I wanted to be with you alone
And talk about the weather
But traditions I can trace against the child in your face
Won't escape my attention
You keep your distance with a system of touch
And gentle persuasion
I'm lost in admiration, could I need you this much?
Oh, you're wasting my time
You're just, just, just wasting time

Something happens and I'm head over heels
I never find out 'til I'm head over heels
Something happens and I'm head over heels
Ah, don't take my heart, don't break my heart
Don't, don't, don't throw it away

Throw it away
Throw it away

I made a fire, I'm watching it burn (yeah)
I thought of your future
With one foot in the past, now just how long will it last?
No, no, no, have you no ambition? (Mmm, what's the matter with my?)
My mother and my brothers used to breathe in clean air
(Nothing ever changes when you're acting your age)
And dreaming I'm a doctor (nothing gets done when you feel like a baby)
It's hard to be a man when there's a gun in your hand
(Nothing ever changes when you're acting your age) oh, I feel so

Something happens and I'm head over heels
I never find out 'til I'm head over heels
Something happens and I'm head over heels
Ah, don't take my heart, don't break my heart
Don't, don't, don't throw it away

And this my four-leaf clover
I'm on the line, one open mind
This is my four-leaf clover

(La, la, la, la, la)
(La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la)
(La, la, la, la, la)
(La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la)
(La, la, la, la, la)
(La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la)
(La, la, la, la, la)
(La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la)
(La, la, la, la, la)
(La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la) in my mind's eye
(La, la, la, la, la) one little boy, one little man
(La, la, la, la, la)
Funny how time flies


Lyrics submitted by numb, edited by rockoperajon, Scribbles92

Head Over Heels Lyrics as written by Roland Orzabal Curt Smith

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group, Royalty Network

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Head Over Heels song meanings
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101 Comments

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  • +21
    General Comment

    I'm sick of seeing posts about Donnie Darko. Yeah sure, it was a great movie, now shut up and talk about the song.

    I think this song is about how little we know about ourselves, he is confused about why he even falls for the person, I'm sure we've all had those confused feelings for someone at some point. He doesn't say why he becomes head over heels, because it just happens, it's intuitive. I can't really account for the 2nd verse talking about "gun in your hand", but whenever I hear it, I keep thinking he says "knot in your heart", which also makes more sense considering he's talking about being head over heels in love. It would make more sense because there is confusion as to why he likes the girl in the first place, for she has "no ambition".

    It's murky, he doesn't understand why he likes her so much, yet he wants to see where it will lead, and it seems as though she's just going to throw it away because she’s not interested, or doesn't care etc. It's about the whole "guy likes girl" but "girl doesn’t like guy" dilemma (or vice-versa). The “four-leaf clover” is him putting it all down to luck, just hoping that it works out, even though they are so different.

    That's my say

    Schr4nzon May 25, 2004   Link
  • +15
    General Comment

    I could go on for days about what I think this song means, but here's my nickle version.

    Obviously he's talking about a girl, and his intense attraction to her, but everything is not right. He can't get as close to her as he wants. She has problems too, he can see it in the child in her face.

    This is the perverbial classic dysfunctional relationship, neither party can get close enough despite the fact that they "feel so..." head over heels.

    He knows what's going to happen, he sees it. But he embraces his future, even calling on luck to see him through.

    But the end of the song is the most profound, the very end where he says

    In my minds eye

    One little boy One little man

    Funny how... Time flys....

    Now the reason that's so important is that in the song Broken we hear the same ending, but with a twist; the line is "One little boy anger one little man" and that's the clue.

    This isn't about love with a woman, it's about how love with a woman doesn't work because he keeps finding women who are emotionally detatched and broken. The same as it was with his dad. In his minds eye, he can see this relationship and who it mirrors. At the time of the writing of this song, he already had the solution, and was hiding it between a couple different tracks.

    And funny how times flies? How would you feel if you woke up as an adult and realized you had been reliving your childhood over and over again, and your lover was a karmic representation of your father?

    I would run away and join a carnival if that was me.

    Oh wait, I did that...

    Thank you for reading, I hope you got something out of this. I did. :)

    Shaku55on September 14, 2011   Link
  • +13
    General Comment

    I love this song, it's one of my favorite 80's songs. I think tears for fears is very underrated. Anyway on to the meaning of the song.

    I can relate to this song a lot. I think we all can. We have all found ourselves in relationship where we think what are we doing and find ourselves over our heads. I believe the song is also about growing up when you are not quite ready to do so.

    My interpretation of the song is that they are both immature, hence they are getting these feelings and they dont' know how to interpret them. I think the girl in question has a hard time opening up, he is looking for something serious but even he is not sure about his feelings. To be a little more specific I'll break down each stanza.

    "I wanted to be with you alone And talk about the weather But traditions I can trace against the child in your face Won't escape my attention " - The women in question has a hard time getting over her past something is holding her back, he sees something there, something that is blocking him from getting closer to her.

    "You keep your distance via the system of touch And gentle persuasion I'm lost in admiration could I need you this much Oh you're wasting my time You're just wasting time" - He's confused because although they have a physical connection the fact that he can't get any closer to her leads him to believe he's possibly wasting his time and will only lead to him getting his feelings hurt. They basically have a physical relationship but an empty emotional one.

    "Something happens and I'm head over heels I never find out until I'm head over heels Something happens and I'm head over heels Ah don't take my heart Don't break my heart Don't throw it away. "- He doesn't know why he's getting feeligs, he can't explain it, he feels he shouldn't because it's only a common physical attraction with no emotional ties, he's scared to get his heart broken if he gets attached.

    "I made a fire and watching it burn Thought of your future With one foot in the past now just how long will it last No no no have you no ambition My mother and my brothers used to breathing clean air And dreaming I'm a doctor It's hard to be man when there's a gun in your hand Oh I feel so... "
    -This is probably the most confusing section of the song. And probably the section that can be interpreted many ways. I think he is hinting that the girl in question has a hard time getting away from what her parents want her to be or maybe she has some past issues holding her back. In any case I think he is comparing her situation to his situation where his parents wanted him to be a doctor. He felt pressured to be what his parents wanted him to be but at some point he made a decision he was going to live his life his way. I think he is telling her to get over whatever past issues and just grow up and make some choices. At the same he admits that is hard to get past what your parents and family want you to be, and that it is hard to get over your past hence "its hard to be a man when there's a gun in your hand", I think in the line he is making a metaphor. At one time men use to pass down their guns to their sons. I think he is trying to say in this line that it's hard to get past the expectations of your parents or family when they put pressure on you. Just my interpretation.

    "And it's my four leaf clover I'm on the line, one open mind This is my four leaf clover."

    -He's saying I'm going to take the chance, whatever happens happens, I'm going to follow my heart and take the chance of gettin hurt.

    There are also lines that can be heard in the back, something about hard to make choices when your acting young. This part never gets put in any of the lyric translations I have seen, anyway whoever figures that part out please post, I think it will reveal a lot about the meaning of the song.

    bakismakion October 30, 2004   Link
  • +11
    General Comment

    jesus christ whatever happened to talking about the actual song?

    Darkness_5555on April 07, 2003   Link
  • +6
    General Comment

    -.- yes we get it, i too loved that movie. but this isnt talkaboutagreatmoviethatthissongwasin.net now is it?

    the song is about the illusion of love that comes from someone that one ABSOLUTLY FALLS for.

    "you keep your distance via the system of touch" shes a physical kinda girl, but that leave much to be desired on the emotional level.

    Naive_Exiton July 04, 2003   Link
  • +6
    General Comment

    You know, this song did exist before Donnie Darko. It's a great song; tears for fears were ages ahead of their time. I also recomend mad world and woman in chains.

    leaffan1389on May 17, 2004   Link
  • +6
    General Comment

    best comment so far "Most people were born after this song was written! So all you ppl complaining about Donnie Darko, need to shut up!!!1" Ok, I'm parphrasing, but that shit made me almost piss my pants. Oh you young people...sigh

    This song always gets to me. I think that librarian helped start me on my thing for geeky women. And really, who can not relate to this song? if you've ever been truly, head swimmingly in love, and knowing better that you oughtn't be. But you just go with it, hoping for the best. It's a nice ride no matter how it ends, at any rate. Even if things don't turn out for the best, you still felt awesome, if even for a few moments. You know, some people pay a lot for expensive and illegal drugs just to feel like that.

    He wants to connect with this girl, who is still too caught up in her inner-childishness. When he tries to get serious, she pushes him away, but she also teases him with her 'system of touch'. Not necessarily sex, but she lets him know that she's definitely interested, at least a little bit. She's a wealth of mixed signals and frustration, but she's also fun, and he Loves her. He's got direction in his life, and it seems she's willing to go with the flow, where ever it takes her. So, does he put things on hold, change the direction of his life, and see where things end up? Again, she makes him feel sooooo...willing to try. Sounds like she's a pain in the ass, but the lovable sort. He's a fool to give her his heart, but what better description for a man in love? "Love makes fools of us all." I guess that's shakespeare.

    grimjackon May 15, 2008   Link
  • +4
    My Interpretation

    I was just listening to this song because it makes me super emotional. I had no idea what this song was other than it completely related to me as just this hopeless, pitiful romance he was trying to brew up but was failing.

    I was interested in the meaning when I looked up the song on wikipedia and read what Roland himself said: "It is basically a love song and one of the most simple tracks that Tears for Fears have ever recorded. It is a love song that goes a bit perverse at the end."

    So I'm like. All right, what's so perverse about it.

    So like 20 minutes later it hits me in the head like a FRIGGIN' BRICK.

    Anyway, I think the 'perverseness' he's talking about is... well, suicide.

    I made a fire and watching it burn Thought of your future With one foot in the past now just how long will it last? No, no, no, have you no ambition? My mother and my brothers used to breathing clean air And dreaming I'm a doctor It's hard to be man when there's a gun in your hand Oh, I feel so . . . ~~ He's musing about both the past and the future. He's thinking about his own past, and his own ambitions (he wanted to be a doctor, and the clean air I figure is some sort of allusion to 'back in the good times'). He sees that this girl he's hopelessly in love with, she has no ambition, yet she's still stuck in the past just like him. This is quite conflicting, really; and he thinks about what their future would be like together. It simply maddens him, the thought of all this, swirls and confusion, I mean from the tone of this song it doesn't seem to be working out. So it drives him to the point of taking out a gun...

    And it's my four leaf clover I'm on the line, one open mind This is my four leaf clover ~~ This I interpreted as two things; the gun to his head either means he'll live or die. Also, it could be like his lucky star, as he says, his four leaf clover; his ticket out of this hell, all this madness and confusion. I could understand that, because if the relationship is so bad and not working out, yet you're still so confused and in love, it can drive you insane (I've been there).

    In my mind's eye One little boy, one little man Funny how time flies ~~ Here he's reminiscing about the past again, about the good times before all this mess and chaos happened. He's thinking about his entire life before he pulls the trigger, and even though he's grown, he's still just a confused guy.

    Please tell me what you think. I honestly got these ideas as a spur-of-the-moment "the muse hit me!" kind of thing.

    zaWARUDOon August 05, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    Just in case anyone is still confused on the lyrics, it's DOCTOR...GUN...HAND. I'm reading this directly from the CD booklet.

    I just watched the video, and if it is meant as an explication of the song itself I think most peoples comments are on the right track.

    Notice, the object of the singers affections is a librarian, of course she works in a library. Written works can easily symbolize the past. Knowledge and events that we don't want to let go of (so we right them down). This girl surrounds and really encloses herself in such, apparently to the exclusion of this young mans affections.
    He on the other hand first appears lugging his own stack of books (his own 'baggage') but he has come to get rid of it. He wants to move forward. And he goes through various attempts to explain all of this to her, and express his fears that she ultimately won't or can't let go of whatever is holding her back.

    It's funny, but I think the 'system of touch' lyric isn't expressed until relatively late in the video. It's like he's running out of ideas on how to break through her emotional catatonia, so he resorts to silly (childish) antics, like the 'Bang!' gun, which actually gets through to her on some level, because she responds (physically) on the same level...childish antics, like pinching his nose. If this is somehow a metaphor for sex, I don't know, but I think it's significant in that it's what keeps him going. It's not the reaction he wants (her growing up and 'discussing the weather' as adults do...) but it's enough to give him hope that maybe he can help he (like a 'doctor'), so he presses on.

    I don't know, I could desect it more, but that's my core theory. But based on the video it looks like he is ultimately successful, and yet he gives credence to the fact that we can't every really lose all our baggage. Even as his wife (she doesn't look like a maid to me) seemingly of many years, brings him coffee/tea, he himself is poring over a book. Maybe it's just symbolic of him reminiscing on how he and she got together so long ago ( 'Time flies...')

    TsingTaoon April 11, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    Wow. I was about to write about how the song's lyric is sort of weak, but also how the music exemplifies the '80s sound that folks found so attractive; and still do. In essence, the polymodal layering, danceable beat w/ syncopation, lean/hungry vocal style makes the song memorable and saves it from being mediocre.

    But I read the lyrics again, and I found myself doing a little thought experiment, and it blew my mind a little.

    At first, I did what most folks do with songs like this that sort of indict a 3rd person in the lyrics. You tend to want to identify with the singer, and proceed to grope about in your memory of life experiences for instances where you may also have encountered persons like the one being described in this lyric.

    But then, I suddenly did a little experiment: I willingly turned the tables and asked myself the question: "Is the person being described here ME?" And I suppose it's going to be seen by some as self-flagellating to say this, but please take it in the spirit of self-reflection and full-disclosure intended: This song talks about a certain kind of person, and I am pretty much that kind of person.

    I won't break down the lyrics: They're actually pretty straightforward in their description, though there are a few expressions that I don't quite resonate with.

    Anyway, I think I can describe the interesting psychological effect I just encountered thusly: 1) The lyrics seemed tepid and meandering; like bad high-school poetry, then 2) I reversed the polarity on how to approach them to apply them to my own life experiences, and suddenly 3) the meaning came charging out like a rhino.

    Think about that.

    razajacon April 17, 2009   Link

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