Story of a man,
Who decided not to breathe.
Turned red, purple, then blue.
Colorful indeed.
No matter how his friends begged,
Well, he would not concede,
And now he's dead.
You see, cause everybody knows,
You got to breathe.

But, oh God,
Under the weight of life,
Things seem brighter on the other side...
Lighter on the other side...

Another one: See this monkey sitting on a tree,
One day, decided to climb down,
And run off to the city.
Look at him now, Tired and drunk
And living on the street.
As good as dead.
You see, a monkey should know,
Stay up your tree.

But, oh God,
Under the weight of life,
Things seem brighter on the other side.
Oh, God,
But under the weight of life,
Things seem much brighter on the other side.

No way, no way, no way.... out... of here...

Another one: A big eyed fish,
Yeah, swimming in the sea,
Oh, how he dreamed.
He wants to be a bird,
Swooping, diving through the breeze.
One day, he caught a big blue wave,
Up onto the beach,
And now he's dead.
You see, a fish's dream,
Should stay in the sea.

But, oh God,
Under the weight of life,
Things seem brighter on the other side.

No way... no way...no way...out... of here...

No way out of life.


Lyrics submitted by antifox64

Big Eyed Fish song meanings
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53 Comments

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  • +1
    My InterpretationThis song serves as a warning. IThe song first talks about a big eyed fish- big eyes can translate to a dreamer. This fish dreams to be a bird... to become something he's not. so he tries and tries.. he catches a wave- he goes to this place he wants to go and dies because it's not his place. "the sea is where a fish should be" now for the chorus "oh god. under the weight of life" when your living and you have hardships and hard times.. you say "well i want to live their life.. my life sucks.." well you can't live someone else's life. things may seem "brighter on the other side" but you can't become someone else. The next verse talks about a man who decides he wants to kill himself.. nobody can convince him otherwise he is set in this choice. because "under the weight of life" things seem "brighter on the other side" other side now means something new.. the first time it meant in another persons/animals life now it means heaven. for this man the only thing better than his life is death and going to heaven.. the last verse about a monkey.. this verse shows the true meaning of the song- the 'warnjng' the song says the monkey left his tree to go to the city or "society" but he ended up lonely and tired in the streets just like the rest of the people in the city's or in our society. we are all lost and lonely and tired going through the motions.. "Do what a monkey does STAY UP IN YOUR TREE" **stay who you are.. don't conform to the harsh ways of society stay in your tree. thank you! and this is just my interp.
    ryleigh_14on June 07, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General Commentsaw this one live...great great song..makes me kinda sad that proudest monkey ends up drunk and half dead in the street...yep, Dave was definitely not having a high point in life when he wrote this one...but we love him anyways =)
    Ms. Hoity Toityon January 07, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't claim to have be inside Dave's head when he put it on paper, but this is just what i got. It seems like it's a song about regret...sort of. If you skip ahead to the part about the monkey:
    "See this monkey sittin’ in his tree, decided one day to climb down and run off to the city, look at him now; tire and drunk, livin’ in the streets, as good as dead, see a monkey should know stay up your tree"
    Anyone else get an Anti-Proudest Monkey vibe from that? I got very sad the first time I thought to listen to it closely b/c it almost seems like he regrets his
    childhood wonder, viewing them as foolish and trite in retrospect. Or somehow like a defeat. As though written immediately after the failure of a project you put time, effort and energy into, at that stage where you think “Why did I think that would work? Why did I even bother? Why bother trying to change anything?”
    Proudest Monkey I believe generally has an ‘Experience Life, you’ll be better for it’ moral. Using the same monkey=people analogy, One Eyed Fish (or Big Eyed Fish) insists that that kind of thinking is foolish. Personally, I’ll stick to Proudest Monkey.
    Lissy Ratzon April 09, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is mainly about change... The man, monkey, and fish all decided to change their life and died for it... The whole brighter on the otherside adds to that idea... In other words, When things change, it might not come out the way you want it to (in these cases, they died)... Still, I love this song... I don't even know why...
    kon104on April 13, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song, I think the lyrics are so clever. I think that the song is about how life seems so hard sometimes, and we spend so much time wanting to be something else and being jealous of what others have. We don't apreciate who we are and what we have going for us. So we try to be something we're not and it costs us. Or at least thats what the song has always said to me.
    reenyon April 24, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree, I think this is about trying to be something that you aren't to please yourself or other people and you end up runing your life. Great song.
    *peace*
    BigEyedPhish103on April 25, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is just my opinion but it is based on something Dave Matthews himself said in an interview. I believe that Big Eyed Fish and most of the Lillywhite sessions songs are about Dying. Big Eyed Fish in particular is about making the wrong decisions in life and going too far. I think dave was very depressed when he wrote this song and didn't know what would happen if he changed this about his life.. I think this song was born from years and years no the road and feeling like he had to please all the people who had grown used to his style of music.. --Thats Just my opinion...
    FamiliarNoiseon May 14, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt is a great song, but I think kon104 got it pretty good. All of the analogies are about people or animals trying to do something impossible, a fish trying to live out of water, a monkey trying ot live out of his tree, a man trying to live without breathing. I think we as people take for granted what we have, don't appreciate it and want more. We eventually want something that is impossible to have, and I don't think we die for it, I think it is actually the dream that dies.
    Jonny Kaneon May 15, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt is a great song, but I think kon104 got it pretty good. All of the analogies are about people or animals trying to do something impossible, a fish trying to live out of water, a monkey trying ot live out of his tree, a man trying to live without breathing. I think we as people take for granted what we have, don't appreciate it and want more. We eventually want something that is impossible to have, and I don't think we die for it, I think it is actually the dream that dies.
    Jonny Kaneon May 15, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think that overall this song gives off the message off losing hope and that life is hard. I think dave uses the 3 different metaphors to dispay this message. The "fish" trying to following his dreams and being something it's not and failing. The "monkey" running off to the city and failing in life. And finially the man who seemed hung up on refusing to change and died an unhappy man. This song is basically saying that life is hard and at times things do seem "brighter on the otherside"
    MSansoneon May 22, 2002   Link

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