"Go By" as written by and Steven P. Smith....
Go on parade and fade
Hit the scene and slow
Spending all your time with some girl
You'll never get to know

Wound up tight
Dressed all in white
Some torn main sail
Blowing out to drift
Leave you even if

You live up in your head
Scared of every little noise
Someone's always breaking in accidentally
Using nothing but their voice

Shrill and small
Echo down the hall
Repeating pet names
See it in your eyes
You're only passing by

Go by, go by
Go by, go by

Someone's in the way
Of pretty words and inside slurs
All the things they have to say to perform
The work that they've rehearsed

It's a waste of time
I'd put it behind me once and for all
And let the hype decline
If the problem wasn't mine

Go by, go by
Go by, go by
Go by, go by
Go by, go by


Lyrics submitted by random_monkey, edited by PopularVulture

"Go By" as written by Steven P. Smith

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Go By song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThis is the kind of fucking song that makes people cry... lol... Through all the mysticism of Elliott's lyrics, there's a reoccuring theme of troubled love. Sounds like this one is about miscommunication in a relationship and the contempt in the ignored disasters, and since things became so royally dismissed, and knowing the problem and the solution, and the futility in speaking out of anger because the outcome will be inevitably unchanged
    Sinfantile76on December 24, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI joined the site just to say this. I think this is his reflection on his Oscar performance - "Dressed all in white" being what he wore at that performance.

    after listening to the rest of it, it just seems to make sense.

    bigwillystyle12on December 03, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is so beautiful. This is one of the songs from New Moon that was actually done really well.
    California Frownon September 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    Lyric Correctionthese lyrics don't make sense...

    �he's all she'll might come by tonight�
    he thought she might come by tonight?

    �someone's always breaking in 'after then late'�
    someone's always breaking in 'accidentally?

    �Usually nothing about that voice�
    using nothing but their voice?

    �Stream money along�
    extremely alone?

    �The works that he should hurts�
    the work that he's rehearsed?

    �Like a happy song 'any
    Any temperate wall'�
    that he'd interpret wrong?

    'You tell me you don't know which
    Beginning that the edge'
    'It's how you're going to win, beginning at the end'

    It’s possible that it’s a version that I’ve not heard, though…

    If words don’t make sense [fit in the song] they don’t belong
    'he's all she'll might’
    ‘I drank too many cars'
    'after then late' ‘Usually nothing about that voice'
    'Stream money along'
    ‘The works that he should hurts’
    'any Any temperate wall'
    'You tell me you don't know which
    Beginning that the edge'
    tabblynnon January 26, 2012   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningFirst of all, these lyrics are very wrong. I've meticulously listened to this song to find the real lyrics and they are so much more beautiful than these. Elliott is a master songwriter.
    Elliott has said in interviews that when he writes a song, he's usually writing about a feeling, rather than a story. This song does have a bit of a story though. It's sad.

    "Go in parade and fade
    Hit the scene in slow
    Spending all your time
    With some girl
    You'll never get to know"

    I'll be honest and say I don't know what the first two lines mean, or even exactly what he's saying. If someone could shed some light on it, if they have some ideas, please do so :). But the lines after that, it's just a sad idea. When you fall in love with a girl you know, but she doesn't like you that way so you'll never get to know her (in the way you want). Aka friend zone. My best guess for the first lines is it's saying how he acts around that girl "parade and fade", so he goes in and tries his best to get her attention (parades are very attention grabbing), but the minute he leaves he fades from her mind.

    "Welled up tide
    Dressed all in white
    Some torn mainsail
    Blowing out to drift
    Leave you even if"

    I have no idea how they got these lyrics wrong. Once again he paints a picture of loneliness. A mainsail is the main mast of a ship. I really really like the way he describes the foaming sea "dressed all in white". It blows my mind how creative he is. It's sort of a metaphor for his relationship with the girl; no hopeless shipwreck.

    "You live up in your head
    Scared of every noise
    Someone's always breaking in accidentally
    Using nothing but their voice"

    When you're depressed you get lost in thought and lose battle with your emotions, so you "live up in your head". "Scared of every little noise", the anxiety that's served as a side with depression. They go hand in hand. When people come and talk to you, they wake you from your trance using their voice. Not on purpose, maybe they just wanted to know where to find the bathroom, but accidentally. It builds up on the metaphor of your head being your house that you live in. Elliott's lyrics blow up my house.

    "Shrill and small
    Echo down the hall
    Repeating pet names
    Seeing it in your eyes
    You're only passing by

    Go by, go by
    Go by, go by"

    Shrill=unpleasant and high-pitched. He's saying the echo is shrill and small. And it's coming from down the hall. What hall? The house he lives in (his head). "Repeating pet names", not actual pet names. The sort of pet names you call your lover (sweetheart, baby, etc). So he's basically describing the fantasies he's having in the back of his mind (down the hall) over this girl that he is hopelessly in love with, who has friendzoned him. "Seeing it in your eyes you're only passing by, go by" he's saying how he can tell that she's not there to stay, she's just visiting his little house. She's not interested in a romantic relationship. Now that he knows this, he wants her to leave (go by). He doesn't want her to be around him because he loves her.

    "Someone's in the way
    Pretty words and inside slurs
    All the things they have to say
    To perform the work that they've rehearsed."

    Another guy is pursuing his girl, (so he's in the way). Most likely this guy is much better with women and knows what to say and how to act (pretty words and inside slurs). Maybe he's almost insulting the superficialty of it all. He's also commenting on the fact that most guys have "routines" they've rehearsed to pursue a girl, while Elliott doesn't. It all feels pointless to him.

    "It's a waste of time
    I'd put it behind me
    Once and for all
    And let the hype decline
    If the problem wasn't mine, go by"

    Pursuing the relationship with her is a waste of time because the other guy is going to get her. He would put it behind him, and forget about it, (I'd put it behind me once and for all, and let the hype decline) but it's always somewhere in his mind. As everyone who's experienced this knows, it takes a while to get over her. He wants her to just leave, so he can forget about it. If the problem was somebody else's, it'd be easy to just say "get over it".

    And that's the entire song. I prefer not to over analyze lyrics, but with Elliott it's different. I feel like this is what he was trying to say. It's all just an expression of a feeling: hopelessness. Very typical of Elliott. My favorite song right now. Beautiful in so many ways.
    Gibitulon August 21, 2017   Link

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