"Hold On, Hold On" as written by and David Porter Isaac Hayes....
The most tender place in my heart is for strangers
I know it's unkind but my own blood is much too dangerous
Hangin' 'round the ceiling half the time
Hangin' 'round the ceiling half the time

Compared to some I've been around
But I really tried so hard
That echo chorus lied to me with its
"Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on"

In the end I was the mean girl
Or somebody's in-between girl
Now it's the devil I love (ah)
And it's as funny as real love

I leave the party at three A.M.
Alone, thank god
With a Valium from the bride
It's the devil I love
It's a devil I love (ah)
And it's as funny as real love
And that's as real as true love

That echo chorus lied to me with its
"Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on"

That echo chorus lied to me with its
"Hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on"

Lyrics submitted by delial

"Hold on, Hold On" as written by Dallas Good Travis Good

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Hold On, Hold On song meanings
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  • +5
    General CommentHmm...I think I'll throw caution to the winds and dive into a line-by-line immersion scenario:

    I think the lines about "in the end I was the mean girl...in-between girl" are about who she can't help being when she's around her "own blood" -- they see her a certain way and so it becomes dangerous for her to stay because they won't let her change and become someone she wants to be, someone she can like -- she can never get past halfway, that "in-between". In the end then, what's are the two sides of "between"? The devil and the deep blue sea, if you want to infer that. Screwed, as the last person said. So she chooses the devil, meaning strangers, superficial and unknowable, because what's unfamiliar to her looks far safer than what she knows, and knows will hurt her. Saddest is that the devil/strangers are preferable to the loneliness of the deep blue sea (which is what we are taught from the blood that we know), even though she knows better. So when she leaves the party alone, she's grateful (to "god", not the devil now, interestingly enough) for having done something less self-destructive this time; BUT the cynicism is still there in the valium from a bride who's wedding day is obviously not the joyous occasion it's cracked up to be if she's handing out the drugs herself. Valium is the drug that blots out sadness, that insulates from pain, keeps you numb. And that's the "happy ending" she was waiting for, right there, the one she's supposed to "hold on" for -- the bride has just thrown a shadow across that light at the end of the tunnel, and what's left, what's real, is only the devil now. That's as funny as "real love", right? And straggling away from the wedding alone, in the middle of the night, the devil seems as real as true love, which is ... nada. nada. nada.
    The way I'm interpreting it, this song carves into me a desperate longing for something real and true and authentic, but makes it awfully hard to resist the diving board into a whiskey bottle while I'm feeling "her" pain... Man, she has a way with words.
    Gillianizmoon June 30, 2006   Link
  • +4
    General CommentIt's funny how everyone's talking about her family - I didn't even think of that at all.

    "The most tender place in my heart is for strangers..." She doesn't let herself get close to anyone anymore.

    "Compared to some I've been around / But I really tried so hard."
    She's been with a lot of men by now, and none of them was right...at this point she's just ready to go home alone, numb, because people have told her time and again to hold on, true love is waiting, but again and again "That echo chorus lied to me." Even a bride is seen succumbing to drugs, agreeing with her...what a sad statement about love. :(
    blackbird24on December 03, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI just saw that too! =]

    AVC: You said this album has the only autobiographical song you've ever written, "Hold On, Hold On." What do you mean by "autobiographical"?

    NC: I mean that the song is actually about me. It's not metaphorical about other people. It's not little pieces of my life made into a story about someone else or someone fictitious.
    Skybluepoeton May 22, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI never thought of the first line being about her family. I always thought this song was about how someone feels after a break up.

    I had always thought the "The most tender place in my heart is for strangers, I know it's unkind but my own blood is much too dangerous" was her talking about herself. Much like the Narcissist and Echo myth in ancient Greece, I believe this song to be a narcissist way of talking about her own blood, and finding out that its dangerous through a failed relationship (pining over Echo).
    This lead her to have more compassion for strangers and others than herself.

    When I hear the line "hanging around the ceiling" I always got this image of someone just lying on the floor or on their bed staring at the ceiling, thinking, though it probably has a lot more metaphorical depth than this.

    The "compared to some..." line, I think refers to her trying too hard to be loveable and in a relationship, and it ultimately failing when she says that the "echo chorus" lied by telling her to have hope and to hold onto it.

    This realization comes when in the end of the failed relationship results in her being the "mean girl" or somebody's "in between girl" because she can't settle down and commit, because she's ultimately running from herself and the belief that she is unloveable based on past failed relationships. Strangers are easier to love because they don't know and they don't know where she's been, and vice versa. She rather would indulge in the dark, and the "devil" in her, so to speak because that's who believes she is.

    I think the valium from the bride line is interesting. I think this could be a metaphor for the bliss one feels after they get married. When she's alone she feels the same high that a bride feels on her wedding night. She lives for the devil inside her, but thinks it's ironic and it almost has this tone of sarcasm near the end. I think she longs for love, but uses the devil in her as a defence because she would rather be alone, even though she acknowledges true love is real. I don't think she likes where she is at. This whole song reeks of dissatisfaction and escapism. So simple, but so brilliant...
    tulipsareblueon April 24, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree, it's a sad disbelief in love. She tried so hard to find it, but in doing so, had been around. The phrase, "in the end i was the mean girl/or somebody's in between girl..." means, to me anyway, that she was either the mean girl because other love-disillusioned men latched on to her when she didn't find them compatable, and she had to be mean and break their heart. Or, she was somebody's in between girl, because she took a liking to the men she slept with and they treated her merely as a booty call, if you will, a woman only for sex. Never a real relationship. Never love. These men move on and seem to fall in love with their girlfriends, but until then, Neko serves as their in-between gratification. Why did they never love her?
    So she's been around, but she really tried so hard. See, she's not a slut--though she's been with a lot of people in the search for true love--and it never manifested. She is far from being a slut, she fell in love with the devil--her party scene, wild girl--because love failed her and this is somewhat her wall, her guard to prevent her from becoming hurt anymore. She tried to find real love, and its just getting ridiculous by now, its at a point where this search has made her disillusioned about love. All she is is a sex toy for men she likes, and she can't quit sleeping with them because she does like them, or a point of obsession for men not compatable for her. So this whole sleeping around thing is not her at all--her love with the devil, the party scene, is funny because it is not her at all, like her search for real love, which is funny because it seems so fruitless.
    She is a kind person after all (hence being in love with the devil is so funny), and that is why she gives her kindness to strangers, for they cannot hurt her. Perhaps it is the bum on the street, or the single mother. She feels lied to about love eventually coming to her, so she's become guarded. I think, underneath the disillusion, she is merely in denial to herself, "meh, love is not real, it is a lie," for that is easier on the heart than being vulnerable. I think she still harbors a hope that it might come, though. A hopeless romantic in denial. A horribly sad, sad song.
    gonzojournaliston January 18, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentJust recently got into Neko Case and I love this song.

    I think she is at a wedding and the bride is in her family and is marrying someone she used to date who she is still in love with. Better to stay away from the family person after this because something that she knows shouldn't happen might. The devil is the idea of the person she can't quite let go yet. Glad that she's left without an incident and the valium will help her get through the rest of the night. Her heart is the echo chorus which she knows this time she shouldn't follow. Sad song really,

    It's hard to see someone you still care about get married to someone else, I've been there.

    My 2 cents.
    Wharfraton July 27, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentfrom her performance stage banter in LA:

    "this is another song i wrote with my good friends the Sadies. a great band from toronto, canada. and this song. i don't really write songs about myself very much 'cause why would i do that? but it's about always, uh, looking around and realizing how old you are and how...not...married you are, and how many kids you don't have and what a freak that makes you. but then you just have a few and give the world the finger"
    noondayon December 13, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI know Neko Case has said this song is autobiographical and I agree with many of the posters here that the song is really about disappointment with love/finding it, etc.

    Nonetheless, when I frist heard the opening stanza of the song, I really thought it was about being a vampire. Perhaps not a lofty topic for such a clever songwriter as Neko, but bear with me as I decode the text:

    The most tender place in my heart is for strangers
    - vampires usually turn to strangers for their sustenance; thus strangers are really the most important people for vampires.
    I know it's unkind, but my own blood is much too dangerous
    - vampire blood is what makes other people turn into vampires, perhaps something the singer is not happy about/tries to resist by refering to her blood as "dangerous.")
    Hanging around the ceiling half the time
    vampires sometimes hang from ceilings while hibernating during half of the day - "half the time" - while feeding during the other "half of the time, i.e. day, which would be night).
    Hanging around the ceiling half the time
    jisaacuson December 23, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSometimes it's easier to find comfort in people you don't know and aren't invested in. Perhaps honesty better abides with them. More so than with people you've known and been hurt by your whole life. The "danger" is that they'll continue to be disruptive of her peace if she allows it. "Hangin round the ceiling" is a euphemism for people in her life that are high on drugs/alcohol, or crazy/mentally impaired. People that created chaos in her life and were perhaps so encompassed in their own existence, they had no time for their kids, friends, or family members.
    "Compared to some I've been around" is a statement. In other words, people being suspicious of and judging her based on people she's associated with and having to live up or down their expectations. "But I really tried so hard" is a plea. An attempt to explain how she tried her best to overcome and conquer the prejudices and afflictions that plagued her family, and foreshadowing she failed. The "echo chorus" misled her to believe she would/could rise above the demons by reminding herself to "Hold on".
    But in the end she was either perceived as too harsh or "mean" in her approach to cut ties and break the cycle.
    Giving in wasn't any better because she was inevitably used and abused while her loved one was "in-between" addictions/lovers. Still being pushed to the back of the line. Either way, making a good case to cease communication.
    So now she's resided to love the "devil". (her own demons/addictions) And the irony is that's all she's ever learned from those that she loved. They cared more for their "devil" than her.
    The last stanza about "leaving the party" brings us into her present. How all of her suffering has led her to encompass the very behavior she's had to suffer. "Valium" her drug of choice takes away the desire, pain, and bitterness that's left in place of her heart. Her naivety in youth allowed her to play victim and hold her own judgements against her family. As time passed she realized she was just as culpable for repeating the patterns in adulthood. That Echo voice still lying to her. She is certain she's already let go.
    Saritason August 16, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think that this song is about disbelief in love...she starts out talking about how it seems hard to love her family, which I can really relate to sometimes. "compared to some I've been around/but I really tried so hard" I think means she was looking for real love, and met a lot of men who weren't right, but she hasn't yet found it, and now realizes that it was a lie to think that she could find love if she holds on..."it's the devil I love/ and that's as funny as real love/ and that's as real as true love" I think she's got the right idea. Love. Funny.
    Skybluepoeton March 15, 2006   Link

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