"Wise Up" as written by and Aimee Mann....
It's not
What you thought
When you first began it
You got
What you want
Now you can hardly stand it though,
By now you know
It's not going to stop
It's not going to stop
It's not going to stop
'Til you wise up

You're sure
There's a cure
And you have finally found it
You think
One drink
Will shrink you 'til you're underground
And living down
But it's not going to stop
It's not going to stop
It's not going to stop
'Til you wise up

Prepare a list of what you need
Before you sign away the deed
'Cause it's not going to stop
It's not going to stop
It's not going to stop
'Til you wise up
No, it's not going to stop
'Til you wise up
No, it's not going to stop
So just...give up


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Wise Up song meanings
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  • +8
    Song MeaningThis song struck a deep chord with me the first time I heard it.

    For me, it was a simple yet chilling reminder, that your conscience will keep gnawing at you, if you refuse to "wise up".

    That you must learn and grow from the choices you make in life.

    That no self-indulgence will help you escape the consequences of your actions or lack thereof.

    That before it's too late, you have got to figure out what you need in your life (in order to be at peace), otherwise, your list of regrets is "not going to stop" growing longer and longer.

    That you must "give up" the delusion that the disquiet you feel is "going to stop".

    Because the only solution is to "wise up".

    Therein lies the Solace your Soul ultimately seeks.

    feel free to comment on my interpretation, thanks.
    c0smicl0gicon September 04, 2009   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThis song is beautiful out of context, and even more meaningful embedded in the text of the film "Magnolia." In the film, it plays a part much like the chorus in a great Greek tragic play.

    When watching the film, pay attention to what character is singing what lyric: it shows the characters purpose and motive. It is very telling, for example, that they pan on the young quiz kid during the final lyric: "So just... give up." The youngest character with the most innocence and naivete is actually the one that knows the answers.

    In this song, it's one of the cases where giving up is the optimistic, not pessimistic, thing to do. All the characters in the film need to give up one way or another--give up their pride, give up their walls, give up their lies, give up misplaced love. Then again, isn't that sound advice for anyone?

    A beautiful song to listen to on it's own, extremely relatable to anyone. But put it in the context of the film, and it's pure music & movie magic. Two art forms coming together and making a masterpiece.
    bertrandeon June 20, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentOne of the most perfect songs I've ever heard, and still gives me goosebumps after years of listening. To me it's about how we as humans like to deny our addictions and bad habits and try to justify them to ourselves, regardless of the consequences ("it's not going to stop 'til you wise up"). I agree with above comments that when she says to just "give up", that it's the obvious antidote to our addictions but easier said than done. This song is featured on the Jerry Mcguire soundtrack from 1996 so it wasn't written specifically for Magnolia, but it fits perfectly.
    tybeeson April 17, 2006   Link
  • +3
    Song MeaningHow about this for how the meaning of the song applies to the movie Magnolia:
    All the main characters in Magnolia have been subject to some form of child abuse by their parents -either sexual or emotional (abuse of trust/abandonment etc).
    Their lives are now significantly impacted by the consequences of this (mainly low self-esteem, self-hatred, feeling of worthlessness).
    They have been seeking various ways or achievements to make themselves feel better which turn out to not repair the problem.
    But its actually not going to stop until until they wise up and accept that there is nothing wrong with them, but the problem is their parents previous treatment of them. So "just give up" trying to protect them or deny the harm they did, and learn to like yourself again. Hence the last line of the song is actually ending on a postive and optimistic note.
    whatsthematterhereon April 25, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentbertrande said it so well--thank you from a fellow "Magnolia" fan.

    I see this song as the plea to learn from your mistakes...so easily said, but not so easily done.
    driggsyon June 05, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti thought it was pretty clear that this song was about alcoholism. i think that because just about everyone sort of "discovered" this song through magnolia, that it seems to apply more to that context, but if you think about it more closely -- "It's not
    What you thought
    When you first began it"

    and the obvious "You're sure
    There's a cure
    And you have finally found it
    You think
    One drink
    Will shrink you 'til you're underground"

    i always thought this song was clearly about alcoholism. does anyone else think so?
    thalleckon December 08, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentUm, I think alcoholism is a big part of the song. But I think it's more general than that, also considering Aimee wrote it specifically for the film.
    pink.cityon February 26, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentStunning, and it works really well in Magnolia, which is such an amazing film.
    missmeon June 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMan this song is a lot like save me i think. this is also about not liking who you are. Those poeple in the movie Magnolia really were unhappy with themselves and what was around them. They just had to accept who they were and "wise up". I think that this is an incredibly hard thing to do and i think that that is why those people i the movie had so much trouble doing it. Sorry if I talked aobut the movie too much but i aimee mann is telling them all exactly what they need to do. thats why its the last and most important song in the movie.
    rainydayboyon May 14, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentby the way what the hell is everyone's problem? Why doesn't anyone like aimee man, what the hell. its like she can read minds or something, her songs have such good advice in them.
    rainydayboyon May 14, 2002   Link

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