"Volcano" as written by and Beck Hansen....
I've been walking on
These streets so long
I don't know
Where they're
Calling me anymore

But I think
I must have seen a ghost
I don't know
If it's my illusions

That keep me alive
I don't know what I see
Was it all an illusion?
Or a mirage gone bad?
I'm tired of evil
And all the things
That I don't know

And I've been drifting
On this wave so long
I don't know
If it's already
Crashed on the shore

And I've been riding
On this train so long
I can't tell
If it's you or me
Who is driving us
Into the ground

I don't know
If I'm sane
But there's a ghost
In my heart
That's trying
To see in the dark

I'm tired of people
Who only want
To be pleased
But I still want
To please you

And I heard
Of that Japanese girl
Who jumped
Into the volcano
Was she trying
To make it back
Back into the womb
Of the world?

I've been drinking
All these tears so long
All I've got left
Is the taste of salt
In my mouth

I don't know
Where I've been
But I know
Where I'm going
To that volcano

I don't want
To fall in though
So I want my bones
On the firing line


Lyrics submitted by chickenflicker

"Volcano" as written by Beck Hansen

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Volcano song meanings
Add your thoughts

20 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +2
    General CommentIsn't it just he's not the happiest bunny, (cause people are crap -> I'm tired of people who only want to be pleased ) and he knows about the japanese girl jumped into the volcano to get away from it.


    However, he knows there's light at the end of the tunnel, so he just wants to warm his bones and deal with it.

    "
    I don't know if I'm sane
    But there's a ghost in my heart
    Who's trying to see in the dark
    I'm tired of people who only want to be pleased
    But I still want to please you
    "

    That's the stand out bit for me.
    Is he the only one that's sane that still sees goodness?
    Even in the face of people who are crap.
    xdvron August 06, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI used to think that this song was about commiting suicide so that his soul could be free and not stuck inside a body. However,

    "I don't want to fall in through
    Just want to warm my bones
    On that fire a while"

    Tricky.
    francisthemuteon November 03, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAgreed, beautiful song.

    While I'd hate to be that one that suspects everything a Scientologist writes is about Scientology, you've really got to wonder with this one... Yes, Beck is a second generation Scientologist, and has taken at least a few courses.

    "Volcano" could definitely be about something else, but the title itself is a bit suggestive. There is a volcano on the main cover of Dianetics, and the volcano is supposed to represent the "explosive results obtainable by Hubbard's methods". It is also prominent in the story told only at the OTIII (Operating Thetan 3) level, that pre-clears and lower level Scientologists are not supposed to hear. Beck may or may not be in the OT levels; I've found no confirmation either way. According to L. Ron Hubbard, Xenu (dictator of the Galactic Confederacy) had an overpopulation problem, so he froze billions of people and brought them to Earth (then called Teegeeack), lined them up around volcanoes, and killed them with hydrogen bombs. When their souls (Thetans) escaped, he gathered them and sat them in front of hours of streamed color images and sounds of false memories or "implants" of things like Christ. As humans evolved, Thetans inhabited them. This is said to be the cause of all human suffering. But again, Beck might not even know about this story. Lower level Scientologists are taught that anything they hear about Scientology from an outside source (the internet, media) is a lie.

    "I've been walking down these streets so long
    I don't know where they're going to lead me anymore
    But I think I must have seen a ghost
    I don't know if it's my illusions that keep me alive"

    Since he was born into it, he's been "walking down these streets" of Scientology for quite some time, and maybe he's hit a rut in the religion, or gotten to the point that it's no longer helping him anymore. To me, Scientology seems to have two main parts to it: self-help psychological philosophy, and brainwashing cult. The transition from one to the other takes careful planning and treatment. I think the above stanza makes it sound like Beck is nearing that transition point, and questioning too much to be blindly led into culthood. "I don't know" seems to be a common theme, as he uses the term seven times. "Illusions" as in his faith, or the false memories implanted into him? "Ghost" as in "Thetan"?

    "I don't know what I've seen
    Was it all an illusion; all a mirage gone bad?"

    Scientologists believe that people have lived many, many previous lives, and that memories from those lives (as well as from this one) can traumatize you and effect you emotionally now. The above lines could be a reference to past lives, or to all he's seen in the Church. Some of those courses, particularly the ones on Auditing, are pretty intense and can involve everything from training one not to blink for up to two hours, to physically moving objects.

    "I'm tired of evil
    And all that it feeds
    But I don't know"

    Scientology's main claim is basically that they rid people and the world of evil. This sort of sounds like a "Yeah, you're right, evil is bad...but still...I don't know if this is the evil that needs to be fought...and in this way?" Just a general questioning, probably.

    "And I heard of that Japanese girl who jumped into the volcano
    Was she trying to make it back
    Back into the womb of the world"

    Besides being a really beautiful stanza, maybe it goes back to Hubbard's story of Xenu. If 944 people jumped in that volcano after this girl (I'm referencing clane's post^), maybe he could be comparing it to all of the people who join Scientology, just trying to make it back into the "womb of the world", before any of this Thetan bullshit arose. To a purer state of being, or "clear".. A bit of a stretch, though. Does anyone have a better interpretation for that?

    "I've been drinking all these tears so long
    All I've got left is the taste of salt in my mouth"

    In Scientology, one of the main goals is to be able to completely control your negative emotions, or become "clear". Expressing sadness, then (as well as any sort of illness, which is said to be caused solely by mental entheta [bad emotions]), is a sign that you aren't handling yourself well enough. No one wants to be visibly failing, so some probably "swallow their tears" and pretend everything's fine. Maybe Beck is reflecting on this effect in the above verse... He was in it even as a child, afterall...

    "I don't know where I've been"

    Past life reference?

    "But I know where I'm going;
    To that volcano"

    The same volcano of Scientology?

    "I don't want to fall in through"

    Doesn't want to fall into the culty part of it, like everyone else?

    "Just want to warm my bones
    On that fire a while"

    Just wants to stay on the lower levels, helping better himself and his life?



    There's my interpretation, assuming the song is indeed about Scientology. Beck tends to be pretty abstract with his songs, though, so the chances that he means any of this literally are probably pretty slim. Plus, I'm not sure that the CoS would be down with a song about questioning his faith in them. And you can make any song sound like it's about anything, with the power of suggestion... I don't know.
    cregitarianon November 18, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's the perfect ending for the album and the theme of "Modern Guilt" itself, I think.

    He feels tired and almost hopeless, after all he's seen in the other songs of the album, and the worlds is pretty much going to hell for him. He notices we're halfway there, but what to do? Suicide, like the Japanese girl? What did she get by that, he wonders. He knows he and all of mankind are going to that volcano, but at the end he decides he doesn't want to do the same, he has some hope for this world after all.

    The whole album has some sort of underlying themes about how this planet is going to hell, and Volcano is like a final reflection on it. I haven't thought much about Scientology here, but if you think about the lyrics as reflecting a loss of faith in something (the world, mankind, religion) it can fit.
    Santiagofon November 29, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMost soothing Beck song of all time.

    I like this a lot it is so much more refined.

    "I don't know where I've been
    But I know where I'm going"

    I love it.
    PastAndPendingon July 09, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti hope people try to figure out this songs relation to scientology....its obviously about scientology because the COS uses the image of a volcano on the cover of dianetics and in the story of theta implants....any interpretations....i think this song has beck doubting his belief in the religion honestly
    horriblefanfareon July 09, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIs he a follower of Scientology?
    PastAndPendingon July 09, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyes, he is. I believe he said it in an interview with the NYT in 2005.

    I didn't even think about the Scientology connection. That is a possibility. I know what it means for me and my personal life, and that's what counts :).
    mr christopheron July 10, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentsounds a little bit like he's trying to sound like elliott smith.
    musikisfunon July 10, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti don't see why it should matter that it pertains to Scientology. The Information is basically all about scientology and i think that was his best album yet.. and not because of the religion. I mean, it's his choice to be a scientologist but i do hope he's doubting it because that religion is insane IMO. but this song can connect to people in more emotional levels. like mr. christopher said.
    enigmatyckon July 15, 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