"Turn on the Light" as written by and Brett Gurewitz....
I had a friend, who kept a candle in his pocket,
He used to touch it when the wind was blowing high,
I guess it mad him feel like he could buck the system
And when it flickered out we laid him down to die,

Turn on the light,
Turn on a million blinding brilliant white
Incendiary lights,
A beacon in the night,
I'll burn relentlessly until my juice runs dry,

I'll construct a rock of tempered beams and trusses
And equip it with a million tiny suns,
I'll install upon the roof on my compartment
And place tinfoil on my floor and on my walls

Turn on the light,
Turn on a million blinding brilliant white
Incendiary lights,
A beacon in the night,
I'll burn relentlessly until my juice runs dry,

And I'll burn like a roman fucking
Candle, like a chasm in the night, for a minuscule duration,
Ecstatic immolation, incorrigible delight


Lyrics submitted by Alucard, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"Turn on the Light" as written by Brett Gurewitz

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

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Turn on the Light song meanings
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17 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI love the part after the little bass solo (which is pretty badass) where he sings "and I'll burn like a roman fucking candle..." Kickass.
    clamumon July 30, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this whole song is about hope.

    i had a friend who kept a candle in his pocket
    he used to touch it when the wind was blowing high
    i guess it made him feel like he could buck the system
    and when it flickered out we laid him down to die

    There was a man who had some hope and always counted on it when things were going bad. Having this hope, he felt like he could do anything, but he lost it and there was nothing left of him.

    turn on the light
    turn on a million blinding
    brilliant white incendiary lights
    a beacon in the night
    i'll burn relentlessly until my juice runs dry

    Turn on the light, give some meaning to your life, give yourself something to believe in. Something that, even in the darkest times, will guide you. Believe in it until you can't anymore.


    i'll construct a rack of tempered beams and trusses
    and equip it with a million tiny suns
    i'll install upon the room of my compartment
    and place tinfoil on my floor and on my walls

    Tinfoil is known for reflecting. Here he's saying that he will have his whole life full of hope, something good, some kind of meaning.


    and i'll burn like a roman fucking candle
    burn like a chasm in the night
    burn for a miniscule duration
    ecstatic immolation incorrigible delight

    But there is false hope. And here it says it, he will follow this hope but will destroy himself with it.
    LifeFadingAwayon November 21, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think the song is about faith, christianity, sacrifice, and death.

    i had a friend who kept a candle in his pocket
    he used to touch it when the wind was blowing high
    i guess it made him feel like he could buck the system
    and when it flickered out we laid him down to die.

    "I had a friend who kept a candle in his pocket"
    to me, this seems like the author is beginning with a quick metaphor and image of the candle to allude to the candles lit in a church when people pray for something in particular. catholic church along with many others, recognize a small monetary donation and the lighting of a candle for a special prayer... kinda like a Jesus-wishing-well.

    "He used to touch it when the wind was blowing high"
    kinda illustrates my point. People pray and light candles when they are in rough times "wind blowing high".

    "I guess it made him feel like he could buck the system"
    is doubting the friend. The system is nature and the laws of physics... which-of course-care none for the wishes and prayers of man.


    "and when it flickered out we laid him down to die." the friend died... unsurprisingly to the world, but perhaps unsuspectingly of the friend... after all, he lit the damned candle right?

    turn on the light
    turn on a million blinding
    brilliant white incendiary lights
    a beacon in the night
    i'll burn relentlessly until my juice runs dry

    The chorus is the theme of the song. "Pray Pray Pray... when you don't understand something, don't worry and god will figure it out. Just have faith"... blind, dumb faith. Hell, you can pray that you are immortal... and when you finally die, it must've been because you just didnt have enough faith.

    i'll construct a rack of tempered beams and trusses
    and equip it with a million tiny suns
    i'll install upon the room of my compartment
    and place tinfoil on my floor and on my walls

    "i'll construct a rack of tempered beams and trusses"
    kinda saying something about faith again and how it must be super strong for these prayer jesus-wishing-wells to work.

    "and equip it with a million tiny suns"
    a million powerful prayers, candles, hope, faith

    "i'll install upon the room of my compartment"
    pretty self explanatory up to this part, if you have bothered to catch the overall theme.

    "and place tinfoil on my floor and on my walls."
    reflective coating for the entire room, so the candles(prayers) will be the strongest ever conceived.

    and i'll burn like a roman fucking candle
    burn like a chasm in the night
    burn for a miniscule duration
    ecstatic immolation incorrigible delight

    Same overall theme, but the last two lines stand out the most.

    "burn for a miniscule duration"
    relative to the universe, human beings and their gods, faith, prayers, luck, talismans, and jesus-wishing-wells are but a tick mark on a mile long time line. insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

    "ecstatic immolation, incorrigible delight."
    to be happy that one is making this sacrifice, means that one must have dedicated, yet wasted their lives believing this... yet still people just don't seem to get it.
    otimmyruleson May 09, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love this site! Everyone has got a different take.

    I take this song more literally than most interpretations here.

    *I hear it mocking survivalists.*

    I think when the survivalist friend touches the candle, when it looks like a climate catastrophe is coming, the friend is reassuring himself he'll be okay b/c he won't need electric lighting.

    I believe this behavior, like so many BR mocks, is such a pitiful attempt at survival that it disgusts the singer, who has long ago put aside weak gestures like saving candles for doomsday and has ambivalently accepted the presence of electricity in his home. I think the "wreck of beams and trusses" is a not-so-hyperbolic way of describing a skyscraper. The "million tiny suns" refers to the millions and zillions of light bulbs we now use everyday to light up everything.

    I believe the "miniscule duration" is a reference to the relatively small interval of human history in which fossil fuels will be available to power electric lights.

    One really has to respect how well the lyrics and the music work together in most BR songs, and this one is a prime example!
    NoahVawteron March 22, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm of the general opinion that this song deals with personal aspect of smoking and addiction. "for a miniscule duration, ecstatic immolation, incorrigible delight". The "friend" realizes the temporary delight, but also that it is a horrid thing he's doing.
    anthropogentricon March 05, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about individualism. To "turn on the light" is to show stand tall and be yourself.
    Sorrynametakenon October 07, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentcancer....first chorus, lung cancer. second chorus, same sort of temporary delight, but talking about tanning/skin cancer perhaps?
    gzusonastickon November 09, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti agree 100% with gzusonastick and clamum haha
    woodoo232425on March 05, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me this song is about being motivated to change your life and be inspired. "Turn On The Light" (your mind) and make a difference.
    manicspikeon May 29, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think it's about giving your all to some sort of hope or dream - going for it like most people don't, realising your potential, that sort of thing, and how the people who are driven, who try to achieve so much in their lives often destroy themselves in the process.
    shokwaveon January 04, 2009   Link

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