I am just a copy of a copy of a copy
Everything I say has come before
Assembled into something into something into something into something
I don't know for certain anymore

I am just a shadow of a shadow of a shadow
Always trying catch up with myself

I am just an echo of an echo of an echo
Listening to someone's cry for help

Look what you had to start
Why all the change of heart?
You need to play your part
A copy of a copy of a

Now look what you've gone and done
Well that doesn't sound like fun
See I'm not the only one
A copy of a copy of a

I am little pieces little pieces little pieces
Pieces that we picked up on the way
Imprinted with a purpose with a purpose with a purpose
A purpose that's become quite clear today

Look what you had to start
Why all the change of heart?
You need to play your part
A copy of a copy of a

Now look what you've gone and done
Well that doesn't sound like fun
See I'm not the only one
A copy of a copy of a

I am just a finger on a trigger on a finger
Doing everything I'm told to do
Always my intention my intention your attention
Just doing everything you tell me to

Look what you had to start
Why all the change of heart?
You need to play your part
A copy of a copy of a

Now look what you've gone and done
Well that doesn't sound like fun
See I'm not the only one
A copy of a copy of a

(Now look what you had to start)

Now look what you had to start

(Why all the change of heart?)

Why all the change of heart?

(You need to pay your part)

You need to pay your part

(A copy of a copy of a copy of a)


(Now look what you've gone and done)

Now look what you've gone and done

(Now that doesn't sound like fun)

Now that doesn't sound like fun

(See I'm not the only one)

See I'm not the only one

(A copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a-)


Lyrics submitted by Sean19a7x, edited by Belle47, KillerKenny, M1ndaugas

Copy of A song meanings
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15 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentWell, I'm not one of the few people who have actually heard this song, as it has only appeared live thus far. However, it sounds to me like a simple commentary on how we are determined (controled) by forces outside of our control. We are a product of our times, environment, genes, etc..We are all different, but we are all imprinted with the same blueprint of life.
    Androgyneon August 07, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"I am just an echo of an echo of an echo listening to someone's cry for help"
    I think this refers to the perpetual state of existing in a series of moments after we were born, reflecting back on ourselves through our memories.
    We are simply copies of our past selves, which in turn are reassembled copies of our parents, their parents, and so on.
    JimmyDiggs87on September 20, 2013   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningI agree with Androgyne. I don't think the other interpretations are incorrect, but they're very superficial. The song is about how we aren't in control, but it's also about the purpose of life and why we're here. The proposed answer in this song is to "copy". The building blocks have evolved into something that doesn't recognize its history anymore (conscious, but with no history (our current scientific understanding of the origins of human life). The song is also about aging and facing morality. "Look what you had to start" (youth), "why all the change in heart?" (fear of death), "you need to play your part" (don't get distracted from life's purpose), "a copy of a copy" (to reproduce).

    This is an aging Reznor, taking a second look at Closer.
    KLaneon November 21, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with the previous thoughts. We don't think new things. Even things we like or create come from or are at least derived external sources. Music melodies, movie plots, even mankind itself passes copies of genes to their kids. Really intriguing concept actually. The only thing is, we build on top of old concepts. Copies degrade with time but evolution is developing a more resistant race.
    arkmabat -on July 02, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with the previous thoughts. We don't think new things. Even things we like or create come from or are at least derived external sources. Music melodies, movie plots, even mankind itself passes copies of genes to their kids. Really intriguing concept actually. The only thing is, we build on top of old concepts. Copies degrade with time but evolution is developing a more resistant race.
    arkmabat -on July 02, 2015   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningAt the beginning of the movie Fight Club, the narrator refers to life as an office worker as being a "copy of a copy". He goes on to do something more with his life.
    drummer1500on October 29, 2015   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI was listening to this yesterday and I had a very weird thought... that it's about cancer. All these metaphors could theoretically be talking about a bunch of tumors that have metastasized.
    Probably not what was intended, but an interesting alternate meaning nonetheless.
    Europan Leopardon August 01, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMmm.. I dont know if am i right, but i think its talking bout the viral advertising and the present of social networks. You see in fb or twitter and you copy and paste, copy and paste. And people believe in that and confused who you are and who you are in the net.
    caro242on September 20, 2013   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningWe are products(copys) of our experiences and world around us.

    References to fight club: " With insomnia, nothing's real. Everything's far away. Everything's a copy of a copy of a copy." youtube.com/…
    michael100on September 22, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think these lyrics are more theatrical and literal than most NIN songs are. He did a lot of new things on this album. Songs with similar themes (and deeper meanings) would be The Hand that Feeds and Beside You in Time, far as I know.
    KillerKennyon September 24, 2013   Link

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