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The Greatest Lyrics

Once I wanted to be the greatest
No wind or waterfall could stall me
And then came the rush of the flood
Stars of night turned deep to dust

Melt me down
Into big black armor
Leave no trace of grace
Just in your honor
Lower me down
To culprit south
Make 'em wash a space in town
For the lead
And the dregs of my bed
I've been sleepin'
Lower me down
Pin me in
Secure the grounds
For the later parade

Once I wanted to be the greatest
Two fists of solid rock
With brains that could explain
Any feeling

Lower me down
Pin me in
Secure the grounds
For the lead
And the dregs of my bed
I've been sleepin'
For the later parade

Once I wanted to be the greatest
No wind or waterfall could stall me
And then came the rush of the flood
Stars of night turned deep to dust
69 Meanings
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I think this song is about giving up on your dreams/hopes/goals because you've lost confidence in yourself due to obstacles in life.

The funeral/burial images symbolize giving up on life; it's a resignation to "death" of hope. Death is painted as an inevitable end, but also peaceful (sleeping) and protective (armor) because it's the opposite of life with its hopes & disappointments. She's tired & giving up, when once she felt strong & capable.


Once I wanted to be the greatest - she had great hopes & dreams for herself No wind or waterfall could stall me - she felt confidence in herself, able to take on any obstacle to her goals And then came the rush of the flood - reality hits Stars of night turned deep to dust - her dreams dissolved in the face of reality

Melt me down Into big black armor - this is possibly referring to a coffin; it's an armor against life & its disappointments. If you're dead, you cannot feel. This is about a death of hope though; if you cannot hope, then you cannot be disappointed. It's a kind of protection from bad feelings, to go numb.

Leave no trace of grace suggesting your honor - resignation that she will not be the greatest, that she will not leave any significant mark

Lower me down To culprit south Make 'em wash a space in town For the lead And the dregs of my bed I've been sleepin' - the idea of sleeping is peaceful; death is painted as a relief from the disappointments of failing to meet her dreams Lower me down Pin me in Secure the grounds For the later parade - funeral & burial imagery for the theme of giving up on life

Once I wanted to be the greatest Two fists of solid rock - she used to feel strong, determined & capable With brains that could explain Any feeling - she used to feel smart & able to articulate herself

The rest of the song repeats the funeral/burial imagery.

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i think personally that this song is about wanting to be the best and to exceed even the highest of expectations but being brought down and secured as "average" at everything that you do.

so she sings for people to lower her down, secure her at the bottom and pin her in because she can't do anything better than dream of being the greatest.

i think that this song is "the greatest" i love the way that she sings it and the piano in the background. it's a wonderful song most definitely the best i've heard from her.

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This is one of my favorite song's of all time. Simply beautiful.

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I absolutely love this song! I can't wait till the album comes out! This is probably her best song- at least musically.

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This is a beautiful song. I think a lot of the comments are correct, it is about ambition, the inevitibility of time, and ultimately, death. But it is not perhaps about failed ambition, or, directly about Chan Marshall.

"The Greatest" is the name of Muhammed Ali's autobiography. The Album cover features a pair of boxing gloves, the song contains the lines, "Once i wanted to be the greatest / two fists of solid rock", and, "no wind or waterfall could stop me".

It is perhaps a metaphoric history of his life which draws paralells with her own. Ali is now very ill, a shadow of his all powerfull former self. Marshall nurtured a massive ego that crashed and burned with alcoholism and drug abuse. In any case, this song has haunting, emotional power carried simply by the beatifully vunerable qualities of her voice.

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Chan Marshall explaining the meaning of her song : youtube.com/watch

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I don't know why... but this song reminds me of King Kong, the great monkey. It seems like a song he would write with his own perspective, and the nature that she describes is like in the jungle he lives in. This Part "Lower me down Pin me in Secure the grounds For the lead And the dregs of my bed I've been sleepin' For the later parade"

King Kong was once the king of the jungle but then he was pinned for the later parade in New York. Or maybe I'm just a dreamer, haha! So yeah..

Like in the movie also that phrase: It was beauty who killed the beast...

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she says "turned you to dust"...not "turned deep to dust". i could be wrong, but it doesn't sound like "deep" at all.

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i thought it was "leave no trace of grace or just in your honor"

that line is important to me. i need to know which line is right.

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I watched a live performance of this song, and focused on the movements of her mouth, and she seems to be saying "Leave no trace of grace suggesting your honor" rather than "just in your honor". "Suggesting your honor" seems a bit more sensible.

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