"Playing With Fire" as written by Brandon Flowers and Daniel Roland Lanois....
Daddy I'm not gonna tell you that I'm sorry
Cause there ain't nothing you can do to change my mind
I'm not here to know the things I cannot do
We've seen the outcome of the boys who didn't fly

That road outside that you've been taking home forever
That'll be the same road that I take when I depart
Those charcoal veins that hold this chosen land together
May twist and turn but somewhere deep there is a heart

Playing with fire
You know you're gonna hurt somebody tonight
And you're out on the wire
You know you're playing with fire

Perhaps this calling is the channel of invention
I will not blush if others see it as a crime
However dangerous the road, however distant
These things won't compromise the will of the design
Ten thousand demons hammer down with every footstep
Ten thousand angels rush the wind against my back
This church of mine may not be recognized by steeple
But that doesn't mean that I will walk without a God

Rolling river of truth, can you spare me a sip?
The holy fountain of youth has been reduced to a drip
I've got this burning belief in salvation and love
This notion may be naive, but when push comes to shove
I will till this ground

You know you're gonna hurt somebody tonight
(oh, oh, oh)
Out on the wire

And I might not get there
But this little town, this little house,
They seem to be leaning in the wrong direction

I'm not afraid of you no more (oh-oh, oh-oh,)

Playing with fire
You know you're gonna hurt somebody tonight
And you're out on the wire
You know you're playing with fire

(Oh-oh, oh-oh)


Lyrics submitted by SOAD16

"Playing with Fire" as written by Daniel Roland Lanois Brandon Flowers

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Playing With Fire song meanings
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18 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentI think this has to do with *possibly* his mormonism.
    how he doesn't regret taking this path of fame and music.
    its a corrupted place, and he's toeing the line of righteous life and the lifestyle of fame that glamorizes sin and such.
    i think that basically he knows that it's hard to be in an area where it's so easy to get caught up in it all but he has God by his side, encouraging him to pursue his dreams.
    he knows where he'll end up, but wherever that may be he has a faith and God.

    that's what i got from it anyway. either i'm totally off or looking at it from a colored perspective.
    simonlovesloston September 11, 2010   Link
  • +3
    My OpinionThis song to me seems to be talking about not following the religion than the people around him because of the verse, "The church of mine may not be recognised by steeple, That doesn't mean that I will walk without a God." He seems to be stuck in the middle of what to choose for himself and what others want from him. Just my interpretation, but it is a great song and one of my favorites off of Flamingo.
    les25on September 16, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General Comment"Rolling river of Truth, can you spare me a sip?
    The holy fountain of youth has been reduced to a drip."

    Genius.
    thediaryofawallfloweron January 24, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentGreat song! here's my interpretation...

    Daddy, I'm not gonna tell you that I'm sorry,
    But there aint nothin you can do to change my mind.
    I'm not here to know the things I cannot do (his father's doubt of him pursuing music as a career),
    We've seen the outcome of the Boy's Who Didn't Fly (children who did not leave this town got dead end jobs).
    That road outside that you've been taking home forever (his father has the same job for 30+ years),
    That'll be same road that I'll take when I depart.
    Those charcoal veins that hold this chosen land together (His home town, seems to conjure images of a blue collar, mining town)
    May twist & turn but somewhere deep there is a heart (although not readily apparent, there is a sad truth to this place)

    Playing with fire
    You know you're gonna hurt somebody tonight
    And you're out on a wire (He's going to have to make a tough decision)
    You know we're playing with fire

    I see his calling as the channel of invention,(he will be creating art)
    I will not blush if others see it as a crime. (he won't be embarrassed if others disapprove of his choice to be a musician)
    However dangerous the road, however distant,
    These things won't compromise the will of the design (his music).
    Ten thousand Demons hammer down with every footstep (his doubts and fears)
    Ten thousand Angels rush the wind against my back (his desire to be an artist).
    The church of mine may not be recognised by steeple (church= faith in himself),
    That doesn't mean that I will walk without a God. (A higher power will guide him)

    Rolling river of Truth, can you spare me a sip?
    The holy fountain of youth has been reduced to a drip (I'm getting old and I need clarity/direction in my life.)
    I've got this burning belief in Salvation and love
    This notion may be naive but when push comes to shove
    I will till this ground (He's going to make it work)

    I might not get there (I might fail as an artist).
    This little town, this little house,
    They seem to be leaning in the wrong direction (But staying in this environment would mean a dead-end job/ poor quality of life anyhow. "little" refers to insular in nature, narrow and small minded)
    I'm not afraid of you no more. (He's concluded leaving is the better option)

    pupcakeson June 17, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it's "rolling river of truth" and "This notion may be naive but when push comes to shove"

    kbb02on September 05, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionMy opinion is that this song is about finding your own path in life, about taking decisions that some might see as too risky, but that you know you must take in order to follow your dreams/beliefs/callings(...playing with fire, you might get burned, right?... but then again, you also enjoy the heat & the light)... I don't think it's an argument between father & son/daughter, but much rather, a son/daughter coming to a mature age and departing from home on his/her way... Of course, things might not be easy, but that's how life is... We each follow our own way and bear hope in God above. The decisions one takes might be life changing, but the truth is that life is also about the journey and not only reaching a destination. Better said, in order to reach a destination you must make the best of your journey and take some risks... Otherwise, yes, you might get there in the end, but there is a big chance you get there empty handed. And it's also better to take bad decisions at times, than not taking any decisions at all. Good or bad, decisions measure a life's value; you cannot measure a life's value if no decision is ever taken.
    amaranta31on October 17, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with almost all of you on this one! I never thought about this being about his mormonism (or religion alone), but it DOES make a lot of sense. More than anything, I believed it to be about sin, and surrounding oneself with temptation. Now, I still believe that, but also factor in the fact that his father was a mormon, and the line "I'm not afraid of you no more". He starts saying "Daddy I'm not gonna tell you that I'm sorry, there ain't nothin you can do to change my mind". So, anytime in this song that he's addressing another person in this song, you have to assume it's his father. (other than "you know you're gonna hurt somebody tonight....here is he is talking to himself, probably through his father's voice in his head). Overall, great song. So many people I allow to hear this music (Flowers/Killers) think it "weird". I don't know why they don't appreciate the beauty of deep, meaningful lyrics and a great sound at the same time!!
    analytical1canthelpiton November 15, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYou know you're gonna hurt somebody tonight
    Oh woah oh woah woah
    (out on a wire)

    Is it just me or does anyone else think the part above could have been carried on a little longer?

    As soon as I heard this part I loved it as it reminded me of the high energy endings that Brandon is so good at, such as Bling (Confessions of a King), Read My Mind, For Reasons Unknown, This River Is Wild, Sweet Talk, A Dustland Fairytale and Glamourous Indie Rock n Roll to name a few. Now I adore these parts and I know obviously this is a solo album but I thought this part of the song sounded great but could have gone on a little longer to really be amazing, the album seems to be lacking the high energy endings, what do you think?
    BrandonFlowers15on September 08, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningI think this song talks about the tough decisions about religion taken in life by some people.
    the writer chooses to follow a god that might not exist: "I see his calling as the channel of invention"
    but that is enough to him.
    He talks about different religions and the judgement of them to him, and the theory that if you don't follow a specified religion you are not following a true god.
    "The church of mine may not be recognised by steeple,
    That doesn't mean that I will walk without a God"

    He doesn't know what to believe. he wants the truth. "Rolling river of Truth, can you spare me a sip?"
    he thinks he is going in the wrong direction (wrong god)
    "This little town, this little house,
    They seem to be leaning in the wrong direction"
    I think he thinks that if he doesn't choose correctly that may not get him to heaven.
    Sorry for my english, I love this song and new album. hope you like my interpretation.
    rate and reply =D
    juanfox94on September 15, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe more I listen to it, the more I think it's about someone's whose father is against his religion, tell his kid that he doesn't agree with his beliefs and makes him feel low... but the kid chooses to follow his beliefs despites what others think, even if his church is not recognized by him and maybe others in the family? the song starts: daddy i'm not gonna tell you that im sorry... then goes on, I've got this burning feeling in salvation in love... this church of mine may not be recognized....
    Just a thought.
    Patricklog12on October 01, 2010   Link

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