"Biko" as written by Kele Okereke and Russell Lissack....
You're not doing it this alone
You're not doing,
You're not doing this alone

For my sweetheart the melancholic, you have crossed the river Styx
And the waves have taken you away
As I lay my head on your chest, I can hear it your veins
Wake me up when you come to bed

So toughen up
Biko toughen up
Biko toughen up
This world isn't kind to little things

Was my love strong enough to bring you back from the dead
If I could eat your cancer I would but I can't
So I keep writing these songs for you
To steal you from your gray
And we can dance in our front room again

So toughen up
Biko toughen up
Biko toughen up
I need you be strong for us


Don't you know that when you stand you stand up for the both of us
Remember that when the darkness looms
Every tear you shed is cleansing, taking the pain away from you
I left you blueberries in the fridge, the little things that I can do

You're not doing this alone


Lyrics submitted by gat0rjay, edited by AllisterK

"Biko" as written by Kele Okereke Gordon Moakes

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Biko song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentDoes anyone else see the parallel between "The world isn't kind to little things" and "I left you blueberries in the fridge / The little thing that I can do"?

    In a sense, could be saying that the world as a whole doesn't care about their relationship and the little, kind things that you do for the people you love, like leave them their favourite food in the fridge.

    When coupled with the idea that the other person is dying or depressed, it suggests a sense of despondency; the narrator cares so much about the other person, but sort of no-one else does. You know?
    nachturnalon October 31, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentKele has mentioned in an interview that Biko is a term of affection that his parents used to used...no references to any activists really. and its obviously about someone dying from cancer
    flyingclubcupon September 17, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentcan only guess from the lines

    "Was my love not strong enough to
    Bring you back from the dead
    If I could eat your cancer I would but I can't"

    its about his friends who dies of cancer. or found out his friend has cancer.
    IWatchRecesson August 22, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI actually think bethie might be on to something, look at some of the other song titles:
    Ares: greek god of war
    Mercury: messenger of roman mythology
    Halo: obvious christian references, not sure of any other religious/mythological connetions
    Biko: as already mentioned sukuna-biko is prominent in japanese culture
    Trojan Horse: greek culture
    Zypherus: found in traditional greek stories
    Better than heaven: well...yeah.

    keystothekidon August 23, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentits got nothing to do with the activist biko.
    'Biko' in a nigerian language - i think it's eto - is a way of addressing a loved one. kele's parents speak it.
    biko is a greeting reserved for loved ones.

    this is all from an interview with kele
    ms2230on September 01, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentachielles the son of thetis was alleged to have been dipped in the river styx by his mother which gave him immortality, so by crossing the river styx "biko" became immortal but it doesnt seem to be working, also to do with greek mythology!
    chrysi1234on September 29, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentincredible song, but i think these are the correct lyrics in this verse:
    So I keep writing these songs for you
    To steal you from your grey
    And we can dance in our front room again

    So 'grave' is actually 'grey' and 'a front row' is 'our front room' :)

    but then again, the official lyrics also has 'Was my love strong enough to bring you back from the dead' without the 'not' so maybe it isn't entirely correct.. which is totally ironic considering they wrote the lyrics! But i think it is definitely 'grey' and 'front room'

    Source: blocparty.com/…
    crockfromtheblockon November 28, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentProbably the most powerful and underrated song on the album, especially for those that have experienced a great loss to the hands of cancer.

    "For my sweetheart the melancholic
    You have crossed the River Styx
    And the waves have taken you away"

    The person in question is dead, they have crossed the river styx, they have been taken away.

    Now, I believe the next verse begins a flashback, to when the person is first diagnosed with, presumably, cancer. He can't see the physical manifestation of the illness but "I can hear it in your veins", he knows it is there, inside here.

    "You're not doing this alone" repeated throughout the verse implies he is very close to 'Biko', possibly romantically attached.

    I don't like the "eat your cancer" line. yes it is graphic, but it is too candid, it just shoves cancer in your face, which to me, seems crude.

    "I left you blueberries in the fridge, the little things..." Again, very powerful imagery. It shows the desperation of trying miracle cures like anti-oxidant rich blueberries, coupled with the helplessness he feels because, really, its just a "little thing" that he can do.

    "resist" seems obvious, and the repetition shows a sense of urgency towards the end of the song as the flashback is drawing to its conclusion (Biko's death).

    The line "when you stand up, you stand up for the both of us" is again very powerful. It is saying, if you cant do it for yourself, at least try for me. It isn't just yourself that you are fighting for, fight for me, just so I can have one more day with you. Again, this view is backed up by the constant "toughen up", the "resist" at the end, and the general tone of the song.

    Its just a sad, sad song, and for me, it is this bands very best.

    iridialon September 14, 2011   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionI love this song. Personally, I think this song is mostly about a someone who's been through a very traumatic experience (Biko) and their lover trying their best to work with them (singer) but reminding them to "toughen up/I need you to be strong for us".
    Undutifulon June 11, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Commentdamn! so quickly the lyrics :P
    gatinion August 22, 2008   Link

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