"Elephants" as written by and Rachael Amanda Yamagata....
If the elephants have past lives, yet are destined to always remember,
It's no wonder how they scream,
Like you and I, they must have some temper.
And I am dreaming of them on the plains, dirtying up their beds,
Watching for some kind of rain to cool their hot heads.
And how dare that you send me that card when I'm doing all that I can do.
You are forcing me to remember when all I want is to just forget you.
If the tiger shall protect her young, then tell me how did you slip by.
All my instincts have failed me for once, I must have somehow slept the whole night.

And I am dreaming of them with their kill, tearing it all apart,
Blood dripping from their lips, and teeth sinking in too hearts.
And how dare that you say you will call, when you know I need some peace of mind..
If you had to take sides with the animals, won't you do it with one who is kind?

If the hawks in the trees need the dead, if you're living you don't stand a chance.
You can lie there and say you are fed, but there are only two ends to this dance.
You can flee with your wounds just in time, or lie there as he feeds,
Watching yourself ripped to shreds and laughing as you bleed.

So for those of you falling in love, keep it kind, keep it good, keep it right.
Throw yourself in the midst of danger, but keep one eye open at night.


Lyrics submitted by alicson, edited by morgz0102

"Elephants" as written by Rachael Amanda Yamagata

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Elephants song meanings
Add your thoughts

21 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +5
    General CommentI think she's trying to forget someone she fell in love with who hurt her badly, but she can't let go of her feelings which he knows. She fell in love with him wholeheartedly and put her heart and soul into it ["I must have somehow slept the whole night"].

    He uses the fact that she still loves him against her like by saying that he'll call and sending her cards knowing that it'll keep rekindling the feelings. ["And how dare that you send me that card when I am doing all that I can do
    You are forcing me to remember when all I want is to just forget you"]


    In the end she gives a warning to everyone falling in love.
    She says
    "So for those of you falling in love keep it kind
    Keep it good
    Keep it right
    Throw yourself in the midst of danger but keep one eye open at night"

    Which is basically saying take the risk and fall in love [throw yourself in the midst of danger] but be careful and be wary [but keep one eye open at night]


    I'm in love with this song.
    Embody Musicon September 28, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General Comment"To for those of you falling in love, keep it kind, keep it good, keep it right.
    Throw yourself in the midst of danger, but keep one eye open at night."

    --I love those last lines, like a warning to those blinded by love.
    missmeon May 07, 2009   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationI do not think that this song is about some one yamagata had fallen in love with. I believe this song is about her parents and her relationship with them.

    Her parents split up in her early years and she have been dividing her time between them.

    I initially thought that the song was about some love affair she had had. But the lines
    "If the tiger shall protect her young,Then tell me how did you slip by. " threw me off.

    The protect the young part didn't fit with anything really. Thats when the parent-child thing came to mind, and then it all fit perfectly.

    Just take the beginning verses
    "If the elephants have past lives,
    Yet are destined to always remember,
    It's no wonder how they scream,"

    It seems like she is talking about how her parents never came together because of their heritage or their basic differences in their ideologies and fought over everything.

    //And how dare that you send me that card
    When I'm doing all that I can do.
    You are forcing me to remember
    When all I want is to just forget you.//


    Seems to be referring to her parents or a parent trying to come back into her life when all that she seems to want at the time of writing this song was to forget about all about the person.

    //If the tiger shall protect her young,
    Then tell me how did you slip by//

    The reference seems to be that her mother never protected her from the inevitable life of a daughter with no real family. The idea of having a child was sleeping(not thought of) when her parents came together.

    //And I am dreaming of them with their kill,
    Tearing it all apart,
    Blood dripping from their lips,
    And teeth sinking in to heart. //

    This is really gut wrenching to me. Here she is referring to herself as the kill of the animals. Her world was kinda torn apart when her parents split up. Leaving her heart broken in a way that can never really be put back together.

    //If you had to take sides with the animals,
    Won't you do it with one who is kind?//

    This verses should have been the worst to live through. It seems to me that she is referring to a incident or incidents in which she was asked to take a side between her parents, and at the time she chose the one that was kind. The meaning that I take from here is that she is saying that she just made a choice that was too much for her to make in such a young age and maybe even a small apology for her choice.


    //If the hawks in the trees need the dead,
    If you're living you don't stand a chance//

    This lines and the next two paragraphs, seem to be referring to the bastards that have come into her life taking advantage of her broken heart. Then use her until she finally decides to leave.

    //So for those of you falling in love,
    Keep it kind, keep it good, keep it right.
    Throw yourself in the midst of danger,
    But keep one eye open at night. //

    The ending verses, she seem to be telling the people who fall in love to always think of consequences based on her life experiences. She is asking lovers to think it through before making the final commitment and bringing another life in to the world. Be ready to fall in love but dont be an idiot and mess up a kid's life on a hormone surge.


    Truly truly heart wrenching, brilliant words. I dont know how a person is able to open herself up and pour all this out and share it with morons like me. I wish from the deepest depths of my heart that she find a person who can make her completely happy.

    I apologize if I have crossed any boundaries that I was not supposed to.
    jibion March 18, 2010   Link
  • +2
    MemoryWhen i first listened to the lryics I didn't know if it was me that was 'Rachael' or my ex lol. I still don't know... I think that what makes it so amazing for me.. It can be interputed in so many ways and with so many girls (or guys). I hate how real musicans like Yamagata never get the apperaction of their talents yet any wh*** like rihanna or spears gets all the limelight and praise for what? Nothing! These lyrics capture your thought, your past even your future. Its more the insprational music, its greats catharisis of pain which emualtes our souls of redemption and belief.
    mabs33on June 11, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is very effective. I love the lines:

    'If the hawks in the tress need the dead,
    If you're living you don't stand a chance.'

    AND

    'Blood dripping from their lips,
    Teeth sinking into heart.'

    I think that the first two lines are really scary, offering no hope, horrifying. The second set of lines also scares me - it seems she is trying to use the metaphor of tigers feeding to express how brutal and dangerous love can be. She is using romantic parts of the body, 'lips' and 'heart', but then uses them in the description with something gory and deadly. Very powerful!
    nozukaspektoron June 23, 2009   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningHer main message, I think, are the last lines:

    "So for those of you falling in love, keep it kind, keep it good, keep it right.
    Throw yourself in the midst of danger, but keep one eye open at night."

    In parallel to these lines:

    "If the tiger shall protect her young, then tell me how did you slip by.
    All my instincts have failed me for once -- I must have somehow slept the whole night."
    gui12345on August 13, 2010   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningOne of the most beautiful and melancholy song I've heard, it's haunting and so metaphorical.
    I think it's evident that she singing about a relationship gone wrong, they fight over everything, and that they are both denying the truth that it's not working out. I think Elephants stands for the idiom "the elephant in the room," like I said, they know the truth but don't dare acknowledge it. Her last two lines are really meaningful and clear also in that she means warns those who fall in love to keep the relationship on the right track and too take risks, but be cautious at all times. A breath-taking song truly.
    CaughtInMyHeadon February 26, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwow...those last two lines just overwhelm me with emotion.

    Beautiful... absolutely incredible song.
    laniphoriaon September 17, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think that this song is the closest to lyrically perfect you can get. Each line hits you with such passion and power. It evokes so much emotion, I cry everytime I listen to it.
    ShesSuchACharmeron September 30, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think that this song is the closest to lyrically perfect you can get. Each line hits you with such passion and power. It evokes so much emotion, I cry everytime I listen to it.
    ShesSuchACharmeron September 30, 2008   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