"Tornado" as written by and Sharon Van Etten....
You never saw me as a reward.
You didn't know he did
And then you tried to win the bet.
You tripped and fell upon the sword
That I'd given to you though you never carried.

I'm a tornado. You are the dust,
You're all around and you're inside.

My eyes get dusty cloudy,
Just like you wanted...
You were the child
And I'm the fault.
Why do I fawn upon you?
You are the reason I'm a force.
And when you knew you were you to feel worse.

I'm a tornado. You are the dust
You're all around and you're inside.

I cannot make you leave your source
'Cause you make yourself feel like you've got grounding.

I'm a tornado. You are the dust
You're all around and you're inside.
You are the nature I'm the roar that comes from you.

I'm a tornado. You are the dust
You're all around and you're inside.
I'm a tornado you are the fences that will fall
But still surround me.
I'm a tornado.
I'm a tornado.
I'm a tornado.


Lyrics submitted by legacyofjeff

Tornado song meanings
Add your thoughts

2 Comments

sort form View by:
  • 0
    General Comment“I'm a tornado, you are the dust, you're all around and you're inside,” are lyrics that make me think she's saying, in the context of an interpersonal relationship, “I'm a disaster right now because of you. What's going on mentally (inside) is horrible/stormy, and you're (around) the world my destruction (dust) is negatively impacting.” It sounds so intense. I wonder how other people interpret these lines?

    “I cannot make you leave your source/ 'Cause you make yourself feel like you've got grounding.” It makes me think of how in meditation practices, you're supposed to avoid grabbing for “groundedness” because it is delusional, apart from the present reality. I wonder if that kind of “grounding” is what SVE had in mind when she wrote this song. It's not a word I come across much, otherwise.

    I had fun contrasting this with another tornado metaphor/relationship dynamic song, Neko Case's “This Tornado Loves You."
    tesstigermilkon May 02, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI think in this song Sharon feels she's been both the abuser and the victim. She's a tornado in that she's destructive. At the same time she's unwillingly become a tornado, lost control of herself, become volatile, because of someone else. Many of Sharon's songs are about a past boyfriend who was abusive to her. This one seems half an angry message to him, half an apology to another guy who was destroyed in the wake of her abusive relationship.

    You never saw me as a reward.
    You didn't know he did
    And then you tried to win the bet.
    You tripped and fell upon the sword
    That I'd given to you though you never carried.

    **Two men in love with her. One is a good guy, the one she's addressing here. The other one is cruel, sees her as a commodity. Yet she's more attracted to the one who treats her badly. The good guy tries to win her back, fight for her, but got hurt--fell upon the sword he didn't know he would ever need, but that he was forced to use to try to get her back.

    I'm a tornado. You are the dust,
    You're all around and you're inside.

    **She's spinning out of control. She's destructive. And she's whipping this guy around, damaging him just because he happened to be in her path.

    My eyes get dusty cloudy,
    Just like you wanted...
    You were the child
    And I'm the fault.
    Why do I fawn upon you?
    You are the reason I'm a force.
    And when you knew you were you to feel worse.

    **Now I think she's addressing the other guy, the cruel one. She thinks he wanted her confused, in a whirlwind, dependent on him. He's the one that put her in this destructive, uncontrollable state, ruined her for anyone else.

    I'm a tornado. You are the dust
    You're all around and you're inside.

    **Unlike the first use of these lines, this type she's blaming, not apologizing. He turned her into this. He got inside of her and made her lose herself, her stability.

    I cannot make you leave your source
    'Cause you make yourself feel like you've got grounding.

    **He won't stop. He thinks he has purpose. He thinks he's right.

    I'm a tornado. You are the dust
    You're all around and you're inside.
    You are the nature I'm the roar that comes from you.

    **Back to the nice guy. He is the beauty; she's the ugliness.

    I'm a tornado. You are the dust
    You're all around and you're inside.
    I'm a tornado you are the fences that will fall
    But still surround me.

    **And one last message to the abusive one. She is trying to break away, yet cannot escape him.

    I'm a tornado.
    I'm a tornado.
    I'm a tornado.
    CaseJ18on July 24, 2012   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain