"Building A Mystery" as written by Sarah Mclachlan and Pierre Marchand....
You come out at night
That's when the energy comes
And the dark side's light
And the vampires roam
You strut your rasta wear
And your suicide poem
And a cross from a faith that died
Before Jesus came
You're building a mystery

You live in a church
Where you sleep with voodoo dolls
And you won't give up the search
For the ghosts in the halls
You wear sandals in the snow
And a smile that won't wash away
Can you look out the window
Without your shadow getting in the way?

You're so beautiful
With an edge and charm
But so careful
When I'm in your arms

[Chorus]
'Cause you're working
Building a mystery
Holding on and holding it in
Yeah you're working
Building a mystery
And choosing so carefully

You woke up screaming aloud
A prayer from your secret god
You feed off our fears
And hold back your tears, oh
Give us a tantrum
And a know it all grin
Just when we need one
When the evening's thin

You're a beautiful
A beautiful fucked up man
You're setting up your
Razor wire shrine

'Cause you're working
Building a mystery
Holding on and holding it in
Yeah you're working
Building a mystery
And choosing so carefully

Oh, you're working,
Building a mystery
Holding on and holding it in
Yeah you're working
Building a mystery
And choosing so carefully
Yeah, you're working,
Building a mystery,
Holding on and holding it in,
Oh yeah you're working,
Building a mystery
And choosing so carefully

You're building a mystery.


Lyrics submitted by kevin

"Building a Mystery" as written by Sarah Mclachlan, Pierre Marchand

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Building A Mystery song meanings
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72 Comments

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  • +5
    General CommentIn the lyrics a woman voices her complaints about her lover. The text not only expresses a complaint, however. At the same time it is an analysis of the reason why she finds herself attracted to him. She describes him as a man who is hiding his inner self behind a careful constructed image, letting nobody look at his emotions deep down inside. The poetic lyrics of the first verse seem a direct inversion of the ironic Suzanne of the old master of Canadian folk-rock, Leonard Cohen (the first track of his 1968 album The Songs of Leonard Cohen). Instead of the rags and feathers of Cohen's Jesus hippy Suzanne, Sarah's nameless character is dressed in Rasta wear. The Christian cross of Suzanne is replaced by a Celtic one. Cohen's sun, which "shines like honey on our lady of the harbor", has gone down under the horizon; in McLachan's song the only light comes from the street lamps of a city at night, where "the vampires roam".

    All this man is doing, is aimed at one and the same thing: building a mystery. The way it is sung, makes it sound like a conclusion too. And again the person that McLachlan addresses, is the opposite of Cohen's Suzanne. Where Cohen pictures his Suzanne as acting really authentic, McLachlan's lover is constructing his identity to give an impression of mysteriousness to the outside world.

    As the song nears its apotheosis there is a decisive end in last line of the lyrics: "You're building a mystery". This time the progression leads toward the A chord without any added or changed tones. It sounds like ending with an exclamation mark! The last chord is an A chord, which seems to make the concluding end into a direct confrontation of the singer with her lover. The mystery has become a double mystery: the mystery he is building and the mystery why she loves him.
    melbolt65on June 12, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is about a man who is untouchable, it is impossible to capture his soul. He is unique, he shines and he is captivating. He is also confused & careless... composed...and appears to be happy and free on the outside-"a smile that won't wash away" he is building the mystery of him, this is what makes him so intriguing....he is so beautiful b/c she can see his soul and cares deeply for him, even through his carelessness and confusions...and he is fucked up b/c he can't see what is in front of him, and will not let her in except for when she his in his arms....
    MeanSJeanon August 14, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentNote the eclectic elements of this guy's posturing. His "suicide poem" is Japanese and he has no intention of killing himself, he isn't a rastafarian but dresses like one, and he's wearing a celtic cross as he sleeps with voodoo dolls in a church. Those are five different religions and he believes in none of them His "secret god" is his own self image
    Letmeinon May 18, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis song just screams Special Forces Soldier to me.
    KiloCharlieon May 21, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentActually, this song was written about one of my english teachers from high school. If you knew him, it would all make sense.
    omnashimeon October 01, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe goal is to be a poet, and a carpenter. To be one who loves, to be one who works. -311

    Yeah he's an eccentric, seemingly aloof artist (her drummer/husband), but deep down beyond the facade, he's a salt of the earth blue collar man's man...putting in work, to keep Sarah interested and attracted. He's "building a mystery" FOR HER...and she is loving it.
    flayerhateron December 15, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFantastic song from the peerless Sarah McLachlan.
    slave2discoon February 17, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is great to listen to when you are in a mellow mood, it helps me so much..try singing this on the interstate at night...its great..but be by yourself unless someone understands you really well
    LindseyLeeon May 23, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhat on earth does that song mean? its abstract as hell. the only thing I can figure is insecurities..
    garbojenon May 30, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit sounds to me like she's in love with some kind of gothic weirdo ...

    but, yeah. I agree with the pervious comment, mostly. she loves a pretty out-of-the-ordinary guy.

    I've always loved the lines
    "oh you're so beautiful
    with an edge and a charm
    but so careful
    when I'm in your arms"
    catherinekson July 13, 2002   Link

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