains vigilant and strong because he wants his friends and family to be fine. He knows there is a chance nobody will remember his death because he'll be left behind, yet he chooses to fight. Ultimately, the soldier is at peace with himself because he has lived an honest and true life. He knows he will be climbing to heaven and is at peace with himself and decisions because he lived an authentic life.

    Holding on too tight.
    Breathe the breath of life,
    So I can leave this world behind.

    When the battle has arrived everyone is clinging to their lives. This would be a natural reaction to panic during battle and holding on tight to your life in uncertainty, yet the soldier must breath the breath of life and continue on no matter how scary reality is– all he can do is keep breathing and continue on. There are faces of sadness and happiness with his decision; on one hand he is free from his mind to leave this world behind, but it is tragically at the cost of life.



    It only hurts just once.
    They're only broken bones.
    Hide the hate inside.

    This is clearly about death. He recognizes it will be quick and will only have to deal with the pain once. He cleanses himself of all the hate because there is nothing left. He doesn't have time to waste hating because he has found some type of peace in his soul.

    The last new line is " holding on to time"

    This seems like an obvious plea to cherish what time we do have and make the best of it. Live life to the fullest and suck reality in.
    jrbmanguson September 14, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe first thing you hear in this song is a helicopter. This is a reference to a war zone. It doesn't matter where you are in a war zone, whether on the very front lines, or the back lines as a support person: If you are in the American Military, you will hear a helicopter. This sets the scene and makes clear what the song is about.

    The first word is Borderline. Now we are differentiating between a person who is support, way behind the front lines, vs. an actual combat arms type, whose entire existence is on the borderline between Friendly Lines and Enemy Lines. Support people can relate to aspects of this song, but its really about and for a direct action, front lines, combat arms person who has been there.

    The entire first verse explains the psychological adaptation of a Warfighter in combat. If you don't numb yourself, and you allow yourself to feel for that little girl and her dog dead on the side of the road, you will be distracted and not notice the guy popping out with an RPG - and you will die. Numbing yourself is a survival mechanism, reducing yourself to primal levels of decision making, silencing the higher order thought processes of questioning things. You have to psyche yourself up, amp up, get ready for combat, the enemy is on the way.

    This is not who you are. You are a human being that is capable of thought, questioning, pondering, etc. - but for now, you cannot be that. You must dislocate yourself from that, simplify things. This isn't optional. Your survival, and the survival of your brother's next to you depends on you doing this. "Count me in" - you better be ready to charge, close with and destroy the enemy, or you're all going to die.

    While this is a perfectly normal and useful response to a war zone environment, prolonged exposure to this makes this your new "normal," and you will not be a person who is properly adapted to a "normal" life back home. This is what PTSD is, and it's called a "sickness," so, by doing this in a war zone in combat, you are "feeding the sickness."

    The chorus makes me cry every time.

    Black and white is the absence of color. In black and white, there is no difference between blood and dirt. In black and white, hes not bleeding all over the place, its just mud. In black and white, there is no constant, nagging self-doubt asking, "Am I really doing the right thing? Even though that kid turned out NOT to have a grenade when he charged us, was I still justified in shooting him to death because I didn't know?" In black and white, seeing your friend in a dream could be just a field training exercise and he is taking a nap after some dirty work.

    In color, there is blood everywhere, and he is clearly not sleeping. In color, there is no denying the horror around you. Show me what it's like to dream in black and white so that, tonight, for just a little while, I can be somewhere that isn't altering the fabric of my being into something terrible.

    Also, black and white refers to old pictures and TV that used to not have color. Its a desire to see the world the way you used to, before you adapted to a war zone.

    The second verse I can see a couple ways, but for me, it is the problem of coming home. Physically, we are back. You can see us, we might get a job and go to work, say, "Hi" to you in the hallway. Everything looks good. But the song is called Unknown Soldier. You see us, and may take us at face value because we look normal. But we aren't. What we are is unknown and unknowable to you. Every soldier that has successfully adapted appropriately to a combat environment is unknowable to someone who hasn't. Whether they come home or not, to those who haven't been there, they are Unknown Soldiers.

    A civilian is fine, in their sheltered civilian never-seen-anything-bad-in-your-life rainbows and sunshine world where the worst thing likely to happen this week is someone will spoil the recent Game of Thrones episode when they talk about it at work. For us, we got left behind, and you will never understand what that means. Our "normal" got changed and who we were is left dead on the battlefield. Whether we physically survive combat or not, mentally and emotionally, life becomes climbing out of that hole. Trying to change our "normal" back from one that we needed to survive the battle field to one that doesn't freak out when a car back fires. One that doesn't have panic attacks over rock piles on the side of a road. But you don't get it, so never mind. You'll be fine, while I was left behind.

    The chorus then fits again - let me dream in black and white, which bleaches this horror out and lets me ignore the color. Let me dream in black and white, a memory of a time before I gained this perspective.

    I appreciate that everyone can hear their own meaning in songs, and like when artists leave things open for you to fill in. For those advancing the BPD position, I am glad you hear something you can identify with. I have no experience with BPD and so am having a lot of difficulty hearing this in the same way you are. I also don't understand how a helicopter intro relates to BPD or suicide or anything other than a war zone, but that may just be a failing of my imagination.
    Imryson May 26, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think its suppose to be violent, not violin. Could be wrong though.
    Torvalon July 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLOL yeah you're right. I meant to write violent, must have had something else going on in my head
    moesixon July 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's all good dude. It's hard to distinguish whether it is violent or violin, I just thought it was violent due to the context of the song.
    Torvalon July 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis songs appears to be about suicide. The lines

    "you'll find me
    climbing to heaven
    nevermind
    turn back time
    you'll be fine
    I will be left behind"

    make me believe that this person has lost someone recently and is so depressed they are going to take their own lives in hope to see their friend (or whoever died) in heaven, but then they fear they will be left behind (and sent to hell) for their actions.

    "show me what it's like
    to dream in black and white
    so I can leave this world tonight"

    The person wants everything to become simplified so he can take his life easier without any worries about his actions (fear of hell, possibly regret for leaving friends/family behind?)

    "It only hurts just once
    They're only broken bones
    Hide the hate inside"

    If he's going to jump off a building this is self-explanitory, also, sometimes if you hang yourself your neck breaks as well.

    This is what I got out of it anyway, what do I know ^_^ Sad song, but still good.
    Shennon July 26, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is absolutely amazing. bens voice is great in this one. one of their best ever in my opinion.
    tkzr440on August 08, 2006   Link

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