"Silvia" as written by Christian Karlsson, Pontus Johan Winnberg and Andrew Wyatt Blakemore....
Reach the city steps tonight
Following the power lines

Met a man barside
With eclipses for eyes
And you tell yourself you wont let them touch
Did I say too much did I say enough
I don't know Sylvia
I don't know Sylvia

Circle round the room still
Breaking my will

Know I can't have you here
Someone else on your skin

And it's all my fault for not getting off
So you made it start, can you make it stop?
You don't know Sylvia
You don't know Sylvia

Damn Silvia
Damn Silvia

Damn Silvia
Damn Silvia

Reach the city steps tonight
Following the power lines

And your skin is so white
Underneath the black night
And your voice cries out for the Coup de grace
When the lights go out will there be a trace?
That I loved, Silvia
That I loved, Silvia

Silvia
Silvia
Silvia
I loved Silvia


Lyrics submitted by heathereve, edited by adamguy17, Maharajamd, StillWaiting, aaronsc, benjaminikuta

Silvia song meanings
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31 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentI don't understand why people always seek to find a mundane narrative about love affairs and drug abuse in wonderfully written songs like this. I was fortunate enough to see Miike Snow at Coachella, 2010. They came out with Phantom of the Opera masks on and it was obvious to me that mystery is a huge part of their show, lyrics, and videos. One look at the video for "Black and Blue" and "Sylvia" shows they are going the Tarriantino briefcase motif and I love the hell out of it. Here is the simple answer for me.

    The person in this song has killed Sylvia. The conclusion is of the song is "...and your voice calls out for the coup de grace and the lights go out will there be a trace?" A coup de grace is defined as "a death blow intended to end the suffering of a wounded creature. The phrase can refer to the killing of civilians or soldiers, friends or enemies, and with or without the consent of the sufferer." It certainly can be a figurative, metaphorical, or analogy "killing" but the song seems to suggest a literal killing from my perspective. Consider this "and your skin is so [white] underneath the black night" suggesting she is already dead along with the lyrics "I dont know silvia / that I loved, silvia / that I loved, silvia." Motive? Simple, "I know I can't have you here/ someone else on you skin." What makes this all so delicious is that like a character drawn from Edgar Allan Poe, the speaker seems to be deranged, holding a conversation with a dead lover: "Did I say too much / did I say enough / I don't know Silvia / I don't know Silvia." I think he followed the "powerlines" out of the city to bury her, and used them to return to the city. Amazing songwriting, thank you Miike Snow!
    Alwaysinterestedon April 20, 2010   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationIt's pretty obvious, I think, that this song is about a man (the singer) who's in love with a girl (they're not necessarily in a relationship) , but she probably doesn't feel quite the same way and sleeps with another man.

    Perhaps she's a beautiful girl, because I think the man who sleeps with her is the man he meets by the bar: "met a man barside" and "with eclipses for eyes" because when someone is attracted to something/one, it's known their pupils dilate. "Eclipses for eyes" suggests his pupils were so wide and dilated because he lusted for this girl, Silvia.

    Other lines which suggest it's about Silvia sleeping with someone are: "When the lights go out" and "someone else on your skin"

    obstacle2on February 21, 2011   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationI don't think drugs have anything to do with it. All the lyrics fit perfectly with the narrative that:

    Silvia is a very desirable yet unattainable woman who has left a trail of broken hearts, the singer among them.

    * a man with eclipses for eyes (being one of her other heartbroken former lovers).
    * Circle round the room still/have fun breaking my well (I'm obsessed with you, have fun conquering me then tossing me out)
    * I know I can't have you here with someone else on your skin (you just got back from being with another guy)
    * Your voice cries out for the coup de grace (you want to end the relationship, put it out of its misery)
    * Will there be a trace that I loved Silvia (this unrequited love is intense, will it be remembered)?

    The video affirms this because all the men in the video are the sad heartbroken lovers she has left in her wake, and they burn an effigy of a heart at the end.

    I had an experience exactly like this and the song evokes it perfectly; I have since grown and realized that I was too needy at that time and had to figure out how to fill the emptiness within myself rather than looking to a woman to do it.
    EverWiseron May 18, 2011   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningI think this is about someone who is obviously in (still) love with a girl called Silvia. I know he says "that I loved" also, so maybe they aren't together anymore. He feels jealous when he goes out, remembering she could be with someone else (i can't have you here, someone else on your skin). He feels that they aren't together because of him and his clinginess. ("and its all my fault for not getting off, so you made it stop cant you make it stop") So she broke up but he still wants her. The way he repeats her name so many times is a sign that he is constantly thinking of her. He couldn't go out with her and enjoy her because he was always thinking of other people looking at her and wanting her, and now he is in that same position because he forced her away with how close he tried to be..

    So many guys do this. Why won't you learn?
    If you love something, set it free.
    If it doesn't return, it never was and wants to be.
    theblushon March 09, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentsIIiiiIIIiiiIIiiIILLLvvveeEEeeeEEeeeEEeeeuhhuuuhhhuhooow-uhhhuuuuhhhhowEEEAAAAUUUH

    IMO
    jasonporter16on December 17, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLove could easily be compared to a dangerous drug. Although it makes one blissful, in return it can also create vulnerability, despondency, and not to mention it is hard to get over just like an addiction. The song “Silvia” by Miike Snow is a narrative song which depicts the struggles that the narrator and Silvia face in their relationship because of the influence of drugs. It is written as a flashback due to the fact that he “reached the city steps tonight, following the power lines” twice in the song as the opening verse and as a verse towards the ending. After he reaches the city, he and Silvia then go to a bar. The first evidence of substance abuse makes itself apparent as the narrator “[meets] a man bar-side, with eclipses for eyes.” It is a common side effect to have enlarged pupils after taking drugs. He uses this metaphor to add to the mood of the song which is overall dark and surreal as an eclipse would be. The couple does not have enough money to purchase the drugs from this unnamed man they met at the bar. It is suggested that they are forced to use her body to get what they want. The narrator then speaks for Silvia as he states “and you tell yourself you won’t let them touch.” This could possibly be contact between her and the man at the bar, whether it is her lips touching his for a kiss, or just body contact in general. Nonetheless, this line states that Silvia is hesitant to sell herself to the man because she has emotions for the narrator. The narrator then comes in with the lines, “Did I say too much, did I say enough? I don’t know, Silvia.” This states the confusion and insecurity that the narrator is facing in this situation. He has emotions for her, but the will to get the drugs may be too much for him to handle and he does not know what to say to her. There is emphasis on the confusion because “I don’t know Silvia” is repeated twice. He is split in his decisions; on one hand he does not want her to do this but on the other he has a strong desire to get the drugs from him. Silvia eventually sells herself to the man for drugs leaving the narrator in a nervous and anxious manner as seen in the lines “circle round the room still, have fun breaking my will.” He is pacing the room waiting for her. Silvia is breaking him down by being with another man and the narrator becomes sarcastic about it. He knows she will not have fun doing this but he says it out of spite anyways because he is jealous and angry with her. The jealousy and insecurity is even more emphasized with the following lines, “I know I can’t have you here, with someone else on your skin.” This is his breaking point; he realizes that his love for Silvia is greater than his need to get high. He begins to blame himself for not getting off drugs, “and it’s all my fault for not getting off.” He regrets being in this situation at the mercy of drugs which has made him give up Silvia in order to feed the addiction. Silvia, however, may have started the addiction and introduced him to the drugs, “so you made it start.” He wants them both to get clean so they do not have to be put in this situation again, “can’t you make it stop?” He then speaks for her as seen in “you don’t know, Silvia.” The addiction to the drugs may be too strong for them to just give up. In his realization of this, knowing that there is little hope because they are too far into the addiction he then repeats the line, “you don’t know Silvia.” He then curses himself for getting involved with drugs and not knowing how to get out of the situation. “Reached the city steps tonight, following the power lines” makes the second appearance in the song. This signifies the end of the flashback, and he is now in reality. The flashbacks purpose was to give the narrator a chance to figure out how he ended up in this situation. He is now with Silvia and he describes her in the lines, “and your skin is so white, underneath the black night.” This is a contrast to emphasize how pale and sick she is from the drugs that they took. She possibly had an overdose from the drugs and is now dying. The narrator also describes her in the line, “and your voice calls out for the coup de grace.” The artist uses “coup de grace” to flow with the song and even make the situation more beautiful. The artist could have easily replaced “for the coup de grace” with “to just end it all,” and the song would still have the same meaning, but the choice of words makes Silvia’s suffering more gracious. Silvia has had enough and just wants her life to end by this point and the narrator is witnessing it all. It is suggested that her life ends when the next line appears, “and the lights go out.” This metaphor of death also ties into the power lines referenced twice in the lyrics. The power lines are what led him to Silvia and now there is no light to lead him back to where he came from. He becomes completely lost and the scene becomes dark and hopeless. After she is dead he asks himself, “will there be a trace, that I love Silvia?” He is most likely too far under the influence to completely express his emotions for her. The tense then quickly changes from “love” to “loved.” The narrator states, “that [he] loved, Silvia” two times after he stated that he loves her. He may have realized that she is now dead and loved her when she was alive. The narrator then curses himself with “damn me” four times, and each time he curses himself it could be for something different. He damns himself the first time for meeting her, the second time for getting involved with her, and the third time for letting her get him involved in drugs. Lastly, and most importantly he states, “damn me, that I loved Silvia.” His relationship has grown so much with her that he began to love her and he regrets letting himself get this far with her because now she is gone due to the drugs. He may have known all along that drugs would ultimately do this to them which is why he is damning himself. He then exits the song with two chilling lines stating, “help me.” The narrator now has nothing. He has lost Silvia and she has left him with a drug addiction. The drugs ultimately tore their relationship apart, but in return also may have made him realize that he was in love with her due to the fact that he does not mention or admit that he loves her until she is dead. The drugs were the driving force though out the relationship causing him jealousy, insecurity, and realization that he loved her. Although it is unclear which drugs are actually being used, it is ironic that the name Silvia is close to the drug salvia by just one letter. Most likely salvia was not the drug being abused in the song because it cannot cause a fatal overdose. Salvia, however, is an extraordinary visionary drug which induces realization and self-reflection in the individual who uses it. This is ironically what Silvia has done to the narrator by the end of the song.



    Lyrics:

    Reach the city steps tonight
    Following the power lines
    Met a man bar-side
    With eclipses for eyes
    And you tell yourself you wont let them touch
    Did I say too much
    Did I say enough?
    I don't know Silvia
    I don't know Silvia

    Circle round the room still
    Have fun breaking my will
    I know I cant have you here
    With someone else on your skin

    And its all my fault for not getting off
    so you made it start, can you make it stop?
    You dont know, Silvia
    You dont know, Silvia

    Damn me -a
    Damn me -a
    Damn me -a
    Damn me -a

    Reach the city steps tonight
    Following the power lines
    And your skin is so white
    Underneath the black night
    And your voice calls out for the coup de grace
    And the lights go out, will there be a trace?
    That I love Silvia
    That I loved Silvia
    That I loved Silvia

    Damn me -a
    Damn me -a
    Damn me -a
    Damn me -a
    That I loved Silvia

    Help me -oh
    Help me -oh
    AmericanScorpioon March 18, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment3rd line is "met a man barside"

    in addition to a few corrections:

    "and you made it start, can you make it stop?"
    "and your skin is so white"
    "WHEN the lights go out..."

    I'm pulling these lyrics from the digital booklet.
    yellowtigeron June 02, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthought I'd like to add this..

    the part during the breakdown, before the last verse where it now says

    "damn
    damn"

    is most certainly just "silvia" said through a billion different pieces of software.

    siiiiillllll(4 measures)
    viiiiiiiiii(4)
    ahhhhhhhhh(8)
    robbnthahoodon February 21, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationSpiritualfish was on the right lines as I also think its about drugs. Many songwriters write about substances, comparing or singing about them under the false pretence of a woman. The most famous example is obviously Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. This song however, I believe is about salvia. The name 'Silvia' is the most obvious giveaway, however:
    "Met a man barside
    with eclipses for eyes"
    could be hinting at dilated pupils, another effects of substance abuse.

    "and its all my fault for not getting off
    so you made it stop cant you make it stop"
    This verse clearly hints at his addiction problems.

    "circle round the room still
    breaking my will
    know I cant have you here
    someone else on your skin"
    These few lines are about Salvia's effects on the writer, line three specifically is about how the writer knows what he is doing is wrong and wants to stop this habit. Line 4 is about how when you are under the influence of salvia, it's not you but the effects that are taking control.

    Nemesis1908on March 26, 2010   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning This is a really amazing song and the meaning of the lyrics are pretty straight forward:

    "Met a man barside With eclipses for eyes"
    -He and Silvia go to a bar and meet a drunk guy

    "And you tell yourself you wont let them touch"
    "Know I can't have you here Someone else on your skin"
    -They went there to find someone for her to have sex with for money and eventhough he doesnt want her to do it they really need money for drugs

    "And it's all my fault for not getting off And you made it start, can you make it stop?
    You don't know Sylvia"
    -He blames himself because he cant get off drugs and he's asking her if she knows how to get clean

    "Reach the city steps tonight Following the power lines
    And your skin is so white Underneath the black night"
    -The last verse isnt so clear but it sounds like they are just outside the bar and the power lines are her veins and he is trying to find a good one to shoot up

    "And your voice calls out for the Coup de grace"
    -Is her telling him to inject it, the term coup de grace also means to end ones suffering and as any addict knows when you are withdrawing it is the worst pain you can ever experience and you either want to get high or die.
    Also silvia or salvia is a hallucinagenic but its not the kind of drug you get strung out on so its probably a coincidence.




    jindabyneon June 28, 2010   Link

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