"Be Calm" as written by and Nathaniel Joseph/dost Ruess....
As I walk through the streets of my new city
My back feeling much better, I suppose
I've reclaimed the use of my imagination
For better or for worse, I've yet to know
But I always knew you'd be the one to understand me,
I guess that's why it took so long to get things right.
Suddenly I'm lost
On my street
On my block

Oh why, Oh why
Oh why haven't you been there for me?
Can't you see, I'm losing my mind this time?
This time I think it's for real, I can see

All the tree tops turning red
The beggars near bodegas grin at me
I think they want something
I close my eyes, I tell myself to breathe

And be calm.
Be calm.
I know you feel like you are breaking down.
Oh I know that it gets so hard sometimes.
Be calm.

I'm scared that everyone is out to get me.
"These days before you speak to me you pause."
"I always see you looking out your window."
"After all, you lost your band, you left your mom."
Now every single crack, every penny that I pass,
Says I should either leave or pick it up
But with every single buck I've made
I'm saddled with bad luck that came

The moment I was baptized
Or when I found out one day I'm gonna die
If only I could find my people or my place in life
A when they come a'carolin'
So loud, so bright, the theremin
Will lead us to a chorus
Where we'll all rejoice and sing a song that goes:

Oh be calm.
Be calm.
I know you feel like you are breaking down.
I know that it gets so hard sometimes,
Be calm.
Take it from me, I've been there a thousand times.
You hate your pulse because it thinks you're still alive
And everything's wrong
It just gets so hard sometimes
Be calm.

I don't remember much that night,
Just walking, thinking fondly of you
Thinking how the worst is yet to come
When from that street corner came a song
And I can't remember the man,
The panhandler or his melody.
The words exchanged had far exceeded any change I'd given thee.

Oh be calm.
Be calm.
I know you feel like you are breaking down.
Oh I know that it gets so hard sometimes,
Be calm.
Take it from me, I've been there a thousand times.
You hate your pulse because it still thinks you're alive
And everything's wrong
It just gets so hard sometimes
Be calm.
Be calm.


Lyrics submitted by SomthinCorporat

"Be Calm" as written by Jack Antonoff Andrew Dost

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Be Calm song meanings
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26 Comments

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  • +5
    General CommentFun fact (pun slightly intended): Nate wrote this song in Portland, OR. He said he was visiting with his girlfriend (I think he said he was visiting her parents? But I could be mistaken.) and he walked past a homeless man singing the lines "be calm."

    :]
    Gatorboton October 26, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song brought me to tears. Sort of the opposite of its point, but yeah. I absolutely love it beyond words. He's just so intense when he sings "be calm" that I can't.
    MunkeyNerdon August 12, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationWhen someone tells you about what they are going through in their life the best way to respond is to not only give advice but to show them that you can relate by telling them about your similar experience and how you handled it. I think this is what "Fun." did in this song. The verses are his experience and the chorus is how he dealt with it. I love the way the lyrics and music fit so perfectly through every part of the song. With Nate Ruess the music often gives you more info of what was going through his mind then the lyrics.

    "As I walk through the streets of my new city
    my back feeling much better, I suppose
    I've reclaimed the use of my imagination
    for better or for worse, I've yet to know"
    This is just a simple story of what was going through his head as he started out his day.

    "but I always knew you'd be the one to understand me,
    I guess that's why it took so long to get things right.
    Suddenly I'm lost
    On my street
    On my block
    Oh why, Oh why
    Oh why haven't you been there for me?"
    As he walks along the street he begins to think deeply about his life. He starts wondering why things aren't going as he had expected he tries to move to the root of his problems and so doing becomes overwhelmed. He stops wondering where he is going or why he's going there. He continues to walk on and on as his mind races in circles with no answer in sight.

    "Can't you see, I'm losing my mind this time?
    This time it's for real, I can see
    All the tree tops turning red
    The beggars near bodegas grin at me
    I think they want something"
    Then he opens his eyes. Stops walking around blindly and tries to figure out where in the world he is. Nothing is familiar. Nothing is right, the real world no longer makes sense because he's been living on the inside of his thoughts for so long.

    "I close my eyes, I tell myself to breathe
    and be calm."
    When he comes to his breaking point he knows himself well enough to know how to handle it. He has obviously been in this situation before and knows what he needs to do. He has to stop. and Be Calm in order to cope with his thoughts.

    "Be calm.
    I know you feel like you are breaking down.
    I know that it gets so hard sometimes.
    Be calm."
    Now he pauses his narration to tell the listener that he can relate.

    I'm scared that everyone is out to get me.
    "These days before you speak to me you pause."
    "I always see you looking out your window."
    "After all, you lost your band, you left your mom."
    Now, he begins to think about the decisions he has made recently. He cannot figure out if he made the right choice. He has different aspects of his personality talking to him in his mind and making him second guess his decisions.

    "Now every single crack, every penny that I pass,
    says I should either leave or pick it up
    But with every single buck I've made
    I'm saddled with bad luck that came"
    Now because his mind is telling him that he keeps messing up he can no longer make even the most inconsequential of decisions like picking up a penny off the sidewalk. He is finding that even though one part of his life might be going alright (his career) everything else is falling apart, in his head.

    "the moment I was baptized
    or when I found out one day I'm gonna die
    if only I could find my people or my place in life
    a when they come a'carolin'
    so loud, so bright, the theremin
    will lead us to a chorus
    where we'll all rejoice and sing a song that goes:
    Oh be calm."
    His brain is continuing to over-complicate life. Once he begins to think about the issues of the world he cannot stop and as he becomes overwhelmed he begins to worry over the never ending question that has pushed the wisest of men to their limit "What happens when we die?". Then, through the muddle of thoughts crowding his mind, his sub-conscious pushes through with a small sliver of light that reminds him to be calm. That it will be alright.

    "Be calm.
    I know you feel like you are breaking down.
    I know that it gets so hard sometimes,
    Be calm.
    Take it from me, I've been there a thousand times.
    You hate your pulse because it thinks you're still alive
    and everything's wrong
    It just gets so hard sometimes
    Be calm."
    Once again he relates his experiences to the listener. Telling them that it did work out in the end even if there was a time when at his lowest he no longer wanted to live.

    "I don't remember much that night,
    Just walking, thinking fondly of you
    Thinking how the worst is yet to come"
    Here, he goes back to his narration of his walk that began in the morning with simple everyday thoughts. The day, because of his panic-attack has been a whirlwind of excitement (portrayed by the music) but now we are back to his narration of walking along the street. He has already resigned himself to the fact that his relationship will not last and is now just thinking about how he is and will continue toenjoy it as long as it lasts. The music in the section is really extraordinary because it shows how after his panic-attack even these loud harsh chords are calming when compared to his adrenaline rush. An example of this would be if you went into the lobby of a venue holding a Megadeth concert after being involved in a mosh pit. Your mind would be calm even with the intense music still blaring because when compared to what you just finished experiencing the lobby is an oasis of tranquility.

    "When from that street corner came a song
    And I can't remember the man,
    The panhandler or his melody.
    The words exchanged had far exceeded any change I'd given thee."
    I'm not completely sure about this ending but I believe he is telling the listener where he got the advice that he was giving them. After Nate's long day walking he sees a street musician and drops him a bit of money. The man either said or (more likely) played something that touched Nate. That made him control his thoughts, and be calm.

    "Oh be calm.
    Be calm.
    I know you feel like you are breaking down.
    I know that it gets so hard sometimes,
    Be calm."
    He really wants the listener to learn from his mistakes and handle similar situations by calming down and letting go.

    Although there are no lyrics in this point of the song I believe the ending deserves an interpretation because it is so unique. The beauty is in the minor key that gives it a realistic, crushing ending. He is trying to say that this is not going to be the end of your struggles but you must always persevere on.
    mlynnmswimmeron February 25, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love this song! I can't wait for the album! Here are some corrections:

    "I've reclaimed the use of my imagination."(verse 1)

    "Every single crack, every penny that I pass, says I should either leave or pick it up."(verse 2)

    "You hate your pulse because he still thinks you're alive."(chorus)

    "And I can't remember the man, the man who wrote this melody"(bridge)
    Maelglonon February 24, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentjust a correction:

    "all the treetops turning red" (v1) as opposed to "the tops of trees are turning red".
    iamtrevorpaxtonon August 08, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My Opinioni love nate.
    i'm diggin the music change when he says "i'm scared that everyone is out to get me"

    <3
    tori09790on September 06, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commenthe is so clearly describing a panic attack, and then telling himself to calm down.

    i like to describe Fun as "the format on anti-depressents". or perhaps, with therapy.
    he using coping skills to help him and he's found a new sense of happiness.
    megsDuhon December 23, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is the song my brother and I listen to when we have panic attacks. It's nice to finally have a song that's telling us to 'Be Calm' when either of us are on the edge.
    chichithekilleron December 27, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionPersonally, I think Nate is a song-writing genius. And with genius comes a little insanity, right? A few of his songs just sound like, "Who could even put these feelings into words, let alone songs?" Everyone feels like losing their minds at some point, and fun. really encompasses that in this song.
    somenightson December 09, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI believe that the song is discribing a persons fight with PTSD after coming home from a war. "As I walk through the streets of my new city"--the place he's returned to is nothing like the place he left. "My back feeling much better I suppose"--a war injury he came back with has started to heal. "Ive reclaimed the use of my imagination, for better or for worse Ive yet to know"--before he left he had certain ideas about how fighting in the war would be, but while he was living it he didnt have to imagine it. Now that he's home, though, he can't stop thinking about it, and he doesnt know why. "But I always knew you'd be the one to understand me...suddenly i'm lost on my street, on my block...oh why havent you been there for me? can't you see i'm losing my mind?"--he left a close loved one behind when he left and came back with his trauma hoping that said loved one would be able to help him through it based on all the understanding and help the person had given him in the past, but the person doesnt understand what he's going through or how to help him, and theyre distancing themselves from him because of that, but he doesnt know why. "All the tree tops turning red, The beggars near bodegas grin at me, I think they want something, I close my eyes, I tell myself to breathe, and be calm"--he's having flashbacks about the war about the violence and the dishonesty of the people who had the intensions of harming him for information or other reasons, which has lead to him mistrusting all the strangers around him and having panic attacks whenever they address him due to that. "I'm scared that everyone is out to get me" relates to that too. "I'm saddled with bad luck that came, The moment I was baptized,Or when I found out one day I'm gonna die, If only I could find my people or my place in life, A when they come a'carolin', So loud, so bright, the theremin, Will lead us to a chorus,Where we'll all rejoice and sing a song that goes..."--He's looking back on the pressure of his peers (in this case a church or religious family) to go and fight for his country, saying things like "You're going to die anyways, so would it be better to die with honor or live with cowardice? This is the purpose of your life!" and their promises to treat him like a hero and praise him when he came back, but he's realizing that their praise wasnt worth the pain and suffering he went through while he was fighting and is still going through even after he's come back. "Be calm. I know you feel like you are breaking down. I know that it gets so hard sometimes, Be calm. Take it from me, I've been there a thousand times. You hate your pulse because it thinks you're still alive, And everything's wrong, It just gets so hard sometimes, Be calm."--He's found someone who's been through a similar situation as him and may also have PTSD who he can relate to and lean on to begin his healing and possibly help that person heal at the same time.
    adargison December 10, 2012   Link

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