"Parentheses" as written by and Mikhaela Maricich Jonathan Warren Bechtolt....
Some philosophies fuel the belief in the self
Constructed to keep one's goods on one's own shelf
Built well, you're a strong letter I
With your feet on the ground and your head to the sky
Now and then you can bend
It's okay to lean over, lean over my way
You fear that you can't do it all
And you're right
Even day takes relief every day
from its work making light from the night

And when you're holding me
We make a pair of parentheses
There's plenty space to encase
Whatever weird way my mind goes
I know I'll be safe in these arms

When you're holding me
We make a pair of parentheses
There's plenty space to encase
Whatever weird way my mind goes
I know I'll be safe in these arms

If something in the deli aisle makes you cry
Of course I'll put my arm around you
And I'll walk you outside
Through the sliding doors
Why would I mind?

If something in the deli aisle makes you cry
Of course I'll put my arm around you
And I'll walk you outside
Through the sliding doors
Why would I mind?

You're not a baby if you feel the world
All of the babies they can feel the world
That's why they cry

And when you're holding me
We make a pair of parentheses
There's plenty space to encase
Whatever weird way my mind goes
I know I'll be safe in these arms

When you're holding me
We make a pair of parentheses
There's plenty space to encase
Whatever weird way my mind goes
I know I'll be safe in these arms

If something in the deli aisle makes you cry
Of course I'll put my arm around you
And I'll walk you outside
Through the sliding doors
Why would I mind?

All of the babies they can feel the world
That's why they cry

And when you're holding me
We make a pair of parentheses
There's plenty space to encase
Whatever weird way my mind goes
I know I'll be safe in these arms

When you're holding me
We make a pair of parentheses
There's plenty space to encase
Whatever weird way my mind goes
I know I'll be safe in these arms


Lyrics submitted by fancyashley

"Parentheses" as written by Mikhaela Maricich Jonathan Warren Bechtolt

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Peermusic Publishing

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Parentheses song meanings
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23 Comments

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  • +2
    General Commenti love this song! i think she's trying to convince the person she's having a relationship with, who's this strong, macho type, that it's okay to be sensitive in front of her. i like how she uses 'parentheses' to describe their relationship. like two "I"'s that bend toward each other, in between is this space they share, for their eyes only.
    playgroundloveon December 14, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree that the song is about her speaking to a gy who thinks he needs to be strong and she is saying that he can be sensetive. The deli aisle thing my friend told me. She said it's about the meat and it makes him sad and basically she says he can cry about it but it's worded as he is crying.

    This is one of my favorite songs.
    LaTeDaon May 30, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's beautiful.

    But I don't get the deli aisle thing...still. Like, he's vegan? Or something? And seeing dead animals makes him sad?
    rainingpaperlilieson June 07, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commenthaha, rainingpaperlilies.

    "hes vegan?"
    i dont get it either, but that was a great/funny guess.

    this song is so cute.
    awkwardgirlon June 14, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMaybe the "deli isle" quote is a cute reference to the first couple of lines. She's saying that most belief systems teach you to keep everything to yourself ("keep one's goods on one's own shelf"), but if there's something on your shelf ("in the deli isle"--maybe even referring to machismo and meat) that you need to let out (get off the shelf), then it's OK--she'll help you do it.
    hardpackon June 18, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI kind of thought the deli aisle thing was more metaphorical, as in, it's ok even to cry about the simple small things that may get to you. Not a strict reference to an opposition to meat.
    sj_sandson July 08, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOn the deli aisle bit: I agree with sj_sands, it's more metaphorical than anything. And I think it ties in with her use of "baby" - seriously, who hasn't seen a kid burst into tears at the store? She's saying it's ok if he needs to let out emotion (even at the most ordinary times, like kids do) That's why she says "You're not a baby if you feel the world. All of the babies can feel the world. That's why they cry." I took it as another reference to him being a bit closed off from the world, and her telling him it's ok to be more emotive and such, not to be so... stoic perhpas? Hm, hope that makes sense.
    umyeson July 25, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song can be viewed as the separation and consolidation of mind and body. The first verse is about newage/buddhist/existentialist view of the I, the self.. meaning the mind. It even has a vague reference to yoga, "with the feet on the ground and the head to the sky".
    In the chorus, the lyrics go on to talk about this parentheses, but although you get a sense of two people, you also get a sense that there is only one person: "There's plenty space to encase whatever weird way my mind goes." Kind of like, her mind and her body. Where her mind goes is within the parentheses and does not exist in the physical world. The physical arms are the parentheses that cradle this person, baby, or herself, with understanding and compassion.

    Crying in a deli isle is not macho at all.. A very emotional person would cry at whatever they experience there. In this song it is very sweet and unconditional with the "of course i'll wrap my arms around you and walk you outside" (in the above lyrics it says 'you know' instead of 'of course'), and again the arms cradle with understanding only the more physical, neutral part of the self could provide.
    satyrnon August 03, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is about a girl. I think the deli aisle comment isn't about anything specific. It's like "if anything ever just overwelms you, regardless of how simple, you can count on me to help you through it." My favorite part is the "why would i mind?". In this made up scenario, it implies the girl in question asks "You don't mind?" Something about that i really like.
    SomeOldFashionWayon September 03, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentit is about a girl.

    MJ: Another beautifully sad lyric on that record is the one that goes, “If something in the deli aisle makes you cry…”

    KM: What’s funny is that I made that up in my head around you.

    MJ: Really?

    KM: Yeah, we were in the Whole Foods, when I was visiting you in Portland one time, and I was staring at the overwhelming mass of all the food, kind of personal but really so impersonal. I had that really overwhelmed feeling; just wanting someone to come up and see that, and see me, and see that they should walk me outside.

    MJ: Right, but I guess I didn’t walk you outside, did I? That’s not the punch line: you were waiting and then I walked you out? You probably didn’t even tell me.

    KM: I don’t think I would have taken the risk to expect that from you at that point. I think my eyes were a little watery, and I was like, “Do you ever want someone to walk you out the door? Just put their arm around you and walk you out?”

    MJ: I was probably like, “Get it together, Khaela!”

    KM: You were just like, “We need food.”

    MJ: That’s so funny, because I’ve imagined those two women in the deli aisle. So just say the lyrics so we have it.

    KM: [in a normal speaking voice] If there’s something in the deli aisle that makes you cry / You know I’ll put my arm around you and walk you outside / through the sliding doors / Why would I mind?

    MJ: OK, but you sing it much less flip. I love the “why would I mind?” part. It implies that someone else is saying “Do you mind doing this for me? Is this OK?” That’s the part that breaks my heart, because it’s very female to feel like that’s too much to ask.

    KM: Yeah, yeah, totally.

    MJ: Even in your fantasies there’s an implicit apology. That’s the extra part that you probably don’t even think about, I’m guessing. I don’t, when I’m writing. When people ask me, “Is there a female point of view in your work?” I’m always like, I don’t know. I’m just me, and am I even human? But when I heard that line, I was like, Oh, no guy would have that fantasy of someone saying, “Why would I mind?”

    KM: It seems like a lot to ask.

    MJ: Yeah, it’s so much to ask! [Both laugh]
    mockingsmileon September 18, 2007   Link

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