"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

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Perfect Symmetry song meanings
Add your thoughts

27 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +6
    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 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
  • +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
  • +1
    My InterpretationI really think CogentMuse nailed it, but I would dare to say there is room for another interpretation, which I find very interesting. It is very political and it has sociological and philosophical analysis. For me, the song can also be about how people live distant from each other, drifting apart, thinking only about themselves and being cynical. All this egocentrism would lead us (as individuals and also as political beings) to a state of constant tension, trying to get our desires attended over others. It is also about a false notion of progress, and that we are masked, in a life of appearance. Religion (in some ways, such as extremism) and technology would be some of the agents of this situation. And also about how, deep down, we just want to be happy and need ourselves in order to achieve it.

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

    Humanity is in a bad state, evidently. This is the first reference to technology in the song. It shows that we have a digital life: our means to investigate the world are scrolls and clicks.

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

    We believe we are progressing, that all our efforts to build stuff, our science and technology, distinctively human, are the signs we are going in the right path. We are actually not.

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

    What is your role in this world? What do you do to be someone distinctive, true to yourself? Do you think the criteria we use to determine progress is really accurate? We live in a dog eat dog world, and it might stay that way for some time.

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

    (For me, these verses are nearly metaphysical) The thing is: doing stuff just because you or your group/class think is right, without thinking about others, can have serious consequences. Constant war and tension is built up because of this. We have to think about other people.

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

    Opinions and analysis are given everywhere, people have an urge to state what's in their minds. However, these are just superficial acts, because nobody listens to the opinion of others. In the end, no consensus is reached, and only arguments are brought up. In this process, people could end up thinking differently and realizing they might be wrong. They don't. As there is no change of thoughts, there is no change of attitudes, and things remain the same. (More references to technology, if you face the pages as online)

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

    Again, the philosophical question of "who are you, where do belong in this world?" (It might imply we have a necessity of acting out to fit in.) When faced with those who seek to discuss and transform society though religion's optics, the singers answers our matters should be solved be ourselves, without trying to apply religious dogmas to other people who might not think accordingly, or have different beliefs.

    "(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’ll feel it too"

    While you rely on dogmas and live ruled by something that might not be even real, in the end, life of men is ruled be natural laws, the cause and effect. Love is repeatedly discussed in the media and by our society as a transforming force, and this is considered very cliché. However, once you get out of your shell and look to others, try to put yourself in others' shoes, you start to live in line and create empathy, which is a different form of love and caring and is indeed revolutionary.

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

    Again, a request for people to face reality. In the end, a life ruled by ethereal concepts distances people from us, social and political beings. Do not act thinking on promises and dogmas: you will be let 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"

    If you want to fix things, it's better to rethink your actions. Life is short, and reaching out to people can make everything better. A new dimension of life is discovered, in which true connections fill the void of the superficial, current lifestyle.

    "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"

    People tend to search what brings them comfort, and it might distance then from what is being able to live socially. In religion, they gather up, in a closed group, and live more with abstract and ethereal concepts then with humanity, getting far from what should be democracy and tolerance. In technology, they are far from each other, even though thinking they are connecting. Internet and online spaces (as in common to churches, according to the song), as a whole, contain lots and lots of empty thoughts, people following others without critical sense. The rush hour buses are an image to lots of people together, however apart: in buses and cars, the agglomeration is big, but it doesn't mean real interaction is made.

    "Wrap yourself around me
    Wrap yourself around me"

    My favorite part of the song. Very emotional and powerful, almost a plead. I need you, as much you need me. We can work things out if we do it together. Human beings need each other, biologically, physically. We walk together to surpass the bumps and obstacles found in these contemporary times.

    "As the needle slips into the run-out groove
    Maybe you’ll feel it too
    Maybe you’ll feel it too"

    Who knows what time you might have an epiphany, after listening people say it over and over again. There is the hope you realize what's happening and act in order to make life better.

    This is my favorite song lyrically. I don't know if I'm tripping with my analysis, but this song can indeed take us very far, and these multiple meanings enchant me. I find it amazing, even though I don't completely agree with the statement on religious beliefs.
    fldjgon August 02, 2015   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

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