"But Not Tonight" as written by and Martin Gore....
Oh God, it's raining
But I'm not complaining
It's filling me up
With new life

The stars in the sky
Bring tears to my eyes
They're lighting my way

And I haven't felt so alive
In years

Just for a day
On a day like today
I'll get away from this
Constant debauchery

The wind in my hair
Makes me so aware
How good it is to live

And I haven't felt so alive
In years

The moon
Is shining in the sky
Reminding me
Of so many other nights
But they're not like tonight

Oh God, it's raining
And I'm not containing
My pleasure at being
So wet

Here on my own
All on my own
How good it feels to be alone

And I haven't felt so alive
In years

The moon
Is shining in the sky
Reminding me
Of so many other nights
When my eyes have been so red
I've been mistaken for dead
But not tonight

Lyrics submitted by Fistan

"But Not Tonight" as written by Martin Gore

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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But Not Tonight song meanings
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  • +5
    My InterpretationThis has been one of my faves since 1986.
    The following is what I have thought it meant since I first heard it when I was 18 years old.

    He is crying in his amazement of being able to STOP drug use (even if it was for a short time). And the decision was HIS this time & NOT someone else influencing him (because YOU have to want to STOP). I think the “rain & being wet” signifies withdrawals…..that would explain why he can still see the “moon & stars”. He is going through withdrawals, but welcomes them this time because he really wants to STOP the drug use. My theory for the “eyes being red & mistaken for dead”, this was the turning point that helped him make the decision to STOP this time because he overdosed to the point of near death (or something as tragic). He is experiencing his senses without chemicals & now has HOPE to carry on & it feels GREAT !

    My eyes well up with tears when I hear Dave's mesmerizing voice on this tune.....Enjoy the Silence...

    flatbugon May 14, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI agree with ezboy1000...it's about having that one day where, for once, you don't feel like shit. It's that moment where you see a faint glimmer of optimism, of being happy or satisfied. Just for a day, you feel alive and not weighed down by the usual drama and drudgery.

    Only a genius like Martin could write something that manages to be inspiring, yet dark all at the same time.
    LuvMartinGoreon September 24, 2007   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningI can't believe no one gets this one. It's a break up song.

    He's obviously upset about a losing a long term relationship (haven't felt so alive in years). But he's also happy to be out out of it (haven't felt so alive in years).

    Re-read the lyrics with this in mind and it will all click.

    It's an amazing song.

    mikebeaconon September 01, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA song about rebirth. The rain is washing away all of the crap in his life at least for the time being until all of the "debauchery" returns again.
    cactusdaveon June 28, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song remindsme about some darker ages. Long gone now.
    I'm happier as the song tell us.
    Try to drive at night on a desert road fast, very fast and put this one...
    jote_75on August 29, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt reminds me of those magical nights when you're outside and you realize that life is just about you and the universe you're playing in, that the stars and the moon are billions of years old and all your life's problems of societal expectations, responsibility, anxiety, etc. are tiny in the grand scheme of things and you feel for a moment that a great weight has been lifted from your shoulders and that you are wiser than you were just 5 minutes earlier.
    hidispenseron October 16, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentdoes anybody have any idea what he might be referring to when he talks about his red eyes? maybe just crying? maybe something else?

    this song is so incredible and it means so much to me because of how optimistic it is, it's probably my favorite song by depeche mode (if not all around, at least lyrically). nobody can explain those moments when they just feel like they fit in the world, for no apparent reason. it could have been a bad day in general, it could be RAINING, and it doesn't matter because it's moments like these that really put things into perspective.
    iamamonsteron May 16, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwhat a beautiful song. one of my very favourites.
    Mode_Chickon March 17, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with most of what has been said. Yet I feel I should mention that this song is not simply about happiness and redemption.

    Notice the narrator states, "just for one day..." It is about a moment in an otherwise crappy life where you find happiness. It is not as if the narrator has suddenly become optomistic, there is no "life altering moment".

    The song is simply about someone who is normally involved in "debauchery" but for one night they have this fleeting, inexplicable, moment of zest for life.

    To simply see this song as optimistic is to miss the underlying message.
    ezboy1000on March 18, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentanyone else notice the interesting discrepancy between how it's raining yet he can see the stars and moon shining?

    also, ditto the red eye question. great imagery. beautiful song.
    pfinarffleon October 15, 2005   Link

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