"Substance" as written by Christopher Owens and Chet White Jr....
it doesn't have to be this way
i know something
to take the corners off
and help you rock and roll
right down the road

and if you want to shape your brain
i know a substance
that gets rid of everything
and helps you rock and roll
out of control

who wants something real
we could have nothing
why not just give up
who wants to try
let go of the wheel
turn your ass over
come on take it
it's a simple ride

i never asked to feel this way
it's something that happened
you can just go with it, man
you can rock and roll
right down the road
if you take it day by day
don't try to fight it
you can do anything, yah
you can rock and roll
out of control

who wants something real
you could have nothing
why not just give up
who wants to try
let go of the wheel
turn your ass over
come on take it
it's a simple life

who wants something real
we could have nothing
why not just give up
who wants to try
let go of the wheel
turn your ass over
come on take it
it's a simple life

i take the key in my hand and it opens up the day
i take the key in my hand and it takes the pain away (hey hey)
i take the key in my hand and it opens up the day
i take the key in my hand and it takes the pain away (hey hey)
i take the key in my hand and it opens up the day
but if i had love i'd throw it all away


Lyrics submitted by alsolikelife, edited by Pistoism

Substance song meanings
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12 Comments

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  • +1
    Song MeaningThe meaning of this song is letting go and accepting life. However, once you have love you throw it all away because your emotions are there and being in love is worth the ride!
    jstroncheckon January 22, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General Commentjust one thing here, it's "it's a simple life" not ride.

    xo- Christopher Owens
    chrissybaby4everon February 18, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti hope this song is on the second album.

    which i am eagerly awaiting.

    perhaps it will be called "vinyl".
    heylookitschrison February 24, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDoes anyone have an idea of what the last part means?

    I take the key in my hand....etc.

    That has to be a reference to the use of substance (takes the pain away, opens up the day)

    But I can't seem to find a correlation between a key in a hand and drugs.

    Is it just an analogy, like sobriety is something that is unlocked by a key, and that key is substances?

    Or is a key in your hand some drug lingo I don't understand?
    modestmashon December 08, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentby "key" he's referring to a kilo
    phillron December 17, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTwo comments:
    - In my opinion it sounds like he is saying "come on take it / its a simple LINE" although it could also be life.
    - The key in his hand is clearly a metaphor for drugs "unlocking" an experience. If the lyric is "simple line" that would imply cocaine usage, but the song could refer to many substances. I think the key is more important for the metaphor of opening the door and escaping sobriety. This is a depressing song, and the conclusions it draws (that the speaker is more likely to use drugs to escape the pain of life and would even be willing to throw something as important as love away, trading the real and getting rid of everything in the pursuit of that high) point to both the inherent attraction and utter despair that hardcore drugs lead to.
    snickle17on February 12, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentits about cocaine, tongue in cheek.
    you snort cocaine with a key, but he's making a beautiful analogy about it
    spook!!on April 01, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBeautiful song!
    The meaning is simple: it's all in the last lyric.
    He's saying that he uses drugs to feel high, to feel free, to be able to rock'n'roll all the way, but at the same time he knows it's not good, nor a pure way to do so. Only love is.
    BrokenDickon October 04, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentEveryone here has blindly accepted the whole "drugs are bad, mmmkay?" line.

    This song is not anti drug or depressing. I don't see it as specifically about cocaine (an unquestionably terrible drug) at all, that doesn't open any doors. Hallucinogens do. It feels like I always do when trying to convince girls to do drugs. I know it will be fun and beneficial for them, but I know I'm doing it primarily to get them to loosen up, understand me, and ultimately sleep with me. Thus the sleepy "common, just try it" tone, with a mix of guilt for being dishonest and being convinced that the singer is correct.

    And he's saying that if he fell in love that would transcend any high, and it does. A beautiful message.
    hugeWeltanschauungon December 12, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe song is about opiates. Christopher has mentioned a battle with opiates in recent interviews and bio pieces on the band. I wish him luck in his recovery as he is a great singer and songwriter. I also think its really awesome that he is a member here at SongMeanings and takes the time out of his day to post here with corrections or some insight to what his songs are about.
    summerteeth99on May 21, 2012   Link

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