He told me sweet lies of sweet loves
Heavy with the burden of the truth
And he spoke of his dreams
Broken by the burden
Broken by the burden of his youth

Fourteen years, he said
I couldn't look into the sun
She saw him laying at the end of my gun
Hungry for life
And thirsty for the distant river

I remember his hands
And the way the mountains looked
The light shot diamonds from his eyes
Hungry for life
And thirsty for the distant river

Like the scar of age
Written all over my face
The war is still raging inside of me
I still feel the chill
As I reveal my shame to you

I wear it like a tattoo
I wear it like a tattoo
I wear it like a tattoo


Lyrics submitted by ruben

Like a Tattoo Lyrics as written by Helen Adu Andrew Hale

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Like A Tattoo song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +2
    General Comment"Like the scar of age
    Written all over my face
    The war is still raging inside of me
    I still feel the chill
    As i reveal my shame to you
    I wear it like a tattoo"

    My gosh.. what a line!
    PotholesInMyLawnon August 15, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"He told me sweet lies of sweet love
    Heavy with the burden of the truth
    And he spoke of his dreams
    Broken by the burden
    Broken by the burden of his youth"
    ^^here she is describing her meeting with the man who had been in vietnam


    "Fourteen years, he said"
    ^^^from this line on the song is in the perspective of the man

    "I couldn't look into the sun
    She saw him laying at the end of my gun
    Hungrey for life
    And thirsty for the distant river
    I remember his hands
    And the way the mountains looked
    The light shot diamonds from his eyes
    Hungry for life
    And thirsty for the distant river"
    ^^^^here the veteran is describing killing a man while the dead man's wife or daughter (i'm assuming) was witness

    "Like the scar of age
    Written all over my face
    The war is still raging inside of me
    I still feel the chill
    As i reveal my shame to you
    I wear it like a tattoo
    I wear it like a tattoo
    I wear it like a tattoo"
    ^^^^and here the man is saying how the incident has scarred his life; he wears it 'like a tattoo'

    --- when i really disected the lyrics the song became so much more special to me. i love the way she tells such a vivid story in so few lines
    sashkamon April 14, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDemystified! This what Sade said March, 4 1993 issue of the San Diego Union-Tribune;

    ""Like a Tattoo" was a song I wanted to write for a long time. I was in an Irish bar in New York years ago, and this man came and sat next to me and started telling me things about himself that I didn't particularly want to know. He had been in Vietnam. It's my translation of what he was saying to me."
    mezzon March 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthese songs are with such passion ... sade is and will always be my favorite artist. listened to her since i was a child and now 22 . still amazing ...
    NIKKIEon April 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI really like this song, even though the meaning isnt necessarily clear, its slow and soft and calm
    angeleyes07on September 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI first heard this 13 years ago, when I was 9. I still can't figure out what it's about!! But it's such a beautiful and simple song..
    mezzon March 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThanks mezz, I thought she had med some guy, they hooked up, she caught him cheating somewhere with a view of the mountains, and she killed him with a gun, and now wears the incident like a tattoo.
    sephiroth_4on February 22, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWow............... I am a black 17 year old girl, and an extreme lover of ALL music, and this song has a special place in my heart. When I cannot sleep I listen to this song over and over again. It puts me in an peaceful place. This song is so deep it makes me weep just thinking about it!!! LOL Sade is the one of the greatest female artists...hands down!!!
    yung17stunninon November 17, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSuch a beautiful, amazing song. The lyrics, OMG, just breathtaking. I know this is based on a conversation Sade had with a Vietnam vet, but you can apply it to all the Iraq war vets too and even those still fighting,. So heartbreaking.
    MyCherryMoonon November 24, 2009   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThis song is about combat related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There are many veterans that tell the same story, forever haunted by the visions of their encounters in war or, as in this case, haunted by the vision of the eyes of the person they shot. The story is clear to all that suffer from this injury, that will always suffer from it. Some people are not affected by such things, others are permantly affected. I know because I will always carry the burden of this truth...in the exact way Sade sings about.
    Chazeagleon December 10, 2011   Link

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