Everyone's right and no one is sorry
that's the start and the end of the story
from the Sharks and the Jets
to the call in the morning

Everyone's right and no one is sorry
That's the start and the end of the story
from the Sharks and the Jets
to the call in the morning
and life is just bets anyway

look alive, see these bones
what you are now, we were once

Try as they might, no one's immune to
misfiring and acting on the wrong clues
and thinkin' it's time to redo and redo

I feel rain in the movies
in the talk before the screen lights
I hear strings in the park
I don't like to call or write
except when its too late at night
I mostly just think in the dark

look alive, see these bones
what you are now, we were once
but just like we are, you'll be dust
and just like we are, permanent

You were too tired to eat, too hungry to sleep
Just imagine the speed, it's just what you need

look alive, you see these bones
what you are now, we were once
and just like we are, you'll be dust
and just like we are, permanent

the lights in the city are more or less blinking
which side of the story decides what you're thinking
warm arms and cold faces
we're squinting, we're hurrying
we'll take inventory
we're digging, we're burying

do you remember when the light was low
do you remember when it fell
do you remember when you went to her house
remember ringing the bell

Look alive, see these bones
what you are now, we were once
and just like we are, you'll be dust
and just like we are, permanent


Lyrics submitted by RomanCandle, edited by Ryuhza

See These Bones song meanings
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16 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentCaws says they went to a crypt in Rome where 200 years ago they dug up 4000 bodies and made an installation of them. He said its supposed to make you see immortality and "you kinda do when your looking at all these brown, dusty bones". So he says you really need to embrace/enjoy your life..
    XAkitAXon March 22, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentTo me, this song is about the beauty and fleetingness of life. As well as the comment XAkitAX made, in the sense that our existence here is infinite. Nothing can change the fact that we lived out our lives on this tiny planet and experienced all that it had to offer, and hopefully left it a better place because of it.

    The line:

    "The lights in the city are more or less blinking"

    Is interesting to me in the sense that, if you imagine observing a city from outer space, that's exactly what you would see... Blinking lights. I guess it's just another visual of how fleeting this life is.

    This song belongs on Let Go though. To me, that is the ultimate album to remind you to live instead of lag.
    fbcbbcon February 21, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think this song is literally about gambling and regret.

    'From the sharks and the jets to the call in the morning' --> betting on a Sharks vs. Jets game, getting a call from the bookmaker in the morning to collect the debt.

    'Life is just bets anyway' --> betting consumed his life.

    'See these bones' --> The message of the song is to TAKE HEED of those that came before you and lost their lives, ruined them by gambling.

    'The lights of the city are more or less blinking' --> Casino lights

    'Try as they might, no-one's immune to misfiring and acting on the wrong clues' --> So many people think they can beat the house when gambling but they are wrong.

    'Warm arms and cold faces' --> Struggling to decide whether to tell a loved one about the addiction or not.

    'We take inventory' --> Working out how far behind (how much money is lost)

    'We're digging, we're burying' --> Lying to himself about the situation he's in.

    avavaon May 05, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Commentto me this song is saying that life is short and you should live it up. the referance of bones reminds me of masaccio's painting the holy trinity because in the painting there is a skeleton and above which are inscribed in Latin are haunting words, "I was that which you are. You will be that which I am."
    macnchees3on January 08, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment''I feel rain in the movies
    in the talk before the screen lights''

    Beautiful line ,
    bigcheese:@on June 16, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song to me is about miscommunication and conflict, though someday we'll all just fade to dust. Be a permanant and speechless part of the Earth. Is that implying a kind of quiet understanding, or lack of a need for understanding, after death?

    The first line and the sharks and jets, West Side Story reference supports the song being about misunderstandings.
    Also, them saying,
    "Try as they might, no ones immune to
    misfiring and acting on the wrong clues,"
    makes me think this.

    And when the writer is finally clearheaded, and ready to communicate what he means (call or write), he's all alone at night. He doesn't get his message accross.

    I feel like he wants to say something, make his relationships right, but doesn't quite know how. Though he admits that someday, we'll all die and fade to dust. Our particles will fit 'gracefully' in with the universe, lacking at least human conflict. We fit into something larger, and these small constant conflicts will fade to nothing.

    (Sorry if that didn't make much sense. This is the first time I've written one of these.)
    Pterodactyliteon July 06, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFrom website "Songfacts",

    "See These Bones" was inspired by a visit Nada Surf lead singer Matthew Caws made in the mid 2000s to the Crypt of the Capuchin Monks in Rome, who created a macabre but stirring environmental sculpture from the bones of their departed brethren.

    Caws said:, "It's a chilling place. Seeing all those old bones up close really drives home that this is it - and you better make the most of your life. Ultimately, it's uplifting. I left there in a bizarrely good mood."

    Here's a wikipedia article about this place: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…

    There's a plaque in the chapel that contains lyrics from the song:
    A plaque in one of the chapels reads, in sixteen languages, "What you are now, we once were; what we are now, you shall be."

    I still hold that this song is about gambling, but was probably inspired by the artists' visit to this place.
    avavaon March 18, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBen gibbard singing here.
    AbsolutionAgent_gMson April 18, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentadmittedly, this is not anywhere close to my favorite nada surf album, but i agree that this song belongs on Let Go.

    i don't know if this seems odd, or why it happens exactly, but this song makes me very emotional, especially from "the lights in the city are more or less blinking" part onward. i've cried during this song more than once.



    TheWrongGirlon December 02, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentalso, does anyone have any thoughts on this part?

    do you remember when the light was low
    do you remember when it fell
    do you remember when you went to her house
    remember ringing the bell
    TheWrongGirlon December 02, 2009   Link

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