I was scared of dentists and the dark
I was scared of pretty girls and starting conversations
Oh, all my friends are turning green
You're the magician's assistant in their dreams

Oh, and they come unstuck

Lady, running down to the riptide
Taken away to the dark side
I wanna be your left hand man
I love you when you're singing that song and
I got a lump in my throat cause
You're gonna sing the words wrong

There's this movie that I think you'll like
This guy decides to quit his job and heads to New York City
This cowboy's running from himself
And she's been living on the highest shelf

Oh, and they come unstuck

Lady, running down to the riptide
Taken away to the dark side
I wanna be your left hand man
I love you when you're singing that song and
I got a lump in my throat cause
You're gonna sing the words wrong

I just wanna, I just wanna know
If you're gonna, if you're gonna stay
I just gotta, I just gotta know
I can't have it, I can't have it any other way
I swear she's destined for the screen
Closest thing to Michelle Pfeiffer that you've ever seen, oh

Lady, running down to the riptide
Taken away to the dark side
I wanna be your left hand man
I love you when you're singing that song and
I got a lump in my throat cause
You're gonna sing the words wrong

Oh lady, running down to the riptide
Taken away to the dark side
I wanna be your left hand man
I love you when you're singing that song and
I got a lump in my throat cause
You're gonna sing the words wrong

Oh lady, running down to the riptide
Taken away to the dark side
I wanna be your left hand man
I love you when you're singing that song and
I got a lump in my throat cause
You're gonna sing the words wrong
I got a lump in my throat cause you're gonna sing the words wrong


Lyrics submitted by deck, edited by Mellow_Harsher, thatismahogony, blarhblarh, roxycon, giggleglasses

"Riptide" as written by James Keogh

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Riptide song meanings
Add your thoughts

26 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +9
    General CommentMusic videos either make or break a song- this one made me love this song even more, and watching him live at the Arias 2013. This guy is a genius! His voice sounds even better live.
    I believe this song is about a girl he loves who is slowly changing before his eyes.
    "I was scared of pretty girls and starting conversations" meaning he'd conquered that fear and now he's found her.
    "All my friends are turning green" His friends are jealous because he has this beautiful girlfriend.

    "Lady, running down to the riptide,
    Taken away to the dark side". His girlfriend gets caught up with bad people or an addiction or something that is changing her ways.

    " i wanna be your left hand man" But he loves her so much he'll still stay and help her no matter what happens

    " I love you, when you're singing that song, and
    I've got a lump in my throat,
    Cos your gonna sing the words wrong" The relationship starts going downhill because she's saying things and doing things that are out of character. It makes him feel sick inside that she's not the girl he first met.

    "This cowboys running from himself" Meaning he's confused with why she's become this way so he questions himself and that maybe he's he's not good enough.

    "And she's been living on the higher shelf" He's always worshipped her and put her up on a pedestal.

    "I just wanna, I just wanna know,
    If you're gonna, if you're gonna stay" He asks her for the truth, he wants to know if she really loves him.

    And that's my interpretation of some of the lyrics in this song ;)
    ElectraHeart2000on December 10, 2013   Link
  • +8
    My InterpretationIt's a break up song. Or rather the anticipation of a break up from a woman he loves who no longer loves him or has been attracted to another.

    "And it comes unstuck"

    "Lady, running down to the riptide
    Taken away to the dark side
    I wanna be your left hand man"
    He wants to marry her, he loves her but she doesn't love him.

    "I love you when you're singing that song and I gotta lump in my throat cos your gonna sing the words wrong"
    He wants so badly to hear her say "I love you" but she can't or won't.

    Just my interpretation anyway... Better than something about Trannys...
    waywardkittyon August 17, 2013   Link
  • +8
    General CommentI'm a dentist and I don't like when people are afraid of me!
    docrockon October 31, 2013   Link
  • +7
    General Commenti don't know why but I've always seen this as this awkward kid who deeply falls in love with this free spirited girl who also has tendencies to get sad and traumatised and run off and do fuck all for a bit. He fears for her when she goes through these dark stages, however is so infatuated with her at the same time. idkk just what i got
    chadtheladon February 03, 2014   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationIt's definitely NOT a break-up song. It's about a woman's fears of loving a "cowboy who's running away from himself", and of a man who's afraid he isn't worthy to stand in the presence of a pretty woman. They are both stuck in these fears, in these darksides.

    The riptide is a division of ways, a decision. The woman asks him whether he's going to stay or not. "I just wanna, I just wanna know
    If you're gonna, if you're gonna stay" - he's remembering when she said it, how she looked.

    He answers that he will be her "left hand man", marry her. And it transforms their relationship from one of fear to one of hope.

    They become unstuck - it's a reference to a song by The Cure called "Doing the Unstuck" - a couple in love are about to break up, but then decide to start over again. It's a very positive and moving song, and its reference shouldn't be missed.
    yarlypipon January 17, 2014   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI don't get it
    tyty2006on April 09, 2014   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretationhe starts with his fears 'I was scared of dentists and the dark
    I was scared of pretty girls and starting conversations'

    all his friends are starting to make a lot of money
    'Oh, all my friends are turning green'

    he cant believe he has gotten such a beautiful girl and all his friends are jealous
    'You're the magician's assistant in their dreams'

    'I wanna be your left hand man' he wants to marry her.

    'I got a lump in my throat because
    You're gonna sing the words wrong'
    he tells her he loves her and when she replies she doesnt say it or mean it.

    I just wanna, I just wanna know
    If you're gonna, if you're gonna stay
    I just gotta, I just gotta know
    I can't have it, I can't have it any other way
    I swear she's destined for the screen
    Closest thing to Michelle Pfeiffer that you've ever seen, oh

    his isnt sure if she is going to stay with him and its killing him because she is blow hot blow cold about him and he is very insecure

    this is my interpretation. i dont know if its right but in summary it is a song about unrequited love.
    alicenaughtonon December 11, 2013   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI always thought it was about a man's love for a woman whom he's put upon a pedestal. She might not be the best person (she sings the words wrong, is being pulled to the dark side) but he still loves her and thinks she's beautiful (destined for the screen, etc.).

    It's either that or a love that's just out of a reach. Maybe, he offers to be her left hand man because he can't be her right hand man for whatever reason.

    Either way, the key lines seems to be: "she's been living on the highest shelf." The song has more of an unrequited-love-feel, as opposed to the break-up-song-feel.
    balticaiton February 03, 2014   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI thought about the meaning , and the biggest theme in this song is change. The song can be interpreted as a awkward guy , who gets a beautiful girl that all this friends are jealous of , However the girl has a dark side and always does things wrong. But even after everything the guy still loves her. Further the guy is witnessing his girl change and become darker , she is literally changing like a were- wolf, (wolf is even in the lyrics of video and also the "woooooooo" and they come unstuck - sounds like a wolf's cry.

    Vancy joy - said himself he was experimenting with sounds and images when he came up with this song. Anyway just my thoughts on it anyway.
    leadvocalson March 01, 2014   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI think it is a song about people in a relationship changing.

    "I was scared of dentists and the dark
    I was scared of pretty girls and starting conversations"
    You helped me get over my fears.

    "Oh, all my friends are turning green
    You're the magician's assistant in their dreams"
    My friends are envious of me because I have you.

    "Oh, and they come unstuck"
    Things Change

    "Lady, running down to the riptide"
    Riptides (life) pull you along and you are forced to sink (give up), or swim (change).

    "Taken away to the dark side"
    Your becoming a person I don't recognize.

    "I wanna be your left hand man"
    A reference to medieval times. Most people are right handed so it is easier to hurt/kill the person sitting to the right of you. However, the person sitting on the left side (King's weak hand) of the lord could easily kill him. In the case of this song he is saying that he doesn't want to be hurt [emotionally] by her.

    "I love you when you're singing that song and
    I got a lump in my throat cause
    You're gonna sing the words wrong"
    I love that you love me back. But it's not in the ways I need.

    "There's this movie that I think you'll like
    This guy decides to quit his job and heads to New York City
    This cowboy's running from himself
    And she's been living on the highest shelf"

    I gave up everything for you and I'm regretting my decision but I don't want to admit it. I idealize you.

    Oh, and they come unstuck
    [Chorus]

    "I just wanna, I just wanna know
    If you're gonna, if you're gonna stay
    I just gotta, I just gotta know
    I can't have it, I can't have it any other way"

    Please dont leave.

    "I swear she's destined for the screen
    Closest thing to Michelle Pfeiffer that you've ever seen, oh"

    She has bigger dreams than what we have.
    alexia1000on August 08, 2014   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain