"Don't Stop Believin'" as written by Jonathan Cain, Steve Perry and Neal Schon....
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Lyrics submitted by numb, edited by kymara1053, Mellow_Harsher, Alberto09

Don't Stop Believin' song meanings
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  • +19
    Song MeaningWhat a bunch of simpletons (not all of you, there are some insightful posts on here)!

    Yes there are lyrics that loosely allude to a hooker. It's called an allegory people (look it up if you need to).

    The song is about the common search for love and the fear of loneliness. The lyrics you are focusing in on are a metaphor for all of the things we use to fill the void in out lives so we don't feel the pain of emptiness and loneliness. The chorus provides an optimistic counterpoint to this - "Don't stop belivin'" Yes, it's a lonely world, and finding someone is hard, but hope makes it all bearable (believing that there is someone there for you).

    It also addresses escaping from your past, whatever it may be, and looking toward a better tomorrow.

    For those who have to have it spelled out line by line (or at least stanza by stanza):

    Small town girl..city boy...midnight train: A commonality between us all, regardless of our backgrounds, the loneliness of adolescence, escaping from your past.

    Smokey room...for a smile...on and on: Metaphoric for the places/circumstances we seek love and companionship (the stereotype being a bar). We are so desperate to not be lonely that we'll form a relationship simply on the basis of a smile (again metaphorical, though often literal). "On and On," again referring to our common condition, this scene is repeatedly played out day in and out - we're all searching for love and companionship.

    "Strangers waiting": We are all strangers to each other, no one has experienced exactly what you have, and there is a certain inherent isolation in that. "Up and down the boulevard": Everywhere, every town, every person, through all life experience. "Their shadows searching in the night": The night represents isolation and separation from others. Shadows are our own inner darkness (or demons, our deepest secrets). We are haunted by our personal ghosts, and are seeking someone who will understand and relate to us despite who we are. The shadows aren't really seeking (since shadows aren't actually anything, but the absence of light), but us seeking someone with whom we can share who we really are. "Streetlight, people": What we project ourselves to be to the world - how we want people to see us. "Living just to find emotion": Again, we are isolated and seeking meaningful relationships, but willing to settle for something to make us feel less empty, so we will fill that void with any sort of connection. "Hiding, somewhere in the night": See above, any sort of superficial emotional connection seems to be preferable to being alone in the darkness.

    "Working hard to get my fill, everybody wants a thrill":Putting forth a great deal of effort to make those connections, the fact that we often substitute cheap thrills (sex?) for true meaning and connection in relationships. "Payin' anything...": We will sacrifice a great deal to avoid being loney, even if the reward is fleeting. "Some will win...": Some will find a true, meaningful relationship, some won't, some never will. "the movie...": This cycle goes on and on with, just the players change over time.

    "Don't stop believin', Hold on to that feelin'": Don't give up hope, keep searching for that meaningful relationship regardless of how difficult and trying the search is.
    "Streetlight people": Again, see above - everyone has their "public face" which we present. Despite our inherent shallowness, keep seeking the deeper, more meaningful connection.

    I know it's popular to bash Journey and this song simply because of how popular they were in the 80's and that they to some extent defined popular music for that era - move beyond that. I'm a huge Rush fan, I love the work that Neil Peart puts into crafting his lyrics and the meaning behind them. That said, I defy you to find another song that in 19 lines more accurately sums up the human condition when it comes to seeking out someone to connect with and the loneliness everyone feels. I guarantee you a good portion of the popularity of this song is that so many people can relate to it, even if they can't exactly define why. This is a masterfully written (and performed piece of art), and deserves recognition as such.
    Tristaron January 02, 2010   Link
  • +9
    General CommentThat one line..."some will win, some will lose.." That line couldnt be more true. this one time i won, and then this other time, i lost. steve perry really tells it like it is.
    ILikeGuamTheCountryon August 19, 2002   Link
  • +5
    General CommentThis song is about never giving up on love. Everyone feels lonely sometimes. This song makes me think that every time I am sad or lonely there is someone else out there who might be lonely too and that someday we will meet. It sounds dumb I guess, maybe naive or hopelessly romantic but I think its true. I "hold on to that feeling" of hope all the time.
    pweenon September 10, 2008   Link
  • +5
    General CommentThis song is extremely special to me. My father died when I was young and always used to tell me "Keep the faith, Kris. Keep the faith." This song has never let me down and I think it's exactly that; keep the faith and don't stop believing no matter what happens. There is always something great out there as long as you believe it exists. I've experienced some rough things in my life and whenever I asked God to help me, this song would play on the radio or wherever I was.

    I was supposed to graduate from college in May 2011, and I couldn't because I had to repeat my 90 hours for teaching. I knew God had a plan for me for some reason although I didn't know what. I ended up student teaching at the school attached to my Church. I could not have asked for a better experience. I honestly could not or would not have asked for a better sign from God that I have a bright future in this field.

    Never give up on yourself or your dreams, keep going and NEVER stop believing.
    kkohlaaaon January 20, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General Commenti love this song. best journey song hands down.
    ridethefaderon July 06, 2003   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI think this song is defintely about fate, hope, love, and of course, believing. We all want love/thrill/emotion.. and we try to find it, often through lust. we end up not getting it. it's saying just don't stop believing. it will happen someday.
    SoIllKeepDreaming25on December 29, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthis song is about fate. How two lonley people from two different areas are lookingand waiting for love. Everybody wants emotion(love) but not all of us are that lucky. And for those who arn't that lucky well "Dont stop believin".
    john15a9on February 03, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Commentit's just basically telling us that there is that special someone out there for each of us. except i think i would be the one who "sings the blues" as steve perry put it.
    masterofpuppets80on May 01, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentLove what Glee did with this. The cover is amazing, and I think it captures all the energy of the original. Wow. This was (and still is) such a FANTASTIC song!
    alphabravoon October 13, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI have always interpreted this song as to the randomness of two souls finding each other. Out of nowhere, completely unexpected, not even looking, but their hearts are open to the possibility. The conclusion of these lyrics is actually the first verse of the song.

    The rest is filled with methaphors of the arduous journey, and seemingly hopeless search. It may seem like a lost cause at times, but like the title of the song says, "Don't stop believin'".
    KingDon July 16, 2011   Link

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