"Out Go The Lights" as written by and Britt Daniel....
You walk into the ballroom like
The cough, the wind, the rain was right
And all them heads went left to right
Then out with the lights
It was a break in time
I know your mechanisms

You became like that
One which your heart was fixed
Before I knew what was which
Out with the lights

There's a picture of you
Standing there in my black wig
Looking like, who thinks they know who
Standing there in my black wig
I came here for the noise
You always look good that way
You with the one-two punch from Illinois

If you lean any harder
That window breaks at the bone
And when that light turns back again
You will remember the way
They fall for you like a brick
Oh but nobody loves you
Or woos you when you're down or kicked

Out go the lights
Never see that counterpoint
You always look good that way
You with the one-two punch
You always look good that way


Lyrics submitted by inak, edited by Dr. Hellno

"Out Go the Lights" as written by Britt Daniel

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Out Go The Lights song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentPersonally, I think this song, and actually the entire album, is about the women in Britt's life that he's been serious about. Transference, sorry this is going to be the Wikipedia level definition, is the unconscious redirection of feeling from one person to another. So, by naming the album this, I think what Britt is trying to say about this group of songs is, that they aren't so much about a person or an event, but a group of women and relationships who resemble each other in his mind. Like he keeps running into the same patterns with all the girls in his life.

    What out go the lights is about to me is a woman who changed. She entered his life making his head turn from "left to right" and then it ended and "out went the lights" and time stopped. She had goals in her life "on which heart was fixed" and in pursuing them she changed and then it was over. The part about the black wig to me is just couple stuff, messing around and being silly like you do with your girl friend, and he's reminiscing about it before trying to blot it out with "the noise" at a club or something. Similarly, the part about the window breaking at the bone/bump is the kind of thing you say when you're breaking up to stall because, you don't know what to say.


    The boxing metaphor I think is to say that she surprised him and beat him down. He didn't think she could be vicious like she was at the end and then she walked out on him. Maybe this is just me, but I would say the music is also fits the mood of having been recently walked out on, at least in my mind.
    nswnsnon April 17, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretationcan't say if it's about a boxer from Illinois (who's loved but only because he's not been defeated yet and 1-2 punches Britt Daniel in the head, and therefore....out go the lights) or a girl (who's so beautiful that everyone turns their head and who likes transvestitism and therefore to wear a black wig, which btw is Britt Daniel's, who is blonde.).
    icepickon February 04, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFavorite track so far from Transference.
    mchrisseeon February 05, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLyric in the first verse should be "the call for wind and rain".

    I like how "one two punch" sounds like "one to punch".
    LoserNo1on March 19, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWithout a doubt, my favorite song from Transference. It brings something new to the table, while still keeping Spoon's signature sound (or at least my idea of it). Personally, I could care less what the full meaning of the song is. I tend to take certain lines, just take hold of them, and love them for what they mean to me.
    xxwanderlustxxon March 20, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMaybe it's about Obama? To me I can see it being a song about our President and how he was very popular during his campaign and his first few months in office but now that more people see him as just another politician, one that is not so different than our previous president (better of course, but not Hyperion to a satyr), his popularity has diminished. No clue about the black wig bit though, so I'm probably wrong. Just throwing it out there though.
    SoundTeam36on May 11, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe cough, the wind, the rain was right
    I like cough because it reminds me of the signal’s a cough, from “I Summon You", but I've also seen the call, the wind, the rain...

    Lots of light and ignite references on the last couple albums: “Out Go the Lights“, “I Saw the Light”, “Now the light bulb’s gone out” (Written in Reverse), “Then the place ignite” (Eddies’s Raggae), “Feel like I’m gonna ignite” (I Turn My Camera On), etc.

    There's a picture of you
    "I Turn My Camera On”

    Standing there in my black wig
    “Black Like Me"? That's a stretch.

    Looking like, who thinks they know who
    In terms of this and the black wig and all, I think we are talking about a woman with mechanisms to becomes like that on which her heart is fixed. She is almost just like him, because of this ability, and there is a picture of her, becoming like that on which her heart is fixed. She has black hair, probably long, just like him with a black wig. She's looking at him like "who thinks they know who", and before he knew which was which....

    Out with the lights
    This often happens after a one-two punch.

    I came here for the noise (?)
    More into the music than the groupie hookup?

    You with the one-two punch from Illinois
    “Chicago at Night”?

    Never see that counterpoint
    Also seen “kind of poise", but counterpoint is brilliant.
    pine_applehearton October 19, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song so much. A few corrections from the booklet:

    - [The call for] wind and rain was right
    - Then out [went] the lights
    - You [were] the one-two punch from Illinois
    - I [can't hear] for the noise
    - That window breaks at the [bump]
    - [Knows you] when you're down or kicked
    - Never see that [kind of poise]
    - You [were] the one-two punch

    Seriously though, sometimes I think that Spoon doesn't give their lyrics to their label, and the company might even have interpreted them. Personally I think that "breaks at the bone" sounds better and fits better. Same with "out with the lights" and "woos you when you're down or kicked" and most of the other ones.

    I love how in the end of the song there's that strange clanking and grinding. It always reminds me of like a reactor shutting down or a power plant failing or something. It's great. It really makes the song feel like it's breaking down and dying in the end. :)

    Cheers.
    bryanduganon February 03, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI do not see it as being about a boxer. Instead Daniel seems to be using a boxing metaphor here to refer to her beauty. "One-two punch" and "outgo the lights" seem to be a reference to a KO. In other words "she's a knockout"
    mrjoejangleson April 09, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with nswnsn in that I think this is a wisftul, sadly nostalgic, elliptic song about a past love in a past era. But for what it's worth, Noel Murray at AV Club says it's Britt Daniels paying homage to Factory Records. Factory was the home of Joy Division/New Order, Happy Mondays, etc. I don't the song sonically sounds like it's paying homage to Factory, so maybe it's in the lyrics. Haven't seen "24 Hour Party People," which is about Factory Records, either.
    NankerPhelgeon May 01, 2011   Link

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