"Gimme Sympathy" as written by and Emily Haines James Shaw....
Get hot
Get too close to the flame
Wild open space
Talk like an open book
Sign me up

Got no time to take a picture
I'll remember someday
All the chances we took
We're so close to something
Better left unknown
I can feel it in my bones

Gimme sympathy
After all of this is gone
Who would you rather be
The Beatles or The Rolling Stones
Oh seriously, you're gonna make mistakes,
You're young
Come on baby play me something like
Here comes the sun

Don't go
Stay with the all unknown
Stay away from the hooks
All the chances we took
We're so close to something
Better left unknown
I can feel it in my bones

Gimme sympathy


Lyrics submitted by dustybreeze

"Gimme Sympathy" as written by James Shaw Emily Haines

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Gimme Sympathy song meanings
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  • +10
    General Comment"Who would you rather be
    The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?"

    my first reaction to this line was that she is asking "would you rather burn out or fade away?" i mean, the beatles were certainly not a blip or anything, but they were active for a much shorter time than the rolling stones. a common reaction to the current activity of the rolling stones is that they were great in their prime but are now dinosaurs and should probably give it a rest, whereas people regret that the beatles were around for such a short time and consider their oeuvre to be pretty sacrosanct.

    the rest of the lyrics fit into this mold, too. "We're so close to something better left unknown" -- should they just quit while they're in their prime, or should they keep going to see if they reach something better? "Get hot, Get too close to the flame" -- how can you judge when you've hit your apex? is it possible to get just close enough to the flame without burning?

    in the end, i'm not sure which she chooses. "Stay with all the unknown" sounds like they decide to keep moving until they fade out, but the fact that she says "stay" instead of "go" makes me unsure. "Gimme sympathy" is clearly a rolling stones reference, but the fact that the chorus ends with "Play me 'Here Comes the Sun'" makes me think she wants to go the beatles burning-out route.

    i don't know what the "they" i keep referring to is, haha. possibly the band, possibly a relationship, maybe just a person's life in general. also, i've only listened to this song once so my interpretation might change, but this idea really struck me so i thought i'd share it here :]
    angelofthesilenceon April 14, 2009   Link
  • +6
    General Commentwith this song i think she really wants to be able to write songs that have some sort of commerciality or more mainstream likeability without compromising the integrity of her art, so she's having trouble actually writing or composing. she's very much torn all different ways about it when finally she realises that it doesn't matter if they never become the beatles or the rolling stones because it's her craft and she's got all the time in the world to master it. "here comes the sun" if you know the lyrics, relays a sense of rejuvenation, a new outlook on a seemingly bleak situation so "come on baby play me something..." is her way of saying she's gotten through all that and knows which path she's going to take...

    really such a fabulous song.
    xrockalittlemorexon March 20, 2009   Link
  • +5
    Song MeaningI accidentally posted half of this earlier - here is the full version.

    READ TO THE BOTTOM FOR A FULL UNDERSTANDING OF THE SONGS MEANING - YOU WILL BE PLEASANTLY SURPRISED =]

    The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter
    *This song is about how close we come in everyday life to horrible things. We must make choices - whether they are right or wrong, to continue living.


    The Beatles - Here Comes The Sun
    *This song is about forgiving people of mistakes/bad choices made in their pasts.


    Metric - Gimme Sympathy
    *Here's a breakdown of the lyrics and their meanings.


    *The first half refers to The Rolling Stones point of view in the song Gimme Shelter, in comparison to Gimme Sympathy.

    "Ooh, see the fire is sweepin
    Our very street today
    Burns like a red coal carpet"
    ---The Rolling Stones

    "Get hot
    Get too close to the flame"
    ---Metric

    ~~~~~These lines are pretty self-explanatory.


    "Oh, a storm is threatning
    My very life today
    If I dont get some shelter
    Oh yeah, Im gonna fade away"
    ---The Rolling Stones

    "Wild open space"
    ---Metric

    ~~~~~Wild open space contrasts to shelter.


    "Rape, murder!
    Its just a shot away"
    ---The Rolling Stones

    "Talk like an open book"
    ---Metric

    ~~~~~Say what you want to say - life is too unpredictable to remain quiet.


    "War, children, its just a shot away
    Its just a shot away"
    ---The Rolling Stones

    "Sign me up
    Got no time to take a picture
    I'll remember someday
    All the chances we took"
    ---Metric

    ~~~~~The Rolling Stones repeat "Its just a shot away" throughout the entire song - reinforcing the fact that "War, Flood, Fire, Rape, Murder" could be an instant away.




    *The second half refers to The Beatles point of view in the song Here Comes the sun, in comparison to Gimme Sympathy.


    "Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
    Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear
    Here comes the sun, here comes the sun,
    and I say it's all right"
    ---The Beatles

    "Don't go
    Stay with the all unknown
    Stay away from the hooks
    All the chances we took"
    ---Metric

    ~~~~~The Beatles use the sun as a metaphor for a new beginning and "the ice" represents all the choices they regret. Metric takes this idea and adds more to it - new beginnings wont come unless mistakes were made in the past (avoid familiarity/hooks and experience the unknown). No mistakes = no experience/gain/growth.



    *Chorus

    "We're so close to something better left unknown
    We're so close to something better left unknown"
    ---Metric

    ~!~!~!~THIS LINE IS KEY IN UNDERSTANDING THE SONG (and how convenient that it is said twice).
    I'll present this as if The Rolling Stones and The Beatles were both saying the same line.

    The Rolling Stones - We're so close to something that we would be better off not knowing.
    The Beatles - We're so close to something better, which is currently unknown.

    Say the line a few times with each point of view in mind... then smile at the genius of Metric.

    Thanks
    Jurassicon June 21, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationThis is just my opinion but I think this is about taking an optimistic approach to life and death.

    When Emily says “Get hot, Get too close to the flame” I think she is talking about a person’s self destruction and how death is sometimes closer than we think. I think she is using this sentence similar to the familiar quote ‘a moth to flame’ The moth is always drawn to the flame because it’s so beautiful but it doesn’t know that it can hurt itself if it gets too close. We don’t always know how much we’re hurting ourselves.

    “Wild open space
    Talk like an open book
    Sign me up
    Got no time to take a picture
    I'll remember someday
    All the chances we took”
    This portion of the song I’m not too sure, but maybe she means that our life is already mapped out. We don’t do anything different or anything to add substance. “All the chances we took” can mean that we wasted time- passed up all the chances we had to do something good or add substance to our lives.


    When she says,
    “We're so close to something better left unknown”
    Again I think she means we’re so close to death.
    “I can feel it in my bones”
    Emphasizes on this point.
    “Gimme sympathy
    After all this is gone” does too.

    “Who would you rather be
    The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?” This speaks for itself. The Beatles and The Rolling Stones both influential artists and very important. I think she shows that there are two types of people in this world. :p The Beatles Fans and The Rolling Stones. These bands make people happy. So this displays the optimistic approach to death.

    “Oh seriously
    You're gonna make mistakes you're young
    Come on baby play me something,
    Like here comes the sun” Here is where she takes the other optimistic approach in the song. We are going to make mistakes- we’re human. So no matter how much life sucks we just have to learn to move on and look at the bright side- the happier side. “Come on baby play me something like here comes the sun”
    biteslifeon April 03, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentalso the "Gimmie shelter" and "Sympathy for the devil" bit?
    little splice up

    ya this song is solid
    KennyNapalmon April 01, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"we're so close to something better left unknown"

    it's about taking risks and chances even if they might not be the right ones. i definitely get the sense it's about a relationship, like a moth to a flame, two people that it's not gonna work out between but there's something there so she wants to go for it, no matter how bad it might end up being.
    missmeon May 27, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commenthey guys,

    i don't have anything to add to the discussion of the meaning, but i figured that some of you might like to see this video of emily and jimmy playing the song acousic and live. : ]

    youtube.com/v/…&">
    kandacethon July 08, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretationthe song is about finding your place
    so they ask who would you rather be the beatles or the rolling stones
    the video is of them trading places in the band...trying to find their place....
    the band members of metric said it themself actually...
    game set match hayley
    haylayyon August 03, 2009   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningI haven't sifted through every single post, so this may have been posted.

    The first time I heard this song was outside on a street corner, and it was loud. The only clear part I could hear was the chorus.

    *After all this is gone
    Who'd you rather be
    The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?

    Stars either become too large and bright and implode on themselves at their brightest point. Or they simply run their course, eventually fading and dying.

    So, after The Stones finally retire and die, and the two remaining Beatles are no longer with us - which band would you have rather been? The one who put it all out there, and collapsed into itself? Or the one that just kept going (and going, and going)?
    cjscott24on December 14, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is like many of Emily's ways to balance her up and down extreme equation. Every regular line from the chorus is a hint to do then to say do what you like. She feels the inexplicable feelings of feeling young while simultaneously exposing how our 'never grow old' attitude emphasizes what you'd rather be in a decisive matter while hinting song titles throughout the song. She, through hinting loves both bands, and if anyone cared to learn Emily Haines history you would know she'd totally paint it black all over. The tune of this song, especially in its acoustic and early years, pleads sympathy literally. It calls to a calming voice and ear that she is sad and pleading for an absolution of some sort. She needs just a good night of sleep but all she can do is hope. It is this element that makes most greats such striving yet unfulfilled artists who they are. Thank God she hasn't fallen too far from feeling her own music.
    neoisgod9on January 28, 2010   Link
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