Pressure pushin' down on me
Pressin' down on you, no man ask for
Under pressure that brings a building down
Splits a family in two, puts people on streets
Mm-ba-ba-beh, mm-ba-ba-beh
Dee-day-da, ee-day-da
That's okay

That's the terror of knowing what this world is about
Watchin' some good friends screamin', "Let me out"
Pray tomorrow gets me higher
Pressure on people, people on streets

Da-da-da, mm-mm

Chippin' around, kick my brains 'round the floor
These are the days it never rains but it pours
Ee-doh-ba-buh, ee-da-ba-ba-bop
Mm-bo-bop, beh-lup
People on streets, ee-da-dee-da-day
People on streets, ee-da-dee-da-dee-da-dee-da

It's the terror of knowing what this world is about
Watching some good friends screaming, "Let me out"
Pray tomorrow gets me higher, higher, high
Pressure on people, people on streets

Turned away from it all like a blind man
Sat on the fence but it don't work
Keep comin' up with love but it's so slashed and torn
Why, why, why?
Insanity laughs under pressure we're breaking

Can't we give ourselves one more chance?
Why can't we give love that one more chance?
Why can't we give love, give love, give love, give love
Give love, give love, give love, give love?

'Cause love's such an old-fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is our last dance
This is ourselves

Under pressure
Under pressure

Lyrics submitted by Novartza, edited by lilypace, Venuss24, LHGL

Under Pressure Lyrics as written by John Richard Deacon David Bowie

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Under Pressure song meanings
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  • +15
    General Comment

    I'm pretty sure this song is referring to the pressure of love. It's about how nobody is immune to the pain love can cause; the world is about love and sometimes relationships can be very hurtful

    "It's the terror of knowing what this world is about Watching some good friends screaming "Let me out!""

    He sees all the pain associated with love, and his own love is "slashed and torn," so he tries to turn "Away from it all like a blind man".

    But at the end, he realizes you can't turn your back on love, despite the pain. You have to love people and care for them even if you've been hurt; you have to give love one more chance.

    Apoll0on June 15, 2003   Link
  • +12
    General Comment

    David Bowie + Freddie Mercury = Most Androgenous Song in Existence.

    Though I really really like it and I hate that bastard Vanilla Ice for ripping off the bass. Jerk.

    MetaLunaon April 28, 2002   Link
  • +11
    General Comment

    I think most generally the song is about the pressure of conformity and status quo. The pressure is killing us, it's driving us against each and destroying us, but all it takes to get rid of the pressure is to show some genuine love for other people for being who they are. However, showing such love will upset the status quo, and it would require us to move past our own lives, so the same pressure is preventing us from showing simple love.

    Ganondoxon July 18, 2013   Link
  • +10
    General Comment

    This song was playing when we relaunched SongMeanings!

    mikeon July 04, 2012   Link
  • +6
    Song Meaning

    This song always gets me... "keep coming up with love but it's so slashed and torn..." We've torn up the meaning of the word "love" but we need to give it one more chance, even it "dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night" such as the homeless and sick... but "this is our last dance." We're all under pressure but we need to still care for those people and ourselves.

    infiniteentropyon January 25, 2011   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    I can't believe, after all these 15 years, this song still sounds so powerful and deeply moving at the same time. the kind of music that you unfortunately seem hard to get from those so-called "mainstream" artists/musicians nowadays (ie: those you see or hear constantly on TV and radio, especially MTV, ouch!).

    dinkoton December 10, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    i love this song but the funny thing is that ive never really thought about what it meant because im usually too busy singing it in my car

    dasquien!on May 01, 2005   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation

    I think this song is about depression and suicide. It seems to switch back and forth between someone dealing with depression, and a friend watching them deal with it.

    "Pressure pushing down on me Pressing down on you no man ask for Under pressure that brings a building down Splits a family in two Puts people on streets"

    This means the pressure of life effects everyone. The repeating of "under pressure" throughout the song is the constant bombardment of stress and pressure in life.

    "It's the terror of knowing What the world is about Watching some good friends Screaming 'Let me out'"

    Seeing the horrors of the world. Of a friend try to kill themselves.

    "Pray tomorrow gets me higher Pressure on people people on streets"

    Always hoping tomorrow will make you feel better. Always hoping you can get out of this rut. Again pressure of life effects everyone "people on streets".

    "Chippin' around - kick my brains around the floor These are the days it never rains but it pours"

    Suicide by gun to the head and depression because everything seems worse than it really is. It's really raining, but you think it's pouring.

    "Turned away from it all like a blind man Sat on a fence but it don't work Keep coming up with love but it's so slashed and torn"

    Trying to ignore the horror of the world. Siting on the fence is no knowing what to do. So you do nothing, but it's not working in making you feel better. Or doing nothing didn't work in saving someone from suicide. Trying to connect to a person with depression with love, but your love you try to give them just ends up getting mutilated by their world.

    "Love love love love love Insanity laughs under pressure we're breaking Can't we give ourselves one more chance Why can't we give love that one more chance Why can't we give love give love give love give love"

    I think "love" means "love of self" in some ways. People keep trying to help us, and we keep trying to help ourselves, but Insanity (depression) laughs as we're breaking. We break under pressure. Why can't we give love of ourselves, others, and life another chance?

    "'Cause love's such an old fashioned word"

    Love is something old fashioned because we haven't felt it in a long time. Love is something that isn't common anymore.

    "And love dares you to care for The people on the (People on streets) edge of the night And loves (People on streets) dares you to change our way of Caring about ourselves"

    Love for other people makes you reach out for people on the edge of the night Night means death or suicide. Love for others dares you to care about yourself. Self preservation.

    "This is our last dance This is our last dance"

    The last time you see someone before they kill themselves. Or the last time you have ever felt happiness.

    "This is ourselves"

    This is ourselves. This is you, and you only. Meaning we are by ourselves. We are alone dealing with this alone. You can't change yourself. You feel hopeless. (Ever hear the expression no one can change you but you?) But only you can change your outlook on life.

    "Under pressure Under pressure Pressure"

    I think this is the moment someone is on the verge of killing themselves, but it seems ambiguous to me whether or not they go through with it. The song of life is "under pressure". Perhaps death is giving into "pressure". Or perhaps the person has decided that they are no longer under pressure (depression) and that there is just pressure in the world.

    I know queen did another song on suicide, but this is my interpretation, and the lyrics line up pretty good I think. I listened to it extensively when my life was at it's worst. Music was the only thing that made me feel better. But only when I got out of depression, did I realize the meaning of this song and why it had such a connection to me.

    skessingeron November 15, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    To me, this is a cynic (Bowie's vocal) arguing with a romantic (Mercury's vocal). They both realise that the world is in jepardy, but the cynic is dismissing the romantic's notion of salvation and love. In the end, the cynic has nothing new to say, only to point out the hopelessness of life, while the romantic tries to find meaning and happiness.

    Child Of Musicon April 18, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I'd never thought of it in the way ChildofMusic and prilla1206 say, but that makes sense, thinking about the lyrics and the differences between Mercury and Bowie's parts.

    I'd heard somewhere that the song was originally to be called "People on the Streets", and that line features heavily in the song. So, I wonder if this is about our attitudes to the "undesirables" in society - the people on streets etc., that our world throws out. The conflict between Bowie and Mercury then becomes about how we treat this people: Freddie sings "can't we give love one more chance", we need to love these people? But Bowie's words point out what that means: love as a word is easy to say, but it has vast implications, i.e. "love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night and... change our way of caring about ourselves". There's almost a challenge in these words: are we up to it?

    Agree that this is a great song and Vanilla Ice's rip-off is horrendous.

    stejsmithon September 28, 2005   Link

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