"Undertow" as written by and Jennifer Lee Lindberg Emily Camille Kokal....
Your brown eyes are my blue skies.
They light up the rivers that the birds fly over.
Better not to quench your thirst.
Better not to be the first one diving in,
Though you caught me and you know why
You breathe in the deepest part of the water.

What's the matter? You hurt yourself?
Open your eyes and there was someone else
Now I've got you in the undertow.
Now I've got you in the undertow.
Why you wanna blame me for your troubles?
Ah ah ah you better learn your lesson yourself.
Nobody ever has to find out what's in my mind tonight.

Let tonight pass us by.
Do you really want to be the one to fight?
And I said "You're better not to light that fire.
It will take you to the darkest part of the weather."

What's the matter? You hurt yourself?
Open your eyes and there was someone else
Now I've got you in the undertow.
Now I've got you in the undertow.
Why you wanna blame me for your troubles?
Ah ah ah you better learn your lesson yourself.
Nobody ever has to find out what's in my mind tonight.
Nobody ever has to find out what's in my mind tonight.

Nobody in my mind. Nobody in my mind.
I feel it in my heart tonight.

I lay on the floor, pressing in my eyes.
Seeing little lights.
Please light these decisions that only one could make
I wanted to stay home but I went running running running running from the troubles
Running running running running from the troubles
Running running running running from the troubles
Running, running, running...

What's the matter? You hurt yourself?
Opened your eyes and there was someone else?
Now I've got you in the undertow
Now I've got you so
Why you wanna blame me for your troubles?
Ah ah ah you better learn your lesson yourself.
Nobody ever has to find out what's in my mind tonight.

I went running running running running from the troubles
Running, running, running...


Lyrics submitted by kittenchowmein

"Undertow" as written by Jennifer Lee Lindberg Emily Camille Kokal

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Undertow song meanings
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  • +9
    General CommentI always felt like this song is about a girl who feels like she's getting too involved with a boy, and she's warning him that if he falls any deeper he's going to see her other dark, damaged side. She's afraid of the growing connection, and she's afraid he will reject her when he discovers her imperfections.
    kttykat09on May 05, 2011   Link
  • +6
    My InterpretationIn my eyes, it's an extremely bitter song about a game between a woman and a man that they're both hurting from. She wanted him but he didn't want her. Maybe they're friends and she wanted more, or they're already involved but not on a deep enough level for her. Either way, despite how she felt he was just keeping her in the sidelines. Suddenly she has someone new on the scene and he's realising her importance, he's finally admitting how much he needs her but she doesn't care anymore. He crossed a line by hurting her too much and although she really wants to give in and go to him, she can't trust him.
    It definitely feels like a "F*** you" song to me, with dilemma at the end over what she should do.

    "Your brown eyes are my blue skies. They light up the rivers that the birds fly over."
    This is the only time she directly admits her feelings about this person. They brighten up her life.

    "Better not to quench your thirst. Better not to be the first one diving in, though you caught me and you know why."
    She's holding back, being cautious. She doesn't want to give too much of herself away to him. She's waiting for him to open up first. The "and you know why" suggests that he knows how she feels, or she thinks he may suspect.

    "You breathe in the deepest part of the water."
    Something personal about him that only the lyricist would understand.

    "What's the matter? You hurt yourself?
    Open your eyes and there was someone else
    Now i've got you in the undertow.
    Now i've got you in the undertow."
    This seems VERY bitter to me. She's saying 'Oh, what, NOW you care? You took me for granted and now that I have someone else, you want me. You should have cared before. Now I've finally got your attention'. The "now" in the "Now I've got you in the undertow" heavily suggests that catching him up in her web is something she's been trying to do for a while but has only just achieved, and she's done it through finding someone else.

    "Why you wanna blame me for your troubles?
    Ah ah ah you better learn your lesson yourself."
    Again, very bitter. 'It's not my fault, if you had cared earlier you wouldn't be feeling like this. This is what you get for hurting me.'

    "Nobody ever has to find out what's in my mind tonight."
    She knows these thoughts are bitter, hurtful and possibly shameful, but she indulges in them because no one else will be able to witness them.

    "Let tonight pass us by.
    Do you really want to be the one to fight?
    And i said "You're better not to light that fire.
    It will take you to the darkest part of the weather." "
    She doesn't want to open up the wounds and fight about it now. If he REALLY wants to have that discussion, it is going to get very dark/ugly. He probably doesn't know what he's letting himself in for and she's warning him with a metaphor.

    "Nobody in my mind. Nobody in my mind.
    I feel it in my heart tonight."
    As above, even though she shouldn't she's going to let herself feel the pain and bitterness because no one else can witness it. She's feeling it more than usual tonight.

    "I lay on the floor, pressing in my eyes.
    Seeing little lights."
    Either she's literally doing this OR... laying on the floor is a metaphorically weak position and the lights she's seeing are the emotions/possibilities/options she has.

    "Please light these decisions that only one could make
    I wanted to stay home but i went running running running running from the troubles... etc"
    The "I wanted to stay home but I went running" refers to her desperately wanting to give in to her feelings and go to him now he wants her too, but she is terrified of what may happen if she does so she "runs" instead. The "decisions" part is her wondering whether to stay with the new person on the scene or whether to go back to him.

    That's just how I see it. Maybe I'm reading too much into it. ;)
    silverturnsgreyon December 01, 2011   Link
  • +4
    Song Meaningi think throughout the song the singer is singing in third person

    "Your brown eyes are my blue skies.
    They light up the rivers that the birds fly over.
    Better not to quench your thirst.
    Better not to be the first one diving in,
    though you caught me and you know why
    you breathe in the deepest part of the water."

    basically she's saying do not fall in love with this guy
    even though he's so wonderful
    "What's the matter? You hurt yourself?
    Open your eyes and there was someone else
    Now i've got you in the undertow.
    Now i've got you in the undertow.
    Why you wanna blame me for your troubles?
    Ah ah ah you better learn your lesson yourself.
    Nobody ever has to find out what's in my mind tonight."

    and this stanza she's taunting herself
    because i guess she did fall in love, even though she didn't want too
    because she knew he was going to be a disappointment
    turns out he is, he isn't who she thought he'd be

    pretty much unrequited love
    she loves him, but he doesn't love her
    or she fell in love, and now is regretting because it's not what she thought it would be
    now she's hurt, and she's like "i warned you" to herself
    now her emotion have ahold of her, and are puling her in

    and she asking herself why blame her emotions, she cannot help it
    and she telling herself to learn the lesson on her own
    and not to drag the guy into it, because he isn't to blame but herself
    because she didn't listen to her intuition in the first place

    and basically it's a internal battle, and no one knows that she's having this struggle inside her head
    no one knows she's hurt
    individual vs them self kind of thing



    "Let tonight pass us by.
    Do you really want to be the one to fight?
    And i said "You're better not to light that fire.
    It will take you to the darkest part of the weather."
    she's saying, let this night just end
    don't have to remember anything
    do not have to do anything
    just going to waste away tonight
    she asking herself, do i really want to fight for this guy
    try to have him
    i told myself not to let something happen because it's only going to end up bad


    "Nobody in my mind. Nobody in my mind.
    I feel it in my heart tonight."

    she's trying to convince herself to let go and crap
    but she still feels this love for him in her heart

    "I lay on the floor, pressing in my eyes.
    Seeing little lights.
    Please light these decisions that only one could make
    I wanted to stay home but i went running running running running from the troubles
    running running running running from the troubles
    running running running running from the troubles
    runningrunningrunningrunningrunningrunningrunningrunningrunningrunning"

    basically the entire song is brain vs heart, do i listen to my brain or to my heart
    she mentions that only one could make the decision but she doesn't know which one

    so she decided not to make a decision and just run



    catomaniacon February 13, 2011   Link
  • +4
    General CommentReminds me of my life entangled with severe depression. Beautiful song, moving.
    poizen-ivyon August 26, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General CommentOkay, so I was listening to this song the other day and I suddenly realized what it's about. Infidelity.

    A guy who is already in a relationship has fallen in love with her and is now facing a dilemma because he really likes this new girl so he's like 'why did you have to appear in my life!' ...to which she responds with the lyric, "Why you wanna blame me for your troubles?"

    The part where she sings "Open your eyes and there was someone else. Now I've got you in the undertow," is about kind of putting the guy under her spell and tangling him up in this love affair. And now he's gotta learn his lesson .... "you better learn your lesson yourself"
    LilyBearon January 25, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI fell in love with this song immediately; it feels like they're speaking in my mind. I think the meaning is she liked someone, but he found another, and he got himself hurt because either of regret, or being rejected by the new person. That's happened to me many times in my life.
    Scrubbleson January 15, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentLittle bit of a tweaked repost from something I posted in a comments section elsewhere:

    Personally I think Undertow is close to the culminativ­e point in the album where, having being introduced to the vibe, the feel, the overall sound and atmosphere of The Fool by "Set Your Arms Down", and then drawn into the web by "Warpaint", deep into the web, you find yourself captivated­, hitting the peak of the musical experience so to speak. Sure, you could just stop listening right now.. but why would you possibly want to? Now she's got you in the Undertow, you're trapped. The realisatio­n of this fact is then enforced by the lyric "Why you wanna blame me for your troubles? You better learn your lesson yourself", you can leave anytime you like, but something is compelling you to stay, to ride out the journey. It's not her fault, you got yourself into this, you started this and now you're going to have to stick it out, but you'll be all the better for it in the long run.

    Personally, I rarely find a proper literal lyrical meaning in music, particularly with music like Warpaint. I tend to think of the meaning behind a song as the emotion and vibe it portrays, the way it makes you feel. The lyrics often reinforce the 'meaning' behind the song, however there is so much more that goes into it. If the artist could put what they feel, what they mean, what they want to express into words, they would have done so instead of making an album.

    I wrote another whole paragraph here before I realised all I had done it confuse myself trying to define this music through words. The funny thing about words for all their merits, is how useless they are for describing things. 'real' things, whatever I mean by that.
    Watdobatmanon January 05, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSexy, sexy song.
    fridgebuzzon October 09, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's about the lead singer's boyfriend who ended up in jail, and needed her to bail him out, but she refused. I heard this somewhere.
    Filepon April 20, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt bothered me for a long time when I would hear this song. When she sings "what's the matter, hurt yourself?" I knew I'd heard that before.

    Finally, I realized that the delivery of "hurt yourself" is almost dead-on Nirvana's Polly. (Let me take a ride / hurt yourself)

    Same tone, same melody, etc. I assume she sang it this way unconsciously. That's how music travels through time and space.
    Knesebeckon March 24, 2014   Link

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