"Lights in the Sky" as written by and Trent Michael Reznor....
She's mostly gone
Some other place
I'm getting by
In other ways
Everything they whispered in our ear
Is coming true

Trying to justify the things I used to do
Believe in you

Watching you drown
I'll follow you down
I am here right beside you

The lights in the sky
Have finally arrived
I am staying right beside you
Trying to stay away
Just in case

I've come to realize
We all have our place
Time, time has a way, you know
To make it clear
And I have my room and yes, I can't disappear
Or leave you here

Watching you drown
I'll follow you down
And I am here right beside you
The lights in the sky are waving goodbye
And I am staying right beside you


Lyrics submitted by vapur, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"Lights in the Sky" as written by Trent Michael Reznor

Lyrics © KOBALT MUSIC PUBLISHING LIMITED,

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Lights in the Sky song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentI'm pretty confident this was wrote about one of Trent Reznor's relationships. Trent's obviously a lot older now, maybe his true love found someone else. Think back to Beside You in Time. I see a lot of correlation. I think this song is written to and for his true love. I think he is representing his love for this woman. The person dying represents her love for him, and the pool they are drowning in represents her husband or that "someone else".

    Beside You in Time:

    "I am all alone this time around
    Sometimes on my side I hear a sound
    Places parallel I know it's you
    Feel the little peices bleeding through
    And on, this goes on
    And on(x7)
    This goes on
    And on(x7)

    Now that I've decided not to stay
    I can feel me start to fade away
    Everything is back where it belongs
    I will be beside you before long
    And on, this goes on
    And on(x7)
    This goes on
    And on(x7)

    Ohhhhh, We will never die
    Beside you in time
    Ohhhhh, We will never die
    Beside you in time "



    Lights in the Sky:

    she's mostly gone
    some other place
    -She's with her husband, who is not him obviously.

    i'm getting by
    in other ways
    -This is obvious

    everything they whispered in our ear
    is coming true
    -Worried thoughts coming true

    try to justify the things
    i used to do
    believe in you
    -A promise they made to be commited to eachother, possibly. A promise we wouldn't know about.

    watching you drown
    -Seeing her change with her husband. Seeing her lose feelings she promised to keep for him-- her love for him drowning in her husband.

    i'll follow you down
    and i am here right beside you
    -He's realizing that even if his love for her is alive, her love has come to an inevitable end. He is finally coming to accept this and following her love down to their end--death of love.

    the lights in the sky
    have finally arrived
    -Death is finally here. Death of their "could have been" relationship.

    i am staying right beside you
    -Though it may not have been meant to be, he is committed to her until the end.

    i tried to stay away
    -See Beside You in Time.

    you know
    just in case
    -Trent's implying he wanted to keep his love alive (away from drowning) just in case there was hope for them.

    i've come to realize
    we all have our place
    -Her and her Husband. Him by himself.

    time has a way you know
    to make it clear
    -Obvious.

    i have my role in this
    i can't disappear
    or leave you here
    -He has accepted her love for him is dead. He can't run away from that fact, nor let her love die alone.

    watching you drown
    i'll follow you down
    and i am here right beside you
    -Seeing her love for him die obviously hurts him. And even though it hurts himself terribly, his love must follow to their love's death.

    the lights in the sky
    are waving goodbye
    -Their love is now dead.

    i am staying right beside you
    -he allows entire love to die right beside her for eternity, even though she is gone for eternity.
    ccphillippion September 01, 2008   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationAre you fucking kidding me?

    Really?

    Look, I'll admit that I don't have an honest grasp on what this song is about. I have an idea, but I don't feel confident about it.

    However, I feel I can safely say that it is a bunch of unimaginative bullshit that this has some Year Zero or alien reference.

    Are you telling me that just because Trent is talking about lights in the sky, he must be drawing up some Steven Speilberg E.T. phone home shit? Ever heard of thinking outside the box?

    And here's why I have good reason to bitch about this thinking:
    Why would Trent write a soft, intimate, pained, piano-based song about aliens? Or even the government? Don't you think he'd save that for something hard and loud?

    And Year Zero is over, people. Although Trent does focus on drugs & being new and sober, I don't think he's gonna dwell on Year Zero anymore, especially not on an album that is so centered around self-discipline into his new self and a new artist.

    I'm just being a bitch because I can't believe people will take one line concerning lights in a sky and be like "oh aliens."

    Thank you, America.
    PrincessaGothicaon April 20, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationIt always reminds me of a girl, who is very and incurably sick and "mostly gone" (maybe cancer?).
    And the boy, who is trying to cope with the fact that she'll die. "In other ways"... well, I think he's using drugs or cutting himself.
    He desperately tries to hold on to the past by avoiding others. He hears what they say "everything they whispered in our ear", and he knows that they are true. They're coming true indeed. But he still believes the girl. (Maybe she said she'll never leave him or something like that.)

    He's wathing her die. (drown) And it kills him too. No matter what, he will always be here, right beside her. "Lights in the sky, have finally arrived" simply symbolizes hope. (Maybe they found the cure?) And he's still staying beside her.

    First he tried to stay away because he knew that it would seriously harm him. "just in case" And then he realized everyone has a place and his place is right beside her. As time passes and makes it clear, his hope starts to fade away. He, now, knows that she'll be gone, it's inevitable. But he learned his place, he cannot leave her like that.

    "Lights in the sky, are waving goodbye" symbolizes the lost hope. Right now, he's sure he'll lose her. There's no cure, no other way, no turning back. But, even after all, he's still staying right beside her.
    broccolison October 25, 2012   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI realize what the song sounds like and that people tend to allude to drugs or aliens, but for some reason this song fits perfectly for me as losing someone, not necessarily to addiction or disease, but emotionally. She's not necessarily leaving him for someone else either. Try and follow me on this.

    "she's mostly gone
    some other place"
    These lines are saying she still around, but he senses her feelings for him gone.

    "i'm getting by
    in other ways"
    Here he's saying he's coping emotionally without her in whatever ways necessary.

    "everything they whispered in our ear
    is coming true"
    He admits to not heeding the signs or anyone's warnings that he could be losing her, and he sees it happening.

    "try to justify the things
    i used to do
    believe in you"
    When you love someone, you try and see past their faults, their lies because love blinds you to the truth. It's possible he felt betrayed.

    "watching you drown
    i'll follow you down
    and i am here right beside you"
    It's a metaphoric way of simply saying "I'm losing you, but I'm going to keep trying to get you back. I'll never leave you."

    "the lights in the sky
    have finally arrived
    i am staying right beside you"
    The lights in the sky signify a little glimmer of hope. He sees that hope finally, perhaps she's opened up to him instead of being distant. He decides to keep trying win her back.

    "i tried to stay away
    you know
    just in case"
    This could mean a couple of things. When you feel lost without someone who doesn't love you, pursuing them tends to push them away, which he doesn't want to do. It could also mean he's afraid of the end of the relationship so he's avoided unnecessary contact.

    "i've come to realize
    we all have our place"
    He's realizing that his place in her life has changed.

    "time has a way you know
    to make it clear"
    The more time passes, the more distance or lack of feelings from her becomes more apparent.

    "i have my role in this
    i can't disappear
    or leave you here"
    He feels guilt for her loss of love for him, admitting he had a hand in it. He can't allow it to end that way, with her not loving him.

    "watching you drown
    i'll follow you down
    and i am here right beside you"
    Again like before, "I'm losing you, but I'm going to keep trying to get you back. I'll never leave you."

    "the lights in the sky
    are waving goodbye
    i am staying right beside you"
    Now for me, these are the saddest lyrics of the song. As the glimmer of hope starts to fade and it becomes obvious there's no salvaging her love for him, he can't free himself of feeling lost without her.
    lphvwbuson February 05, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is only speculation at this point but if this album ever turns out to have anything to do with Year Zero and I am not saying it is, (Really it feels more akin to the The Downward Spiral and The Fragile Lyrically) Maybe it has something to do with the ARG Web site Hour of Arrival and the song cold be from the father's point of view regretting the fact that he will never see his Daughter/Son. That is If this album is at all tied to year zero.

    Too me the album seems to be about someone going insane but it could have something to do with year zero given the fact that the AIR/OSR Flag was used in the art packaged with the album.

    Something tells me we won't know until the concerts this summer.
    PCS153on May 08, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentit's about a girl on drugs
    countersweeton May 23, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionI think that this song is about loving somebody, and knowing that they arent right for you but you stay with them anyway. "watching you drown, i follow you down" - i think this means that the person is watching their lover, watching them self-destruct, ruin things, but they love them too much so they follow them down that path just to be with them. "the lights in the sky are waving goodbye, and i am staying right beside you" - i think means that the lights in the sky, opportunity's are eaving goodbye, leaving, and still you stay with the person, knowing that as you do you are missing out on chances to be happy, to find someone else, but you stay for the love you think you feel.
    MisterNamelesson October 28, 2009   Link
  • +1
    MemoryI personally believe this song is about a man who's watching the person he loves die, right? It really seems like it. But it really doesn't have to be romantic. My mom's really sick lately, and this song makes me cry because I really understand those lyrics more than ever.
    Watching someone you love go away before you is the toughest thing anybody has to experience, and the sadness of the music only reflects it. This is a PERFECT song, in my opinion. Flawless. This is why I love NIN.
    chkkchkkon April 19, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAwesome song, quite haunting.
    The lyrics remind me of The Great Below, and In This Twilight slightly.
    flyindevilon May 05, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song makes me think back to the song The Fragile, it's so sad because it sounds like a bitter end to this women in his eyes, and how he failed to protect her. He refuses to let go and will follow her into death.
    Sylthon May 06, 2008   Link

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