Well, I've walked these streets
A virtual stage, it seemed to me
Makeup on their faces
Actors took their places next to me

Well, I've walked these streets
In a carnival, of sights to see
All the cheap thrill seekers vendors and the dealers
They crowded around me

Have I been blind have I been lost
Inside myself and my own mind
Hypnotized, mesmerized by what my eyes have seen?

Well, I've walked these streets
In a spectacle of wealth and poverty
In the diamond markets the scarlet welcome carpet
That they just rolled out for me

And I've walked these streets
In the madhouse asylum they can be
Where a wild-eyed misfit prophet
On a traffic island stopped and he raved of saving me

Have I been blind, have I been lost
Inside myself and my own mind
Hypnotized, mesmerized by what my eyes have seen

Have I been wrong, have I been wise
To shut my eyes and play along
Hypnotized, paralyzed by what my eyes have found
By what my eyes have seen
What they have seen?

Have I been blind
Have I been lost
Have I been wrong
Have I been wise
Have I been strong
Have I been hypnotized, mesmerized by what my eyes have found
In that great street carnival

Have I been blind
Have I been lost
Have I been wrong
Have I been wise
Have I been strong
Have I been hypnotized, mesmerized by what my eyes have found
In that great street carnival

In that carnival

Lyrics submitted by kevin

Carnival Lyrics as written by Magnus Sveningsson Peter Anders Svensson

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Downtown Music Publishing

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Carnival song meanings
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  • +7
    General CommentThis song has always seemed to me to be about becoming disillusioned with a world that occupies itself with facades ("it seemed to me, makeup on their faces, actors took their places next to me"). Eventually, you realize that you've been accepting things much too easily: "Have I been blind? Have I been lost inside myself and my own mind, hypnotized, mesmerized, by what my eyes have seen?" There's a sense of trying to navigate the bizarreness all around, looking for truth. Such vivid lyrics, and the music is so moody and evocative. This song owns; I love it to pieces. <3 I've adopted it as a theme song of sorts, as geeky as that sounds. XD
    Keion June 23, 2004   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI think its the world as awhole and just moving along and goign witht heflow but knowing deep down you need to do soemthing .. denial my friends , denial ..
    NIKKIEon April 09, 2004   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationCarnival is deeply beautiful, multifaceted, thought-provoking, bittersweet song. This level of songwriting is rare especially nowadays. I think it is about the facades that are created by the kinds of people who come into your life to dupe you, victimize you, and/or take advantage of you or to simply make themselves (or their lifestyles or belief systems) superior to you in some way. I believe it is about the way we think we know a person and we really do not. Yet something instinctual says no this is not right. Still we close our eyes "and play along" because the reality of it is to painful to face. Still the whole time we are knowing deep inside that what is being presented is not authentic. It is not right. This can be said for individual souls that meet us along the path of life and it can be about the injustices that so many of face in this world. Whole ways of life can be a facade of virtual smoke and mirrors. Simply an elaborate trick, not real--only lies and omissions that we seem to have become very capable of perpetrating onto each other to get our own needs met be it for money, fame, or for just plain evil. To harm and abuse and selfishly take even from the most helpless, impoverished and vulnerable among us. Trusting adults, children, animals, elderly people whomever we can “get over on” it seems. That is my impression of the carnival that Natalie Merchant is singing about. I first heard this song when I was watching a documentary about Aileen "Lee" Wuornos. No matter the reasons for what she did her life from childhood on was filled with unspeakable horror, poverty, desperation, tragedy, pain–and no one even when she was an infant was EVER there for her in any way. This song touches me deeply I love this song. It makes me cry at times, yet it comforts me deeply when I am in pain or am confused about the excluding, cruel, or senseless actions of others towards their fellow living beings this planet. Thank you Natalie Merchant for writing and singing this beautiful, truthful song, and thank you Lee for loving it enough so that I could find it also.
    cocoafoxon April 08, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentNice Interpretation Kei. Thats a funky explanation. I would combine a couple of your points and the facade that life presents to some people. You gotta admit sometimes if you sit back, take a good look around you .. its like one big stage.

    Maybe she's questioning where she fits in this whole scene? Maybe the lyrics signify how insignificant one can feel?

    I felt it was about being alone. Mentally I mean.
    shockdelicaon October 12, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthe american serial killer aileen wuernos requested this song be played at her funeral. just thought id share that with you! if you watched the documentary about her last year the lyrics to this seem to fit in well with how she felt
    kitkat0209on January 09, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentA lot of you guys seem to be right on track, I would take it one step further, you don't need to be wrapped up in Hollywood or the entertainment industry to be blind to the underside of our culture. This song says to me that each of us can be blind and wrong to what we do not want to see in our cities. Let's open our eyes...
    tomyboyon February 05, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentShakespeare said it best: "All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances"
    judioon April 26, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI know a previous poster had already mentioned this, but the fact that Aileen Wuornos requested for this song to be played during her funeral breaks my heart. it works, and it meant something to her. she went through so much BS that turned her into a monster. great song though, i remember being 8 years old watching the video on MTV when first came out.
    melikeaguaon May 23, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHmmmm, the words seem to suggest she is singing about Hollywood....stage, actors, make-up, thrill seekers, vendors, dealers, wealth, diamonds, red carpet. Just a thought, I'm probably dead wrong.
    Fein Messon February 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentKei, you are spot on
    podson April 13, 2005   Link

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