"He Used To Be A Lovely Boy" as written by Timothy James Rice-oxley, Tom Chaplin and Richard David Hughes....
Time to leave this town
Now your dreams have all let you down
No one here will miss you now
Time to wakeup and look around

Used to be a lovely boy
Lovely boy
Lovely boy
Used to be a lovely boy

Turn away and turn our heads
Just a hopeless dreamer she said
Eyes of cloud and feet of lead
Find a shore that needs you instead

Used to be a lovely boy
Lovely boy
Lovely boy
Used to be a lovely boy
Time on your hands
World at your feet
No adventure left incomplete

Da da da da da da da da da da da da da

Find aplace where you can hide
From the love that holds you inside
Time so unkind
Like an old friend leaves you behind.

Used to be a lovely boy
Lovely boy
Lovely boy
Used to be a lovely boy
Time on your hand


Lyrics submitted by Dance With Me Lois

"He Used to Be a Lovely Boy" as written by Timothy James Rice-oxley Richard David Hughes

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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He Used To Be A Lovely Boy song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentJust because I'm silly, I'm going to give my interpretation... regardless of how obvious it sounds.

    Since Tim is the one who writes all the lyrics, and Tom has had hardships this past year (thank goodness he's getting better!), I believe this song was written about Tom.

    "Time to leave this town
    Now your dreams have all let you down
    No one here will miss you now
    Time to wake up and look around"
    Meaning that it's time to leave wherever they're from, because they're not going to go anywhere there and all their dreams will fail. Maybe this is how Tim feels Tom felt (too many names!) and when he says, "No one here will miss you now/Time to wake up..." Tom maybe felt no one liked him enough in the first place, and by waking up and looking around, he was oblivious.

    "Turn away and turn a head
    Just a hopeless dreamer she said"
    When he turned away to do what he did, people turned to watch, as in, when he turned away from his life, people started to follow him. Of course, there was the lack of faith there, as some girl called him a hopeless dreamer.

    "Eyes of cloud and feet of lead
    Find a shore that needs you instead"
    Tom's view of the world while high, with cloudy eyes and heavy feet to find a place he fit better. By shore, maybe he means America?

    "Time on your hands
    World at your feet
    No adventure left incomplete"
    He has so much time, the world adores him and his music, and by 'adventure' I think he implies that there's no rock left unturned in Tom's world (by rock, I mean drugs?) and he does everything a rockstar is supposed to.

    "Find a place where you can hide
    From the love that holds you inside
    Time's so unkind
    Like an old friend leaves you behind"
    This is Tim's narrative, where he talks about how he adores Tom, but he's leaving him behind for this new lifestyle. "Time's so unkind" means that they all grow up too fast, and that it's not been a happy ride. He probably feels left behind by Tom's change in personality.

    The "He used to be a lovely boy" chorus is describing how Tom used to be before he fell into drugs.

    Just my interpretation, though. It sounded better in my head, I guess.
    Dance With Me Loison December 21, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is a song written from the heart of a nostalgic Zelda fan. It reflects the feeling identifiable by many of the former generation of gamers who experienced the transition from "A Link to the Past" and "Link's Awakening" (early-mid 1990s) to "Ocarina of Time" (late 1990s). It is written mostly with OoT as its backdrop. In it this sentimental Zelda fan longs for a simpler, more classic style. He lauds OoT while simultaneously acknowledging he himself has aged with the classic games and no longer fits in with the younger generation who embrace the new style. This is a nostalgic love story at its core.

    "Time to leave this town / Now your dreams have all let you down / No one here will miss you now / Time to wakeup and look around"

    A very appropriate nod to the opening of "Ocarina of Time", in which the main character Link--the "lovely boy" in our story--wakes up and looks around after a nightmare about another time and place. (He sees in the dream the enemy that, unbeknownst to him, he will have to eventually track down and slay.) "No one here will miss you now" speaks to his not being of the Kokiri race and his impending need to leave the village--something reinforced by some encounters he has with a bully and a conversation about destiny between him and the Great Deku Tree. Note also that the first word of this song is "time," a theme integral to many Zelda games.

    "Used to be a lovely boy / Lovely boy / Lovely boy / Used to be a lovely boy"

    Our chorus, in which we identify Link as representative of the Zelda franchise. Being always a non-speaking playable character, he evolves as the player evolves. This is the nostalgia of "lovely" times had playing the game in the classic style, epitomized in the character Link.

    "Turn away and turn our heads / Just a hopeless dreamer she said"

    Link, upon leaving Kokiri Forest, converses last with his childhood friend, Saria. He is turning away from the Kokiri life. "Turn our heads" may also be an obscure acknowledgement of the change from a flat (early 1990s) to three-dimensional (N64, so late 1990s) gaming experience, or even simply the ability for characters to now turn their heads in such an environment (as opposed to less fluid graphics in prior years). "Just a hopeless dreamer she said" is a knowingly inaccurate perspective attributed to Saria to express a personal and unsure feeling that the life of gaming was perhaps silly anyway.

    "Eyes of cloud and feet of lead"

    References to two separate and distinct aspects of OoT--(1) Link's eventual ascension of Death Mountain, the state of which can be determined from the clouds circling above it (this is also where Saria can be seen at the game's end with the other sages); and (2) the iron boots Link uses to sink to the bottom of lakes and other bodies of water during the game, an item first introduced in the Zelda series by OoT.

    "Find a shore that needs you instead"

    Water plays an important role in OoT, and this is no different. This may be a reference to Zora's Domain, a location frequented throughout the game and, perhaps most notably for this song, immediately before the time shift from child Link to adult Link. (Jabu-Jabu is the last dungeon before traveling through time.)

    "Used to be a lovely boy / Lovely boy / Lovely boy / Used to be a lovely boy / Time on your hands"

    The last part there is a reference to the Triforce on the back of Link's left hand, the mark of a hero.

    "World at your feet"

    A reference to Hyrule Field and the vast, three-dimensional world first introduced in OoT.

    "No adventure left incomplete"

    An obvious reference to the dungeon/adventure nature of Zelda games. There are always specific missions that must be completed in order to progress through the game.

    "Find a place where you can hide / From the love that holds you inside"

    Link is the reluctant and humble hero. The dual meaning refers to the player himself (or herself of course) and the desire to grow up and move away from Zelda and other games while still feeling the nostalgia and the draw back to it.

    "Time so unkind / Like an old friend leaves you behind."

    Link comes into adulthood through time travel and discovers his childhood friend Saria has not aged at all. He leaves her behind in age, and she leaves him behind by moving on with her life to be a Sage. It's a kind of symbolic waltz between the two characters.

    "Time on your hand"

    An appropriate finishing line. Time is the central theme of the game, the Triforce rests on Link's hand, and the player feels some final nostalgia for a time when he had more time to spare--youth and the free-spirited nature of it all. The notes sung for this line also end inconclusively, as though there is no real solution to the problem of longing for the classic style and simpler times.
    tyler10491on January 10, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHmmm, I personally like to apply most songs to a broader scope... Tim is very talented in that way. He can write songs that are so specific and yet broad enough to apply to many situations.

    I think it's about a love based relationship that failed. It's urging this guy to move on and let go of his old life... "time to wake up and look around." It's about clinging onto the past and a hopeless relationship. "He used to be a lovely boy" before... things went badly... She perhaps though he was just a hopeless dreamer and gave up on him. "Find a place where you can hide from the love that holds you inside... time's so unkind" meaning it's time to put away those feelings... though it may take a long time.

    I love the line "Time on your hands, world at your feet... no adventure left incomplete." -Lovelllly song
    oddone460on February 23, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSuch a beautiful song. :c
    Dance With Me Loison August 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAgreed. Keane's most underated song.should of been on the album along with Let it Slide.
    tombozon December 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI would have LOVED to see this on the album! It's about 48375938292x better than "Put It Behind You," which is the only Keane song I just cannot stand.
    Dance With Me Loison December 20, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentim thinking shores just means dockhand
    phs1234on March 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentim thinking shores just means dockhand
    phs1234on March 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment@Dance With Me Lois: I like a lot your interpretation of that song. Seems very convincing to me. :)
    aLongDecemberon August 02, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSuch a beautiful song, i just can't stop listening
    innuendo14on May 18, 2011   Link

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