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Tom Petty – Free Fallin' Lyrics 9 years ago
A beautiful song. It makes many allusions to Californian landmarks and culture, which are often confused as figurative statements by people not from California. If you understand the allusions, the verses have very simple meaning.

The meaning of the chorus changes in the context of the verse that precedes it, starting rough and celebratory and growing darker and bittersweet as the character is explored.

Verse 1 - Setting - A wonderful girl
Verse 2 - Action - A bad boy has a short fling with her, leaves on the highway
Chorus - Meaning - This bad boy loves his freedom and independence
Verse 3 - Setting - Bad boys exploit girls and then leave break their hearts.
Chorus - Meaning - Bad boys' freedom is at the expense of the women they hurt
Verse 4 - Action - A bad boy realizes as he drives out of LA that he felt something for her
Chorus - Meaning - The bottom falls out as one bad boy realizes that in pursuing the ideal of freedom, he sacrifices meaningful connection

Allusions:
Reseda was a family-oriented suburb of LA when the song was written
Freeways in LA cut right through residential areas in some places
West down Venture leads out of the suburbs
Mulholland is a district of LA and a highway that leads west

Figurative Language:
Bad boys are vampires because they exploit women for sex, money, or experiences and then leave them hurt

Meaning of final verse:
The lines "I wanna free fall out into nothin' / Gonna leave this world for awhile" express escapism. His lifestyle is idealized as the pursuit of freedom and superficial experience, which he realizes through his fling with the good girl lacks meaningful connection. This realization hurts him, and these lines reveal the true face of his lifestyle: an escapist's addiction, an ephemeral place of loneliness and worthless experiences. But he lacks the courage to return to her (I'm gonna leave this world) and decides to continue his pursuit of freedom (fall out into nothing).

The final chorus is a bittersweet reaffirmation of his freedom, now that he realizes it isn't the high ideal he had thought it was.

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