"Roman Candle" as written by and Steven P. Smith....
He played himself
Didn't need me to give him hell
He could be cool and cruel to you and me
Knew we'd put up with anything

I want to hurt him
I want to give him pain
I'm a roman candle
My head is full of flames

I'm hallucinating
I hear you cry your tears
Cheap wet hot red swollen cheeks
Fall asleep

I want to hurt him
I want to give him pain
I'm a roman candle
My head is full of flames

I want to hurt him
I want to hurt him
I want to hurt him
I want to give him pain

Make him feel this pretty burn

Lyrics submitted by EnjOy IncUbus, edited by Wozby

"Roman Candle" as written by Steven P. Smith

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Roman Candle song meanings
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  • +4
    General Comment"He played himself
    He didn't need me to give him hell
    He could be cool and cruel to you and me
    Knew we'd put up with anything..."

    Those lines make me think of my father. People like this will make you believe that the abuse is just an act they put on, that it's not a part of their actual person. It's a trick to make you think you spurred it on, created their violence.
    lilybarton February 28, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General Commenti also find that the first two lines are very powerful. i don't know why i had never noticed them before.

    "he played himself
    didn't need me to give him hell"

    abusers don't abuse their victims because of fault of their victims. they usually claim that they do, but it's only to hide their own fucking problems. they "play themselves."
    Nikkibobon September 02, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI don't know if anyone else has noticed but there's quite a lot of guitar at the end, after the lyrics finish, which is unusual for Elliott, when I hear that bit it's almost like he's just strumming away to wind down after all that emotion release. You can almost feel his pulse return to normal.
    hairydonuton January 02, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Commentnever before have i ever heard a song this raw, genuine, and darkly beautiful.

    most music that has really great meaning or feeling to it usually is hiding behind a genre and has to be interpreted, and i think that a lot of what is going on within the writers head gets lost in the translation to music. but this song wasn't written with an audience in mind. elliott wrote this song (along with most of the songs on this record) after his heatmiser shows in the backs of venues by himself. its appeal is that it is a gem of genuine feeling and how perfect the beautiful guitar fits the lyrics. the electric lead is like a flickering light in a small dark room which the acoustic set up from the beginning. his voice trembles with rage, knowing his feeling is beyond any words.

    from the beginning to end, it's just you and elliott
    shindelinson February 06, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI really think this song is a bout child abuse as elliot is angry at someone he cant really hurt. He refers either to a sister or his mother with 'swollen cheeks'. 'he could be cool and cruel'. more evidence for this was its use in Good Will Hunting. The lo-fi guitar really feels like its burning angry. amazing.
    benfoldsfanon May 06, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commentyeah totally...and i love the line "im a roman candle, my head is full of flames". intense.
    xthexpiratexon June 24, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song makes me cry when I hear it. There is so much pain there and anger, it is so palpable and understandable if you've ever been the victim of child abuse or know someone who has suffered it or even if there is a dark chapter of your life surrounded around any individual. This song is pure Elliott at his most visceral. It's just so raw, it leaves my skin burned with its emotion. I had XO and Figure 8 before this album, and at first listen I was unable to continue. It was just TOO raw. Beautiful. Perfect. It made me uncomfortable. It was in the movie Good Will Hunting, which is just such an Elliott type movie. It's about brilliance flourishing through pain (specifically child abuse) and self-destructive behavior. The scene where Matt Damon says he always chose the wrench, even though it would hurt more, in a way to say "F-- you" to his abusers -- that is what this song is like. I wonder if the director had any idea of Elliott's history when he chose to incorporate it. It's more distressing and painful when you come to think that THIS is how Elliott chose to open his solo career and introduce himself to the world, something I think haunted him to the bitter end. And, yes, "hallucinating" is very much what flashbacks are like.
    Welles-radioon February 03, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"It's a trick to make you think you spurred it on, created their violence." lilybart i couldn't agree more.

    the most powerful elliott smith song hands down. this song, along with the entire album, always brings me to tears.

    the anger that he conveys in the lyrics and music is contradicted by the way he sings the song. he makes it sound so cold...so alone. it just tears me apart inside. it hits too close to home for me not to be effected by it.
    RomanCandleon May 04, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentlistning to and experiencing elliotts music has always been emotional for me. when i listen to this album, i am brought to tears the majority of the time. i find that elliotts music will make you sad, but in superfluous manner, because it sends the message that it is okay to be sad, and that melacholy is not a bad thing. i feel that this album has saved my life. only a few years ago i when through an agonizing and personal ordeal, that sent me into a state of deppression. this was the only album that i could listen to. it was if every artist in the world had turned their back on me, with the exception of elliott. he did better for me than any ill-advised medication. he was my antidote. i never thought that i would ever say this, but i accualy pitty all of the preps in my school that listen to their rash and nonsensical pop, for the fact that they do not and most likey never will have the support of elliott smith durring their hardships. i say this because i have been spited by them for years due my eccentricity and "unusual" taste in musicians, especialy ones like elliott, ani difranco, frank zappa and the squirrel nut zippers. hey, what can i say? their loss.
    cyanidebreathminton August 23, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHallucinating? That's the only thing that puzzles me. Maybe he was schizophrenic.
    sunshineiodineon November 18, 2004   Link

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