"Believe" as written by Angelo Badalamenti and Timothy Booth....
The faces all around me they don't smile they just crack
Waiting for our ship to come but our ships not coming back
We do have time like pennies in a jar
What are we saving for?
What are we saving for?

There's a smell of stale feeling that's drinking from my skins
The drinking never stops because the drink off all our sins
We sit and throw our roots into the floor
What are we waiting for?
What are we waiting for?

So give me something to believe
'Cause I am living just to breathe
And I need something more
To keep on breathing for
So give me something to believe

Something's always coming you can hear it in the ground
It swells into the air with the rising, rising sound
And never comes but shakes the boards and rattles all the doors
What are we waiting for?
What are we waiting for?

So give me something to believe
'Cause I am living just to breathe
And I need something more
To keep on breathing for
So give me something to believe

I am hiding from some beast
But the beast was always here
Watching without eyes
Because the beast is just my fear
That I am just nothing
Now it's just what I've become
What am I waiting for?
Its already done

Oh

So give me something to believe
'Cause I am living just to breathe
And I need something more
To keep on breathing for
So give me something to believe

And I need something more
To keep on breathing for
So give me something to believe


Lyrics submitted by xylina13d, edited by moeburn, Vyla

"Believe" as written by Samuel Bingham Endicott

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Believe song meanings
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  • +1
    General Comment^ OMG if i hear one more thing about stupid frickin TWILIGHT i'm gonna scream......

    i think its about a man who has given up on everything. including the little things in life like the people all around him. i think the beast he's talking about is the beast inside of him. the fearful and destructive part of him that wants to end his life. so he wants to hold on to what little hope he has and find something that is worth living for, before the beast consumes him. inevitable its too late and he cant find anything to keep him going, so 'its already done'
    trustisgoneon August 17, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is about Lord of The Flies.
    yes, it could be about goverment and the world and the challenges we face everyday but then again this song has many similarites with LOTF.

    When I first heard this song and really heard the lyrics I noticed it sounded like the LOTF anthem.

    The song mentions the beast watching over them, just like the imagined beast in the book.
    And it also mentions about a ship not coming for them, which happened in the book.
    Also, the boys on the island have to believe they will be rescued and all though its hard to breathe and focus they have to get a way back to their home.

    So, this song could be about real life truth and etc but then again this song could be based on LOTF, because its an inspirational book.
    SamtheLittleSparrowon January 15, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentQuackers and sullivanm55 have got it the closest, thogh Sullivan's specific lyric interpretations are way off.

    "its already done" is NOT an allusion to suicide, and the song never gives any indication whatsoever that the singer is contemplating suicide (there is a reason for this).

    Further, although ideas like the search for meaning and purpose inevitably meld into questions of religion, there is also nothing remotely religiously explilcit in the lyrics.


    This song is a fair bit simpler - and a fair bit more depressing - than any of you realize.


    This song is about the human condition. Quackers sums it up reasonably well:

    "i think this song is just about how we're all trying to make a difference in the world yet few of us do. and how you're waiting for something amazing to happen, for that life changing moment to come around the corner, but it never does, and you're starting to loose hope."

    But it's even less dramatic than that. The singer does not imply that he is looking to make a difference in the world, or that they are waiting for a major moment; his hopes are much humbler than that. All he is hoping for is for life to be something other than a linear collection of valueless instants. He just wants thet "one thing" that makes it even mildly worth going through the effort. It doesn't have to be saving the world, or finding a state oif being that fills him with joy. He's not asking for much - he just wants that one single little thing - that one cause, helper, responsibility, to give him something to keep putting one foot in front of the other for.

    As Sullivan says:

    "someone who has seen past everyday life. One who knows there is no point to the very routine life we live"

    He goes very wrongly after that though by suggesting its the state of modern society which the singer has a hard time with. I expect the singer would have similar difficulties at any point in human history. It's the human condition - the state of living itself - with which he has problems.


    I said before that there is a reason that the singer never gives any indication of suicidal tendencies, or of anything else so dramatic (in my opinion, doing so would have been greatly to the song's detriment). The reason is this: the singer is describing a state of mind in which living is a fruitless endeavor. And he is in a worse position than most for seeing it.


    The lyrics:

    "The faces all around me, they don't smile they just crack."

    Manufactured pleasantness. We all see it every day, unless you are completely oblivious. How many hours per day do you spend being pleasant to people you have no attachment of any kind with whatsoever - who you are going to forget the moment they leave your sight? Very first line of the song and he's already called attention to the fact that you spend nearly a third of your life suppressing your identity - putting forth a false, crafted image - an image of someone else entirely - just because that's... what we have to do. You will only live 1/3 of the generally accepted length of your life. Obviously, you are asleep for one third, but for the other third, you are drifting around inside your own head, passing the time, while the proxy you does what it needs to do to keep food in your mouth.

    "Waiting for our ship to come, but our ship's not coming back."

    As Quackers suggested: we spend a huge portion of our lives just hoping things'll turn around. The further implication is that we use this hope to justify not taking matters into our own hands; there is a fictional salvation coming, always just around the corner, and all we have to do is just barely get by until it gets here.

    We do our time like pennies in a jar
    What are we saving for?

    Reiteration of the above: most of the time, we're just passing it. Why? Is THAT the point, after all?


    "There's a smell of stale fear that's reeking from our skin.
    The drinking never stops because the drink absolves our sin.
    We sit and grow our roots into the floor
    What are we waiting for"

    What this paragraph means to highlight is how simply waiting for our 'ship' to come in is worse than it seems. It's not just that we're not actively moving towards a better life - passing the time continually roots us further into our current life.

    We forget more and more of what we learned in school. We get more and more tired, and the prospect of going back for further education, or putting in the huge amount of work that would be required to drastically change our position in life becomes more and more intimidating. The longer we 'get by' in a given sitiuation, the more readily we can convince ourselves that we've got enough to live comfortably, and taking any sort of risk to change our position becomes more and more unnerving.

    We become afraid of taking any steps to effect the change that we've originally desired, because we're terrified of losing the little that we currently have. Obviously, many have turned to drink in similar situations - that one ain't hard to get.


    "so give me something to believe
    cause I am living just to breath
    and i need something more
    to keep on breathing for
    so give me something to believe"

    The crux of it all, and the chorus for that reason. This paragraph explains why he is singing this song.

    "So give me something to believe"

    Something. Anything. Just that one thing that will make his life more than a simple succession of days. Something that will persist past one sleep/wake cycle. Something more than getting through that day on the job without getting fired. A greater victory than getting through the month with no disasterous medical expenses, or the car breaking down.

    "Cause I am living just to breath"

    Cause at the moment, all he has is the next breath. The only reason to draw it is to get to the one after it.

    "and I need something more"

    The breathing itself just ain't enough.

    "to keep on breathing for"

    see?



    "somethings always coming you can hear it in the ground
    it swells into the air
    with the rising, rising sound
    and never comes but shakes the boards and rattles all the doors"

    There's two things this paragraph could refer to, both equally relevant. If he meant for it to refer to both, he is simply a genius.

    1.) We've moved beyond the ship metaphor, but this something is the same thing as the ship. His point with "you can hear it in the ground" is that we're very good at convincing ourselves that it's on the way - that we can 'see it just on the horizon,' so to speak. "Swell"ing into the air, and the "rising sound" are further manifestations of the ship - we can see, feel, and hear it - it's just always right there - a week, amybe a month away. If we can just get through the next day, and a few more after that... But it "never comes," though the shaking boards and rattling doors tell us its oh-so-close!

    2.) Alternatively (and I would lean towards this, as the 'ship' has already been addressed), the something could be the disaster that will knock him from his place of bare subsistance. The incident that will force him to change his path, since in his current state of drastic underachievement he doesn't have very many resources to deal with disaster. This distructive event is always just on the horizon as well. and he continually narrowly avoids it (or he wouldn't be here singing this), but he can't help but feel, at all times, that he's just one bit of bad luck away from everything falling apart. Shaking the boards and rattling the doors concurs images that go very well in line with this.

    (The possiblity that part of him is hoping for this disasterous thing to happen should be noted. He is so dissatisfied with his current state, that perhaps being knocked onto ANY other course would be more desirable than remaining "rooted" where he is.)



    "I am hiding from some beast
    but the beast was always here
    watching without eyes
    because the beast is just my fear
    That I am just nothing
    now its just what I've become
    what am i waiting for
    its already done"

    My least favorite verse. He didn't need to tell us the beast was his fear - there was enough there to figure it out.

    The point here is, as I mentioned before, his own fear of things falling apart has become the force that is holding him in place. He wants nothing more in the world than to find some other state of being that he can live with, but HE is the one preventing him from making that discovery. And he's proven to himself again and again that there's not a damned thing he can do about it by now; if he hasn't made a move and shaken things up by now, there's clearly nothing short of something directly forcing his hand (that this that shakes the boards and rattles the doors) that will cause him to.

    "I am hiding from some beast but the beast was always here"

    Acknowledgement of the paradox described above: The beast is what is causing him to hide, but wherever he hides, there is the beast.


    "the beast is just my fear that I am nothing. Now it's just what I've become."

    Although he was finally able to get out his thoughts, he realizes that it's already too late. He's the victim of his own self-fulfilling prophecy: his fear of his life becoming valueless has played a major role in causing it to become so. He is acknowledging that fearing that conlusion is a waste of time at this point, because he's already arrived at that end.



    Now, despite the fact that he just seems to directly admit that his hopes no longer have any shot of being fulfilled, he ends the song with the chorus - one last request for that one thing. Perhaps this is simply because ending on the chorus worked, musically, for this particular song, but perhaps not. No way to know except straight from the horse's mouth, I suppose. But I'll suggest two other possibilities:

    1.) Despite telling even himself that it's over, hope springs eternal, and he still has, somewhere, some tiny bit of fight left in him. He'll keep on looking for that one thing to believe in until he's got no means left of finding it.

    2.) Despite his stark honestly with himself, and his ability to eloquently express the speicifcs of the situation that the rest of us don't even realize we are in, he's still no farther along than us. At the end of the day, he can tell himself all he wants that something's got to change, but he's living proof that none of us - not a one - can transcend this human condition. That we're all just...

    "Waiting for our ship to come. But our ship's not coming back."
    Samikon July 15, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song is about the very concept of religion corrupting and destroying people
    the first three verses are about how religion convinces people that the only reason for life is to reach the afterlife, so people live their lives waiting for a 'ship thats not comming back'
    the song is told from the point of view of a non-believer who thinks that life has no point.

    the final verse is the most important. the evil that religion speaks of is the very act of worrying about the afterlife. the most optimistic line of the song is 'now I am just nothing, now thats just what ive become'. by spending your life worrying and searching for something to believe and make you feel better about your life, you take the meaning out of life. the line implies that life HAS meaning to begin with.
    the song suggests that living just to breathe is all the meaning one needs
    seems optimistic enough for me
    tad227on May 05, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti personally like to listen to lyrics and find my own meanings that relate to me in my life. this is how i feel about it.

    "The faces all around me they don't smile they just crack"
    i feel like ive been hurt one two many times and u cant trust people and their intentions anymore
    "Waiting for our ship to come but our ships not coming back"
    waiting for my ship to come to carry me back on naive-ly like i did before i got hurt. but its never coming back. whats done is done.

    "We do our time like pennies in a jar
    What are we saving for"
    now once we are hurt we hold ourselves back scared to put ourselves out there again. but what are u saving for?

    "There's a smell of stale fear that's reeking from our skins."
    scared to death of how we are wronged we cant operate without it controling out lives...
    "The drinking never stops because the drinks absolve our sins"
    i personally slightly resolved to drinking to fill in the empty hole i was left with. it makes it all 'better' for the time being
    "We sit and grow our roots into the floor
    But what are we waiting for?"
    we get scared and set in our ways as to not step out of the boundaries we set for ourselves.

    "So give me something to believe"
    i need something to believe in to give me hope out of this hopeless situation
    "Cause I am living just to breathe"
    im living by the minimal way possible. nothing more. staying in my shell and not living life keeps me from getting hurt
    "And I need something more
    To keep on breathing for"
    i need hope and a reason to pick myself up, dust my knees off, and start living again. and as the line says next:
    "So give me something to believe"

    "Something's always coming you can hear it in the ground"
    figuratively its always in the back of my mind. i cant let it go and always expect it. so its always coming.
    "It swells into the air
    With the rising
    Rising sound"
    i anticipate the wrong that was done to me being done to me and the anxiety builds up till its almost unbearable.
    "And never comes but shakes the boards and rattles all the doors"
    it doesnt necessarily happen again at all. but im shaken up by whats been done to me. it gets me worked all out of place again where it left me before. scared.
    "What are we waiting for"
    as it says. ur waiting for it. but its not necessarily at your door knocking...

    "I am hiding from some beast
    But the beast was always here"
    im trying to protect myself from getting hurt again but instead i created a beast within myself instead of letting it go
    "Watching without eyes
    Because the beast is just my fear"
    as it says. my fear developed into a beast
    "That I am just nothing
    Now its just what I've become"
    scared my hurt will hold me back and make me nothing yet my fear is what i am...
    "What am I waiting for
    Its already done"
    im scared of getting hurt but it is in the past and i now need to let it go and start new

    i hope someone else can relate how i did. these lyrics and my connection to them mean a lot to me. it helped me to sort through my emotions. thanks...
    taylor1whitneyon January 01, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commentpersonaly i think it's a moral story on a prison island, like alcatraz, but more desolate and isolated. the moral makes the song have a between the lines meaning of strenght and courage in a weird way. the verse "we do our time like pennies in a jar," coincides with this statement. the courage comes from the fact that unlike those around him, the character maintains just enough sanity to stay alive and continue asking for a reason to continue living through the pain.
    LSMrodney135on November 12, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI can't even describe how much I love this song. Its just amazing =]
    RunOnAiron May 24, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSounds like the classic search for meaning in life. Are we alone? Is there a meaning to life?

    Sounds almost though he is at the end of his rope and needs to know that there is something more to keep him carrying on.
    jr0d82on June 05, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentdear xylina13d,
    -coming
    -breathe
    thirdwheel7on June 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenttheres a smell of state of feeling thats reaking from my skins
    the drinking never stops because the drinks absolve our sins
    we sit and throw our roots into the floor
    what are we waiting for (x2)
    StrayCatStyle22on July 28, 2007   Link

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