"Headphones" as written by Dan Haseltine, Charlie Lowell, Stephen Daniel Mason and Matt Odmark....
I don't have to hear it, if I don't want to
I can drown this out, pull the curtains down on you
It's a heavy world, it's too much for me to care
If I close my eyes, it's not there

With my headphones on, with my headphones on
With my headphones on, with my headphones on

We watch television...but the sound is something else
Just a song played against the drama, so the hurt is never felt
I take in the war-fires, and I'm chilled by the current events
It's so hopeless, but there's a pop song in my

Headphones on, in my headphones on
With my headphones on, with my headphones on

At the Tube Stop, you sit down across from me
(I can see you looking back at me)
I think I know you
By the sad eyes that I see
I want to tell you (It's a heavy world)
Everything will be okay
You wouldn't hear it (I don't want to have to hear it)
So we go our separate ways...

With our headphones on, with our headphones on
With our headphones on, with our headphones on
I don't wanna be the one who tries to figure it out
I don't need another reason I should care about you
You don't want to know my story
You don't want to own my pain
Living in a heavy, heavy world
And there's a pop song in my head
I don't want to have to hear it

Lyrics submitted by BigcSpaz504, edited by Kuroth

Headphones song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentI agree with pr1nc355, who replied under martincr70's comment. It is definitely warning the listener about getting too caught up in their own lives and not listening to others. I think Jars of Clay is saying that sometimes people try to block out negativity with a positive outlook that causes them to miss the seriousness of the problem ("We watch television, but the sound is something else
    Just a song played against the drama, so the hurt is never felt"). I think that it also talks about the effect this has on the other person who has a problem. When others kinda overlook others' problems because they don't want to deal with the pain or because they are too caught up in themselves the other person gets the feeling that they don't want to hear about their problems at all. And this feeling of neglection just makes them feel worse, and also causes a major communication problem in the relationship.

    When you listen to the song the way it sounds is also telling of the meaning. The song is almost numbing-sounding, partially caused by the repeated line "headphones on...headphones on..." It just sorta is always there in the background, just as our own "headphones" are playing, blocking out real compassion and feeling towards others. The song makes you feel almost numb, just like people feel numb towards others' problems.

    Oh, and if you think I'm totally wrong that's completely fine with me. I could very well be way off-base. Just thought I'd share my opinion on the song. I think it's brilliant, lyrically and musically. Really, the whole album is to be honest. One of the best ones I've ever boughten for sure (along with my Owl City albums).
    sarahann114on December 02, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCool song about a guy who doesn't want to open up and doesn't think anyone would want him to.
    martincr70on May 04, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAgreed. Definitely one of my favorites on the new album!
    BigcSpaz504on May 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI mostly agree with you guys, but I think it's more of a social commentary on our society in general. Not only that we miss the chance to help others on a personal level, but that we just ignore all the bad things in the world by tuning out. It's easier to put a song on and forget the day than remember that we're still involved in Iraq and Afghanistan, that soldiers are still dying, that genocide is going on right this minute, that our economy is collapsing. We'll all sit around and do nothing while the world falls apart around us, because it's more comfortable to just put on some music and ignore it.
    picquaon August 12, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI agree with you guys that in some parts, this song is about being wrapped up in our own lives and looking past the negative side so that we can't really help others. But I think it's more about what martincr70 said, and how we often cut ourselves off from the rest of the world so we don't have to deal with all the pain of reality. We "put our headphones on" so that we don't have to hear the rest of the world ("I don't want to have to hear it"). Also, I think the part where it says "I want to tell you everything will be okay; but you wouldn't hear it, so we go our separate ways" is about how a lot of times we want to talk to others and comfort them, but we're afraid they'd just tell us to piss off, so we end up just walking away without saying anything, with our headphones on.
    practicallyfine13on June 16, 2011   Link

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