Trailed by a mess
Of masking tape construction paper
And the best of intentions
He tried to patch up every hole as he went
Back and forth and back again
And his friends half full of half concerns
Embarrassed looks and tired words
They burrowed deeper into the ignorant
Little lives they preferred
And he envied their distance
Their lack of concern

He thought,
Once I shed the whole of me
Once I shed the whole of me
Then I'll be smiling
He cursed himself
And his instinct to nurse
Every idea to health
And all of the falls that he'd spent
Trying to coax his name from the mouths
Of success

He thought
Once I shed the whole of me
Once I shed the whole of me
Then I'll be smiling.
They litter me with small awareness!
Then they ask if I'm good enough
They litter me with small awareness
Just to wake me up
Why do the fools wake me up?

Lyrics submitted by skeeter688

Then I'll Be Smiling Lyrics as written by Matt Nathanson

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Then I'll Be Smiling song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentThis is my favorite Matt song! I feel this way about quite few of my "friends." Kind of sad to feel so alone when you are surrounded by so many people.
    sadhappyon February 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGood Song...better least in my eyes..To me this song is about a boy who thinks his friends are too deep in their ignorance yet dont care and dont do anything about it
    "They burrowed deeper into the ignorant
    Little lives they preferred"
    But then this kids like once i get to a better point in life where i know more...thats when ill be smiling because this is all too frustrating right now
    Then i take..
    "Once I shed the whole of me"
    as him almost evolving like when a caterpillar does from their cacoon into a butterfly and better being so to speak
    "They litter me with small awareness'
    Then they ask if I'm good enough"
    As him saying that " his friends half full of half concerns" try and lace him with the same things but he doesnt follow it and they dont get why he wants something more out of life
    "They litter me with small awareness'
    Just to wake me up
    Why do the fools wake me up?"
    I think of this as them trying to distract him away from his dream of being a better person so why are these fools trying to wake him up from it and prevent such a positive dream.....
    Matt.E..Gon January 16, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy favorite Matt Nathanson song by far. To me this song speaks very profoundly of a boy who is alienated by the ignorance of his family and peers. He is frustrated by the fact that he simply cannot bring himself to drop himself to their level to feel the blind happiness they seem to feel in their own little worlds. He is too attached to ideas of progress and of ambition, while they seem, in his eyes, to be happy the way they are. Therefore the chorus tells that in order for him to be happy, he would have to shed every ounce of who he truly is, a frustrating and almost impossible prospect for many.
    Oyaji291on October 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment I imagine a guy trying very hard to fix holes. I think that may be some kind of pitfall or trap that he sees as wrong. and he fumbles around, unable to ignore, trying to fix them. And his instinct to have ideas to fix holes...I feel these ideas lend him a kind of dignity. His his friends, on the other hand, are ignoring these holes blissfully. And although he feels betrayed, He envies also envies their freedom. His own instinct, though good intentioned, has failed.
    I think it's just a phase. After he sorts it out he'll get his dignity back and, then HE WILL be smiling.
    Guarimnon November 13, 2010   Link

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