"Goodnight, Travel Well" as written by Brandon Flowers, Dave Brent Keuning, Mark August Stoermer and Ronnie Jr. Vannucci....
The unknown distance to the great beyond
Stares back at my grieving frame
To cast my shadow by the holy sun
My spirit moans with a sacred pain
And it's quiet now
The universe is standing still

[Chorus]
There's nothing I can say
There's nothing we can do now
There's nothing I can say
There's nothing we can do now

And all that stands between the souls release
This temporary flesh and bone
We know that it's over now
I feel my faded mind begin to roam

Every time you fall
And every time you try
Every foolish dream
And every compromise
Every word you spoke
And everything you said
Everything you left me, rambles in my head

[Chorus]

Up above the world so high

And everything you loved
And every time you try
Everybody's watching
Everybody cry

Stay, don't leave me
The stars can't for your sign
Don't signal now

[Chorus]

Goodnight, travel well
Goodnight, travel well

And there's nothing I can say
There's nothing I can do now


Lyrics submitted by jeremygrim

"Goodnight, Travel Well" as written by Dave Brent Keuning Brandon Flowers

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Goodnight, Travel Well song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentIt's all about death. Period. I don't believe there are any hidden meanings or anything. It's about Dave's mother, who has just passed away, and Brandon's mother who was diagnosed with a deadly brain tumor. The first few times I listened to this moving song, I thought the lyrics were complex and I didn't understand. But in reality, they are quite simple- just brilliant, and you have to think. Here, I'll translate them for you..


    The unknown distance to the great beyond
    Stares back at my grieving frame

    (The unknown distance is heaven- he is looking up at the sky and heaven stares back at him. He is going through he initial stages of grief- he is in shock, he is upset, he is still waiting for his mother to return.)

    To cast my shadow by the holy sun
    My spirit moans with a sacred pain

    (The holy sun and the shadow all has to do with religion, heaven. The spirit and the sacred pain is technically saying that he is in an indescribable pain)

    And it's quiet now
    The universe is standing still

    (The quiet is from his mother being gone, without her everything just stops. He is coming to the realization that she is gone, and he is discovering how different it is without her)

    [Chorus]
    There's nothing I can say
    There's nothing we can do now
    There's nothing I can say
    There's nothing we can do now

    (This is another stage of grief. He knows that she is gone- he is angry and frustrated with himself and the situation. It is too late to change anything now- neither of them can do anything about it)

    And all that stands between the souls release
    This temporary flesh and bone

    (He begins to question life and what it really is. He understands the not much stands between life and death, and we are all temporary here on earth)

    We know that it's over now
    I feel my faded mind begin to roam

    (He is speaking to himself and his mother- trying to convince himself that everything they had is done- but he can't help but think of the past)

    Every time you fall
    And every time you try
    Every foolish dream
    And every compromise
    Every word you spoke
    And everything you said
    Everything you left me, rambles in my head

    (He is at yet another stage of grief. Getting angry and realizing that none of that shit means anything anymore. Every time his mother tried to do something, every time she had a dream, every time she spoke a word- he is pretty much saying that it was all a waste of time because she no longer exists. However, he can't stop thinking of everything she taught him and did for him and told him- the memories kill him)

    [Chorus]

    Up above the world so high

    (This has various meanings. Of course it is a line from "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", which could have been a song she said to him, or just a song that reminds him of childhood and innocent. He knows that now his mother actually is up above the world so high. He can't take the intense pain)

    And everything you loved
    And every time you try
    Everybody's watching
    Everybody cry

    (He is still thinking and grieving. Talking about how his mother was a real person- a woman who loved and a woman who had passion and a woman who did so much. He can't wrap his head around that in such a quick moment that can all be over. He is surrounded by family and friends who grieve along with him. He is extremely sad and he doesn't know what to do)

    Stay, don't leave me
    The stars can wait for your sign
    Don't signal now

    (Know he is past the stage of shock and confusion and anger and frustration. He is sad. Just extremely sad. He becomes a child and he gets on his knees and he begs- please please don't leave me here alone. He tells the stars or God or the grim reaper or whoever takes someone when they die, that they can wait- he will do anything- just do not take her from me.

    [Chorus]

    Goodnight, travel well
    Goodnight, travel well

    (He has reached the final stage. The stars have ignored his pleadings, he accepts that his mother is gone. He is the saddest, most frustrated and confused man on the face of the earth. But he fights through it and finds peace. He knows that he can't change anything. He says his final farewells to his mother- and he pretty much wishes her luck in heaven. He hopes she is safe and okay. Tears are streaming down his face but he smiles because he thinks of the life he shared with his mother- the good times. He knows that she can hear him- and he feels at peace.

    And there's nothing I can say
    There's nothing I can do now

    (He revisits the thoughts of any grieving man.There is nothing I can do. There is nothing I can say. It is what it is. I can't change it. It ail be okay and we will move one. It will be okay.
    readyfreddieon June 13, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWow.....love this song, beautiful.....I'm speechless...
    MarkiePon November 19, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti know its totally wrong, but when i hear this song i cant help
    thinking about a person who is about to jump off a bridge, thinking
    about his life.

    the beauty of art is that you can interprette it any way you like.

    goodnight, travell well is my favourite song of all time.
    i dont know why, but i love it :p

    killersss1on December 17, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI didn't care too much for 'Day & Age', thought it was a little lackluster, and while better than 'Sawdust' it fell short of 'Sam's Town' and 'Hot Fuss'. For me, this song was the albums most redeeming feature and it may actually be my favorite song of theirs, even if it isn't much like the rest of their catalog. I hope this represents a new direction for the band, personally I would love to see more songs similar to this one in future Killer's releases.

    While I think it can be agreed that this song is about sickness and death, what resonates with me most is how Brandon conveys feeling powerless. In this way the song is really about a loss of hope, so I feel it transcends the literal meaning and becomes something with which people in a variety of situations can empathize. Anyways, a great band and a powerful song, I can't help but tear up when I hear it.
    SadLoveon January 07, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI find it interesting that not many people (if any) have discussed the "great beyond" part of the song throughout these comments. I've always interepreted it to be from a first person perspective. I had a close friend die of cancer and a few days before he passed we were in his room in the hospital. At one point he told us that he may be counting his days, but we were all being rather optimistic about the situation. After he died, one of my best friends looked at me and said, "you know Johny knew he was dying." That still haunts me and probably will forever. I can't imagine what must've been going through his head at that time. He knew it was over. There's nothing I can say or do now.
    I do find "great beyond" and "travel well" very interesting. I'd like to know what Brandon means here. Where is that soul releasing to?? Very cool and very spiritual. Good work fellas.
    nails2828on November 11, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis song allways makes me think about what is after live... you know, about what eternity looks like.

    mediauser.de/wp-content/uploads/…

    Everytime when I listen to this song I look at this picture, it makes me feel so happy, full of emitions...
    Imagine travelling home... through the beautiful universe to a place where everything is bright an shining and magical. I don't believe in God, but I think, that there is something bigger...
    this is what this song sounds like to me.
    SpacemanSaysEverybodyLookDownon July 23, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is so well written! I am a BIG fan of the band and listened to this CD a lot during the spring/summer of 2009. I knew I liked the song but didn't fully pay attention to the lyrics until my grandmother passed away that October. There are times when I torture myself and listen to it over and over and never once have NOT shed a tear. It feels like I am still trying to accept the fact that she is gone and am searching for the answers in the lyrics to this song.

    Stay don't leave me
    The stars can wait for your sign don't signal now...

    My grandmother died alone during the night. I knew how sick she was but did not realize that the end was so close. I wish she could have not "signaled" so that I could have had one last visit with her. I would have given anything to have been holding her hand when she passed.

    Every word you spoke
    Everything you said
    Everything you left me rambles in my head...

    I try desperately to remember everything she taught me and the times we shared together. You see, I was born on her birthday and we shared a special bond like no other bond I have ever experienced or will ever experience in this lifetime. I have the last roll of film from her camera in my purse. On that roll of film there is the last picture ever taken of her with my, at the time 2 1/2 month old, son. I guess I am not developing it because once I see the pictures there will be no more.

    Every time you fought
    Every time you tried...

    My grandmother battled thyroid cancer since 1991 and was successful for 18 years. We traveled regularly to a hospital over an hour away and she fought the disease with everything she had until, I think, she got too week and tired to fight. She had a true love of life.

    As the song picks up toward the end I think it is expressing the feelings of those left behind. Helpless and realizing that all they can do is wish the departed well as they begin their journey into the unknown.

    The end of the song reminds me of a heartbeat slowly fading into nothing.

    After this song I have an even greater appreciation of the band. This song had to have been written by someone who has gone through the same experience as I have. For those of you who disagree maybe you have not lost that special someone. If so, I am truly happy for you and my advice to you is enjoy every second that their flesh and bone is still here to enjoy. May God Bless!
    allizachon April 16, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionI drove my son's car a while back and was completely blown away with the song. it touched all of my senses. The music is very powerful and the lyrics took me to a special place. I immediately thought of the death of my parents. Even though years apart the emotions were the same.
    We are both body and soul. The soul is definitely the most significant and is eternal. And when my time comes I plan to travel well, how about with angel wings. Is that traveling well?

    It is sown corruptible; it is raised incorruptible. it is sown dishonorable; it is raised glorious. It is sown weak; it is raised powerful. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual one. 1 Corinthians 15:42b-44
    But there is something you can say, there is something you can do!
    Skipper1on November 10, 2016   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis song seems to be about losing someone and there be nothing the narrator can do about it.


    This song is great, I can tell though that since it isn't really that mainstreem kinda sound that it's going to be under appreciated.
    Radicaljoeon November 21, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOh I forgot to add in my last post that the line "The unknown distance to the gray beyond" is incorrect. It sounds more like "The unknown distance to the GREAT beyond."
    Radicaljoeon November 21, 2008   Link

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