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 because
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 because
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 because
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 because
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 because
You're gonna sing the words wrong
I got a lump in my throat because 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
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52 Comments

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  • +19
    General CommentI'm a dentist and I don't like when people are afraid of me!
    docrockon October 31, 2013   Link
  • +19
    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
  • +12
    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
  • +8
    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
  • +7
    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
  • +5
    General CommentI don't get it
    tyty2006on April 09, 2014   Link
  • +3
    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
  • +2
    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
  • +2
    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
  • +2
    My InterpretationFor me this is a song about a man who is in an emotional riptide. He loves the beauty of his woman and all the great things they experienced, but at the same time he realises that he adjusted to her and she has the wrong perception of him.
    Although a breakup is most reasonable, his emotions do not allow him to escape the riptide and thus he will be pulled underwater and possibly end up in an unhappy relationship.


    "I was scared of dentists and the dark
    I was scared of pretty girls and starting conversations"
    He was often scared and shy towards girls he liked. But then he got this girl now and
    "Oh, all my friends are turning green
    You're the magician's assistant in their dreams".
    As she is very beautiful his friends are jealous.



    "Oh, and they come unstuck"
    But their relationship has failed.

    "Lady, running down to the riptide
    Taken away to the dark side"
    A vortex pulls his girl away from him, she changed from what he used to know her be like (light side) and now becomes the opposite (dark side).

    "I wanna be your left hand man"
    A left hand man is also referred to as a person who is cockblocking someone i.e. making bad comments about other males in front of the girl and thus preventing her from getting to know them or even to get in a relationship.
    Here he wants to do anything to not let anyone else have his girl.

    "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"
    This could either be a metaphor for their (past) relationship or how he perceives her. In the latter case he cannot see or doesn't care about her flaws. For him she's still perfect.
    In the former case he expected their relationship to go a much better way and didn't think that it would develop differently ("gonna"). But he might have even expected it or at least there were hints ('lump in his throat' as something you cannot control and might even overlook if not paying close attention or being distracted).


    "There's this movie that I think you'll like
    This guy decides to quit his job and heads to New York City"
    He knows how much she likes people who are full of confidence and determination to make life changing decisions. He also knows that in reality he is not this type of person:

    "This cowboy's running from himself"
    His insight that he has ran away from who he really is. He might have pretended to be someone completely different or have hidden his fears such as those mentioned in the first verse. He was not he. Meanwhile
    "she's been living on the highest shelf".
    She was on the top, enjoying herself, maybe doing whatever she wanted and received everything from him as he just lived for her and ignored his real feelings and wishes (the cowboy verse).



    "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"
    He needs to where where he stands and if she still feels the same way. Under no circumstances he can wait.

    "I swear she's destined for the screen
    Closest thing to Michelle Pfeiffer that you've ever seen, oh"
    Another reference to her beauty that she's one of those women you could be seeing on TV. As this is part of the the verse above where he needs a decision from her and realises things can't go on like this anymore, but now suddenly falls back talking about her beauty, shows his inner emotional riptide. Her beauty should not add anything to her decision anyways, so it's completely irrelvant. But he is blinded by her beauty and cannot think of anything else for too long.


    [3x chorus]
    It might be interesting to note that this part being repeated three times in a more silent and monotonous way underlines the "riptide", water which is seemingly endlessly running in circles - as are his emotions.

    He realises, this girl has flaws and she has let him become someone who he is not, but he is still blinded by her beauty and their memories that he can't get over her and cannot decide to break up. This would seem to be the most reasonable thing to do but he couldn't accept that anyone else would have this beautiful girl - not even his friends.
    These thoughts are running in circles and repeat themselves just like a riptide but he cannot break out of it. He might also be afraid that his original fears come back once she is gone.
    However, if this goes on, one day he might be pulled underwater and cannot escape anymore and has to stay with her which will most likely not satisfy him in the long run.
    BamagedDrainon August 21, 2014   Link

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