"Perfect Symmetry" as written by Timothy James Rice-oxley, Tom Chaplin and Richard David Hughes....
I shake through the wreckage for signs of life
Scrolling through the paragraphs
Clicking through the photographs

I wish I could make sense of what we do
Burning down the capitols
The wisest of the animals

Who are you, what are you living for
Tooth for tooth, maybe we'll go one more

This life, is lived in perfect symmetry
What I do, that will be done to me

Read page after page of analysis
Looking for the final score
We're no closer than we were before

Who are you, what are you fighting for
Holy truth? Brother I choose this mortal life
Lived in perfect symmetry

What I do, that will be done to me
As the needle, slips into the run out groove
Love, maybe you feel it too

And maybe you find, life is unkind
And over so soon
There is no golden gate
There's no heaven waiting for you

Oh boy you ought to leave this town
Get out while you can, the meter's running out
The voices in the streets you love
Everything is better when you hear that sound

Spineless dreamers, hide in churches
Pieces of pieces of rush hour, buses
I dream in emails, worn out phrases
Mile after mile of just empty pages

Wrap yourself around me
Wrap yourself around me

As the needle, slips into the run out groove
Maybe I'll feel it too
Maybe you'll feel it too
Maybe you'll feel it too (Spineless dreamers)
Maybe you'll feel it too (hide in churches)
(Pieces of pieces of rush hour, buses)

I dream in emails, worn out phrases
Mile after mile of just empty pages

Spineless dreamers, hide in churches
Pieces of pieces of rush hour, buses


Lyrics submitted by MLBfreek35

"Perfect Symmetry" as written by Timothy James Rice-oxley, Tom Chaplin, Richard David Hughes

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Perfect Symmetry song meanings
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  • +4
    Song MeaningThis song is a request to break the cycle of revenge.

    "I shake through the wreckage for signs of life
    Scrolling through the paragraphs
    Clicking through the photographs"

    I feel angered while viewing the media coverage of some event that shows a lack of humanity.

    "I wish I could make sense of what we do
    Burning down the capitals
    The wisest of the animals"

    Even animals don't kill each other like this. Why do we choose to?

    "Who are you? What are you living for?
    Tooth for tooth, maybe we'll go one more"

    The cycle of revenge is unending. What do you hope to gain by it?

    "This life is lived in perfect symmetry
    What I do, that will be done to me"

    Cleary, this is stating a simple truth: our existence is founded on cause and effect, which leads to one of the greatest spiritual truths: we reap what we sow. How can you expect to benefit from a violent act? How can you justify violence through religion when this is known?

    "Read page after page of analysis
    Looking for the final score
    We're no closer than we were before"

    Media coverage of a retaliatory act that served no real purpose.

    "Who are you? What are you fighting for?
    Holy truth? Brother I choose this mortal life"

    Why fight for your beliefs when the simple truth is that we could choose to live this mortal life in peace, as brothers?

    "As the needle slips into the run-out groove
    Love - maybe you'll feel it too"

    In the end: Love is all there is. I love you. I hope you'll return it.

    "And maybe you'll find life is unkind
    And over so soon
    There is no golden gate
    There's no heaven waiting for you"

    If you were to die today, the hate you carry will only drag you down.

    "Oh boy you ought to leave this town
    Get out while you can the meter's running down
    The voices in the streets you love
    Everything is better when you hear that sound"

    Time is running out for your way of thinking. Choosing life in harmony is a better approach.

    "Spineless dreamers hide in churches
    Pieces of pieces of rush hour buses
    I dream in emails, worn-out phrases
    Mile after mile of just empty pages"

    The religious dream and talk of peace, but most don't have the courage to use non-violent solutions necessary to break the cycle of revenge. Meanwhile, the death toll mounts.

    "Wrap yourself around me"

    A plead for peace. I want you to embrace me.

    Great tune! Great writers!
    CogentMuseon March 09, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment“In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make” sang The Beatles. This song echoes the same sentiment.

    It’s a song about Jihad, the holy war. The futility of “an eye for an eye” revenge attacks from both sides. Where will it all end?

    Fanatical religious extremists hide in “churches” and send suicide bombers out onto London’s buses. They won’t be going to “heaven”, even if there is one. As they prepare to meet their maker, maybe the hatred will be replaced by love? “Love is all you need”.
    TedBon October 15, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThere's a reason he wrote "pieces of pieces of rush hour buses" after the line about spineless dreamers. It's not about religion in general, it's about people who hide behind religion and use it to commit violence.

    This song is brilliant, perfect, totally appropriate for this day and age...really impressive.
    z4ckm0rrison October 20, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThanks guys. After reading what Pringles said, I see it as less athiestic, and more along the lines of what z4ckm0rris said, especially now that I understand the line "pieces of pieces of rush hour buses", which I never understood before, but it makes perfect sense now. That being said, I still feel an athiest/sacreligious undertone, especially after reading that Tim said he didn't like religion.

    And as we all agree, good songs (like this one) will mean different things to everyone, so I can totally see where everyone's coming from, and I know all the opinions are valid.
    MLBfreek35on October 21, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentone from the most beautiful meaning i ever heard
    keane are always have a message or feeling to share with people they are so cool love them
    roogenaon October 25, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAn awesome song - probably the most Keane-like on the album, so no wonder it's so popular.

    As for the meaning, I definitely read an anti religious extremism context... the contradiction of fighting for a religious cause.

    "Who are you? What are you fighting for?
    Holy truth? Brother I choose this mortal life"

    ... if discovering the “holy truth” involves violence, then the singer clearly opts out for a mortal life.

    The only piece that I can't really make much sense of is the internet / email connection. I guess the singer despairs at reading about the countless news stories that are linked to religious cause – 7/7; 9/11 etc ?

    The verse:

    “Oh boy you ought to leave this town
    Get out while you can the meter's running down
    The voices in the streets you love
    Everything is better when you hear that sound”

    … is amazing – sends shivers down my spine.
    ThePrinon January 08, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI'd have to agree with most everybody here. The song is about the question of what drives people to kill other people, and why we just pointlessly fight back and forth. The excuses are drugs, religion, etc. I don't think it has any atheist ideas and not saying there is no heaven, but saying that no matter what reason you give for being cruel, the answer will be complete lies. That's just my idea, at least.
    ItsNorberton January 15, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThere's a really good reason this song is the title track. It pretty much sums up the whole album.

    The central theme for the song and the album is what can be achieved, and where we should set our goals.

    First two stanzas indicate what is going on with mankind right now. It's "wreckage" and humans are just "the wisest of the animals." I love that line because it shows that we might think highly of ourselves, but we're really just animals. At the same time, we have achieved a lot for animals.

    "This life is lived in perfect symmetry" - That line has so many possible meanings. From the following line, one may deduce that all actions will be reciprocated. It can also indicate that there is perfection in the world, we just have to find it. There's also a slight implication that everyone has another half, someone with the same perfect symmetry as them. The list just goes on and on and on... It's up to the listener to get what they can out of this.

    The stanza after the first chorus shows that we can do things in futility, like searching through pages and pages of text, when all you're really looking for is who won and by what score. And these things don't help, because "we're no closer than we were before"

    Back into the chorus: it starts by asking "who are you, what are you living for?" Which shows that some people don't know what they're here for, but they need a purpose in order to live a full life.

    The stanza after the second chorus (Maybe you'll find...) says that we have got to set our goals high, and we can do so much better than we're doing (sound familiar? Maybe the title of another Keane song?) because we don't have an unlimited time on this earth, and there might not be a heaven where we can live forever after.

    The next couple lines serve to get people off their asses and into a new place where they can dream big, and realize those dreams.

    I think there are a few places where atheistic support is hinted at, especially where it says "there is no golden gate, there is no heaven waiting for you." Also, the softer bit where the backing vocals sing "Spineless dreamers hide in churches" which to me says that people with no spine, or no backbone, nothing keeping them going, go to church to put something in their lives so they have something to live for. Not only that, but they're "hiding" in churches, perhaps covering up a bigger truth.

    The two lines from "I dream in emails..." to "...just empty pages" show how some people are so screwed up by society that they can't do things for themselves.

    All in all, I love this song lyrically because it's very open to interpretation while having a very deep and encouraging meaning. And it's not about love, which is a plus in this musical age.
    MLBfreek35on October 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNicely put, MLBfreek35!
    I just disagree in the point when you talk about atheism. I think it's more about tue dessacralization of life, the meaningless os spirituallity in the post-modern world than an atheisthic approach!
    But, as you correctly said, this is so open for interpretations! =D
    What a great song about LIFE! Keane just did it again! NICE SONG!

    Peace \\//
    ThePringleson October 08, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat analysis MLBfreek35 !
    A few months ago, Tim (songwriter) said he didnt like religion.. i think it was a hint for that (wonderful) song.

    ".. looking for the final score": you try to make sense, understand whats going on but can't find out
    "holy truth": you chose not to believe in the answers religons have to offer
    "needle.. over soon": well at the end of your life, you may find love but you may also find that you've missed things and too bad, it's over now
    "leave this town": leave this philosophy of life (believing in a higher force or something?) and you'll feel better
    "spineless": people who are not strong enough to face life and who are comforted by religion
    "rush hour buses": hmm hard to understand.. religion -> terrorist attacks?; or those dreamers are pieces of buses (and buses would be life itself?)
    "dream in emails": i dream of a better world but it will never happen (?) so you better wrap yourself around me so we can face it togeter?? I dont know..
    organixon October 11, 2008   Link

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