"I Was a Kaleidoscope" as written by Christopher Walla and Benjamin Gibbard....
I put on my overcoat and walked into winter, my teeth chattered rhythms
And they were grouped in twos or threes,
Like a Morse code message was sent from me to me.
Cars on slippery slopes, they're stuck: people pushing through
Their mittens as I was beginning to feel it soaking through my shoes,
Getting colder with every step I took to your apartment, dear.

And I was a kaleidoscope, the snow on my lenses distorting the image of what
Was only one of you and I didn't know which one to address as all your lips
Moved.

This is when I forget breathe all the things I scripted, they sound unfounded.
And the look that you're giving me, it tells me exactly what you are thinking,
"this ain't working anymore."

They got their mothers worked into a panic
Sledding down hills into oncoming traffic
The parents layered clothes until the children couldn't move then kept them
Outside til their noises were blue and I got left there, too.

I put on my overcoat and walked into winter, my teeth chattered rhythms.
And they were grouped in twos or threes like a Morse code message was sent from me
To me.


Lyrics submitted by jephque

"I Was a Kaleidoscope" as written by Christopher Walla Benjamin Gibbard

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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I Was a Kaleidoscope song meanings
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40 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThis song just kicks so much ass. There's no other way of putting it. The tunes upbeat, and the musics happy, even as the lyrics and imagery get progressively sadder and more bleak. This sort of song writing is exactly what popular music is missing...
    hourafterdarkon May 04, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's about the narrator walking through the snow to his girlfriend's apartment and failing in his attempt to save the relationship. I think the Morse code in his chattering teeth is like his subconscious warning him that this will not go well. He mentions getting cold feet from walking through the snow, but it also means he is getting "cold feet," as in being nervous about what he has to do. When he finally talks to her, he is so nervous that his vision seems like a kaleidoscope, and even the things he planned to say don't seem to make any sense. So she breaks up with him, and leaves him out in the cold, both literally and figuratively. The repeating of the first verse is now about him walking back to his own house, with the Morse code message probably telling himself something along the lines of, "I told you so."
    Portchoon September 12, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMaybe the kaleidoscope refers to how his image of the relationship was distorted...He thought it was going better than it actually was.
    I love "My teeth chattered rhythms...
    Like a morse code message was sent from me to me" :)
    Claire2670on August 05, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentEver hear a song and wonder if they wrote it for you?
    Well, except for the overcoat...change that to peacoat.
    charlotteon January 06, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentamen
    MarsTheStrangeon June 14, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentoh man, this song is just amazing.
    emoJustinon June 15, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOnce you find the lyrics, this song becomes much more. And because it was fantastic previously, that makes it... fantastic. Death Cab for Cutie definitly have mastered the art of lyrics in music
    Imbriferon August 01, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI can't help but sing this song at times, but I always have to stop when people start hitting me.. my voice doesn't compare to Gibbard's unfortunately..
    condition_oaklandon September 27, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGibbard's is just one of the great song writers, lyrically, of our time... what bugs me about this song is that beautiful part right in the middle "this is when I forget to breath.....tells me exactly what you are thinking...." it's lovely and romantic and then he hits us so non-chellantly(sp?) with "this ain't working anymore"---pow!! oh Ben...
    GeeMoon September 27, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwho friggen doesn't like Kaleidoscope?
    the magic toasteron March 11, 2003   Link

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