On a drive I'm taking backroads
High against where the rivers are flowing
I didn't think that our love had grown

You had me dead to rights
Hey, I'm trying to get some rest
To keep on moving

How you been, you looking back
You tried to change your burning boat
Until you realized what you were up against

I spent all those nights
Just trying to take you home
'Til you released me

Cross the bridge
To redefine your pain
The the answer is in your heart

Wide awake
I rearrange the way I listen in the dark
Dreaming of starting up again

So if you look, you'll find yourself
You're not the demon in the dark
That you and I, yea we'd been through that

Can you rectify
All the time it took you
Away from choosing?

So as you find yourself flying high up there
When you release me from your heart again (woo!)
I'm just a burning man trying to keep the ship
From turning over again
Cross the rich derivative of pain
Crush the burning in your heart
Wide awake
To redefine the way you listen in the dark
Dreaming, starting
Like a stranded kid in a doorway
Just burning

Yeah we turn the light in


Lyrics submitted by monomania, edited by gaboma19, smallwonderrobot

"Burning" as written by

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Burning song meanings
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  • +7
    My InterpretationLost in the Dream is a beautiful exploration of Adam Granduciel's struggles with anxiety, depression, and self-imposed isolation. It was written the wake of a breakup and under the pressure of expectations generated by the success of Slave Ambient (The War on Drugs' prior album). Adam began seeing a therapist, quit use of all substances, became a vegetarian, and remained isolated in his home during most of the recording of this album. The context of the album is crucial for understanding the meaning behind this song. Here's an interview backing up this information, and providing some other great details: pitchfork.com/features/articles/9509-the-war-on-drugs-inside-man/

    I see Burning as the climax of the album: a triumphant anthem of one who has spent their life fighting against depression and anxiety, and knows that the battle isn't over but must be fought. It also represents a turning point for someone emerging from a period of depression: the process of evaluating and understanding their own feelings, accepting their flaws, and starting up their life again.

    Here are some of the strongest examples (since I don't have time to break down the whole song):

    "How you been, you looking back
    You tried to change your burning boat
    Until you realized what you were up against"

    He realizes, in retrospect, that he spent a lot of time fixated on changing small aspects of his life (I believe that the boat is a metaphor for his life), until he realized that the whole thing was on fire.

    "Wide awake
    I rearrange the way I listen in the dark
    Dreaming of starting up again"

    Wide awake (because insomnia is common with depression), he tries to better understand the things going on in his head that are keeping him awake. He is beginning to recover from his depression- experiencing the hope (dream) of "starting up again."

    "So if you look, you'll find yourself
    You're not the demon in the dark"

    This is about self-worth: Those with depression often focus on their shortcomings, weaknesses, or evils. Here, he's looking closer and finding himself- realizing that he isn't a "demon." He's escaping from the negative self-talk that has dragged him down for so long.

    "Can you rectify
    All the time it took you
    Away from choosing?"

    He is asking himself if he can ever make up for the time he has spent feeling bad- the time that could have been spent making life decisions and moving forward.

    "I'm just a burning man trying to keep the ship
    From turning over again"

    He's come to understand and accept his condition: he is a man with many problems (burning), who is just fighting to keep his life (ship) in functional condition (not turned over).

    "Dreaming, starting
    Like a stranded kid in a doorway
    Just burning"

    He no longer merely hopes to resume his life (dreaming OF starting)- he's taking control, both hoping and actually acting to start up again. He still feels lost (like a stranded kid in the doorway) and broken (just burning), but he won't let it stop him.


    The exhilarating pace of this song ties the whole story together by conveying the feeling of escaping from a dark, self-imposed loneliness to find beauty, hope, and possibility in one's own life again. Ultimately, I believe that this song is a masterpiece that perfectly captures the experience of emerging from depression to face the world again.
    nebulousapathyon October 01, 2014   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationJust make the best of what you've got, rather that worrying and wishing about being somewhere else.
    lankeymarlonon June 05, 2014   Link

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