"Mystery Disease" as written by Sandy Linzer, Denny Randell, Andrew Vanwyngarden and Ben Goldwasser....
It can’t pay attention
What slips into the system
A light touch, a whisper that puts you to sleep
Don’t sympathize with the mystery disease

All it is is a feeling,
Pain in a dress too revealing,
A lost bond an old friend who likes what it sees
You can’t shake off the mystery disease

Lovers in a past life
Meet in the street close to midnight,
A last look sweet like the end of a dream,
Then fall back into the mystery disease

Go on, tell your symptoms to me
It’s not in any of the books you can read
It’s no fun to face what you don’t get to be,
But what’s one more to the mystery disease?

Floating impatience
Snuffs my limited sapience
Black smoke as soon as the pressure’s released
Deep space sighs, the mystery disease

Consumed by a weakness
Cut with perpetual unrest
You see stars, sunsets blurred through a screen,
Trap what you want, waste what you need

And when the west wind sweeps through the leaves,
Emperors of history fall to their knees
Small fronds can’t see the wood for the trees,
Left in the dust of the mystery disease


Lyrics submitted by dissolutions, edited by Audster, subfusion, livinlife94, minicuotas, Bearstronauts, qoz

"Mystery Disease" as written by Benjamin Nicholas Huner Goldwasser Sandy Linzer

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Mystery Disease song meanings
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  • +3
    My InterpretationThere are seven verses in this song and each verse represents one of the seven deadly sins, the seven sins of the ego, the mystery disease
    livinlife94on September 29, 2013   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationAs livinlife94 already said, every verse is about one of the deadly sins

    1. Gluttony
    2. Pride (an old friend who likes what he sees)
    3. Lust
    4. Envy
    5. Wrath (released pressure)
    6. Sloth (Watching tv?)
    7. Greed

    I think the mystery disease is somehow the devil, everything evil and bad in us. We can't shake him of. He will always try to tempt us.
    great song
    TristanNoelon October 08, 2013   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningThis song is about a person's drug addiction, which is their "mystery disease". I read on a forum that Andrew VanWyngarden said the song was written about a friend of his that had fallen into drug addiction. How true that is, I don't know, but it certainly makes for a very convincing interpretation of the lyrics. I'll go verse by verse to explain what I mean:

    It can’t pay attention
    What slips into the system
    A light touch, a whisper that puts you to sleep
    Don’t sympathize with the mystery disease

    The first two lines reference the person's inability to think critically about the drug or drugs they are ingesting. The following line ("a light touch...") is a kind of self-rationalization by the person in the song, implying that the drug is only a "whisper" that puts him/her to sleep. The narrator then instructs this person not to "sympathize with the mystery disease", or give in to the addiction.

    All it is is a feeling,
    Pain in a dress too revealing,
    A lost bond an old friend who likes what it sees
    You can’t shake off the mystery disease

    The first line is another rationalization by the person, they are ignoring the bad aspects of the abuse and instead focusing on the immediate effect of the drug(s). The second line is a metaphor for the visual aspect of depression and sorrow. A drug addict who is on hard substances will usually look much worse for wear than your average person, which is "pain in a dress too revealing". You can see the addict's sorrow evidenced in the changes to their face and body, whereas a normal person who is only depressed will not "reveal their pain" visually, so to speak.
    The third line details the effects of drugs on the person's social life. There are "lost bonds" in old friends who are, over time, ignored by the addict. The "old friend" is the drug(s), which are always there and easy to come back to, and are personified as inviting and warm. The final line evidences the difficulty in overcoming addiction to hard substances.

    Lovers in a past life
    Meet in the street close to midnight,
    A last look sweet like the end of a dream,
    Then fall back into the mystery disease

    This is probably my favorite verse in the song because it's so poignant. The person in the song previously had a partner (spouse or otherwise) but lost them ostensibly to their drug habits. The first line evidences the changes that the person has gone through, with the narrator going so far as to say that they are completely separate lives now. The next three lines detail an encounter where, somewhere along the line after they split, the person and their former lover meet again in the street. For the addict, it's a "last look, sweet like the end of a dream" before falling back into the drug addiction.

    Go on, tell your symptoms to me
    It’s not in any of the books you can read
    It’s no fun to face what you don’t get to be,
    But what’s one more to the mystery disease?

    The first two lines compare the drug addiction to an illness, but one that is incurable. This is the reason why drug addiction is like a "mystery disease". The third line details missed opportunities and wasted time throughout the person's drug addiction, with the person only thinking about what they feel they are capable of doing instead of actually acting on it. The last line in this verse shows the indifferent nature of addiction; it doesn't care who it sucks in. Throughout history it has affected people of every conceivable category in the world, be it class, creed, education, etc.

    Floating impatience
    Snuffs my limited sapience
    Black smoke as soon as the pressure’s released
    Deep space sighs, the mystery disease

    This verse details the pressure and anxiety in the waiting, acquisition, and subsequent taking of a drug or drugs. "Floating impatience snuffs my limited sapience" shows the person's thoughts while waiting to satisfy their addiction. Their already limited mental capacity, or "sapience", is taken away completely by thoughts of the drug. The last two lines are a dark visualization of the release of the pressure. This is clearly not a blissful release, with the pleasure of the person tainted by "black smoke".

    Consumed by a weakness
    Cut with perpetual unrest
    You see stars, sunsets blurred through a screen,
    Trap what you want, waste what you need

    I feel this is one of the most self-explanatory verses in the song. The person is "consumed by their weakness", allowing the addiction to take over their life. This is "cut with perpetual unrest", referring back to the concept of waiting and being anxious about getting the drug(s). The third line details the viewing of life through a "screen", or the person being high all of the time. "Trap what you want, waste what you need" refers back to the clouding of judgment that the mystery disease has left on the person. The addict only thinks about what they want, which over time grows to be solely the drug(s).

    And when the west wind sweeps through the leaves,
    Emperors of history fall to their knees
    Small fronds can’t see the wood for the trees,
    Left in the dust of the mystery disease

    For the final verse of the song, Andrew VanWyngarden refers back to the topic of drug addiction throughout history. Once again, it is shown that the mystery disease can affect anyone, including "emperors of history". Not being able to see the wood for the trees is a common expression which means not being able to see the bigger picture, or more importantly in this case, the consequences of actions. There have been countless people "left in the dust of the mystery disease".

    It'd be great to know what other people think of this, as I have to say I don't necessarily agree with the "seven deadly sins" interpretation that's been posted a few times on here.
    MrMeeseekson May 10, 2014   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis is just a shot in the dark, but I feel like the mystery disease is actually depression...This may be a bit hard to understand if you haven't ever been depressed, but here's why I think so...

    Very first line to the song is, "It can't pay attention". And similar to depression, paying attention to ANYTHING, your hobbies, your friends, is hard if not pointless. "What slips into the system \ A light touch, a whisper that puts you to sleep". Every little thing gets into your head, and all you can do is sleep. And the last line of that first verse, "Don't sympathize with the mystery disease." It's impossible to sympathize with someone who is depressed because that feeling is so strong, it CANNOT be emulated, you can't bring yourself to feel the same way as someone who is depressed.

    The second verse is interesting because it starts off with the statement, "All it is is a feeling" but ends with "Can't shake off the mystery disease." It's just a feeling, it's all in your head, and yet you CAN'T shake it off. It's practically controls you despite being a feeling.

    I'm really not too sure on the third verse, but I think it's just talking about how you may get lost in your thoughts and dreams while depressed, but eventually you "...fall back into the mystery disease." It just sounds so dreamy and fantastical with lyrics like "Lovers in a past life \ Meet in the street close to midnight \ A last look sweet like the end of a dream"

    The next verse is very obvious:
    "Go on, tell your symptoms to me \ It’s not in any of the books you can read \ It’s no fun to face what you don’t get to be \ But what’s one more to the mystery disease?"
    The symptoms of depression can't be described. They're so hard to understand and it may be different for each person. It's not fun to come back to earth and see what you thought of yourself isn't what you really are. But in the end, what's one more depressed person?

    The next verse is simply personifying depression, and almost making it into it's own being, rather than just a feeling. "Floating impatience \ Snuffs my limited sapience \ Black smoke as soon as the pressure’s released \ Deep space sighs, the mystery disease"

    The sixth verse continues to describe the feelings you get from depression. "Consumed by a weakness \ Cut with perpetual unrest". Such a good line, because you feel so week and unrested while depressed. You're just worn out and feel like everything is crashing down. The last two lines of this verse... "You see stars, sunsets blurred through a screen, Trap what you want, waste what you need" These two lines are talking about how you lose sense of what's important. You take what seems best, and ignore what is necessary to get past the depression.

    The 7th and final verse is simply expressing the fact that anyone and everyone is capable of becoming depressed. "Emporers of history fall to their knees." And once you're depressed, you have an altered sense of reality.
    "can’t see the wood for the trees, \ Left in the dust of the mystery disease"

    Just my interpretation of this, hope it made sense, I was a bit rushed when I wrote it!
    Rawkstaron August 03, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe Mystery Disease is Greed.
    VADERtheIMPALERon September 15, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe driving force of the deadly sins is desire
    qozon December 26, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think it's about introversion. people are losing their capacity to get along with each other,becoming more and more introverted,ignoring reality. this sums up everything:
    It can’t pay attention
    What slips into the system
    --
    people think that it's not worth travelling to places or get to know new people,and are replacing them by computers and stuff,till there will be a day when we will suffer because we lack wood for the trees (a irl social basis):

    Consumed by a weakness
    Cut with perpetual unrest
    You see stars, sunsets blurred through a screen,
    Trap what you want, waste what you need
    --
    Small fronds can’t see the wood for the trees,
    Left in the dust of the mystery disease
    twintailson January 30, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the most basic interpretation is just that the song is about a deadly, deadly mysterious disease. The disease is ancient and silent and can take anyone without a sound.
    doktordukeon June 30, 2014   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningIt's about archons. Go ahead look it up.
    Drko_on August 11, 2015   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI've been reading interpretations here for ages, but this is my very first own.

    I believe this song is about what it's like to be a millennial, which is kinda like a disease. I mean, our generation is all about being connected but not present, this is why our capacity of focusing is so limited.


    It is a fact that our society of consumption plays with our needs by introducing us to new products and habits that touch an inner deeper space of ourselves. That's why new ways of life are so identifiable, kind like "a lost bond... an old friend who likes what it sees".

    When they sing about pain in a beautiful package "pain in a dress too revealing", it makes me think about how our limitations are played by the media and big companies that sells us the promise of completeness, so, face them is just too painful.

    I also feel like all of the symptoms of being a millennial are sung in this song, just cause there are things that we can't really put into words, just feel or express with a sigh, art or any other form of language.

    It seems that the need for imediate impact is so carved inside that when it doesn't come quickly enough we get to be too hard on ourselves, forgetting that we are only human. "floating impatience, snuffs my limited sapience..."

    Then Andrew simply describes my nights when my head is so full with information that I can't seem to close my eyes and go to sleep just going through the feed on instagram, tumblr or netflix. That's when i just feel exhausted but can't seem to rest, just like a Walking Dead....

    "Consumed by a weakness
    Cut with perpetual unrest
    You see stars, sunsets blurred through a screen,
    Trap what you want, waste what you need""

    I just haven't been able to produce meaning to the last paragraph, the one that touches me the most. I guess that's another thing about being a millennial: not seeing what's right in front of us.
    flávio101on April 11, 2017   Link

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