Sleep
Like a pillow
Down(ward)
And
(Where)
She won't care
Anyway (where)

Soft
As a pillow
Touch her there
Where she won't dare
Somewhere
Sleep
Like a (royal)
(Subject)

Think
That you grew
Stronger there
Speak
Your troubles
She's not scared

Soft like there's silk
Everywhere
Sleep
(Is a) pillow
Come

Where she won't dare
Anyway (where)
(Look)
In the mirror
She's not there
Where she won't care
Somewhere



Lyrics submitted by BrownBabu84

"Only Shallow" as written by Bilinda Butcher, Kevin Shields

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing

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Only Shallow song meanings
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36 Comments

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  • +7
    General Comment:What you have to understand about MBV is that the lyrics themselves are not all that important. Why are there so many questions about what the Belinda is actually saying in this song? Because the vocal track was mixed low intentionally, as if it was just another instrument.

    So how then can one interpret a song with barely audible lyrics?

    Listen to the music.

    With that said, to me this song is about sex. Not so much about it per se, but more like a musical representation of it. The softer, more structured rhythm that goes alongside Belinda's breathy vocals is about making love to someone you care about. The bendy, violent, wicked guitars we hear in the intro and connecting the verses is a representation of that rough, meaningless sex we sometimes have with someone we care less about. What kind of sex is that? Oh, it's only shallow...
    jblondinon December 10, 2005   Link
  • +5
    My Opinion:Contains possibly the best MBV hook ever. Starts you off with that noisy, psychedelic guitar, then lulls you with Bilinda's sweet, ethereal voice, then hits you hard, right in the ear with that awesome riff, just to remind you of how great it is.
    This is how you translate emotion into music.
    TriangleManon March 03, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:It's about seducing someone in their sleep.
    Schizimaon April 18, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:this song makes me want to punch myself in the face for putting off listening to this band for so long
    vulgaron May 27, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:while smoking copious amounts of pot, me and my friends decided that this is the music that angels make
    veddermanon May 21, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:are songs supposed to be able to turn me on like this?
    hirosheenaon April 20, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:This song is so surreal, and her voice is so great
    It just makes me think about all the music that is popular right now and how terrible it is compared to this masterpiece.
    It makes me wish all music was this beautiful and catchy!
    devin_42on September 08, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:productofthe80s, I'm pretty sure she thought that because there's a metalcore/deathcore band called Bullet For My Valentine, which is absolutely terrible. I don't have much respect for metalcore or deathcore, but there definitely are some good bands that fall under that genre name; Bullet For My Valentine is not one of them.
    tasteherfleshon May 04, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:What is particularly ingenius about this MBV song is the clever usage of contrasts.
    The song opens with a crushingly loud guitar riff, only to be flateringly met by Belinda's soft, desensitising vocals. It is not only Belinda's angelic tone that provides the contrast, but the words; they seem to form rich layers and textures and there is an ongoing resonance of a soothing, theraputic 's' sound. 'sleep' 'speak' 'soft' These gentle commands further allure us into the beauty and brilliance of this song.
    durrkittyon June 18, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:sounds to me like he's referring to a hollow relationship. like, the people are passionate about each other but don't truly love one another (in the mirror she's not there). i dunno. i mean the title IS "only shallow"
    jawamachineson September 12, 2005   Link

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