"A Big Decision" as written by and Steven P. Smith....
Pick me up in an hour or so
I don't really recommend it, no
They'll probably just put you down
I believe you

I want to be you
I believe you
I want to be you
I know you're not through with it yet

It's a big decision
You can't kick when you're down
Got a feeling kind of like a cough
Ain't nothing gonna shake it off

Ain't nothing gonna shake it off
Until you talk out loud
I believe you
I want to be you

I believe you
I want to be you
I know you're not through with it yet
It's a big decision

You can't kick when you're down
The chromium car reflects who you are taking you home
I'm under you're spell can't you tell? don't you know?
God, people wonder if you're sick

Spilled out on the city slick
Puffed up like a macho jerk
Don't even try it it'll never work
Why you wonder? what you wonder for me?

Why you wonder? what you wonder for me?
Why you want what I can not be you know I won't stay sober
I believe you
I want to be you

I believe you
I want to be you
I know you're not through with it yet
It's a big decision

I know you're not through with it yet
It's a big decision
I know you're not through with it yet
It's a big decision

You can't kick when you're down


Lyrics submitted by EnjOy IncUbus, edited by ghost06

"Big Decision" as written by Chris Root Michael Leonhart

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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A Big Decision song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentThis song, like many of Elliott's, is about his heroin addiction, but more broadly, it is a metaphor for all types of troubled relationships, be they between people, between a person and a substance, or even a conflict within a person. The song's title is likely a reference to the line in Velvet Underground's "Heroin" - as in "I have made a big decision, I'm gonna nullify my life." Also, "you can't kick when you're down" refers to how withdrawal brings on an overwhelming depression that makes it nearly impossible to kick the habit. One of the beautiful things about Elliott's songs is the way he uses the imagery of drug addiction, especially heroin, in ways that can be interpreted as either literal or figurative.

    I have noticed a lot of posts where people get annoyed anytime someone interprets Elliott's lyrics as being about drugs. I disagree. References to heroin use are scattered throughout most of his songs, sometimes more explicitly than others, and sometimes as a metafor for other types of conflict and pain. Nevertheless, if you know much about heroin, I find it almost impossible not to see that heroin (and the corresponding desire for escape) is a central theme throughout his work. To name a few:

    Needle in the Hay, Speed Trials, Miss Misery, Can't Make a Sound, Angeles, A Passing Feeling, etc.
    edmonddanteson April 04, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthank you for your comment edmonddantes. i love this song and i agree that references to drug use and addiction are "scattered" as you put it through a lot of his songs.
    And that's OK... it's no secret that he was addicted to heroin and if he never wrote about something that was as integral part of life for him (because anyone who has ever had a drug problem knows it sort of just takes over your life) that would be strange, and also would take away from the brutal honesty and raw beauty of his music... the reason hardcore fans fell in love with him/his work to begin with.

    I've seen and read quite a few interviews of his and i don't think elliot wanted people to listen to his songs and assume they knew him as a person just because he was an artist who revealed bits and pieces of truths about his own life through his music. We don't know what he was thinking when he wrote his songs. I do think however that as fans we want to believe that our interpretations clue us in on the brilliant mind of that beautiful man.
    aeiouSumtimesYon May 23, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentNew Moon comprises songs from 1994 to 1997, the drug abuse (or at least the worst part of it) didn't start until later...

    About "his" heroin addiction? doubt it....

    In the Spring of 1997, looking back from the vantage point of the then brand new Either/Or, Elliott remarked: "The last one wasn't specifically about dope, but I used dope as a vehicle to talk about dependency and non-self-sufficiency. I could have used love as that vehicle, but that's not where I was. During all the interviews for the last album [Elliott Smith], everyone read the songs at a very surface level. They wanted to know why there were so many songs about heroin. ..." (Rocket interview)
    ladion June 30, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think a real part of his genius was his broadness. Sure, it's about addiction. But it's also about a lovely doe-eyed drunk who's dating my brother. She doesn't want to give me up. It's a big decision. But she knows i won't get sober, and she won't be picking me up in an hour.
    bluebadgeron September 29, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love this song cause its so fast and its beat just makes me want to get up and move.. its like being on too much coffee.. or maybe like taking speed or coke or something lol.. but after reading the lyrics it sounds to me like a conversation between two people.. one is trying to tell the other to sober up, but the other knows this is impossible and will not happen. but the person still hopes for the best for the alcohilic and says 'I know you're not through with it yet
    it's a big decision'.. it can be applied to any addiction though.. and someone trying to help the person get away from this obsession.. but giving them time to come to terms with what they must do.. maybe to simple of an analysis.. i wish others would comment.. its a great fuckin song..
    lisalynnon January 09, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyes....amazing song......and it's like the process you go through to kick an addiction. although i like to think he's talking to a girl that he found in the midst of addiction. they sort of clung to each other during fucked up times. (think Garden state times ten) and now he wants for them to move on together, but can't force her.

    at first he is all preachy, saying all the things people said to him at rehab "ain't gonna shake it off until you talk out loud." and then he sort of realizes the truth and in a way his truth "you know i won't stay sober."
    lost_in_twlighton April 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSuch an amazing song
    joe2000on May 31, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentomg not every song is about drugs.
    ferdinandthebullon August 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHe may have or may have not been taking about heroin. But to me this song feels like a fierce battle with addiction, whether it be dope or alcohol or crack. addiction is addiction in my book. and not a single song is about drugs if you dont want them to be methinks. i love you, elliott.
    nickdunnyon October 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is very specifically about recovery group meetings. AA and NA meetings and the despare that goes hand in hand with the thought of having a sober life and the wierdos that go to these meetings... 'got a feeling like a cough, Ain't nothing going to shake it off
    Until you talk out loud'.. 'Why you want what I cannot be
    You know I won't stay sober'...
    The middle 8 sequence in which he says 'The chromium car reflects who you are taking you home
    I'm under your spell, can't you tell?
    Don't you know?' for me is musical perfection in the space of only a few seconds. I love this song! Like so many of Elliott's songs it's just so amazingly powerful and beautiful
    Angirelephaffon April 28, 2008   Link

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