When you're back in your old neighborhood
The cigarettes taste so good
But you're so misunderstood
You're so misunderstood

There's something there that you can't find
You look honest when you're telling a lie
You hurt her but you don't know why
You love her but you don't know why

Short on long term goals
There's a party there that we ought to go to
If you still love rock and roll
If you still love rock and roll

It's only a quarter to three
Reflecting off of your CD
You're looking at a picture of me
You're staring at a picture of me

Take the guitar player for a ride
'Cause he ain't never been satisfied
He thinks he owes some kind of debt
Be years before he gets over it

There's a fortune inside your head
When all you touch turns to lead
You think you might just crawl back in bed
With the fortune inside your head

I know you're just a mama's boy
Positively unemployed
So misunderstood
You're so misunderstood

I know you've got a God-shaped hole
Bleeding out your heart full of soul
You're so misunderstood
You're so misunderstood
You're so misunderstood
You're so misunderstood

I'd like to thank you all for nothing
I'd like to thank you all for nothing at all
I'd like to thank you all for nothing
Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing
Nothing at all
Nothing, nothing, nothing
Nothing at all


Lyrics submitted by OwnPersonalDemon

Misunderstood Lyrics as written by Jeffrey Tweedy

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Misunderstood song meanings
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26 Comments

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  • +2
    General Comment

    This song, for those of you who may be confused, is about a Rock star who claims that most of his lyrics are "misunderstood". This is Jeff's way of making fun of himself and other rock stars, and the whole "tortured artist" BS that comes with it.

    I could go line by line, but they're pretty easy to figure out and, once you think about it, the song really shows the genius of Tweedy's writing. My favorite lines are

    Think you might just crawl back in bed, with a fortune inside your head

    which refers to how the rock star has some song in his head that could make him millions, but because he's so misunderstood, he just goes to sleep. Also great is "positively unemployed", because musicians don't have real jobs but make alot of money, thus positively unemployed.

    A great song, especially off of Kicking Televison. Hope this helps.

    loldoctoron May 13, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    He's not saying "Reflecting off your old CD", he's saying "Reflecting off the OCD"

    As in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I heard him say it clearly at a show, and it just makes sense anyway given the type of person the song describes.

    To me this song describes the type of guy who never really had anything going for him. He's not motivated and has no drive. He has a "fortune inside his head" but he lacks the motivation and determination to get things rolling.

    He never gets a real job, and he lives at home with his mom. All he does is go from day to day feeling like a loser because nobody understands him. Nobody understands that he has vision, and that he's capable of more than he actually does. People label him a loser because they simply don't understand him.

    He had a good life before, but things have certainly gone south.

    MrTragedyon April 29, 2007   Link
  • +2
    Lyric Correction

    I always thought he says "You're short on long term goals." I love that line.

    allmyliesareonlywisheson May 13, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    i just wanted to mention that the first "Do you still love rock and roll?" should be "If you still love rock and roll." and then towards the end he says "I know you've got a God shaped hole, bleeding out your heart full of soul."

    Favorite Wilco song. This and Sunkin Treasure were really the turning point from the alt country. Very powerful, great stuff.

    cherryghost41on January 06, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Ok, I have to agree with Mr.Tragedy on one thing. This song is about a guy who never gave up his rock star dream. He still lives with his mom, parties, whatever. He has nothing else. A slacker if you will. Maybe he used to be somewhat of a local celebrity in his younger days and can't let go of how that felt and where he thought that would lead. It could also be a nod to the early days in Uncle Tupelo, when those guys were touring and recording constantly and really not making any money. I read the book "Wilco: Learning how to die" and it talked alot about those days. And Ferrar did cll him a mommas boy when they split :)

    However, this song is definatley not about Heroin. Tweedy's writing is to personal. He's never had a Heroin problem so I can't see him writing a song based on speculation. If it were about pain killers maybe, but I think its about a loser.

    Flowersandwoundson November 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Sunken Treasure that is ;)

    cherryghost41on January 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Why so few posts? What an absolutely amazing song! How could it just be overlooked like this? This is a work of art that everyone should know about. Wilco has brought greatness to the music world, and this song is amazing. And, wow, those vocals.... good stuff.

    bright_eyes13on April 28, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I love the line "You hurt her but you don't know why / you love her but you don't know why."

    truffleshuffle20on June 21, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Amazing song. I saw wilco live last night in Philly and they repeat the word "nothing" at the end for almost 2 minutes. It was pretty cool.

    72telecasteron June 24, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I love this song for so many different reasons. I love hearing it in concert since Jeff screams "NOTHING" for like 5 min. straight. It also reminds me of people that I can see this song relating to. I think this song is about a guy who is reflecting on this girl he loved, but she wasn't sure if she loved him. After nothing comes of the relationship the guy dreams of, he gets angry at her and his love turns the hate. Very powerfull stuff!! Wilco wrote the soundtrack to my life.

    cmh2943on August 21, 2005   Link

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