"Dead Hearts" as written by and Christopher Seligman Amy Millan....
Tell me everything that happened
Tell me everything you saw
They had light inside their eyes

Did you see the closing window?
Did you hear the slamming door?
They moved forward, my heart died

Oh please tell me what they looked like
Did they seem afraid of you?
They were kids that I once knew

I could say it but you wont believe me
You say you do but you don't deceive me
It's hard to know they're out there
It's hard to know that you still care

I could say it but you wont believe me
You say you do but you don't deceive me
Dead hearts are everywhere

Did you touch them?
Did you hold them?
Did they follow you to town?
They make me feel I'm falling down

Was there one you saw too clearly?
Did they seem too real to you?

They were kids that I once knew
Now they're all dead hearts to you.


Lyrics submitted by ricebox, edited by lovegoods, lonicerra

"Dead Hearts" as written by Christopher Allen Seligman Amy E Millan

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Dead Hearts song meanings
Add your thoughts

56 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +11
    My InterpretationIn a literal sense, the words of this song portray the female singer being consoled by the male singer after she has apparently had an encounter with ghosts. (Fittingly, as the opening track to a CD called “Five Ghosts” that often invokes imagery of the dead) Personally I imagine it being a foggy dusk, in a small rural town. The male character is eagerly trying to piece together what it is that she saw in her encounter, but she is seemingly shaken — if you’ll notice, she is not actually answering his questions, but speaking out to seemingly no one, as if still in shocked daze. She describes the ghosts as being visions of children she once knew, with “light” in their eyes, and she details the feelings of death and despair that came over her. The chorus talks about “they” (ghosts, or “dead hearts”) being out there, but insists most people fail to recognize it or believe in them.

    A few of the lines make it clear that this ‘supernatural experience’ is actually a metaphor. “It’s hard to know that you still care,” “Now they’re all dead hearts to you,” etc. The dead hearts represent the narrator having a stirring reflection about the meaningful people and things from her past that she has realized are now “dead” to her. Various people in whose eyes she once saw “light,” the people who once had vibrant, meaningful presences in her life — they have faded over years into distant memories. The song’s meaning is effectively that there are many people you lose and places you leave over a lifetime — sometimes purposefully, sometimes drifting away slowly or unintentionally — and that those dead hearts and forever lost feelings haunt everyone should they choose to realize and reflect upon them.
    Browns0286on July 07, 2010   Link
  • +6
    General CommentI am 26 and I suffer from Avoidant Personality disorder (wikipedia has a fairly simple explanation about exactly what APD is. and lists the symptoms people suffering from it exhibit, and I exhibit all but one of them (the fear of touch I don't mind that so much). In short though; it means I am terrified of going out in public, but wish with all my heart to have a significant other and experience all the things most people my age take for granted.) As well as to freely and happily spend time with my friends. I've had it for a long time, but as of the last 3 years it has become clinically severe, and I've lost touch with pretty much all of my friends because of it.

    I'm not sharing that personal problem to fish for sympathy believe me. I just feel that knowing those things about me will help you to understand the way I view these lyrics:

    Tell me everything that happened
    Tell me everything you saw
    -I'll go over any sort of conversation I've had with people and dissect it over and over looking for ways I made a fool out of myself, it's almost a form of self torture one that never really stops.

    They had light inside their eyes
    -"They" are my friends and loved ones, and the light inside their eyes is the passion every young adult experiences for life when venturing out on their own, something I am simply too terrified to do.

    Did you see the closing window?
    Did you hear the slamming door?
    They moved forward, my heart died
    -the closing window and slamming door are all the opportunities I have missed out on. "Moving forward" is just that, they have mostly moved on with their lives without me (I know it's my own fault, not theirs, please don't misunderstand me) and "my heart died" is pretty straightforward as well. Knowing they're all so happy without me breaks my heart over and over again

    Oh please tell me what they looked like
    Did they seem afraid of you?
    They were kids that I once knew
    -the kids again representing friends and how they are almost strangers to me at this point as I no longer know them.

    I could say it but you wont believe me
    -my disorder is hard to understand, and because of this I get people telling me to just snap out of it and to go out there and do something instead of moping around and cutting myself off from others. It's tough love on their part but I am so terrified of confrontation that I always agree with them and make hollow promises to do just what they suggest. This has happened so many times that I know they don't believe me and are almost at wits end.

    You say you do but you don't deceive me
    -Compliments, I never feel like anyone truly means them, they simply want to try to cheer me up. Part of me knows that most probably are simply compliments but I can't convince myself no matter how I try.

    It's hard to know they're out there
    -My friends, again, they are out there every day enjoying life while I close myself off more and more and escape into fantasy to try and bury my overwhelming sadness. And that only works for so long.

    It's hard to know that you still care
    -Family, they try to talk to me because they do care about me, and I feel that I've let them down so many times that I hate what I'm putting them through.

    I could say it but you wont believe me
    You say you do but you don't deceive me
    Dead hearts are everywhere
    -other people suffer from similar social phobias. and it saddens me deeply to think that other people are just as miserable as I am.

    Did you touch them?
    Did you hold them?
    -Love, I want more than anything to experience it, but I can't convince myself to even try, simply out of fear.

    Did they follow you to town?
    They make me feel I'm falling down
    -Seeing couples together; whether it be in the real world or even film has gotten to the point where there is so much envy that it just hurts too much to watch that I just can't do it anymore.

    in conclusion: I know I'm reading way way way into these lyrics; and most of my interpretations are probably way off, and to be frank maybe even a little self centered of me and I'm just throwing myself a "pity party." but, Everytime I listen to this It brings these feelings to the surface immediatly and I can't help it but to cry. I want to cry I, why? Well I read somewhere that crying is the body's way of dumping the excess hormones that are overwhelming the person and help them to calm down. It makes sense to me and I am so miserable that I'll do almost anything to be rid of this constant strain. As a guy admitting to crying, let alone wanting to cry is a humiliating thing to admit to. But, despite that it is true, it is me at my core and I really just needed somewhere to say these things.

    I'm probably going to immediately regret sharing this with people on the internet, since in my experience a large group of people love to antagonize and belittle others for sharing deep feelings. At this point, rock bottom isn't too far down anymore, so what's the use of keeping these feelings in anymore? I just hope to finally get someone to understand how I feel and maybe share their own views on my interpretation of this beautiful and saddening song.

    Thank you.
    Avantanon July 29, 2012   Link
  • +5
    General CommentI feel that it's about the past. The "ghosts" and "dead hearts" are the dreams, people and even your old self.

    "They were kids that i once knew... Now they're all dead hearts to you" - seems to be a loss of childhood, or innocence that you once had that you long for again. They are dead because that old you no longer exeist

    <3 this song
    cezozzeon September 13, 2010   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationI think this is a couple after a failed relationship one goes back to the apartment they lived in a goes back to places they went too and remembers the memories and sees "ghosts of their past"

    Tell me everything that happened
    Tell me everything you saw
    ----
    She claimed to see ghosts of the past and told a friend.

    They had light inside their eyes
    ---
    Describing how lit up they looked and how happy they seemed

    Did you see the closing window?
    Did you hear the slamming door?
    ---
    The couple had a fight and the boy walked out angry and slammed a door, they're asking if that is what she saw.

    They moved forward, my heart died
    --
    The boy moved on in the relationship and it broke her heart

    Oh please tell me what they looked like
    Did they seem afraid of you?
    ---
    Did it really look like the past to her, did it scare her

    They were kids that I once knew
    ---
    I was their past and she is calling them "kids" like they were just "kids in love"

    I could say it but you wont believe me
    You say you do but you don't deceive me
    ---
    He doesn't want to admit it but she is just extremely heart broken and she says she can handel it but he knows she is still hurt

    It's hard to know they're out there
    It's hard to know that you still care
    ---
    She knows he is still out there but she thinks he is completely over her

    Dead hearts are everywhere
    ---
    She can see how everyone has a broken heart some how

    Did you touch them?
    Did you hold them?
    Did they follow you to town?
    ---
    they're asking if she saw them out and about

    They make me feel I'm falling down
    ---
    She feels sad and upset and like she is crumbling when she see's her happy past

    Was there one you saw too clearly?
    Did they seem too real to you?
    ---
    Was there one memory she remembered really clearly that almost feel like it was too real to be true.

    They were kids that I once knew
    Now they're all dead hearts to you.
    ---
    She is talking about how they were just kids back then, but now they're just a dead and past relationship to everyone, but it's still real to her.
    heeyitsizzon September 07, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI totally agree with Browns0286. I particularly love the "did you hear the closing windows/doors" lines. The endings of relationships and times of life are always difficult, especially when others move on and you are left behind with nothing or you are still living like before but everything has actually changed. ("They moved forward my heart died")
    notalwaysthecaseon July 15, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI agree with Browns0286 as well but I also think it could be some sort of reflection of the self..as if you were remembering everything that happened before the glass of what you thought life was shattered, when you still had light (hope) in your eyes, when everyone was still hopeful and everything was so much easier before.

    While pondering you ask yourself if you even saw it all coming, if you even saw the windows being closed and the doors being shut by the people that you loved, who moved forward without you.

    What was it like? What did they look like? And you think, you once knew them so well, as if like children, when you were so optimistic about everything, then when everything ends you find that you now know nothing about them or even yourself at all.

    People call you out on it, but you keep denying that you still care about them or that you're alright. But it's all just dead, lifeless hearts walking around you. Yours may be one as well.
    silentcrocuson July 20, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI always thought it was about living people with dead hearts, people who used to have dreams but never really got the chance to fulfill them. "Kids that I once knew" makes it all the more painful if you knew these people personally; you knew what they wanted in life and are sad that they didn't get it. "It's hard to know they're out there, It's hard to know that you still care" could mean that you don't really recognize these people anymore ("once knew") and that they've become pretty apathetic; perhaps they've accepted that this is the most their lives will ever amount to. With their hearts dead, maybe they're just waiting for the rest of their selves to die.
    chabocinnamonon August 25, 2010   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationFor me this song is about two current lovers talking about their first true love/crushes, and how they still care for them deeply.

    Tell me everything that happened
    Tell me everything you saw
    They had light inside their eyes
    ---------------------------------
    The boy asks her to tell him everything about the person she loved, what they saw in them, etc. She replys that they had an inner fire, a passion that she loved.
    ---------------------------------

    Did you see the closing window?
    Did you hear the slamming door?
    They moved forward, my heart died
    ---------------------------------
    The boy asks if she saw the breakup coming, did she realize that it was going to end. She says that after they left her, her heart was broken and died.
    ---------------------------------

    Oh please tell me what they looked like
    Did they seem afraid of you?
    They were kids that I once knew
    ---------------------------------------
    The boy wants to know more about the other person, what they looked like, if they were afraid of a committed relationship.
    ---------------------------------------

    I could say it but you wont believe me
    You say you do but you don't deceive me
    It's hard to know they're out there
    It's hard to know that you still care
    ---------------------------------------
    He could tell her that he loves her and will always be there for her, but her heart has already been broken by someone who had said the same thing, and doesn't believe him. She can say that she truly loves him, and is over the former lover, but she still cares for her first love. It's hard to live with the fact that a person you love is living a life, but not with you, and that you will always love them.
    ---------------------------------------

    I could say it but you wont believe me
    You say you do but you don't deceive me
    Dead hearts are everywhere

    Did you touch them?
    Did you hold them?
    Did they follow you to town?
    They make me feel I'm falling down
    --------------------------------------
    The boy asks how intimate they got, did he follow her around and spend a lot of time with her. She says she got the rush you feel when you're with someone you love, the dizzying almost dreamlike feeling.
    --------------------------------------

    Was there one you saw too clearly?
    Did they seem too real to you?
    -------------------------------------
    When you have a crush and keep your distance you tend to idealize them instead of finding out who they really are, so when you finally start to get to know them, those ideals fall short and you stop loving them.
    -------------------------------------

    They were kids that I once knew
    Now they're all dead hearts to you.
    infernowingon February 28, 2012   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningI don't see this song as having anything to do with boyfriends or girlfriends or relationships at all, nor is it a reflection on lingering memories. Apparently Stars' keyboard player (Chris Seligmann is his name, I believe) moved into an apartment that he became convinced was haunted by a ghost who wanted him dead, and that got him interested in the subject, enough to write songs about it.

    I believe the lines "It's hard to know they're out there/it's hard to know that you still care" are a reference to the emotional impact of seeing ghosts and coming to the realization, even though it might be a completely delusional one, that these entities actually exist and are suffering, endlessly, with no hope of relief. Eventually, fear gives way to compassion, and for some people dread gives way to something like scientific curiosity. The idea that someone you once loved or cared about might be wandering the Earth in such a state, whether or not you've encountered that person's ghost yourself, must be very difficult to bear. I suspect it's also one of the things that makes other people resistant to believing in ghosts in general ("I can say it but you won't believe me," etc.)

    I should say that I myself don't believe in ghosts, but obviously a lot of people do - I might even be in the minority for disbelieving in them.
    Smashyon August 03, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI know they've said that Chris Seligmann had ghosts in his apartment etc etc and that's the meaning, but I have another theory.
    They're from Montreal, right?
    In 2006 they had that big shooting at Dawson College in Montreal (my cousins go there, were there on the day of the shooting, thankfully none of them shot.) and some of the lines seem really relevant to that subject. For example "They were kids that I once knew..." Their fellow students had turned into murderers.

    The ghost story fits it better, but the school shooting came to my mind immediately when I first heard the song.
    grownupfairytaleon August 17, 2010   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