I have a friend, he's mostly made of pain
He wakes up, drives to work and straight back home again
He once cut one of my nightmares out of paper
I thought it was beautiful, I put it on a record cover
And I tried to tell him he had a sense
Of color and composition so magnificent
And he said, "Thank you, please
But your flattery
It's truly not becoming me
Your eyes are poor, you're blind you see
No beauty could have come from me
I'm a waste
Of breath, of space, of time"

I knew a woman, she was dignified and true
Her love for her man was one of her many virtues
Until one day she found out that he had lied
And decided the rest of her life from that point on would be a lie
She was grateful for everything that had happened
And she was anxious for all that would come next
But then she wept, what did you expect?
In that big old house with the car she kept
And, "Such is life," she often said
With one day leading to the next
You get a little closer to your death
Which was fine with her, she never got upset
And with all the days she may have left
She would never clean another mess
Or fold his shirts or look her best
She was free
To waste away alone

Last night, my brother he got drunk and drove
And this cop he pulled him off to the side of the road
And he said, "Officer, officer, you've got the wrong man
No, no, I'm a student of medicine, a son of a banker, you don't understand"
The cop said, "No one got hurt, you should be thankful
And your carelessness, it is something awful
And no, I can't just let you go
And though your father's name is known
Your decisions now are yours alone
You're nothing but a stepping stone
On a path
To debt, to loss, to shame"

The last few months I've been living with this couple
Yeah, you know the kind who buy everything in doubles
Yeah, they fit together like a puzzle
I love their love, and I am thankful
That someone actually receives the prize that was promised
By all those fairy tales that drugged us
And still do me, I'm sick, lonely
No laurel tree, just green envy
Will my number come up eventually?
Like love's some kind of lottery
Where you scratch and see what's underneath
It's sorry, just one cherry
I'll play again, get lucky

So now I hang out down by the train's depot
No, I don't ride, I just sit and watch the people there
The remind me of windup cars in motion
The way they spin and turn and jockey for positions
And I want to scream out that it all is nonsense
And their life's one track and can't they see it's pointless?
But just then my knees give under me
My head feels weak and suddenly
It's clear to see it's not them but me
Who's lost my self-identity
And I hide behind these books I read
While scribbling my poetry
Like art could save a wretch like me
With some ideal ideology
That no one could hope to achieve
And I'm never real, it's just a sketch of me
And everything I've made is trite and cheap
And a waste
Of paint, of tape, of time

So I park my car down by the cathedral
Where the floodlights point up at the steeples
Choir practice is filling up with people
I hear the sound escaping as an echo
Sloping off the ceiling at an angle
When the voices blend they sound like angels
I hope there's some room still in the middle
But when I lift my voice up now to reach them
The range is too high way up in heaven
So I hold my tongue, forget the song
Tie my shoes, start walking off
And try to just keep moving on
With my broken heart and my absent God
And I have no faith but it's all I want
To be loved, and believe
In my soul, in my soul


Lyrics submitted by iddonuk

Waste of Paint song meanings
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110 Comments

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  • +4
    General Commentthis song could be the story of my life
    leelee87on November 19, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General Comment"I have a friend, he's mostly made of pain"
    It seems as if he starts the song with someone who feels like he doesn't matter and is worthless, then goes through the song with people who think that their lives have some meaning, but then comes to the conclusion that the first guy was right and that it's all pointless.

    Depressing.
    gmanyoon September 11, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI love the part,

    "Will my number come up eventually?
    Like love's some kind of lottery
    Where you scratch and see what's underneath
    It's sorry, just one cherry
    I'll play again"

    The rhythm of it as well as the meaning. Love is kind of like the lottery, you just have to keep trying new people until you find the right one, it is basically a numbers game.

    Also the double (or even triple) entendre of "It's sorry." As in it's a sorry scenario that this is how love works, as well as you're sorry when the last one (ex lover) didn't work out but also as that is what it says on your loser lottery tickets.
    FouLLineon September 17, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Thank you, please,
    But your flattery,
    It's truly not becoming me,
    Your eyes are poor, you're blind you see,
    No beauty could have come from me And still to me,

    I'm sick, lonely
    No laurel tree, just green envy
    Will my number come up eventually
    Like love's some kind of lottery
    Where you scratch and see what's underneath
    It's sorry, just one cherry
    I'll play again, get lucky

    WeepingDonuton August 22, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentGoing back a bit into the comments about the recording being simple, quick, and the chords being basic, I think thats part of the brilliance, i love the sound of home recordings, imperfect guitar. Give everything a raw edge and truly personal touch.

    Might as well say it, this song means a lot to me, and sums up my emotions down to a T. Truly brilliant. He he he, it whats music is about right?
    lostfoundon February 10, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment'When the voices blend they sound like angels'

    that line kills me, its stunning
    hndcffson June 01, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAs to the discussion about God in this song- it seems as if Conor absolutely believes in God but just can't reconcile that belief with his own life. He says "my absent god" implying both possession and neglect. Also the line "But when I lift my voice up now to reach them the range is too high way up in heaven" seems to say that he can't attain salvation or have faith- but he does believe that it's possible. The language is similar to what he says about the fairy tale of true love- the tragedy of this world is that both (God and Love) are promised to all but only attained by some. Merely one example of Conor's unique ability to be absolutely profound and depressing and yet still somehow leave the listener with a twinge of hope. You feel as if the sentiment is yours but that you could never match the passion and pain in his voice.
    tpeverett1on December 16, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song sums up all his songs in about three different chords. Great stuff.
    Mainsteve66on April 16, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"But just then my knees give under me
    My head feels weak and suddenly
    It's clear to see it's not them but me
    Who's lost my self-identity
    And I hide behind these books I read
    While scribbling my poetry
    Like art could save a wretch like me
    Some ideal ideology
    That no one could hope to achieve
    And I'm never real, it's just a sketch of me
    And everything I've made is trite and cheap
    And a waste
    Of paint, of tape, of time"

    amazing.
    euphoricmelodyon May 27, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"And still to me, I'm sick, lonely
    No laurel tree, just green envy"
    this song rocks my socks

    ~jackie
    sayitainthalighon July 19, 2002   Link

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