This and that, they must be the same
What is legal is just what's real
What I'm given to understand
Is exactly what I steal
I wormed my way into the heart of the crowd
I wormed my way into the heart of the crowd
I was shocked to find what was allowed
I didn't lose myself in the crowd

Shot by both sides
On the run to the outside of everything
Shot by both sides
They must have come to a secret understanding

New offenses always in my nerves
They're taking my time by force
They all sound the same when they scream
As a matter of course

I wormed my way into the heart of the crowd
I wormed my way into the heart of the crowd
I was shocked to find what was allowed
I didn't lose myself in the crowd

Shot by both sides
On the run to the outside of everything
Shot by both sides
They must have come to a secret understanding

Why are you so edgy Kid?
Asks the man with the voice
One thing follows another
You live and learn, you have no choice

I wormed my way into the heart of the crowd
I wormed my way into the heart of the crowd
I was shocked to find what was allowed
I didn't lose myself in the crowd

I didn't lose myself to the crowd
I didn't lose myself to the crowd
I was shocked to find what was allowed
I didn't lose myself in the crowd
But I wormed my way
But I wormed my way
But I wormed my way
But I wormed my way
But I wormed my way
But I wormed my way
But I wormed my way
But I wormed my way

Shot by both sides
I don't ask who's doing the shooting
Shot by both sides
We must have come to a secret understanding


Lyrics submitted by Staticburn89

Shot by Both Sides Lyrics as written by HOWARD DEVOTO

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Mute Song Limited

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Shot By Both Sides song meanings
Add Your Thoughts

6 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +2
    Song Meaning

    you view this song as a criticism of both mainstream (for example pop) and anti-mainstream (for example punk) cultures as the same time. you escaped from the mainstream culture to another because they always shot you because of the person who you are and what you did was illegal againts their rules. in the anti-mainstream culture, again they shoot you too if you attempt to break the rules. so, you'll be shot by both side if you're going to break all the rules. ('Shot by both sides, On the run to the outside of everything') so, they are the same shit ('this and that they must be the same')

    finally everyone in such cultures should understand that these cultures are taking their freedom ("They must have come to a secret understanding")

    loopyloopyon December 08, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Life's checkmate.

    carcrashkisson June 11, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation

    Howard Devoto wrote the lyrics after a political argument with his girlfriend in which he discussed his viewpoints about different issues and she replied "you'll be shot by both sides," meaning your view don't precisely align with either of the two dominant political ideologies (left or right). For example, you might be a liberal who thinks that a harder approach should be taken to dealing with gangs, which would be viewed as right-wing by the left. Or, you could read in a science magazine that nuclear energy is the safest and most environmental way to produce energy, but your leftist or liberal friends will view that as a violation of their party line. The song is telling us to be careful of ideological umbrellas who come up with their own "secret understandings" of what is the correct view. You desperate "worm yourself into the crowd" (a political ideology) because you want to belong, but you didn't "lose yourself in the crowd," meaning you maintained your own dignity and search for truth. In each ideology certain perspectives "are allowed" (and others by implication are not, if you take those perspectives you'll be rejected by the fold). "New offenses always in my nerves" means the political perspectives people hold can be so upsetting that one cannot find any peace (for example, recent views that allege to protect life are actually making life even harder if not impossible for women). "They're taking my time by force" - they are taking up my time trying to indoctrinate me in their official party line in a forceful manner, by "shooting me" for my own views. "This and that, they must be the same" - there must be some truth to different perspectives. "What is legal is just what's real" - I don't people telling me what is the right way to think - for me, a legal or correct way to think is what the truth of reality is. puppeteer puppeteer.bandcamp.com

    puppeteer1on September 12, 2022   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    come on now, this is magazine at their best. a classic.

    Staticburn89on October 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I sure as hell have felt the way that this song describes-- of not being accepted by one side or another. "They must have come to a secret understanding." When you have no one left to go to.

    razorgrrlon April 21, 2007   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretation

    To add to the previous interpretations, importantly, the last line says "We must have come to a secret understanding" - meaning now the protagonist has in fact become part of that previously was "They".. This could be capturing how in the end he ends up belonging ("lose myself") to a side after all, despite any efforts. You live and learn, you have no choice.

    SelvaOscuraon September 12, 2022   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

More Featured Meanings

Album art
Love in a Vacuum
'Til Tuesday
Well, in my opinion this song is about being a young & maybe a little naive &/or introverted girl and finding yourself loving a man who is at first very charming, carefree & outgoing, and seems at first to be without limits, as in "There was a time you opened up every doorway you didn't mind if everything wasn't your way" then that man starts to gradually become more introverted & shows their more possessive/obsessive side to you as the relationship progresses, even while they keep up the appearance of being carefree & outgoing to everyone else, "Don't pull away that goes against what you told me I look in your eyes I realize what you've sold me is love in a vacuum" so you confront them about the way they're acting and of course they deny it, "I think you've changed but you insist that that's not true" quite possibly they are an addict of some sort, my guess would be cocaine, &/or showing very obsessive behavior towards you (early on in the video for this song we see the man hanging a picture up, it is a very large portrait of Aimee & it is prominently displayed in his/their apartment for the duration of the song), thus their "love in a vacuum", "You look so strange, so distant that you're hardly you Now I can see how you have been acting different You say it's me but I know that it isn't it's love in a vacuum" but still you are in love with them and don't want to leave them and you know that they are truly in love with you and they don't want you to leave them either, maybe they are convinced you can save them from themself, maybe they are so broken that the possibility of an overdose &/or suicide attempt is very real and you want to get through to them that their behavior not only dangerous but it is also just pissing you off and if they don't wise up they run the risk of loosing you, as in the lines "You will be lonely if you leave me alone", so you want to save them but can't get through to them due to the addiction &/or emotional problems they have, "Love in a vacuum and that's not enough love in a vacuum You will be lonely you'll be the only one who feels this way You will be lonely if you leave me alone You will be lonely you'll be the only one who feels this way it's just not enough" you want them to understand that the love they are giving you is not enough when it is filtered through the vacuum of their drug addiction &/or emotional impairment, "You will be lonely you'll be the only one who feels this way it's just not enough and just wait you will be lonely Love in a vacuum Love in a vacuum and that's not enough Love in a vacuum". 'Love In A Vacuum' for me is a hauntingly truthful acute argument on the loneliness of obsession and almost inevitable loss of love that follows people who are broken in some way or another; the obsessives, the coke heads, the drunks, addicts or the just-plain-old emotionally broken; a razor sharp, lyrically driven, deceptively poppy, yet ultimately-depressing-in-the-best-way song. Quintessential Aimee Mann.
Album art
The Spy
Doors, The
Like a lot of the other comments are saying, I think this mainly about voyeurism. If the song was about his girlfriend, then why would he use the word spy. If you are a spy it means you shouldn't be caught, that is kind of the whole point, and if you are a voyeur, the whole point of the pleasure you get from it, is the fact that the other people don't know you are watching them. See a bit of a connection there?
Album art
Fast Car
Tracy Chapman
"Fast car" is kind of a continuation of Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run." It has all the clawing your way to a better life, but in this case the protagonist never makes it with her love; in fact she is dragged back down by him. There is still an amazing amount of hope and will in the lyrics; and the lyrics themselve rank and easy five. If only music was stronger it would be one of those great radio songs that you hear once a week 20 years after it was released. The imagery is almost tear-jerking ("City lights lay out before us", "Speeds so fast felt like I was drunk"), and the idea of starting from nothing and just driving and working and denigrating yourself for a chance at being just above poverty, then losing in the end is just painful and inspiring at the same time.
Album art
Son Şansın - Şarkı Sözleri
Hayalperest
This song seemingly tackles the methods of deception those who manipulate others use to get victims to follow their demands, as well as diverting attention away from important issues. They'll also use it as a means to convince people to hate or kill others by pretending acts of terrorism were committed by the enemy when the acts themselves were done by the masters of control to promote discrimination and hate. It also reinforces the idea that these manipulative forces operate in various locations, infiltrating everyday life without detection, and propagate any and everywhere. In general, it highlights the danger of hidden agendas, manipulation, and distraction, serving as a critique of those who exploit chaos and confusion to control and gain power, depicting a cautionary tale against falling into their traps. It encourages us to question the narratives presented to us and remain vigilant against manipulation in various parts of society.
Album art
Dreamwalker
Silent Planet
I think much like another song “Anti-Matter” (that's also on the same album as this song), this one is also is inspired by a horrifying van crash the band experienced on Nov 3, 2022. This, much like the other track, sounds like it's an extension what they shared while huddled in the wreckage, as they helped frontman Garrett Russell stem the bleeding from his head wound while he was under the temporary effects of a concussion. The track speaks of where the mind goes at the most desperate & desolate of times, when it just about slips away to all but disconnect itself, and the aftermath.