"Trade Mistakes" as written by Spencer James Smith, Brendon Boyd Urie, John Feldmann and Pete Wentz....
Placing a smile at the perfect event,
Gracing your skin with the side of my hand
If I ever leave I could learn to miss you
With sentimental boy as my nom de plume

Let me save you of this wrong

I may never sleep tonight,
As long as you're still burning bright
If I could trade mistakes for sheep,
Count me away before you sleep
I'll still wait till I trade my mistakes,
So they fade away

I feel marooned in this body,
Deserted, my organs can go on without me
You can't fly these wings
You can't sleep in this box with me

Let me save you of this wrong

I may never sleep tonight,
As long as you're still burning bright.
If I could trade mistakes for sheep,
Count me away before you sleep
I'll still wait till I trade my mistakes,
So they fade away

Don't let me tell you of this wrong,
Then I'll pull you in
'Cause I am an anchor, save her oar
Feel it sinking in
Don't let me save you of this wrong
I am an anchor, sinking on

I may never sleep tonight,
As long as you're still burning bright
If I could trade mistakes for sheep,
Count me away before you sleep
I'll still wait till I trade my mistakes,
So they fade away


Lyrics submitted by notalrightbr0, edited by Panicfan10, ThisKid888, fklasjdfklsda1

"Trade Mistakes" as written by John Feldmann Brendon Urie

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Trade Mistakes song meanings
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16 Comments

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  • +5
    Song MeaningI don't know if this meaning is right, but it's the way I see it. I think it's about a relationship, but he is getting pretty low and dragging her down with him when she tries to help. He thinks leaving her is the only way to save her, even though it would hurt him so much to do so.

    "If i ever leave, I could learn to miss you,
    But sentimental poise, my nom de plume"

    Makes me think that he is saying he could learn to live without her, but "my nom de plume" is french for "my pen name" so he is just writing that, he doesn't really mean it.

    "I may never sleep tonight,
    As long as you're still burning bright"

    Makes me think that he would suffer if it meant she could go on with her life without him there to drag her down.

    "If I could trade mistakes for sheep,
    Count me awake before you sleep"

    This make me think that he thinks he was a mistake because he says trading mistakes for sheep and you count sheep before you sleep. And he says to count him, meaning he has so many problems they're liike counting sheep.

    The way he changes between "Let me save you" and "Don't let me save you" makes me think that he keeps changing his mind about what to do. Also the line "I am an anchor sinking her" helps the idea that he is dragging her down with him.

    Like I said, this meaning is probably completely wrong, it's just what I thought when I first saw the lyrics. Love the song, really beautiful.
    LaughLoveLiveon April 03, 2011   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation{Placing a smile at the perfect event,
    Gracing your skin with the side of my hand.}

    This is a memory of a special memory with the singer and his lover.

    {If I ever leave I could learn to miss you
    But "Sentimental Boy" is my nom de plume}

    He has many reasons to leave her (perhaps he made a mistake that she doesn't know about, maybe an affair or something, if she found out she would surely break up with him), but whenever he thinks of telling her, he cannot because he is too sentimental and does not want to lose these memories.

    {Let me save you, hold this rope}

    He does not want to tell her about whatever he has done, so he decides to "save her" by hanging himself. He cannot live without her, but also cannot live with this secret that he is hiding hanging over him.

    {I may never sleep tonight,
    As long as you're still burning bright.}

    He will always feel guilty about what he has done, and he can't sleep knowing that his lover is glowing so happily, so ignorant.

    {If I could trade mistakes for sheep,
    Count me away before you sleep.}

    He has made so many mistakes, and he wants to comfort her and undo all the wrongs. He knows that he can't, so he is saying he wants to "trade his mistakes for sheep" so that at least she can sleep.

    {I'll stay awake till I trade my mistakes
    Or they fade away}

    He won't kill himself until he knows his lover will be okay, or those mistakes can somehow be forgotten.

    {I feel marooned in this body
    Deserted, my organs can go on without me.}

    He feels trapped in his body. He knows he can't run away from his mistakes, but if he leaves his body at least his organs can be donated.

    {You can't fly these wings.
    You can't sleep in this box with me.}

    Here he is saying (as a thought to her) that she doesn't know what he's going through (you can't fly these wings), and she can't die with him (you can't sleep in this box with me).

    {Let me save you, hold this rope}

    {I may never sleep tonight,
    As long as you're still burning bright.
    If I could trade mistakes for sheep,
    Count me away before you sleep.
    I'll stay awake till I trade my mistakes
    Or they fade away}

    {So, let me save you
    hold this rope and ill pull you in}

    He wants to free her. Like an escape scene, he will hand her a rope and pull her back in to freedom-by killing himself.

    {Cause I am an anchor
    save her or Feel it sinking in}

    He's saying that he is the thing weighing her down. If he kills himself and free's her, she will be saved. If he doesn't kill himself, everything will sink, fall apart, and she will leave him (which he does not want)

    {Let me save you, hold this rope
    I am an anchor, sinking her}

    Again, he thinks he is weighing her down.

    {I may never sleep tonight,
    As long as you're still burning bright.
    If I could trade mistakes for sheep,
    Count me away before you sleep.
    I'll stay awake till I trade my mistakes
    Or they fade away}
    radish12on February 04, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt sort of sounds like the speaker is dead and the song is taking place at his funeral. He doesn't want to leave her alone in the living, he can't move on, and is struggeling with the notion of "saving her" - whether she should die to be with him or live without him.

    Obviously, not all of the lyrics fit this idea, but that's my first impression.

    Lawcereon March 19, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it's about a failed relationship. Like he knew he's bad for her maybe not feeling worthy to be with her and neither wants it to end. I don't know...that was my first impression of it. :] Beautiful song though :D
    SerendipityMuseon March 30, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it's
    "Count me away before you sleep" not "count me awake before you sleep"
    xalixoon June 01, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI thought that the line was 'but sentimental boy is my nom de plume', which I would take to mean as he's being sentimental because he loves her, but it's not really who he is, and that's part of why he has to leave.
    Also, it being his nom de plume kinda suggests that he's been in similar situations before and so he knows it will end badly, and the only way to save her would end up killing him. So even though he knows what to do, he's still around, kidding himself into thinking it's still okay, and hoping something will come along to spare him :)
    bethmawgon June 17, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentdoes anyone know what he sings under
    "Let me save you, hold this rope,
    I am an anchor sinking her."?

    because I can only make out something about 'the greatest story ever told' & it's really frustrating!!
    xIbaXon April 03, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's "Placing a smile" NOT "Place in a smile"
    and "Sentimental Boy" NOT "Sentimental Poise"
    and "I'll stay awake till' I trade my mistakes. . " NOT "I'll still wait till i trade my mistakes. . ."
    To xIbaX I know right! I just can't make out what he's saying. i understood the same bit about the greatest story ever told, and i think he says something like, towards the end, "when my hand is wrapped in hers" or something like that. SO frustrating though!!!
    Ally0792on May 13, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Place in a smile at the perfect event,
    Gracing your skin with the side of my hand."
    It is clear that he loves her. "Gracing" her skin with his hand when he touches her. a clever and powerful line.

    "If i ever leave, I could learn to miss you,
    But sentimental poise, my nom de plume."
    Sentimental poise is his pseudonym (a fictitious name used by an author to conceal his or her identity; pen name).

    "Let me save you, hold this rope."
    He wants to save her.

    "I may never sleep tonight,
    As long as you're still burning bright."
    Bright in his mind. She is on his mind.

    "If I could trade mistakes for sheep,
    Count me awake before you sleep
    I'll still wait 'til I trade my mistakes or they fade away."
    One of his biggest mistakes is with this girl and he will never sleep because he just keeps killing himself over them, but he still cares for her so he wants her to sleep but he will suffer until he can't remember what he has done.

    "I fill the room in this body,
    Deserted my organs, they could go on without me."
    He feels empty and enormous at the same time. Detached from himself.

    "You can't fly these wings,
    You can't sleep in this box with me.

    Let my save you, hold this rope."
    They cannot be together for whatever reason but he still cares deeply for her.

    "Don't let me save you,
    Hold this rope and I'll pull you in,
    'Cause I am an anchor.
    Save her oar, I feel it sinking in,
    Let me save you, hold this rope,
    I am an anchor sinking her.
    (ho, oh, oh, oh)"
    He is now going back on what he had said before because he is doubting that he could saver her at all, thinking that he would just be an anchor pulling her down. Then he still wants to save her but doubts himself saying that he would just sink her even though he is so torn because he wants to help.

    "I may never sleep tonight,
    As long as you're still burning bright."
    She is on his mind.

    "If I could trade mistakes for sheep,
    Count me awake before you sleep
    I'll still wait 'til I trade my mistakes or they fade away."
    He is just waiting until he can finally forget everything that has happened. Til he can finally just sleep.

    The man is probably haunted by constant nightmares and he might have even witnessed this girls death and felt as though he was the cause. He is clearly damaged by past events and mistakes he has made.
    (also, i don't know that it is about a girl because it could be about a boy)
    SomethingBatmanon September 24, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe line
    "You can't fly these wings,
    You can't sleep in this box with me"
    is the perfect line to take meaning from this song. He isn't doing anything with his life and she is trying to urge him, but can't, and when he is gone she can't go with him. She can't live his life for him how he should and it's killing him that he is becoming the death of her, so he has to leave to "save her".
    gogolowlowon June 04, 2012   Link

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