Last of the men in hats hops off the coil
And a final scene unfolds inside
Deep in the rain of sparks behind his brow
Is a part replayed from a perfect day
Teaching her how to whistle like a boy
Love's first blush

Is this making sense?
What am I trying to say?
Early evening June
This room and a radio play
This I need to save
I choose my final thoughts today
Switching off with you

All the clocks give in
And the traffic fades
And the insects like a neon choir
The instant fizz
Connection made
And the curtains sigh
In time
With you

You, the only sense the world has ever made
Early evening June
This room and radio play
This I need to save
I choose my final scene today
Switching off

Ran to ground for a while there
But I came off pretty well

You, the only sense the world has ever made
This I need to save
A simple trinket locked away
I choose my final scene today
Switching off with you

Lyrics submitted by minette

Switching Off Lyrics as written by Guy Edward John Garvey Craig Lee Potter

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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Switching Off song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentThis song is about your final thoughts before death, and how you can choose them now. I think the first verse is the old man dying, with his most treasured memory replaying in his head. He chooses his "final scene." Guy's talking about how he wants this to be a perfect experience with a loved one, and he talks about saving a specific memory and keeping it precious in a metaphorical trinket until he dies. He even admits in the chorus that this is a complex idea to try to put in a song when he says "Is this making sense?"
    Leif_Eriksonon August 14, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Commentguy said in an interview that its based on the theory that when you die you can see your whole life flash before your eyes, this song takes it one step further in the fact that if you have a really good memory of something then you can choose that as the last thing you see before you die...your final scene
    maverick46on October 18, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentit's about falling in love...
    TBRK98on March 22, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this is about euthenasia, or at least death as tomstrangelove and leif erikson have said. The narrator is at his elderly relative's deathbed and he's describing the man's last thoughts. The dying man is looking back on his life's ups and downs ("Ran to ground for a while there / But I came off pretty well"). "You, the only sense this world has ever made" are his offsping, perhaps the daughter that he taught "to whistle like a boy". He chooses the final thought and memory on his mind as he dies. I think the third verse is his family switching off his life support.
    The trinket is this final view of his life as leif erikson explained.

    Incoherent: "last of the men in hats hops off the coil" is this dying man who lived in an earlier age when men all wore hats. "This mortal coil" is a metaphor for life from Hamlet.
    azkmon May 19, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentmaveric46 and leif erikson have it. x
    munroekellyon July 14, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYou've got it people. Just saw Elbow at Wembley and Guy explained that this is about the concept that if your life flashes before your eyes when you die, then effectively we can choose our final thoughts now. This is about a time he spent in a room with a girl and he wanted to record it - as his final thought. He's happy to die so long as that time, in that room, with her is his final thought 'switching off with you'. What a lovely tribute to pay to that girl - whoever she is.
    Listenproperlyon March 16, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentomigod. this song is so lovely. it really goes beyond into nice and pretty into lovely and majestic. attaboys
    pumkinhedon December 08, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI really know what they're talking about! you know that part of a relationship where you can't fall asleep because you're thinking constantly of that person and you have to conciously switch off otherwise you'll never fall asleep, and you feel all warm and mellow! great imagery, real poets of the age
    incoherentloveon December 11, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always looked at this song as a working man falling in love but inevitably detests his monotonous way of life and therefore ends it all through assisted suicide. This song is his final grasp at focusing on his love, "the only sense the world has ever made." Please help if I am way off base here. Any insight is welcome.
    silenceiseasyon February 02, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI see where you're coming from "last of the men in hats hops off the coil" I always got confused about that first line. Taken literally it could refer to a working man, I thought that it was about the working brain and switching off at night, especially with the traffic fading and insects like a neon choir. An interesting interpretation, but I'm sticking with the finding it hard to fall asleep, it rings very true with me, and even if I'm wrong that's what it means to me.
    incoherentloveon June 03, 2005   Link

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