"Only The Young" as written by and Brandon Flowers....
Look back in silence
The cradle of your whole life
There in the distance
Losing its greatest pride
Nothing is easy, nothing is sacred, why?
Where did the bow break?
It happened before your time

And there were people there
Lovely as you'd ever care
Tonight, baby, you can start again
Laughing in the open air
Have yourself another dream
Tonight, maybe we can start again

Only the young can break away, break away
Lost when the wind blows, on your own
Only the young can break away, break away
Lost when the wind blows, on your own

Mother, it's cold here
Father, thy will be done
Thunder and lightning are crashing down
They got me on the run
Direct me to the sun
Redemption, keep my covers clean tonight
Baby, we can start again

Only the young can break away, break away
Lost when the wind blows, on your own
Only the young can break away, break away
Lost when the wind blows, on your own

And the sun will shine again
And the sun will shine again
Are you looking for a sign?
Or are you caught up in the lie?

Only the young can break away, break away
Lost when the wind blows, on your own
Only the young can break away, break away
Lost when the wind blows, on your own

Only the young can
Lost when the wind blows
Only the young can
Lost when the wind blows


Lyrics submitted by MayaMoo, edited by ChurchSinger

"Only the Young" as written by Brandon Flowers

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Only The Young song meanings
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  • +6
    General CommentOnly the Young is easily the most powerful song on Flamingo. I know BF says you can’t be cool and be Mormon, well, he’s doing a pretty good job. This album is far more religious than most suspect. Sorry to stomp on his coolness now, but Only the Young is a song about the Christian walk. It’s a witness song. Christians witness to non-Christians when they tell their story about their coming to God or some struggle in their walk with God. This is both. One source on the web says that this song is a hymn, too. I haven’t found the authority for that, but it is. A hymn is a typically a song to God, while a gospel song is about us or worldly things. On the Floor, the prayer song, is a gospel song. Only the Young is an ongoing conversation between Brandon and God. To help you understand the song, I’m going to add what BF left out. I don’t know if he would the structure up exactly as I have, but this should help it make sense. I’ll treat the chorus last.

    The first verse is about the first time one questions all that is wrong in the world. We’ve all done it. Why is there bad in the world? Imagine BF praying before he really accepted God. This is how the conversation goes:

    God: Look back in silence; the cradle of your whole life. There in the distance, loosing its greatest pride. 
BF: Nothing is easy, nothing is sacred. Why? Where did the bough break? 
God: It happened before your time.
    God says to look back and long ago you will see the Fall. Why is everything hard? Man disobeyed. God told them not to eat the fruit, but once they disobeyed, then they knew shame. Think of a dog that sneaks the food off the table. They always seem to know they have done wrong. So it was with Man. They had innocence and God provided everything for them, but when they disobeyed, they ran and hid because they knew they had done wrong. From that time life has been difficult for Man. In the video the dancers fall and the light from above fades out. The bough could be a reference to the old lullaby Rock a Bye, Baby about how the cradle falls when the wind blows and breaks the branch or about the branch from the tree of life, the apple tree in the Garden of Eden. 

    BF: There were people there, lovely as you've ever care. 
God: Tonight. Baby you can start again./Laughing in the open air; have yourself another dream./Tonight. 
BF: Maybe we can start again?
    This is about BF acceptance and baptism. For Mormons and many other Protestant faiths, baptism is done when you become a believer, not when you are born. I don’t know exactly how it runs for Mormons, but I suspect similar to Baptists. At the end of every service there is the invitation period when the preacher asks for anyone who wants to accept the Lord to come forward. At the front there are people waiting for you, people to pray with you. You repent for your sins and ask for the redemption provided by Christ’s death on the cross when he stood in for us. The baptism is arranged for the near future. After a little Mormon research, it sounds like other members of the church lay hands on you after you are baptized. So there are people all around you when you come to the Lord, helping you start your walk. And once the spirit of the Lord is in you, then you start over. New Christians feel joyous, happy. Newly bathed in the light of the Lord, it’s all happiness and puppies. You have hope. Check out BF’s poses in the video during the verse. His arms aren’t completely outstretched but the first “Tonight” could be the minister’s open arms calling you to faith. In the next sequence BF has his arms wide and his legs crossed at the ankles with a black stage. Definitely a death on the cross image. A few shots later the lights are brilliant white above, suggesting the Resurrection, and perhaps Pentacost. (Look it up if you’re curious. This post is long already.)

BF: Mother its cold here. Father, thy will be done./Thunder and lightening are crashing down. They’ve got me on the run. Direct me to the sun. Redemption keeps my covers clean. 
God: Tonight, Baby, we can start again.
    But life is still hard. Soon the glow seems to fade. Even as a believer, you keep having to ask for God’s help. Frankly, you don’t know how strong temptation is until you try to resist it. It is easy to lose your focus, especially when the going gets hard, like when your mom dies. I think this verse is about his struggles with his mother’s death. “Mother it’s cold here” refers to the empty space in him that she occupied. He’s sad. “Father, thy will be done.” This is the single most significant lyric. In the Christian walk the hardest thing to accept is that we don’t get what we want, that we don’t know what is best for us, that it is God’s will, not ours, that matters. Logically this makes sense. God is all knowing while we are not, so He has more perspective to see what is right, which path to take and so on; He sees us together at the end so temporary separations are just that, temporary. This is easy to accept when our life is going well or when a problem is someone else’s. But when hurt comes knocking on your door, ‘Father, thy will be done‘ is damn difficult to say and to mean. ‘I don’t want her to die. I want her here with me. Why did you let this happen? I miss her. I’m lonely.‘ In questioning and doubt, and often anger, we lose sight of God. Then comes the storm, the mistakes. In the video people are flailing in the air. The stage is dark. The rain pours down. In some shots he seems to be throwing thinks away, almost absentmindedly. Like, ‘there go the years,’ toss, gone. This must have been a very difficult time for him. Everything seemed in chaos. When these times come, we have to seek God again and ask forgiveness. In the video he is almost always looking up, except when he hunches over asking for redemption. God forgives you, and then you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again. 

God: And the sun will shine again./And the sun will shine again./Are you looking for a sign?/Or are you caught up in the lie? [I’ve seen lie and light for this. I think lie. Either works though.]
    Once you turn back to the Lord, once you look for Him, the light shines upon you. Notice in the video that BF is looking skyward, reaching skyward, and the globe light goes on. He doesn’t turn it on. Because he reaches for it, it shines on him. 

BF’s lament to God: Only the young can break away, break away and they are Lost when the wind blows;
    God: on your own, ohh...
    BF does a great job writing lyrics and singing lyrics that people are able to take completely differently. I found this chorus the most difficult to translate. It might refer to a Mormon belief that I am not aware of. I think that I’ve got it, though. Most people hear the break away to mean something good, some sort freedom. Today most people think that freedom to do whatever pleases you is best. Be true to yourself, and all that. Do your own thing. Break away. For BF ‘breaking away‘ isn’t a good thing.* In fact, throughout this album references to breaking away, flying high, out on a wire, in the wind are all bad. (I wouldn’t be shocked to find similar phrases in the Book of Mormon.) The phrases are all about loneliness and being at the mercy of the whims of the world. This chorus is no different. This man is a man who in the past 5 years has become a husband and a father and who has lost his mother. Only the young can break away, means that only people with life stretched out before them, with little responsibility to worry about, they are most vulnerable to breaking away from God. Then when life gets hard, they are lost. They are helpless. In the video people are spinning all over the place during the chorus. For a man with many responsibilities and who sat by his mother’s deathbed, breaking away from God isn’t an option. He’s determined to stay the course.

    *While breaking away isn’t a good, the ability to break away is essential. Saying that people should come to God, is black from white different from saying that people must come to God. It is nonsense, first of all. People can be forced to go through the motions but not to think a certain way. Chesterton says it better, “The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog.” This is why God gave us free will, so we could choose to love him. It would mean nothing if he created creatures that had to love Him. CS Lewis covers this topic well.
    AHLondonon October 28, 2010   Link
  • +4
    My InterpretationFirst to comment?! My interpretation as whole for this song is about the dark state of a person's fate or dark phase in life that he did not have control of to end up getting there. It was the other people or partly from his roots who had influence on that person's life that determined that unfortunate fate. Somehow, this person has realized that it could change for the better yet it's too late for him and he's telling the next generation that it's up to them on their own.

    Overall, one of the best songs on Flamingo and kudos to Brandon for writing this one.
    kentwardon September 12, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis song is my favorite. period.

    I agree with Kent. I think that he feels remorse for his past and is trying to break out but accepts that he doesn't have the opportunity to go back now. I think it is about trying to hope for better and make due with what he has at the present.
    codyab7on September 15, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthis song is very, very good. flowers is quite the song writer!
    MisssssMiseryon September 30, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think this song is about when you go through hard times during your life.

    It's almost like he is saying that only the young can take the quick way out (suicide) as they don't have the likes of family and children and partners tied to them. So they can break away if they want to, as they aren't hurting as many people. So older people with things tying them down have to turn to faith to give them hope, and to start again.
    paperprincesson October 09, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentBrandon's dead handsome! He has such a lovely olive skin and dark hair and his eyes make me melt. I adore his smile too. That guy's a killer, my oh my!!!
    amy9on December 04, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentCan anyone be as close to perfection? Brandon Flowers is the man I want to be like!
    JohnstonPon September 26, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentBest lines on the album?: "Mother, it's cold here / Father, thy will be done"
    bkiser2010on September 23, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSuch an amazing song, I just don't get sick of it.
    JezAlmightyon October 08, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with poohbear1979,he did mention that he wanted to write more spiritual lyrics.
    I don't know if that's what he meant, but in his religion they believe that you need to learn in your youth, that young people can break habbits, traditions and be the hope to break evil chains passed on by family/generations, and not look back, but bring new redemption for a better future to pass on. That's what a friend who was converted a Mormon told me. He came from such a dark background if I may say. His family were into witchcraft.. and as he joined the mormon faith later but still at a young age, he had so much to fix, and break these traditions to bring new stuff in his life and hopefully in the life of his new generation. I watched his steps and admired him so much for the things he had to go through alone and overcome (as he was the only one in his family who joined the faith in his family). I get a bit tearful when I think of him, and how well he is doing now. This song is very inspired and I love the video by the way!
    kotcut529on October 23, 2010   Link

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