Well I’ve been huddled up alone
By the fire even though
I’m not exactly feeling cold

And I’ve been bundled up for days
Too confused to be amazed
At all the icy water in my veins

Why do I feel so alone?
Yeah I’ve been moving in and out
Of this old split-level house

And I’d just as soon burn the whole place down
‘Cause I quit working lumberyards
To build a mansion out of cards

But I feel thin behind these paper walls
Why do I feel so alone?
‘Cause the angriest bark is always worse than the bite
Like the ache in my chest that my heart didn’t invite

But if the prettiest romance isn’t perfectly right
That makes every love lost just a holiday every night
Well I’ve been painting through the night
In the basement out of sight

Brushing paper tigers black and white
‘Cause come tomorrow afternoon
I’ll fill a helium balloon
And set them free into the baby blue sky
So they won’t have to be alone

‘Cause the angriest bark is always worse than the bite
Like the ache in my chest that my heart didn’t invite
But if the prettiest romance isn’t perfectly right
That makes every love lost just a holiday every night

But when I close these heavy lids after dark
Each sweet dream is a target
And all my shots are so consistently wide of the mark

‘Cause the angriest bark is always worse than the bite
Like the ache in my chest that my heart didn’t invite
But if the prettiest romance isn’t perfectly right
That makes every love lost just a holiday every night

Just a holiday every night
Just a holiday every night
Just a holiday every night

Well I’ve been huddled up alone
By the fire even though
I’m not exactly feeling cold

But how my heartache hit the trail
When a paper tiger tail
Fluttered down, I guess I’ll never know


Lyrics submitted by ferparu

Paper Tigers song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • +1
    Song MeaningAs we all know, Adam is very introverted. I think that this song is a reflection of that. It’s also written for any of his fans to relate to easily.
    “Well I’ve been huddled up alone
    By the fire even though
    I’m not exactly feeling cold”
    The song opens on Adam sitting by the fire, deep in reflection on himself, not because he needs physical warmth, but rather something in his life just feels missing.
    “And I’ve been bundled up for days
    Too confused to be amazed
    At all the icy water in my veins”
    Here, this represents all the internal turmoil. He’s living in a world full of extroverts, and it confuses him so much that he’s not shocked at how cold he can be to people.
    “Why do I feel so alone?”
    Why doesn’t he fit in?
    “Yeah I’ve been moving in and out
    Of this old split-level house
    And I’d just as soon burn the whole place down”
    Now it’s getting personal for him. This is his “past life”, back when he worked at a Coke factory and lived a dull life. He hated that job so much, he’s said it himself.
    “‘Cause I quit working lumberyards
    To build a mansion out of cards
    But I feel thin behind these paper walls”
    He quit his old job for a life making music, but something feels missing. The walls could come crumbling down at any minute, in the dangerous world of the music business. Hence the mansion out of cards.
    “Why do I feel so alone?”
    Again.
    “‘Cause the angriest bark is always worse than the bite
    Like the ache in my chest that my heart didn’t invite
    But if the prettiest romance isn’t perfectly right
    That makes every love lost just a holiday every night”
    Now he moves on to his love life. He hasn’t had the biggest success with that, and this could be referring to anyone. Annemarie, the Vanilla Twilight girl (who may have been Annemarie too), “convertible girl”, which I think is the most likely since it’s the most recent. It could even be Taylor Swift, or all 4.
    “Well I’ve been painting through the night
    In the basement out of sight
    Brushing paper tigers black and white”
    Every introvert has some means of escape. For Adam, it’s his music. These are the “paper tigers”. Interestingly enough, a paper tiger is a metaphor for something that appears tough on the outside but is actually quite weak. Maybe he feels like the songs are a way to communicate with the world, but they aren’t exactly representing him anymore.
    “‘Cause come tomorrow afternoon
    I’ll fill a helium balloon
    And set them free into the baby blue sky
    So they won’t have to be alone”
    The helium balloon is how he shares his music with the world. Adam has always felt that music is something to be shared, and it shouldn’t be kept to just one person.
    “But when I close these heavy lids after dark
    Each sweet dream is a target
    And all my shots are so consistently wide of the mark”
    Again, he feels like this life he has among extroverts just isn’t quite what he had hoped for. He keeps trying to achieve his dreams but it’s so hard to make them a reality.
    “Well I’ve been huddled up alone
    By the fire even though
    I’m not exactly feeling cold
    But how my heartache hit the trail
    When a paper tiger tail
    Fluttered down, I guess I’ll never know”
    Just when he’s feeling lost and alone, he gets some sort of reminder that his music is reaching out to other people like him who really get it, and that’s all he wants. It could be a piece of fanart, a cover, a grateful tweet, or even just hearing his song on the radio.
    The reason this makes so much sense is because he posted it on his blog, not produced it as a single. I think it’s a thank you to all his fans, but also an admission of confusion and heartache. It really resonates with his most loyal fans, because we’re all just like him. I certainly feel this way at times, and like Adam I’m glad to know I’m not alone.
    oceanheart13on September 09, 2012   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningAs we all know, Adam is very introverted. I think that this song is a reflection of that. It’s also written for any of his fans to relate to easily.
    “Well I’ve been huddled up alone
    By the fire even though
    I’m not exactly feeling cold”
    The song opens on Adam sitting by the fire, deep in reflection on himself, not because he needs physical warmth, but rather something in his life just feels missing.
    “And I’ve been bundled up for days
    Too confused to be amazed
    At all the icy water in my veins”
    Here, this represents all the internal turmoil. He’s living in a world full of extroverts, and it confuses him so much that he’s not shocked at how cold he can be to people.
    “Why do I feel so alone?”
    Why doesn’t he fit in?
    “Yeah I’ve been moving in and out
    Of this old split-level house
    And I’d just as soon burn the whole place down”
    Now it’s getting personal for him. This is his “past life”, back when he worked at a Coke factory and lived a dull life. He hated that job so much, he’s said it himself.
    “‘Cause I quit working lumberyards
    To build a mansion out of cards
    But I feel thin behind these paper walls”
    He quit his old job for a life making music, but something feels missing. The walls could come crumbling down at any minute, in the dangerous world of the music business. Hence the mansion out of cards.
    “Why do I feel so alone?”
    Again.
    “‘Cause the angriest bark is always worse than the bite
    Like the ache in my chest that my heart didn’t invite
    But if the prettiest romance isn’t perfectly right
    That makes every love lost just a holiday every night”
    Now he moves on to his love life. He hasn’t had the biggest success with that, and this could be referring to anyone. Annemarie, the Vanilla Twilight girl (who may have been Annemarie too), “convertible girl”, which I think is the most likely since it’s the most recent. It could even be Taylor Swift, or all 4.
    “Well I’ve been painting through the night
    In the basement out of sight
    Brushing paper tigers black and white”
    Every introvert has some means of escape. For Adam, it’s his music. These are the “paper tigers”. Interestingly enough, a paper tiger is a metaphor for something that appears tough on the outside but is actually quite weak. Maybe he feels like the songs are a way to communicate with the world, but they aren’t exactly representing him anymore.
    “‘Cause come tomorrow afternoon
    I’ll fill a helium balloon
    And set them free into the baby blue sky
    So they won’t have to be alone”
    The helium balloon is how he shares his music with the world. Adam has always felt that music is something to be shared, and it shouldn’t be kept to just one person.
    “But when I close these heavy lids after dark
    Each sweet dream is a target
    And all my shots are so consistently wide of the mark”
    Again, he feels like this life he has among extroverts just isn’t quite what he had hoped for. He keeps trying to achieve his dreams but it’s so hard to make them a reality.
    “Well I’ve been huddled up alone
    By the fire even though
    I’m not exactly feeling cold
    But how my heartache hit the trail
    When a paper tiger tail
    Fluttered down, I guess I’ll never know”
    Just when he’s feeling lost and alone, he gets some sort of reminder that his music is reaching out to other people like him who really get it, and that’s all he wants. It could be a piece of fanart, a cover, a grateful tweet, or even just hearing his song on the radio.
    The reason this makes so much sense is because he posted it on his blog, not produced it as a single. I think it’s a thank you to all his fans, but also an admission of confusion and heartache. It really resonates with his most loyal fans, because we’re all just like him. I certainly feel this way at times, and like Adam I’m glad to know I’m not alone.
    oceanheart13on September 09, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI hate it when it posts twice.
    oceanheart13on September 09, 2012   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningAdam Young said here: heyheyanna.tumblr.com/post/29803605060/… :
    "It means that when you first realize you’re not meant to be with somebody, it’s not the end of the world."
    ----------------------------------------------------
    So:


    "Well I’ve been huddled up alone
    By the fire even though
    I’m not exactly feeling cold" - He's by the "fire", trying to mend his broken heart. But it's not broken really (this relationship wan't gonna work).

    "And I’ve been bundled up for days
    Too confused to be amazed
    At all the icy water in my veins" - The ice is melting & he's wondering why. Surely he should be really, really heartbroken? (throughout the song, keep thinking about Adam's meaning & it should all come together, line-by-line) (- this is the line I struggle with the most)

    "Why do I feel so alone?" - he's single now. of course he feels lonely. just not as lonely as he should be, if it was a functional relationship in the first place

    "Yeah I’ve been moving in and out
    Of this old split-level house
    And I’d just as soon burn the whole place down"

    "‘Cause I quit working lumberyards
    To build a mansion out of cards
    But I feel thin behind these paper walls"- He moved from something safe, to something risky and uncertain. Think about a paper house. You know it's gonna fall. He knew it was gonna fall, but wasn't uncertain. If you're a lumberjack, *you're* the one who's in control. So, he used to know what he was doing. Also, trees are thicker than cards, right? (Perhaps he had a more stable relationship in the past)

    "Why do I feel so alone?" - he keeps asking this. He's at an uncertain point in his life. I think he's a bit confused.

    "‘Cause the angriest bark is always worse than the bite
    Like the ache in my chest that my heart didn’t invite
    But if the prettiest romance isn’t perfectly right
    That makes every love lost just a holiday every night" What Adam said (at the top of my comment). If even the best relationships have problems, then there's bound to be a lot of hartbreak in the world. And, in the wider scope of things, it's not as big a deal as it might seem.

    "Well I’ve been painting through the night
    In the basement out of sight
    Brushing paper tigers black and white" - Making things clearer for himself, shutting himself out & not letting anything else get in the way. The basement is the darkest, deepest part of the house. So, he's learning from these dark, unhappy experiences to make everything clearer*. The "Paper Tigers" are his ruined relationship (from google: Paper Tiger= A person or thing that appears threatening but is ineffectual.) So, he's going from this dark place to [see next line]:

    "‘Cause come tomorrow afternoon
    I’ll fill a helium balloon
    And set them free into the baby blue sky
    So they won’t have to be alone" -Setting his Paper Tigers free. Skies & the colour blue *always* represent something good (whether that's chasing/living your dream, or being in a relationship or whatever). He's letting go.

    He keeps repeating "Just a holiday every night" - he keeps telling himself this. Reassuring himself this but...

    "But when I close these heavy lids after dark
    Each sweet dream is a target
    And all my shots are so consistently wide of the mark" - Nightmares. (Even though he knows this is just a Paper Tiger, he still gets them no matter how much he reassures himself or tries.)

    "Well I’ve been huddled up alone
    By the fire even though
    I’m not exactly feeling cold
    But how my heartache hit the trail
    When a paper tiger tail
    Fluttered down, I guess I’ll never know" - I love this bit!! It shows him reverting back to the beginning. The same lyrics AND He uses a higher voice at the end. It's the kind of voice he used in his earlier songs. (Maybe it shows naivety?..or maybe he just did it to make the song sound nicer idk) But, with the rest of this song, he sings with an air of authority & experience. Like, he's been through it. It's kind of an advice song. I think he's saying that at the end of the day, none of it can be explained. You can try making things clear (painting the paper tigers black & white) and try to get rid of your problems (balloon). The tail falling is a bit like the nightmares coming back. But, there's nothing you can do right now, you have to live with it. But, it's really not as bad as it seems. He's basically gone round in a big circle.

    [*Also, maybe the basement thing links into his songwriting roots? Maybe he made things clearer & felt better through his music. But, I'm not too sure. I personally like the idea of Adam Young's music being fiction. It gives his songs better meanings & more weight & more room for the imagination. Maybe he just interpreted ideas from real life into this song.]
    ----------

    But, this is all my interpretation. It could be very different to yours (or Adam's!)
    Maybe I'm looking to far into it. I'm not sure. Some people don't like to read too far into these songs. But, this is how I see the song :)
    melinafiolon February 15, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationWell I been thinking, and this song apparently has many meanings to it in very different ways. And..

    Well I’ve been huddled up alone
    By the fire even though
    I’m not exactly feeling cold

    He's been doing something that's supposed to be helping.. but doesn't really feel like it's the right thing.

    And I’ve been bundled up for days
    Too confused to be amazed
    At all the icy water in my veins

    He doesn't know what it is, but something is making his life worse and turning is blood into ice.

    Why do I feel so alone?

    He feels he has no one to help him.

    Yeah I’ve been moving in and out
    Of this old split-level house
    And I’d just as soon burn the whole place down

    He's actually trying to do something with is seemingly useless life but he thinks sooner or later his house will burn down, or he will make his life worse than it already is.

    ‘Cause I quit working lumberyards
    To build a mansion out of cards
    But I feel thin behind these paper walls

    He quit having to control his own life because it's just making him feel worse, so he starts building a "house of cards" but he'd still think that he'd rather spend his time someplace more useful.

    Why do I feel so alone?
    ‘Cause the angriest bark is always worse than the bite
    Like the ache in my chest that my heart didn’t invite

    He didn't invite the ache means that he doesn't really know where it comes from.

    But if the prettiest romance isn’t perfectly right
    That makes every love lost just a holiday every night

    This part i felt was kind of complex.. But if the prettiest romance isn't perfectly right means if he sees something pleasing many times but still thinks something's missing...That makes every love lost just a holiday every night means that when that does happen he still tries to make himself feel better and fail, ending up with an "uncompleted holiday". This happens every night, in attempt to make himself feel better.


    Well I’ve been painting through the night
    In the basement out of sight
    Brushing paper tigers black and white
    ‘Cause come tomorrow afternoon
    I’ll fill a helium balloon
    And set them free into the baby blue sky
    So they won’t have to be alone

    This whole song was kind of about how he is alone, but he makes paper tigers and let's them free in the baby blue sky. So at this point even though he feels trapped, he makes an attempt to free other "beings" in to the baby blue sky (A happy place)

    ‘Cause the angriest bark is always worse than the bite
    Like the ache in my chest that my heart didn’t invite
    But if the prettiest romance isn’t perfectly right
    That makes every love lost just a holiday every night

    But when I close these heavy lids after dark
    Each sweet dream is a target
    And all my shots are so consistently wide of the mark

    this part goes back to his feeling of trapped, what he means by this is each dream, or night, he tries to make him feel better but he keeps "missing".

    ‘Cause the angriest bark is always worse than the bite
    Like the ache in my chest that my heart didn’t invite
    But if the prettiest romance isn’t perfectly right
    That makes every love lost just a holiday every night

    Just a holiday every night
    Just a holiday every night
    Just a holiday every night

    Well I’ve been huddled up alone
    By the fire even though
    I’m not exactly feeling cold

    But how my heartache hit the trail
    When a paper tiger tail
    Fluttered down, I guess I’ll never know

    And later in his life, he remembers a "paper tiger tail" falling down reminding him he's freed something, not necessarily himself. He's happy now that something is free.

    Now, I'm not christian, so I have no idea if he really interprets it that way. But this is my way, and if you have any feelings post!
    horseturbineon August 03, 2013   Link

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