I fell in love again
All things go, all things go
Drove to Chicago
All things know, all things know

We sold our clothes to the state
I don't mind, I don't mind
I made a lot of mistakes
In my mind, in my mind

You came to take us
All things go, all things go
To recreate us
All things grow, all things grow

We had our mindset
All things know, all things know
You had to find it
All things go, all things go

I drove to New York
In a van, with my friend
We slept in parking lots
I don't mind, I don't mind

I was in love with the place
In my mind, in my mind
I made a lot of mistakes
In my mind, in my mind

You came to take us
All things go, all things go
To recreate us
All things grow, all things grow

We had our mindset
All things know, all things know
You had to find it
All things go, all things go

If I was crying
In the van, with my friend
It was for freedom
From myself and from the land

I made a lot of mistakes
I made a lot of mistakes
I made a lot of mistakes
I made a lot of mistakes

You came to take us
All things go, all things go
To recreate us
All things grow, all things grow

We had our mindset
All things know, all things know
You had to find it
All things go, all things go

You came to take us
All things go, all things go
To recreate us
All things grow, all things grow

We had our mindset (I made a lot of mistakes)
All things know, all things know (I made a lot of mistakes)

You had to find it (I made a lot of mistakes)
All things go, all things go (I made a lot of mistakes)


Lyrics submitted by beastiefreak00

Chicago Lyrics as written by Sufjan Stevens

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Chicago song meanings
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106 Comments

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  • +9
    My Interpretation

    I think this has to do with a guy who keeps dropping everything to restart his life. He first tries to be optimistic and drive to Chicago. (I fell in love again. All things go, All things go. Drove to Chicago.) By saying he fell in love AGAIN, that must mean he "falls in love" and drops his life to move for a girl often. "All things go" means he dropped everything he had to move for her. He couldn't even afford it so he had to sell his clothes to the state. He sold everything and gave up his life for this new one. Eventually, he found out moving for her was a mistake and he shouldn't have dropped his life to restart it with this girl. Then, he ends up doing the same mistake over again. He wants to be optimistic and restart his life in New York. Him and his buddy take a van over to NY and he can't even afford it. He's so poor he has to sleep in parking lots. It's like history is repeating itself. He had to sell his clothes in order to afford living in Chicago and now he has to sleep in parking lots in order to live in New York. He then says "If I was crying, it was for freedom, from myself and from the land." This is to show how he now hates New York and wishes he never moved there. He then found out that was a mistake, too. So he keeps reiterating "I made a lot of mistakes. I made a lot of mistakes." because he realizes you shouldn't drop everything and everyone for wishful thinking. "You came to take us, to recreate us." - That is his inner self talking about how he wanting to recreate his life and in doing so, it was a huge mistake. He shouldn't have been seeking a new life somewhere else. He should have been trying to fix his current one.

    omgitbekristinaon February 26, 2012   Link
  • +7
    General Comment

    I've listeend to all of Illinois (it's been leaked), and I must say that the entire album is beautiful. This song though, is the centerpiece of the album. It's so phenomenal. I love it. I don't think Sufjan can ever disappoint me.

    Jugendon April 26, 2005   Link
  • +7
    General Comment

    this is straight from an interview, when he was 19 he took a trip to chicago to get away from school with a couple of friends, they had to make it the whole weekend on 20 dollars each, they ended up staying with a group of homeless guys around the same age as them in a run down abandoned school, the new york part is obviously about his move to new york, he says the song is about running away from things

    searchingforabandon March 28, 2006   Link
  • +6
    My Interpretation

    To me this song is about idealism. I can relate to it on a lot of levels. When I was younger i would read about this exotic places and imagine what my life would be like there. Like when he says he "was in love with a place, in my mind, in my mind" but when he get there i don't think it was the place he built it up to be in his mind. Which explains why he then goes to New York once again hoping that this will be the place where he'll be free and be himself. But it seems like me he found that nowhere is going to really live up to what you make it out to be in your mind. You have to be realistic and make the best of where ever you are. We live in an imperfect world and nowhere is going be great all the time.

    chuck9259on October 28, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    I simply took this song to mean that the narrator was coming to Chicago to escape from the things haunting his past. "I've made a lot of mistakes in my mind" makes me think he's done something wrong, but he's making it out to be a lot worse than it is. He's crying for freedom because he can start over in a new city without people judging him.

    This song and John Wayne Gacy create a theme of regret and remorse throughout the album. Anyone else agree?

    sabertoothedblisson February 17, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    On at least one level, this about the story of the New Testament -- and how Jesus saved mankind from an existence defined by sin (“I made a lot of mistakes”) and gave him a second start (“You came to take us. To recreate us.”). I think the refrain “All things go. All things go” has a double meaning and refers both to the temporary nature of the material world -- but also to how, when you are given a chance at a new beginning (of the kind described) the New Testament, you can’t take advantage of that opportunity without breaking radically with all aspects of your past. In other words, “all things [about your past life must] go.”

    The other line that pretty clearly recalls the New Testament is the line -- “We sold our clothes to the state. I don’t mind. I don’t mind.” In the Bible, Jesus says “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” Caesar stands for the government or state (in some translations, it’s “Give to the Emperor that which is the Emperor’s). The state can have control over the material world -- including the clothes on our backs -- as long as it leaves the spiritual realm to God.

    I don’t think one has to believe in the story of the New Testament or agree with the theology in it to find the lyrics valuable.. Rather, I think the song is first and foremost about redemption, about breaking with the past, and about focusing on the spiritual life rather than on materialism. It’s just drawing on specific themes from The New Testament to do this (i.e., the notion that redemption comes from a redeemer and of letting the state have control over the material realm).

    islanduniverseon January 20, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    this song will always remind me of when i fell in love in chicago. the lyrics don't even fit perfectly, but they all remind me of chicago and how it was the happiest time of my life.

    i think about it literally everyday when i think about him. it's so sad, but i absolutely love it.

    thank you, sufjan

    warhol34on April 05, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    how come every1s talkin about the pronunciation of sufjan instead of what the songs actually about?

    kaligulaon August 15, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    every artistic work has a superior meaning amongst its multiple meanings. Whats the point of interpreting an artists work in shallow incorrect way just to make it resonate with ur own experiences. Wouldnt u rather fully understand in depth what the artist is trying to say, and from that, learn something etc thats gotta be more important than talkin about pronunciation. I gotta analyse this song as part of a group assignment. I wanted to know what he means when he's says that they sold their clothes to the state, I'm from Sydney, Australia so I dont know what he means

    kaligulaon August 30, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    and i mean this place is called songmeanings.net so...

    kaligulaon August 30, 2005   Link

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