"Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands" as written by and Steven P. Smith....
Everybody cares, everybody understands
Yes everybody cares about you
Yeah and whether or not you want them to
It's a chemical embrace that kicks you in the head
To a pure synthetic sympathy that infuriates you totally
And a quiet lie that makes you want to scream and shout
So here I lay dreaming looking at the brilliant sun
Raining it's guiding light upon everyone

For a moment's rest you can lean against the banister
After running upstairs again and again
From wherever they came to fix you in
But always fear the city's finest follow right behind
You got a pretty vision in your head
A pencil full of poison lead
And a sickened smile illegal in every town
So here I lay dreaming looking at the brilliant sun
Raining its guiding light upon everyone
Here I lay dreaming looking at the brilliant sun
Raining its guiding light upon everyone
You say you mean well, you don't know what you mean
Fucking ought to stay the hell away from things you know nothing about


Lyrics submitted by EnjOy IncUbus, edited by Jackith, patinthehat, dogcity, jamich3396, mobopro

"Everybody Cares Everybody Understands" as written by Steven P. Smith

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands song meanings
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  • +2
    General Comment"you say you mean well, you don't know what you mean
    fucking out to stay the hell away from things you know nothing about"

    damn straight Elliott Smith
    iamdenialNJon September 14, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentMatthew Lemay, in his book "Elliott Smith's XO" (from the "33 1/3" series: which so far includes 50 or so paperbacks, each going into great detail about one record) devotes a chapter to this song. Smith's use of language, Lemay argues, is often deceptively simple.

    Lines which may sound as if they're referring to drugs--such as "It's a chemical embrace that kicks you in the head/To a pure synthetic sympathy that infuriates you totally"--aren't always literal. Elliott may have been referencing drugs/intoxication only metaphorically.

    The rehab clinic (where he was coerced into treatment by his so-called friends) was in Arizona. You can imagine how oppressive the heat must have been, for someone accustomed to living in Oregon's usually-mild climate. So the "guiding light" of the "brilliant sun"--which, on its face, sounds as if it might be an image of healing, natural beauty--in this instance represents feeling trapped after having been "helped" by people misguided at best, manipulative at worst.
    foreverdroneon July 26, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Commentfirst off, there is another version of this song the original(similiar but different lyrics), which shows u how he felt about this song even more then the lyrics in this version do, so i would suggest listening to that version which is on youtube first. 2nd this is definitely a song about how a bunch of his friends tried to have an intervention for elliott, and he turned them all away. and one of the biggest points i think he was trying to make in this song is, u dont know me, u dont know how i feel, who knows, if i dont have my meds/drugs i might feel so shitty i might want to kill myself. RIP elliott u will be forever LOVED!! wow listening to the alternate version right now, and yes please listen it explains everything alot clearer!!!
    ganuenenon September 12, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song is about mental house
    ferdinandon August 01, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation"It's a chemical embrace that kicks you in the head."
    Emotions are caused by chemicals within the brain. He could be railing against emotion as just an empty chemical reaction with no meaning, which fits with the idea that he wants people to stop feeling obligated to be sympathetic.

    I suppose the same meaning could be applied to, "To a pure synthetic sympathy that infuriates you totally." But the word synthetic makes my mind jump to drugs (whether heroin or the meds administered to him I have no idea) but that interpretation seems a little less kosher to me.
    FiendAngelicalon January 28, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI hate how people gripe when others speculate that his songs are about drugs. Even if it's not ABOUT drugs, he references them in a ton of songs.

    This is exactly what Elliott was saying in,
    "Fucking ought to stay the hell away from things you know nothing about."

    How are you going to make a connection to drugs when you have not let them into your life?

    (Note: I'm not trying to glamorize substance abuse or anything, but once you've been there, you start connecting the dots in his music. I didn't use when I started listening to ES, and couldn't pick up the references until I did.)
    emilykmkzon May 27, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"And a sickened smile illegal in every town" could be a reference to John Prine's "Illegal Smile"
    philipt42on June 16, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentive knida worked out some chords that fit.
    Em
    everybody cares...
    C G
    everybody understands
    Am Bm
    yes everybody cares about you
    Am Bm
    whether or not you want them to

    and repeat with an extra (and longer Am->Bm) then G ->F->A for the bit about the sun.

    cheers,
    ps its the first song i worked out :)
    raton September 17, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song definitely has to be about drugs, no?
    See:
    "it's a chemical embrace that kicks you in the head, to a pure synthetic sympathy that infuriates you totally"
    and
    "a sickened smoke illegal in every town"

    I can't see any other possible explanation for it...
    youwantedaheroon May 07, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFrom what I read in an interview, this song deals with Smith's time in a mental facility. Apparently the place was run by horrible people he's quoted as saying he wants to sue.
    lilybarton June 10, 2003   Link

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