"You Are a Tourist" as written by and Benjamin Gibbard....
(This... Fire... Grows... High...)
(This... Fire... Grows... High...)
(This... Fire... Grows... High...)
(This... Fire... Grows... High...)

When there's a burning in your heart
An endless fury in your heart
Build it bigger than the sun
Let it grow
Let it grow
And there's a burning in your heart
Don't be alarmed

(This... Fire... Grows... High...)

When there's a doubt in your mind
'Cause you think it all the time
Framin' rights into wrongs
Move along
Move along
When there's a doubt within your mind

When there's a burning in your heart
And you think it'll burst apart
Oh, there's nothing to fear
Save the tears
Save the tears

When there's a burning in your heart

And if you feel just like a tourist in the city you were born
Then, it's time to go
And you find your destination with so many different places to call home
'Cause when you find yourself a villain,
In the story you have written
It's plain to see
That sometimes the best intentions
Are in need of redemption
Would you agree
If so, please show me

(This... Fire... Grows... High...)
(This... Fire... Grows... High...)

When there's a burning in your heart,
When there's a burning in your heart, (This... Fire... Grows... High...)
When there's a burning in your heart, (This... Fire... Grows... High...)
(This... Fire... Grows... High...)
When there's a burning in your heart, (This... Fire... Grows... High...)
(This... Fire... Grows... High...)
When there's a burning in your heart.


Lyrics submitted by spectracide

"You Are a Tourist" as written by Benjamin Gibbard

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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You Are a Tourist song meanings
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23 Comments

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  • +16
    My InterpretationI agree, for the most part, with seattlefan, and also Bron101. I believe that the song is talking about growing out of whatever situation/location you're in as your interests change. The yearning in your heart are your inspirations, your hopes, your dreams. When life gets stagnant it's not uncommon for a growing unrest to begin. But, this song, in my opinion, isn't simply a manifestation of that unrest; it's a reassurance. Ben's telling you not to be discouraged if you're not satisfied with where you are or where you're going. Instead, he is encouraging you to "build it bigger than the sun": in other words, to fuel the desires or inspirations in your heart and see where they lead you.

    Change, of any kind, however, is often difficult. We're creatures of habit. Our minds are often at war with our hearts, and this is where the "doubt within your mind" comes into play. We delude ourselves into thinking that what we truly want in our hearts isn't possible. We downplay our dreams or see them as wrong. To this, they simply say, move along. Doubt is not only unhelpful, it's inhibiting.




    "And if you feel just like a tourist in the city you were born
    Then it's time to go
    And define your destination
    There's so many different places to call home"

    (This, to me, when taken literally or figuratively, is saying when the things or places that you have known become unfamiliar to you because you're living in your head, thinking only of what could be rather than what is, it's time to change and move on. Home is where you are, so go somewhere new.)

    "Because when you find yourself the villain in the story you have written"

    (The story is, of course, your life. Every moment, with the actions we take, we're writing our own history. The villain is the one who struggles against the protagonist, and you're the protagonist in your own life, so if you've also become the villain of your story, you are, quite simply, struggling against yourself.)


    It's plain to see
    That sometimes the best intentions are in need of redemptions
    Would you agree?
    If so please show me"

    (Usually we start our lives with the best intentions. We go to school to get degrees we aren't passionate about, get jobs that our degrees qualify us for, and then settle down. We do all of this, not because it's what we want, per se, but because we wanted to have the "best" life we could. Just because we did it with the best of intentions, however, doesn't mean that it doesn't require redemption. We need to recover from the monotony of the lives that we have created in trying to do well for ourselves. He's asking you to show him by following your hearts, and changing your situation. Vaguely, I believe they're encouraging us to lead a life based on artistic expression, rather than the stale, fit-the-mold equations.)



    followthewhiterabbiton April 06, 2011   Link
  • +5
    My InterpretationI would have to say that the song is about doing what you feel is right or what you feel in you heart regardless of how radical it might change you. The feeling will just grow and you will feel more and more out of place until you at least try to listen to the desire.
    seattlefanon March 30, 2011   Link
  • +4
    My InterpretationBeautifully said followthewhiterabit.

    Expanding on this is the idea that some people won't understand the changes you feel inside. They may discourage you out of fear of the unknown or fear of risks that may ensue. As was said, you may feel this struggle internally as well.

    You may be a "villian in the story you have written," not only because of your own fears, but also society. Maybe your society hasn't accepted who you are and what grows in your heart. They do not understand. But the fire grows nonetheless.

    Maybe you have become a "tourist in the city you born" in because the place you live is now foreign to you--you are the foreigner amongst the people, attitudes, beliefs, rules, culture that have been set forth. Things look familiar because you grew up there, but in your mind this place isn't home anymore.

    Home is a state of acceptance, growth, and love of the you who is blossoming into something more. (The dancers in the video portray this beautifully; a human kaleidoscope- blossoming, growing, changing, paths unfolding, people crossing)

    The melody and lyrics are so beautiful, and the song is one that you just have to listen to more than once. It stirs emotions on the first listen, but you can't quite put your finger on what it is about it. Something inside makes you want to hear it again. There are more layers to unfold when your mind is ready to make the connections.

    The idea of the beauty of the song itself unfolding before you with each listen, not being able to put your finger on it, listening again, the love that grows with each listen until finally you get it and you think, "Wow. This song is awesome."

    This fire grows higher.

    From society in general to the artists portrayal to the song coming to you---it flows perfectly on different levels.

    And life eventually unfolds the way it should. If you listen to the burning in your heart it will unfold in beautiful ways.
    Alexis1985on May 15, 2011   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI LOVE everyones insights....it actually brought me to moistyeyes what some of you said, because listening to this song makes me feel as though we're all going through this internal discovery and spiritual awakening together because we're all connected....this song is the epitemy of what it means to follow your own thread and disregard our economic system(media) influence and the many misguided values that put efficiency and status before love and understanding.
    spencykinson May 18, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis is growing on me, like all their music has in the past... I can't wait til their new album.
    riseariseon March 28, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General Commenti have absolutely found peace with a recent problem with this song in recently discovering i have some deep set depression issues and anger problems i can completely say without a doubt i understand what they are saying when its said When there's a doubt within your mind
    Because you're thinking all the time
    Framing rights into wrongs
    Move along, move along
    When there's a doubt within your mind
    i would continually blame others for my own problems to make me feel sane about the way i acted to people and suddenly i realized i was the villan in my own story searching for success but realized i was actually the reason i was making no progress not my family not my friends not my alcohol the true problem was me but in realizing this i have found the ability to move forward in my life and no longer feel like a tourist in my own life like nothing was permanant and please if for any reason you dealt with the same problems i had make your self a destination and focus on that it will bring it all to focus personal success is the key to happiness dont run from your problems and realize your true situation

    hadtotypethison July 09, 2011   Link
  • +2
    Lyric CorrectionI think it might be "an endless yearning" rather than "an endless fury" just since it rhymes. They can mean more or less the same thing though.
    seattlefanon March 28, 2011   Link
  • +2
    Lyric CorrectionCorrection: "When there’s a burning in your heart, an endless yearning in your heart, build it bigger than the sun, let it grow, let it grow." I hear "yearning" not "fury."
    prinleiaon March 28, 2011   Link
  • +2
    Song Meaning"That sometimes the best intentions are in need of redemptions" I am wondering about this line. Is he saying that you should try again to fulfill your original intentions, or realize they should be changed? The whole song is about change, so I am inclined to think the latter, but not sure. Anyone have a strong opinion on this?
    ishlybluon March 29, 2011   Link
  • +2
    MemoryI completely agree with followthewhiterabbit and Alexis1985. Thanks to you and everyone else for your well said and thoughtful insights and giving me a new way at looking at things.

    I'm going through a series of complete life changing events right now and this song sums up everything I'm going through. It's giving me hope and inspiration that I can and will achieve the things I desire. Although I'm content in my life I want so much more and I've made the decision to not settle any longer and I'm making drastic changes in my personal and professional life.

    It's true that change is dificult and frightening but the longer we stay stagnant and accept the things that no longer comfort us the more we feel hopeless and overwhelmed. And eventually, bitterness and resentment start to kick in.
    gsharpon May 18, 2011   Link

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