"400 Lux" as written by Joel Little and Ella Yelich-o'connor....
We're never done with killing time
Can I kill it with you?
'Til the veins run red and blue
We come around here all the time
Got a lot to not do, let me kill it with you

You pick me up and take me home again
Head out the window again
We're hollow like the bottles that we drain
You drape your wrists over the steering wheel
Pulses can drive from here
We might be hollow, but we're brave

(And I like you)
I love these roads where the houses don't change (and I like you)
Where we can talk like there's something to say (and I like you)
I'm glad that we stopped kissing the tar on the highway (and I like you)
We move in the tree streets
I'd like it if you stayed

Now we're wearing long sleeves
And the heating comes on
(You buy me orange juice)
We're getting good at this
Dreams of clean teeth
I can tell that you're tired
But you keep the car on
While you're waiting out front

You pick me up and take me home again
Head out the window again
We're hollow like the bottles that we drain
You drape your wrists over the steering wheel
Pulses can drive from here
We might be hollow, but we're brave

(And I like you)
I love these roads where the houses don't change (and I like you)
Where we can talk like there's something to say (and I like you)
I'm glad that we stopped kissing the tar on the highway (and I like you)
We move in the tree streets
I'd like it if you stayed

We're never done with killing time
Can I kill it with you?
'Til the veins run red and blue
We come around here all the time
Got a lot to not do, let me kill it with you

(And I like you)
I love these roads where the houses don't change (and I like you)
Where we can talk like there's something to say (and I like you)
I'm glad that we stopped kissing the tar on the highway (and I like you)
We move in the tree streets
I'd like it if you stayed

And I like you
And I like you
And I like you


Lyrics submitted by stagnate, edited by AliAdenwala, superdeep

"400 Lux" as written by Joel Little Ella Marija La Yelich O'connor

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, SONGS MUSIC PUBLISHING

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400 Lux song meanings
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18 Comments

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  • +16
    My Interpretationi think she wrote this song after her friend james. on his instagram (jamesklowe) there's pics of her drinking orange juice with him ('you buy me orange juice') and during a vevo lift session called "becoming lorde" she said, 'last summer we drove out to the suburb they're just finishing off [...] i like funny places like that'. she didn't exactly say any names but i related that back to the lyrics 'i love these roads where the houses don't change' because essentially, that's what a suburb is. i just feel like, due to the excess amount of pictures that james takes of her on his instagram, she would write about it. she's young and a teenager, and your friends are one of the most important parts in your life as a teenager. james seems like a very dear friend to her.
    aside from that, people speculate and think that james is her boyfriend, but i don't think that's the case. lorde has said she doesn't like writing about love or boys because she doesn't think boys are a subject matter for songs. she writes what she feels. i don't think she'd take the risk of writing a song about a boyfriend.
    sorry if this comes off as creepy. just wording my thoughts, thought i'd submit for everyone else to see.
    tentson October 14, 2013   Link
  • +11
    My InterpretationI know she's only 16 and y'all wanna think she's cute and innocent but this song def has drug references in it. Specifically heroin (and coming off an album called Pure Heroine I'm surprised people are shocked).

    Tar is a type of heroin. In many countries you have to mix it with orange juice to break it down so you can shoot it. She mentions veins and pulses, which invoke imagery of IV drug use. She mentions wearing long sleeves (to hide the track marks) and killing time (which is one reason to do drugs).

    It would seem to me that the guy is probably older and has been using for a while. Thus he's tired (but he still waits in the car for drug deals). The fact he longs for clean teeth either hints at homelessness or past drug use of smoking crack or meth.

    She says she's glad they stopped "kissing the tar", which implies they've kicked the habit (at least temporarily), but now they feel hollow and they need something to kill the time so they drink instead. Many junkies do this when they quit smack. And now that the heroin is gone (which probably brought them together), she's afraid he'll leave her so she's asking him to stay.

    At least that's my theory. But I'm an ex-junkie, so what do I know?
    HalfJack483on January 24, 2014   Link
  • +6
    General CommentI wondered about this song's title, so I went to Wikipedia. It turns out that 400 lux is the illuminance experienced on the earth's surface at sunset or sunrise on a clear day.
    notexactlyon November 30, 2013   Link
  • +5
    General CommentI've been listening to Lorde on shuffle for a week and a half and I JUST got the line "Dreams of clean teeth". It's a reference to White Teeth Teens. Duh. I am so slow sometimes. :/
    notexactlyon December 08, 2013   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationShe is at a party but the party is lame.
    Dude comes to pick her up and they both embrace the boredom of life,
    together away from the party.
    Driving nowhere, watching the sunset and the sunrise.
    In the morning the dude buys her orange juice and
    she thinks about how her breath smells.
    Instead of inviting himself in to her house to catch some sleep
    he leaves the car on while he drops her off.
    She is swooned by how perfect their relationship is.
    She wishes he would stay
    poetogethron January 03, 2014   Link
  • +3
    Song MeaningLux is a measure of luminous flux or the total amount of visible light present. (or a slang for luxury)
    400 lux is the amount of light at sunrise or sunset on a clear day. And if you paid attention
    to the lyrics in the song, you may get that she is talking about her and her childhood crush/friend
    pretending to be adults (on a clear day). "We're hollow like the bottles that we drain"
    The bottles are empty like their minds. A child doesn't have much to think about they just do things
    for the moment and her and her friend are pretending to drink, "I like these roads where the houses
    don't change" They are pretending to be driving! They haven't moved from where they were it's all their
    game. The whole of the first verse in the song shows how idle they both are and that's how children are,
    they have nothing to do: No responsibilities. "Dreams of clean teeth". Lorde has a song called "White Teeth Teens"
    about the popular kids in school and this could be a reference to this, wishing they were popular. I could go on and on but
    I will stop there, you try to figure the rest out.
    lordeisqueenon February 18, 2014   Link
  • +2
    My OpinionI think this song is about I.V. drugs...well, that and other things.
    easymachineon December 25, 2013   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningI think this song is about the importance of having a reliable and steady friend in our lifes.
    Lorde is making drugs ("We're hollow like the bottles that we drain") 'cause "Got a lot to not do" with her friend ("Can I kill it with you?").
    "We might be hollow, but we're brave" means that they are affected by the drug but they don't forget their responsibilities ("You pick me up and take me home again").
    As they keep making drugs, they start to do more things together :
    "I love these roads where the houses don't change = suburbs
    Where we can talk like there's something to say"
    And she starts to actually like her friend ("I'd like it if you stayed").
    And because they care for each other now, they see that what they are doing is wrong : "I'm glad that we stopped kissing the tar on the highway". So they decide to not make drugs again:
    "Now we're wearing long sleeves
    And the heating comes on
    (You buy me orange juice) = which is healthy
    We're getting good at this
    Dreams of clean teeth"
    and they realise is much better!
    "I can tell that you're tired
    But you keep the car on
    While you're waiting out front"
    He's still in the state that made him take the drug and he is getting tired without it but he keeps trying to stay away.
    In the end they are determined to stay clean and keep living without the help of the drug but by the happy memories: "We move in the tree streets" = suburbs
    MRitaFon February 02, 2014   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningThe song is about two addicts, not really close but friendly enough, that make drugs together. But as they start caring for each other one worries for the health of the other and they can see that what they're doing is wrong. In the end his friendship replaces the need for the drug. Lorde keeps highlighting the phrase
    "I like you" meaning that him, who symbolizes a life full of love, is more important than the drug. Therefore a steady and reliable friend is a necessary good.
    MRitaFon February 02, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLorde's music is so powerful, you wonder if there aren't deeper, darker things than the unusually clever teen musings on the surface. Thus, I was struck by the plausibility of the interpretation that "400 Lux" is about sneaking out, shooting up heroin, nodding-off for and talking as if they have something to say, and then and coming home. Seems like a cooler song. "(You buy me orange juice) We're getting good at this" sounds really stupid. If the song is about heroin, it is anything but. Likewise "Head out the window again" sounds dumb if the lyrics refer to driving around with your boyfriend in the car-- but in the heroin scene, yeah, this kind of thing would happen. Yet, everything overall is kept elusive enough in the lyric that this interpretation is just a guess. The line about "We're wearing long sleeves and the heating comes on" could as well be about the temperature outside. Her Mom's a poet. Her lyrics can't be too silly.
    atlanta105on May 14, 2014   Link

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