Some days I have to give right in to the blues
Despite how I try to keep fightin'
It's a sure shot I'm going to lose
And I'll tell you why
You think I'm crazy
It's such a sad composition
But can you blame me
For what's been causing my bad disposition?
Ain't nothing new with my blue situation
And nothing's fine, it's just a minor variation

When troubles want to find me, I ain't hard to find
They know where I am
Like a hungry pack of wolves when it's feeding time
They tear up a man
And it's a strange thing
"Cause now it don't really matter
More of the same thing
Don't even hurt it's been part of the pattern
But still in all it's a small consulation
I just define it as a minor variation

Ain't now way to fight 'em darling
Ain't no way around 'em baby
Ain't now way to take 'em honey
Nowhere to hide and believe me I've tried to shake 'em

I'm getting to the point where I don't feel the pain
And I've had enough
I'm ready for the next time it hits me again
"Cause I've gotten tough
It doesn't faze me
And now I've made my decision
I may be crazy
It's not as though I don't know that condition
Until I'm through with this blue situation
Pass me the wine, it's just a minor variation

Ain't nobody's business, baby
Ain't nobody's worry darlin'
Ain't nobody's problem
No way to win when you've already been forgotten

And it's a strange thing
"Cause now it don't really matter
More of the same thing
Don't even hurt, it's a part of the pattern
Until I'm through with this blue situation
Pass me the wine, it's just a minor variation

Lyrics submitted by kevin

A Minor Variation Lyrics as written by Billy Joel

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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A Minor Variation song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentWhat, nobody's commented to this song yet? It's my favorite song from the River of Dreams CD...
    I suppose the meaning is about feeling bad is something we all go through, but it'll go away soon (but I'm not sure, really...)
    lilamishgirl26on March 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy interpretation is that Billy Joel is saying that the difference between moods weather very happy or really down, like the speaker in this song, is only a minor variation. He is saying that your always yourself but your mood is what varies; so, if the speaker doesn't seem like himself it not a complete change but just a minor variation.
    hiddenaway4everon October 19, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSeems to be that Mr. Joel is coming to terms with his life long battle with depression and understanding how to deal with it (although the foreshadowing of his self-medication (pass the wine) is creepy.
    crdesqon February 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's my 2nd favourite BJ song.
    I can so relate to this feeling.
    And "pass me the wine" doesn't have
    to mean he needs to drink to feel better,
    wine also stands for relaxing, enjoying...

    So, let me relax, it's just a minor variation is probably
    the meaning, but Pass me the wine sounds way cool :-)
    billyjoelnuton August 18, 2007   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThere's an underlying musical pun here, too:

    Basic theory rundown: the most common two scales in Western music are the major and minor scales. Songs written in major keys tend to be described as positive or light--not always, but generally speaking. Think of "Only the Good Die Young" or "Uptown Girl"--or most pop music, really.
    Minor keys are often described as sad, somber, haunting, or dark. It's less common for a pop song to be wholly in a minor key; minor tonality in pop music is usually used to provide contrast to the rest of the song: "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)" is primarily minor up until the car-revving part at the end, and the moody-sounding piano interlude in "Piano Man" is minor, while the rest of the song trends towards major.

    The lyrics make reference to a "sad composition" (probably referring to this song, which is likely in a minor key, too), and a "blue situation"--the blues scale, which most blues musicians base their solos on, is a variation on the minor pentatonic scale. And in classical music, variations are when a part is repeated, but altered during the repetitions; so, a minor variation would sound familiar, but darker than its major counterpart. The lyrics indicate that, like a musical variation, this is an ongoing and recurring thing ("ain't nothing new," "more of the same thing," "it's just a part of the pattern," "it's not as though I don't know the condition").

    So he's saying both that it's just a slight (minor) change (variation) in his condition, and that he's in a dark, brooding, minor-keyed mood, and a recurring one at that.
    ProfessorKnowItAllon December 21, 2008   Link

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