"Where Have You Been" as written by and Andy Hull....
They call holidays an option for a reason
I heard you're comin' back to life just for the fourth
I've been catchin' all your ghosts for every season
I pray to God that you won't come back here anymore
Do you pray with him too?

They should deliver all my blessings
In small brown paper handbags near the porch
I wished I'd known that you were bleeding
While I sat and watched you reading with the Lord
I read with him, too

When you look at me
I'll be digesting your legs
'Cause I can hardly see what's in front of me
These days and those days too

I've got to take what I'm makin'
And turn it into somethin'
I've got to take what I'm makin'
And turn it into somethin' for you

I've got to break what I'm makin'
And turn it into nothin'
I've got to break what I'm making
And turn it into nothin' for you

When you look at me
I'll be digesting your legs
'Cause I can hardly see, what's in front of me
These days and those days too

God, where have you been?
God, where have you been?
God, where have you been?
God, where have you been?

God, oh God, where have you been?
God, my God, my God
Where have you been?
God, where have you been?
God, God, where have you been?


Lyrics submitted by PunkRocks64, edited by suckmyclit

"Where Have You Been?" as written by Andy Hull

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Where Have You Been song meanings
Add your thoughts

68 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +4
    General CommentThe lyrics on this one change all the time. Here's a combo of some live versions, the studio, and acoustic performances of the song. Make what you will of it:

    ** [studio version] **

    They call holidays an option for a reason
    And I heard you're coming back to life just for the Fourth
    Well, I've been catching all your ghosts for every season
    And I pray to God you won't come back here anymore
    Do you pray with Him too?

    Well, they should deliver all my blessings
    In small, brown, paper handbags near the porch
    Oh, I wished I'd known that you were bleeding
    While I sat and watched you reading with the Lord
    You know, I read with Him too

    'cause when you look at me I'll be digesting your legs
    'cause I can hardly see what's in front of me
    These days, and those days too

    I've got to take what I'm making
    And turn it into something
    I've got to take what I'm making
    And turn it into something for you

    I've got to break what I'm making
    And turn it into nothing
    I've got to break what I'm making
    And turn it into nothing for you

    'cause when you look at me I'll be digesting your legs
    'cause I can hardly see what's in front of me
    These days, and those days too

    If they call holidays an option, it's pretentious
    So I'll deliver all my presents for the Christians
    With those lions a'comin', oh, they're comin'
    Those lions a'comin', oh, they're comin'

    ** [studio version] **



    ** [Coachella Festival 04/27/2008] **

    And this is the price I pay
    I'm not ashamed of the guns I'll take to push You away
    This is the fashion-conscience religion about You
    And this is the price I pay
    I'm not ashamed of the guns it takes to push You away
    This is the fashion of conscience, religion

    Oh God, it's true

    This is the price I pay
    I'm not ashamed of the guns it'll take to push You away
    This is the fashion-conscience religion, or is it true?
    This is the price I pay
    I'm not ashamed of the guns it'll take to push You away
    This is the fashion-conscience religion

    Oh God it's...

    This is the price I pay
    I'm not ashamed of the guns it'll take to push You away
    This is the fashion-conscience religion
    This is the price I pay
    I'm not ashamed of the guns it'll take to push You away
    This is the fashion-conscience religion

    Oh God, it's true

    ** [Coachella Festival 04/27/2008] **



    ** [The END 11/09/2007] **

    God, where have You been?
    God, my God, where have You been?
    And God, where have You been?
    And God, God, my God, where have You been?
    And God, my God, where have You been?
    And God, my God, my God, where exactly have You been?

    Child, my child, where have you been?

    And God, my God, my God, where exactly have we been?

    ** [The END 11/09/2007] **



    ** [House of Bricks 12/02/2008] **

    And I woke alone for an hour or so
    'til you began to fill the room with Your Holy Ghost
    Just because I did not see the man that I was being
    It doesn't mean I won't ever see You

    I don't mind if you arrive soon
    I wouldn't mind hearing from you
    'cause I sit nights, wondering bedside
    Not sad, or even happy, just kind of mixed up

    And I hope that you still love me
    The way I love you
    And I hope that you still need me
    The way I murdered you
    And I hope that you still eat me
    The way I ate you
    'cause in the end we're just dogs
    Through and through

    'cause in this moment I am alive again
    And now I need You all the time
    'cause in the moment I was finally alive again

    ** [House of Bricks 12/02/2008] **
    SephNiteon January 29, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAfter seeing them live tonight and hearing this song played (as well as speaking with Andy on the subject after the show), I can guarantee you that it is not "joy" but is "God."

    And when playing the song live, he occasionally interchanges "Child" and "Father, Son, and Holy Ghost" with "God." The lyric "child" instead of "God" was brought to his attention by his mother.

    He explained the meaning of this to me, saying that while many people in life have asked "God, where have you been?" at the same time God is perhaps saying "Child, where have you been?"
    PunkRocks64on January 09, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentOh my god this song just makes me melt. Andy Hull has such a wonderful voice.
    "God, my god, my god, where have you been?"
    I think it's the third to last time he repeats those words, he just says it with so much passion I almost cry.
    ComicalBirdon April 16, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYeah, like all of you guys I saw them with brand new, and to be honest...they were better. I was so impressed by this band and this song. I think it's a really interesting take on the search for God, saying that he is really searching for us and waiting in a sense.
    FlysoloFlysohighon April 09, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI had never really heard of them before i went to this brand new concert yesterday and i can honestly say it was one of the most amazing things i've ever seen.

    Jesse from brand new came out and sang with them, and at the end when he yells "God, My god, where have you been" he got off the mic and walked up to the front of the stage and just started yelling it over and over, everyone stopped, his voice went right to your bone.

    It was the most chilling experience. and the best live performance i've ever seen.
    JT1212on April 22, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentand, i'm pretty sure it's "God" not "joy" the song wouldn't really make sense if it were "joy"
    Calligatoron September 20, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHas no one watched the documentary on the band, "What's Left Behind?"? Its amazing and everyone should watch it, but in it he explains that he envisioned the song to end with a shouting match between the character and god, which is why he changes the lyrics from "god" to "child" and so forth.
    admirableintenton April 09, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI don't know if anyone has actually touched on this yet, and I thought I could actually help you guys out on at least part of it. In Manchester Orchestra's DVD, Andy Hull talks about this song.

    From what I remember, since I can't remember everything that he said, at the end of the song when he's saying "God, where have you been?" He is talking about the question of people asking where God has been. It's basically that simple, haha.

    He talks about at that part where people always are expecting God to show up, where in turn in this song, he also takes the view of God asking us, where we have been.

    It's all in the DVD I swear to you, so if you really want the answers to the meanings of this song check it out. It's the "Let My Pride Be What's Left Behind" CD. And the DVD is titled "What's Left Behind".
    patrickt836on June 24, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation"They call holidays an option for a reason
    I heard you're comin' back to life just for the fourth
    I've been catchin' all your ghosts for every season
    I pray to God that you won't come back here anymore
    Do you pray with him too?"

    He has an ex lover who once lived with him in a small town. She moved away long ago and may possibly be returning for the holidays to visit family. He's been tormented by loneliness, recalling all the times they shared together and has developed a love/hate for her. He hates that she left him but misses her at the same time. He prays that she won't return to see him as he hasn't achieved anything with his life since she left. He wonders if she hates the town she once lived in and doesn't want to see him or her old life again.

    "They should deliver all my blessings
    In small brown paper handbags near the porch
    I wished I'd known that you were bleeding
    While I sat and watched you reading with the Lord
    I read with him, too"

    He would send her mail (gifts, letters, money) as a blessing (she married someone else, has a child?), but she would post them back to him. She doesn't want anything from him anymore. During the time they were together she was suffering (depression, wanting to escape, dissatisfied with her life) and would turn to religion for comfort. He wants her to know that he also had problems he was struggling to deal with.

    "When you look at me
    I'll be digesting your legs
    'Cause I can hardly see what's in front of me
    These days and those days too"

    He can only think about how attractive she and how much he wants to be with her but he is unable to think about being a good partner, developing a stable career, becoming a husband and provider. His life at the small town is just a blur of uneventful days with no ambitious plans of escape.

    "I've got to take what I'm makin'
    And turn it into somethin'
    I've got to take what I'm makin'
    And turn it into somethin' for you

    I've got to break what I'm makin'
    And turn it into nothin'
    I've got to break what I'm making
    And turn it into nothin' for you"

    He's trying to make something of himself and be able to provide for her but he keeps failing and hates that he has to play the role of the provider. He starts to resent her and grows angry over the idea of working hard and become financially successful just to keep her. He breaks everything he works hard for, possibly wasting his money on drugs and alcohol and has nothing left to give her.

    "God, where have you been?"
    She broke up with him, moved out of town, did something with her life and moved on. As he sings this line his emotions alternate between being sad and pitiable to being angry. He stayed in town, his life didn't progress and he spent the last few years missing and hating her.
    DamonSon March 23, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Commentclearly its not god, its:

    joy, where have you been?
    makeamesslikeaceon December 28, 2006   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