"A Passing Feeling" as written by and Steven P. Smith....
Everything is gone but the echo of the burst of a shell
And I'm stuck waiting for a passing feeling
In the city I built up and blew to hell
I'm stuck here waiting for a passing feeling

Still I send all the time
My request for relief
Down the dead power lines
Though I'm beyond belief

In the help I require
Just to exist at all
Took a long time to stand
Just an hour to fall.

I'm stuck here waiting for a passing feeling
Stuck here waiting for the passing feeling
Still I send all the time
My request for relief

Down the dead power lines
Though I'm beyond belief
In the help I require
Just to exist at all

Took a long time to stand
Just an hour to fall


Lyrics submitted by dragonflower44, edited by Jate, ian1774721

"A Passing Feeling" as written by Steven P. Smith

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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A Passing Feeling song meanings
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33 Comments

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  • +5
    General CommentHmm, no one seems to think about this song like I do. In the beginning he talks about how a bullet was just fired. He has killed himself, and now he is waiting for something to happen. Obviously, no one knows what happens when you die. Hes waiting for whatever it is happens when you die. And I think the city he built up and blew to hell, is his own body. Think about it, he aged and grew up into an adult taking care of himself, then he just destroyed it with drugs. Hes sending drugs down his veins when he says hes sending his request for relief down the dead power lines.
    stegboon December 12, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General CommentSuicide.
    Pardonme123on September 06, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentElliott has a way with making sad songs seem eerily happy.

    The lyrics are usually pretty depressing, yet his voice and the instruments mask that.

    It reminds me of how his life might have been. Hiding his problems with a happy fasade.

    -Jason
    Jasor31385on February 18, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthe built-up city = getting clean (takes a long time)
    blowing it to hell = sticking a needle in your arm again (takes an hour if your dealer is picking up)
    dead power line = veins
    passing feeling = opiate comedown (sucks!)

    is this obvious to everyone, or just users?
    emptyjewelrybagon August 18, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe guitar line at the end is one of my favorite parts of any song ever.
    mm7030on March 25, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI couldn't understand the lyrics from listening. Now, after reading them, I see how freaking depressing they are.
    MarshmallowPeepon November 18, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's true, ES has a way of making everything sound like faintly interesting conversation.. Even suicidal feelings. Especially suicidal feelings.
    _ellieon February 03, 2005   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis song is so pretty, if you don't really pay attention, it'll end and you'll think, "Well, that was pleasant." I listened closer and thought, "My god, that poor man." Then I listened to it in the midst of a depressive episode and everything clicked together like tumblers in a lock.

    Everything is gone but the echo of the burst of a shell
    - I can't think of anything but what triggered the depression.

    And I'm stuck waiting for a passing feeling
    - My loved ones try to console me. - "It gets better." I know it does, but I
    always end up like this again. The "better" part is the passing feeling.

    In the city I built up and blew to hell
    - "the city I built up" is the fragile state of optimism I cobbled together at the insistence of those who convinced me to try, because, "It gets better." I "blew [it] to hell" when something triggered my depression and I wasn't strong enough to overcome it.

    I'm stuck here waiting for a passing feeling
    - Again, I know it'll get better, but once it gets better, it will pass, and I'll be right back here again.

    Still I send all the time
    - I try to help myself.

    My request for relief
    - I try to convince myself that it really does get better.

    Down the dead power lines
    - That thought process goes nowhere.

    Though I'm beyond belief
    - They keep trying with me, in spite of the obvious truth that it's pointless.

    In the help I require
    - It must be exhausting for the people who try to deal with my mental state.

    Just to exist at all
    - Indeed. I only exist due to guilt.

    Took a long time to stand
    - Working out of depression is incredibly difficult, and it takes a long time.

    Just an hour to fall.
    - Falling back into it happens with ease and immediacy.

    This song fires up the water works like nothing else. It makes me glad Elliott's dead for his sake, and envious of him at once.
    anomieon January 30, 2013   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningI don't think this song necessarily had to have been about staying clean or suicide. I think it was more about the endless struggle to maintain anything, and no matter how much you try, everything is eventually going to fall apart, and you just have to move on. A lot of the time you don't want to move on, but you have to.
    ljw12on November 19, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI found this to be really interesting, you probably will too. From Elliott Smith's last interview before his untimely death he made these comments on this song: "I was really into staying up four or five days at a time while recording. Some of them didn't take to long like this one. There was a co-producer early on but he didn't really co-produce. He just walked angrily in and out of the room because I knew what I wanted to do. I'm playing every instrument on this one except one. There's also a fill in this song that's almost all kick drum and sounds really funny."
    planetearthon July 03, 2004   Link

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