"Nothing Without You" as written by and Vienna Teng....
It's the quiet night that breaks me. I cannot stand the sight of this familiar place. it's the quiet night that breaks me, like a dozen papercuts that only I can trace. all my books are lying useless now. all my maps will only show me how to lose my way. oh call my name. you know my name. and in that sound, everything will change. tell me it won't always be this hard. I am nothing without you, but I don't know who you are. it's the crowded room that breaks me: everybody looks so luminous, and strangely young. it's the crowded room that's never heard. no one here can say a word of my native tongue. I can't be among them anymore. I fold myself away before it burns me numb. oh call my name. you know my name. and in your love, everything will change. tell me it won't always be this hard. I am nothing without you, but I don't know who you are.



Lyrics submitted by delial

"Nothing Without You" as written by Vienna Teng

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Nothing Without You song meanings
Add your thoughts

9 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +1
    General CommentI'm pretty sure this song is just what someone goes through in a new place, being alone. When you transition, when you move out, when you feel utterly alone, it doesn't matter whether you're in a deserted apartment or a crowded room. You can't hide from the lonliness.
    Very poignant.
    LoveLarkon September 18, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHow foolish I could be at first to think this was another song being lovesick. Indeed this is a song about loneliness, but there's another dimension to it.

    "it's the crowded room that's never heard
    no one here can say a word of my native tongue"

    This is no normal crowd; it's a crowd of strangers speaking a different language. The song is about the feelings of loneliness an immigrant has after relocating to a foreign country.

    "it's the quiet night that breaks me
    I cannot stand the sight of this familiar place
    it's the quiet night that breaks me
    like a dozen papercuts that only I can trace"

    Describing the anguish of getting nowhere and being lonely.

    "all my books are lying useless now
    all my maps will only show me how to lose my way"

    All the things the immigrant has learned in the past is of little use in this foreign land. The only familiar direction is back, but that would be counterproductive to all that the immigrant has gone through to get here.

    "it's the crowded room that breaks me:
    everybody looks so luminous and strangely young"

    Describing the unfamiliar appearance of the people in this new place. From the perspective of a foreigner arriving on Western soil, this could refer to the fashions and cosmetics that enhance people's appearances.

    "it's the crowded room that's never heard
    no one here can say a word of my native tongue
    I can't be among them anymore
    I fold myself away before it burns me numb"

    The last two lines refers to the difficulty of adjusting to a new culture and learning to "fit in."

    "oh, call my name - you know my name
    and, in your love, everything will change
    tell me it won't always be this hard
    I am nothing without you
    but I don't know who you are"

    Describes the longing to hear a familiar call -- to recognize a person who recognizes him/her. The immigrant feels hopeless without someone familiar, someone who could offer comfort against the difficulty and uncertainty of the future.

    -Though I'm not an immigrant myself, both my parents are immigrants. And indeed, as I've seen in father, the lack of friends and family during a difficult transition can be very unsettling. The feeling of being alone in the world is not something you want to experience. The way Vienna has captured the aura of such a trying time in one's life in a song is truly remarkable. Very poignant indeed.
    Frznfyeron October 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI find this song hauntingly sad and incredibly beautiful at the same time.

    As a huge fan of Vienna's it saddens me because I think it was written perhaps at a very sad time or moments for her.
    I see it as autobiographical, though she says she does not write about herself. I think it is about seeking true personal identity. In her case...it is two fold...professional name and the Asian / American dichotomy, and surroundings of fame and loneliness among people who for the most part can not even relate in the language of her parents...

    "it's the crowded room that's never heard
    no one here can say a word of my native tongue
    I can't be among them anymore
    I fold myself away before it burns me numb"

    and then there is the private person, the alter Vienna...who in a different way is equally lonely and seeks the comfort of true identity and love and...

    "oh, call my name - you know my name
    and, in your love, everything will change
    tell me it won't always be this hard
    I am nothing without you
    but I don't know who you are"


    In both cases ...she is nothing without her respective identity...the private person of her birth name and the professional stage persona of Vienna Teng, but is torn in trying to reconcile the two while trying to discover...

    I am nothing without you
    but I don't know who you are"

    The song makes me sad becuause I sense a deep loneliness despite being so adored publically and so rich of person privately. I can only hope that if I am anywhere near the true meaning of this song for Vienna, that these feelings are reconciled and true identity and happiness find her.

    Steve
    sod2002on January 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this deeply moving, beautiful, melancholic song. I think it's a highly personal. Vienna doesn't always write from others persepectives.

    This song is about the utter lonliness of the human condition, the artistic process, the pursuit of a career as a touring artist, the tension between private and public personae, the tension between life at home and on the road.

    It's about not ever truly knowing or connecting with the people who populate ones world whether they be adoring fans, who make a career and a living possible or an intimate partner who gives life meaning and makes love possible. Both are at the core of ones existence. Both have a strong pull but there's a deep disconnect on some level as as well as a tension between the two worlds.
    Auntchovion January 31, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"This one is vaguely about my being a Chinese-American, and the strange process of assimilation that's both abandonment and progress."

    vienna's words on another song i found in her songscraps from her old web page. It's called "In my arrival"
    Tachikomason August 20, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"This one is vaguely about my being a Chinese-American, and the strange process of assimilation that's both abandonment and progress."

    vienna's words on another song i found in her songscraps from her old web page. It's called "In my arrival"
    Tachikomason August 20, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPersonally, I'm not so sure that the "No one here can speak a word of my native tongue" should be taken entirely literally. To me, it comes across more as that feeling when you're surrounded by people, but feel so different from them, you just don't feel like you have any way to connect with them, that "alone in a crowd" feeling.

    It's a bit of a stretch, I suppose, and probably more cliche of an interpretation than Vienna deserves, but I can't help but see it as looking for that one person meant for you, that one person who's everything you need, not knowing how to go on without finding them to lean on. Feeling that they have to be out there, somewhere, but not knowing where.
    RaidenKitsuneon January 15, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAs I listen to Vienna Teng's songs and this one comes up, the piano at the beginning is one of the most soothing sounds I can come by. When I'm stressed I can literally feel my body relax at the sweet, sat chords of the piano.
    dreamer16322on August 07, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"I am nothing without you, but I don't know who you are"...always struck me as being about the person she's supposed to be with, who she hasn't yet met. Beautiful song though, I listen and have to pause whatever I'm doing. Gives a kind of numbing, stuck feeling, if that makes sense.
    gnugenton September 21, 2011   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain