"Bright Lights and Cityscapes" as written by and Sara Bareilles....
Hold my breath and I'll count to ten
I'm the paper and you're the pen
You fill me in and you are permanent
And you'll leave me to dry
I'm the writer and she's the muse
And the one that you always choose
She will falter and gift her blame
And it's starts all over again
Again again again

She is bright lights and cityscapes
I'm white lies that care for gates
And she'll take all you ever have
But I'm gonna love you
You say maybe it'll last this time
But I'm gonna love you
You never have to ask
I'm gonna love you
'Til you start looking back
I'm gonna love you
So right
I wouldn't need a second chance

Shield your eyes from the truth at hand
Tell me why it'll be good again
All those demons are closing in
And I don't want you to burn
Never mind what I said before
I don't want any less anymore
You are carbon and I am flame
I will rise and you will

For bright lights and cityscapes
And landslides and masquerades
And she'll take all you ever have
But I'm gonna love you
You say, maybe it'll last this time
But I'm gonna love you
You never have to ask
I'm gonna love you
'Til you start looking back

I wouldn't need a second chance
I wouldn't need a second chance
I wouldn't need a second chance
I wouldn't need a second chance

Lyrics submitted by azneel128, edited by chaikywvh, ababe014, EHIAS, ElementalxECHO, mira001, dsongman

"Bright Lights and Cityscapes" as written by Sara Bareilles

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Bright Lights and Cityscapes song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentI think it's about a guy choosing his ex over her. She's saying she wouldn't need a second chance with him (like ex needs) because she would love him right the first time, and not let him go.

    I think the paragraph is what she wishes would happen: I’m the one that you always choose.

    But then she's saying what's happening: You say maybe it’ll last this time,But I’m gonna love you,You never have to ask,I’m gonna love you,
    I’m gonna love you so right,I wouldn’t need a second chance.

    After that she's basically confirming that in the first bit of the song she's writing what she wishes would happen: Shield your eyes from the truth at end,Tell me why it’ll be good again,

    I think in the end she's saying if he chooses his ex, she won't take him back when he wants her:I’m gonna love you,‘Til you start looking back,I’m gonna love you so right

    So he has to make up his mind.
    InWonderland22on May 28, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentMy personal interpretation is that the singer.. is in love with someone who does love them back, but wants to try again with a person from their past, someone who hurt them. Giving them a second chance.
    But the singer know he'll come back to her some day, as he always does "I'm the one that you'll always chose" after he get hurt because she'll always be there to pick up the pieces.
    She's is trying to remind him what happened the last time he was with the other woman, but he wont hear it. And so the singer is throwing comparisons between herself and the other. Showing how, although the other is "Bright lights and city scapes", captivating and beautiful, she's also "landslides and masquerades" and how she'll "take all you ever have.", how she'll hurt him all over again and it will just end up a relationship of downfalls and hidden truths.
    But he keeps saying, "Maybe it'll last this time."
    And she says to that, that it doesn't matter, she'll still love him whether he wants her or not.
    RileyGraceeon August 22, 2013   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationFirst question: characters. Who are they? There is the narrator, who I’ll call “Sara” just for the hell of it. There is also the listener who I’ll call “you” and the other female who I’ll call “Shiny.” The first four lines detail a servile relationship between you and Sara. Sara accepts that her breathing is under your control and that your words are permanently written on her, even to the point that she becomes just a tool to be hung up to dry after use. The next four lines differentiate between Sara and Shiny as writer and muse, seemingly contradictory to the previous lines. It’s as if Sara is affirming that indeed, she has a voice, a writer’s voice, as opposed to Shiny’s lack of it. But in predicting Shiny’s behaviors and destiny, the lines blur themselves with wishfulness and blunt criticism. This mentality is prolonged through the chorus as Shiny is denounced as selfish and fickle, ultimately a lost cause. But at the lines, “Til you start looking back, / I’m gonna love you so right, / I wouldn’t need a second chance,” Sara becomes self-critical. To rephrase, the idea is: Because I loved you so right, you would not be able to look back and find anything that can incriminate me.

    Then “Shield your eyes from the truth at end, / Tell me why it’ll be good again,” a concession that everything is going to the shits someday. Sara would prefer that instead of being realistic and depressed, you have hope, no matter how small or irrational it is. When she proclaims herself rising “flame” to your remaining “carbon” self, it is part of her (poetic) writer’s voice and in spite of previous servility. Thus, Sara admits that both you and she write and are written on, being the powers that make up the relationship.

    As the chorus runs again, who Shiny is appears clearer. It seems that she and her attributes, although garish and unpleasant at times and what will in the end pull you apart, are what allow you and Sara to be thought of as a couple. So it seems to me that Sara would like you to love her as well and write on her as she does to you (because that’s what songs do).

    In conclusion, Ghost Sara expresses the “missing” “I’m gonna love you” line in wordless voice and emphasizes Sara’s “I wouldn’t need a second chance,” emphasizing also how erroneous human ways are. Ghost Sara reflects the shiny cityscape on the song’s outer gossamer.
    azneel128on May 30, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI believe that the song is about a strong relationship between two people, with one person in the relationship suffering depression. The "she" in the song is the depression itself. The person singing the song (I will reference as S) is the person in the relationship without the depression that is saying they will always love them no matter what. The "you" in the song is the person battling depression (which I will reference as C).

    The first verse talks about how stressful it is to be a S. S needs to keep calm (hold my breath and I'll count to ten) in order to be strong for C. However, C's constant mood swings can cause a lot of stress and end up taking over S's mood as well (I'm the paper and you're the pen; You fill me in and you are permanent). Since C isn't fully there to support S due to the depression, S is alone (And you'll leave me to dry). However, C always fights to get out of the depressed mood not only for him/herself, but also for S (I'm the writer and she's the muse; I'm the one that you always choose; She will falter and gift her blame). However, sometimes the depression overcomes C without his/her control (And it starts all over again, again, again, again).

    The depression can be blinding (She is bright lights and cityscapes) but also can cause C and S to keep things from each other and lie (And white lies and cavalcades). When the depression takes over C, C is not the person he/she normally is (And she'll take all you ever have). But despite everything, S will unconditionally love C no matter what (But I'm gonna love you). During each time C is not depressed, C tells S that he/she thinks the good mood will last (You say maybe it'll last this time). But S tells him/her that she/he will love them no matter what (But I'm gonna love you, you never have to ask). Many times C looks back at how he/she treats S during the times of depression and realizes his/her faults but S explains that she/he understands and forgives him/her ('Til you start looking back; I'm gonna love you; So right; I wouldn't need a second chance).

    C ultimately feels horrible for the struggle he/she is putting S through but S is there to tell C that she/he is here to help him/her and there is no need to dwell on the bad, she/he just wants C to tell her/him about the good (Shield you eyes from the truth at hand; Tell me why it'll be good again). At this point in the song, C is falling back into the depression while S is trying to pull him/her out (All those demons are closing in; And I don't want you to burn). S in the past has expressed she/he couldn't deal with the situation, but at this point she/he takes that all back and just wants C to be happy. (Nevermind what I said before; I don't want any less anymore). However, S was not successful at pulling C up and C dips into the depression yet again (You are carbon and I am flame; I will rise and you will Remain).

    Overall, the song deals with the strong relationship between two people when one person in the relationship has depression. It shows how unconditional love can provide strength for some one that is dealing with a tough situation on their own.
    mlb8on March 13, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is my favorite song off of her EP. so simple yet captivating.
    ahcaton May 28, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about burning it all the the ground before one departs. It's leaving everything broken and buned and damaged beyond repair. It's the only way to begin again...fresh and alone with a chance for happiness. NO MORE PAST. It's in ruins...
    ILUVUon May 28, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThere's an error in the lyrics. First chorus is "She is bright lights and cityscapes
    I'm white lies and CAVALCADES"
    Guest12on May 09, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationWell, I agree with all of your ideas. However, one thing really sticks out to me in the second verse. Which leads me to believe that the meaning behind this song is that her boyfriend broke up with her for another girl and now is trying to get back in a relationship with her.

    In the first verse it says: "Hold my breath and I'll count to ten, I'm the paper and you're the pen, You fill me in and you are permanent, And you'll leave me to dry" I believe that it's saying that her ex boyfriend is very controlling and manipulative and basically tries to change her, and exceeds.
    After that it says: "I'm the writer and she's the muse, I'm the one that you always choose, She will falter and gift her blame, And it's starts all over again, Again, again, again" I think that it's saying that the boyfriend that's manipulating her and controlling her and trying to change her, is basing her after the girl her truly likes. Then it moves into the future tense after the boyfriend breaks up with the narrator when it says "She will falter and gift her blame" that's when the girlfriend breaks up with the narrators ex boyfriend and then it, so to speak, starts all over again. Where the boyfriend tries to get back together with the narrator.

    In the chorus it's the narrator trying to explain to her ex boyfriend how much better and brighter his other girlfriend is, that that's the girl he wants. However then she starts remembering when they were together and remembers how much she loved him. So then she turns on her idea that this other girlfriend is perfect, so she tells him that she will take everything from him. Then she continues to tell him how much she loves him.

    However, then in the second verse that's when she starts to get angry. She realizes all the things he's done to her. Where he never truly loved her, just the version of her that he made up. She kindly asks him why he thinks it'll be good for them to be in a relationship. Of course then he would tell her it's because he still loves her.

    I think this whole song is filled with her mixed emotions about him. I think at the end of the song is when she made up her mind. She doesn't want a second chance of a relationship with him because she knows it'll go know where and won't last.

    But honestly all of us are right to our own meanings of this song because those are our meanings of it. When we sing it or hear it those are the words that speak to us. We all make up our own versions of this songs story, and I think that's what Sara intended. I think she wanted to leave it up to everyone to have their own meanings just like a true poet would. So, if you're reading this, don't use this as your meaning. Use what ever makes you feel emotion for this song because then that's when you'll have the true meaning, your meaning. This is just my interpretation.
    EHIASon July 26, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis well written, beautifully melodic song touched me in ways I can't really explain. Sara describes a boy she's in love with. This boy keeps going back to a gorgeous girl who continues to cheat and mess with him, and Sara is begging him not to continue doing this.
    The way this was written made the lyrics seem non-selfish; as if she really did care about HIM as a person, not just HIM as her boyfriend. "all those demons are closing in, and I don't want you to be burn-nevermind what I said before, I don't want any less anymore." She's contemplating throughout the song.
    dreamstar2000on October 29, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis song is so touching. You can just feel all the emotions wrapped into one beautifully composed, simple, yet so impactful melody. Personally, I don't necessarily believe that she was talking to a lover in this song, or someone that she loved...I think it could be as simple as just a guy who she cares about and loves on a friend level--her best friend. I feel that she has always wanted the best for this guy, but he never listens to her advice, and this infuriates her ("hold my breath and count to ten," typically a maneuver used to redirect anger and calm down) as she is nearly always spot-on with her opinions and suggestions. But even more than angry, she is sad for this boy. When she says "I'm the one that you always choose", she's saying that she's the one he chooses to trust, the one he chooses to come to when he needs someone to be there for him. But she feels a bit used by this boy ("I'm the paper and you're the pen"). She feels that she is always there when he needs someone, but then he never listens to her or values her opinions when he isn't hurt and vulnerable. "She will falter and gift her blame"--This boy is dating another girl, who is mistreating him; probably manipulating him, trying to change who he is to fit her idea of her "perfect man". But the singer believes he should not sacrifice his happiness and his personality for an unappreciative girl who does not realize all that he really is. I was intrigued by the use of the word "gift". I believe that the singer chose this word to symbolize how the boy will take whatever the girl gives him, as if it were the best thing he ever received, because he is blinded... "She is bright lights and cityscapes"--she appears desirable on the outside, but bright lights will blind you, and when you really look into a city, you see all the dysfunction that goes on and the dirty streets filled with homeless people as well as rich, ingrates, and you come to realize how undesirable cities really can be...but the cityscape always looks flawless, doesn't it? This girl is using and abusing this completely unaware, oblivious boy that wants nothing more than to please this girl--but he will never be able to please someone who has higher expectations than humanly possible. But she will use him up until he has nothing left of his own--she will change him, force him to lose his personality for her unreasonable desires before she moves on to someone new, who won't put up with her, and she will return again to this poor boy as he is regaining his balance from their shaky breakup and trying to move on with his life. He will fall back again and again, expecting things to get better, expecting things to be different...but she will never change, and they will never be able to have a healthy relationship together. "Shield your eyes from the truth at hand"--whenever the boy and his girlfriend break up, he probably listens to the singer and agrees with her, saying that the girl really was bad for him, that he deserved better, that he will never make the same mistake again...and he probably knows this is the truth...but he does love this girl, at least, he thinks he does. He does not know what love is--he has never experienced it, so he assumes that because this girl acts as though she wants him at the start, it must be love, dysfunctional as it is, it must be love...but the singer knows better. "All the demons are closing in, and I don't want you to burn"--She is simply saying that she cares about this boy, and she wants nothing but the very best for him, and she knows that this girl he is with is bad news. "Nevermind what I said before, I don't want any less anymore."--I believe the singer has told this boy many times that he is playing with fire. She gets angered by the actions of the girl that the boy keeps returning to. She is also angered by the boy's ignorance toward her well-informed opinions and advice as she can see everything play out, crash, and burn before her eyes. She has probably said things along the lines of "Whatever, live your life however you want, I cannot help you if you are intent on living in sadness and despair, but I will always be there for you when things go wrong." The singer is beyond angry at this point. She's threatening to leave and not be there for the boy anymore because she does not want any less than to be respected and have her opinions valued by this boy--all the time. "You are carbon and I am flame, I will rise and you will remain."--I believe the singer is using this metaphor to show how the whole situation honestly seems to affect her more than the victimized boy. She wants to defend and protect him, so she has no problem rising, fighting with this girl, when the singer is angry about the way the girl has been treating the boy. But then the boy keeps making the decisions to remain with this girl, to return to this girl, after all of the awful things she has done over the years. "For bright lights and cityscapes, and landslides and masquerades"--This time the singer adds on to the "beautiful exterior, messy interior" metaphor to really show the boy what she means. She is saying that this girl is toxic, she is a landslide waiting to happen. Pressure building up, gravity pulling down, and eventually it all collapses--a landslide. This girl plays life like a game, pretending to be someone she is not--putting on a masquerade, pretending to want the best for this boy, when she only cares about herself. Pretending that she loves him, but she does not love amyone besides herself. The singer concludes the song with several lines of "I wouldn't need a second chance", to really get the point across to this boy. Her repetitiveness has such a clear point, she is really trying to make the boy listen, to make him understand. What the singer is trying to say is that she has never been misinformed or wrong in her verbalized opinions to this boy, but he still rejects her thoughts. But she has never done him wrong, and has never needed a second chance pn anything, but this girl he is with has needed, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth...chances. The singer will never be able to understand the boy's logic, as it is not logical, and he is not thinking clearly. His thoughts are clouded and this vicious cycle may never end. But there is nothing the singer can do if he is not willing to listen and comply with her suggestions. All she can do is love him, be there for him when things fall apart--yet again.
    lyric.analysison December 16, 2013   Link

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