"December" as written by and Sara Bareilles....
Afternoon has settled long and heavy on my shoulders
The winter's light feels different on my skin
It doesn't seem to strike as far below the surface so
I have to conclude that shadow won't let it in
Shadow won't let it in
Shadow won't let it in

December
You've always been a problem child
December
You run me down right restless and wild and I remember
When you used to be mine
December oh
December oh

The leaves are all still changing, the weather here is mild and vacant
A winter's blooming on Los Angeles
The artificial cold is more than I was hoping for but not enough to consume
The darkened state I'm in
The darkened state I'm in
The darkened state I'm in

December
You've always been a problem child
December
You run me down right restless and wild and I remember
When you used to be mine
December oh
December oh

Distill a whole year down into a day
Act like we all start over with a pristine slate
But to get yourself a new life you've got to give the other one away
And I'm starting to believe in the power of a name
'Cause it can't be a mistake if I just call it change

December oh
(Can't turn around now)
December (Can't turn around now)
(Can't turn around now)
December (Break the chain, can't live in circles again)
(Break the chain, can't live in circles again)
December (Break the chain, can't live in circles again)
(Break the chain, can't live in circles again)
December (Break the chain, can't live in circles again)
(Break the chain)


Lyrics submitted by SongMeanings, edited by azneel128, ElNico

"December" as written by Sara Bareilles

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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December song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentWho is December? We should look at the rest of the lyrics to get an idea. Sara begins with describing the “long and heady” afternoon on her shoulders, often a symptom of overexposure to sun. But this headiness she feels seems to be numbing her beyond senses of light or cold–even cold artificially created (which means, realistically, imagined). It is the darkness she notices building up inside and around her. It is the darkness of insensitivity, cutting one off from a truly colorful world. She also chastises reckless conclusions and irresponsibility, whereupon she discards the pertinent pieces of something that had to “change.”

    So then: December. She/he has “always been a problem child,” running Sara “down restless and wild,” and, importantly, “used to be [hers].” December might be a desired person and all, but is called to “break the chain,” for she/he “can’t turn around now” or “live in circles again.” Sara herself has done her part and now is either asking the person, December, to change lifestyles, or her own December (Destiny) to drift back under her control. These wishes multiply and shower down upon the listener, building up into (breaking, even?) the final chain of the C note.
    azneel128on August 23, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI think this is about moving to a place that doesn't feel like home (Los Angeles) in order to start fresh and it's not really working the way you'd hoped. The fact that the seasons behave differently (that December is mild, not cold) emphasizes that.
    EllaMinnowPeaon July 31, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe lyrics to this song seemed awfully cryptic the first few times I listened to it. It makes more sense now when I think about the singer in a deep depression. The parts about "Distill a whole year down into a day" and the background vocals of "break the chain" are definitely about reliving a hurtful occurrence over and over, the cause for the depression.

    The choice of "December" for the song title might be referencing "Summer is Over," Sara's duet with Jon McLaughlin. That song compares the end of a relationship to the Fall that comes after Summer, so I wouldn't be surprised if this song was also about the depression after a breakup. ("And I remember when you used to be mine...")
    impossiblescissorson August 19, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDoes this song have anything to do with Manhattan?

    In Manhattan, she leaves Los Angeles to move to New York, effectively ending her relationship with her long-time love.
    migmolon September 28, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Comment/Distill a whole year down into a day
    Act like we all start over with a pristine slate
    But to get yourself a new life you've got to give the other one away
    And I'm starting to believe in the power of a name
    'Cause it can't be a mistake if I just call it change/

    And that name is "new year"? :)
    migmolon September 28, 2013   Link

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