"One Thing" as written by and Christopher Francis Ocean Alicia Augello-cook....
What, where am I?

What's life like on a train
Nobody there knows your name
As your decision changed
Do you wish that I came

I thought you'd pick me up from work
I waited for your truck for half hour
I know you said you gonna
But I never thought you'd leave

This one thing that was made for us
Chasing us, saving us
I take one thing over everything
I take that thing over anybody

Square face and puppy eyes
Found out they never lied
Your old man lived in the sky
Left your house with a yard
But you went away a different try
Found a place that's your size
Too good to finish life here with me

I couldn't get you to say
Why you wouldn't let me come
What should be simple just ain't
And it shouldn't hurt like it does

This one thing is made for us
Won't stay with us, it ain't saving us
But I'll take one thing over everything
I'll take that thing over anybody

Baby, hold me, don't pick me up
I need a compliment
Just a touch from a friend
I need a gentle word
I need your company
I'll keep

One thing that was made for us
Chasing us, saving us
I take one thing over anything
I take that thing over anybody

I take one thing over everything
I take that thing over anybody
Oh, oh, anything
Oh, oh, take one thing


Lyrics submitted by SongMeanings, edited by sajavia, candicejones

"One Thing" as written by Christopher Breaux Alicia Keys

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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One Thing song meanings
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  • 0
    My InterpretationA woman on a train who thinks about several things, about a broken relationship?!
    Her man got sick and went away (he doesn't want her to know: "I couldn't get you to say, Why you wouldn't let me come?") and now she goes to his funeral??? So then that "one thing" is his/the life itself?!
    Or he went away and started something new with somebody else. So "one thing" is love?! But why is she on a train then or isn't she?
    So I'm a little confused; some help please :)
    sajaviaon November 28, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is so hauntingly beautiful; it gives me chills every time I listen to it. In my interpretation, it's about a romantic partner who left her and all he had without any explanation. She wanted to go with him but he didn't let her to come. She's left clinging to the memory of their relationship and the spark that once kept them together.
    eaglelamon November 29, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationSo this is my interpretation.

    "What, where am I?" - She's woken up, whether literally or figuratively doesn't matter but the point is that she is in a state of confusion from the events that have occurred, which we find out about in the rest of the lyrics.

    "What's life like on a train
    Nobody there knows your name
    As your decision changed
    Do you wish that I came"- Originally I thought the first line was Alicia thinking aloud about being on the train that she is traveling on, but as I listened and interpreted more I realized that it didn't really make sense and there was nothing else in the song to support that other than maybe the opening line which can be interpreted as her waking up from a nap on the train, but I think my new interpretation fits the overall song better and makes more sense. Instead of Alicia being the one on the train, It is, instead, her lover. And the opening line is her asking him how it's like to be on a train. Maybe its genuine curiosity, but more likely that it's like an "excuse" to "talk" to him, although I feel the whole song just takes place in Alicia's mind and isn't actually being said to her lover. In the 2nd line she makes a statement about how on a train, filled with many different people, nobody knows who you are or what you've done. The same can be said about other modes of public transportation. This line could also serve as a metaphor for the new area that her lover left to, where he can start a whole new life. The next lines are interesting in that it seems to give a glimmer of hope. Alicia asks if he wishes that she went with him now that his decision changed. That change can be interpreted as him leaving without her and now on the train he has second thoughts and regrets. Interesting line and, ironically, the hope in the line adds to the pain felt by the singer.

    "I thought you'd pick me up from work
    I waited for your truck for half hour
    I know you said you gonna
    But I never thought you'd leave" - The first two lines are self explanatory. She waited outside of her work for her lover to come pick her up and take them to wherever it may be so they could leave together, but instead she waited half an hour and he didn't come. This line is fairly interesting since half an hour doesn't seem too long a wait to just finally give up and not expect a loved one to show up. This lack of faith in her lover, however, is explained in the next two lines. Alicia explains that her lover told her in advance that he was going to leave without her. And even though he gave her notice, she didn't actually expect him to leave. But once he didn't show up at her job, half an hour and the words he had said were enough for her to realize he was gone.

    "This one thing that was made for us
    Chasing us, saving us
    I take one thing over everything
    I take that thing over anybody"- The "one thing" from the title of the song is finally mentioned and I feel that this thing is pretty simply, love. But not just any love, but instead genuine, true love and the reason I feel that is HAS to be genuine love is from the fourth line in the stanza in which she says that she would take that thing over anybody. This is sort of an odd thing to say since it is usually another person that you love. But genuine love is different. She rather still have that genuine love and not tarnish it rather than try chasing it with her lover who she knows now doesn't feel the same way as they did in the beginning. She rather keep the MEMORY of true and genuine love as opposed to the illusion of it. That genuine love is the only thing keeping a link between her and her lover. It's chasing and saving "them" by linking them, however it can never actually bring them back together.

    "Square face and puppy eyes
    Found out they never lied
    Your old man lived in the sky
    Left your house with a yard
    But you went away a different try
    Found a place that's your size
    Too good to finish life here with me" - The first line is Alicia describing her lover's facial features, self explanatory, but the 2nd line is very deep. She mentions that those same features, his face and eyes, she found out, brutally, that they don't lie. When he looked at her with that same face and those same eyes and told her he was leaving he meant it and she realizes that now. This line, however, goes even deeper. The singer realizes that she should've seen, back then, that he was serious when he said he would leave. But on top of that this line also proves that her lover was in deep genuine love with the singer. With the same face that he left her in pain with, in the past he had also left her happy. And Alicia realizes that that face and those eyes were the major constant in the relationship. While true love was there and was real, it doesn't last and instead her lover's honesty was the only thing that remained throughout. Her lover's face never lied to her at any moment. Not when he said he cared and loved her and also, sadly, not when he said he was leaving . Again, this ray of hope adds to the heartbreak.The next two lines are talking about her lover's father. Frank Ocean, who co-wrote the song, is known for having religious themes in his music and the old man living in the sky can easily be interpreted as her lover's father having died and gone to heaven. The next line is self explanatory and simply states that with his death, her lover was left a house. The next line is interesting and a bit complicated. Alicia states that her Lover went away, which has been established, but then adds the part "a different try". To me, I feel this is addressing the fact that her lover left her in more ways than one. Her lover "tried" more than one way of leaving her and they both worked. Her lover left her in the traditional sense, in that he literally left her and went away, but he also left her in the sense that he didn't take her with him. She never cared about him going away, as long as she was with him she was happy. Well not only does he leave her, but he also leaves WITHOUT her. The final two lines are hint at the possibility of difference in socio-economic background of the singer and her lover. Firstly, she states that her lover found a place that's "his size". This is interesting since a house with a yard seems to be bigger than needed for a recently single man. But this line makes more sense if you interpret her lover as being from a more well off family than the singer. This is also corroborated by the final line which states the lover is maybe "too good" to live with the singer, who more than likely lives in a lower class environment. The fact that she needs to be picked up from work instead of having her own car, the fact that her lover picks her up in a truck, a vehicle not necessarily associated with the upper class, the fact that it's HIS truck and not THEIR truck, and the fact that they were going to travel by train as opposed to a plane all point to the singer and her lover living a very modest lifestyle. One that her lover was more than likely transplanted in to when they moved in together and thus felt it was beneath him. Also I’d like to point out the excellent play on words with the line “Found a place that’s your size”. Not only does her lover literally find a new place that’s more in tune with his lifestyle, but he also finds a new place in his life that in tune with his lifestyle and this new “place” does not include the singer.

    “I couldn't get you to say
    Why you wouldn't let me come
    What should be simple just ain't
    And it shouldn't hurt like it does” - The opening two lines are self explanatory, but it’s interesting to note that these lines prove that the singer has since talked or at least attempted to communicate with her lover since he left without her. The next two lines state the singer’s feelings and thoughts on the matter. This whole situation should be fairly simple in many different ways. If there is genuine, true love then they should be together, end of story. If there isn’t genuine, true love then him leaving shouldn’t bother her since there are no feelings. But love is complicated, in that it can be present, but then end; it is not black and white, which is the case with the singer and her lover. The final line is very somber and shows that the singer has obvious love for her now ex-lover as she states that this situation shouldn’t hurt her. Love, such a beautiful thing as love, shouldn’t cause pain, but it does.

    “This one thing is made for us
    Won't stay with us, it ain't saving us
    But I'll take one thing over everything
    I'll take that thing over anybody” - This stanza is also fairly straightforward. The singer now blatantly states that that tiny link of genuine, true love between the two, even though it is present, will not save the relationship.

    “Baby, hold me, don't pick me up
    I need a compliment
    Just a touch from a friend
    I need a gentle word
    I need your company
    I'll keep” - These are the last major lines within the song. The first line is especially interesting. Many couples refer to each other as babe or baby, symbolizing that the couple sees each other as innocent and sweet and that they are like babes, or babies, in the way in which they are so interested and enthralled by the other. It is the same with the singer and her lover as she calls him Baby, despite them no longer being together. This same line, however, addresses this issue. The singer tells her “baby” to hold her but not to pick her up, something that one would usually do for an infant, or another loved one. However, the singer realizes that while she may see him as her baby, the feeling is not mutual. This also has another meaning in that she wants her lover to be there, that’s all she wants is his presence, as evidenced in the lines following the first, but she doesn’t want him to come back and try to fix things, because she knows that it is over. The singer finishes the end of the relationship with a thud. She admits her feelings and admits that all she wants are his words (“I need a compliment... I need a gentle word”) and his physical presence (“... a touch from a friend... I need your company”), but she is also not naive enough to feel that the relationship can be reconciled. The final line in the stanza is a lead in to the chorus which shows the singer blatantly stating that she will choose genuine, true love over an illusion of it, even if that means letting her lover go and not chasing after him.
    uscfootball93on January 11, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentEver thought that the "one thing" is the "one thing" that chased them, i.e. came after he left, a baby/pregnancy. He's gone and the one thing she'll keep and take over everything is her unborn baby. Her pride won't let the baby be a reason for the saving of their relationship. Just my interpretation of course.
    Deanobee79on July 21, 2013   Link

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