"Los Angeles" as written by Adam Duritz, Ryan Adams and Dave Gibbs....
Oh Los Angeles we leave you now
At the setting of your skies
As we leave the comfort of your ground
With your angels we will fly

Well you carried us in broken dreams
Like a mother does her sons
We were scattered 'cross your dirty streets
We were dying one by one

And you held us in your city lights
When our eyes had lost the stars
And we made our peace with lonely nights
And you healed our broken hearts

Well they say the big one's gonna come
And you'll fall into the sea
But we will know that then your work is done
And your angels will go free

And your angels will go free
And your angels will go free
And your angels will go free


Lyrics submitted by SUNSHiN3

"Los Angeles" as written by Adam Duritz Ryan Adams

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Los Angeles song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +3
    My InterpretationThis is such a beautiful song. I think that the "angels" he mentions are all of the people who traveled to LA in the hopes of achieving fame or some other unreachable dream. Some of them made it, but some of them became discouraged. Some of them even fell prey to the harsh lifestyle that accompanies fame.

    Los Angeles is characterized as a benevolent force that looks after these lost, discouraged angels.

    I think that the last line is particularly interesting: "your angels will go free".

    I believe that he is referring to all of the victims of Hollywood, both the living and the dead. When LA falls into the sea, it won't be a catastrophe because all of the people who are stuck in the glamorous purgatory of Hollywood will finally be free and at peace.

    This may be a decidedly metaphysical/supernatural interpretation of the song, but I couldn't help but picture the ghosts of tragic figures like Brittany Murphy, River Phoenix, and Heath Ledger all being set free from the simultaneously thrilling and terrifying city of Los Angeles.

    It was a beautiful image. :)
    chrysalison January 04, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentsuch an amazing song by an amazing artist.
    kennedyAMon May 01, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationFirst of all, what a terrific song but an amazing artist. But I personally don't think that this song has anything to deal with Los Angeles itself. I think it has more to do with loss. Leaving "Los Angeles" I think can refer to nearly anything, from an actual city, to a relationship, to even the loss of a loved one. It also includes the hardships that one faces when dealing with loss. Hope is hard to maintain and Peter Bradley Adams is terrific at explaining this. He says "...The Big One's gonna come, and you will fall into the sea." The "Big One" can refer to the hope of a bright future and prosperity, but the road that leads there is never easy and that's why he says "you will fall into the sea". Yet, I strongly believe that the lyrics try to portray hope and persistence because even when the going gets tough, there are always goals to be met. And the angles in this song represent the people in our lives that are there for us in our time of need. When all hope seems lost, there are people in our lives who will help us get through our troubles.
    cbradeson June 06, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is amazing...
    Ive always thought anybody who lives in LA is trapped here for one reason or another, nobody ever actually "wants" to be here...
    JesAnneon May 24, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationWhen I heard this song I thought of the members of the homeless community (i.e. Skid Row, plus throughout the rest of the city) who are victims to the elements, lack of nourishment, drugs, alcohol, etc. The lyrics "We were scattered 'cross your dirty streets/We were dying one by one" particularly brings this image to mind.

    I'm not certain what the "Big One" references, whether it's the will of God or a meteor or something that people think will destroy the earth. What do you all think? Why would the city fall into the sea?

    I also am puzzled by "And we will know then that your work is done." Who is the "your" referenced here? Is it the city itself? And, if so, what is the "work" that is finished?
    AVerseon March 27, 2013   Link
  • 0
    Link(s)Regarding the Big One: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…

    But I can't figure out what the city's work is.

    Perhaps the angels would be free simply because they didn't have a city to tend to anymore?
    Jesdiscipleon December 23, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI'm sure this wasn't the original intent of the song, but it makes me think of the AIDS crisis that wiped out so many talented young men, particularly in NYC and Los Angeles, in the prime of their youth. The phrase, "like a mother does her sons" in particular makes me think of that. .
    AnnaTheAcolyteon July 05, 2015   Link
  • 0
    MemoryI share the sentiments of Anna who felt sadness and empathy for the souls lost to the AIDs epidemic be they from hemophilia transfusion, iv drug use, or unprotected sex. So many died that were loved by so many in LosAngeles, nobody knew at the time why, and how? Thankfully so much has been learned since then about AID's treatment that a long life is possible. Back then your loved one could begin to die and there was little that could be done. - Thanks Anna - Ms. Marie
    marie17731on July 02, 2016   Link

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