Time to tell me the truth
To burden your mouth for what you say
No pieces of paper in the way
Cause I can't continue pretending to choose
The opposite sides on which we fall
The loving you laters if at all
No right minds could wrong be this many times

My memory is cruel
I'm queen of attention to details
Defending intentions if he fails
Until now, he told me her name
It sounded familiar in a way
I could have sworn I'd heard him say it ten thousand times
If only I had been listening

Leave unsaid unspoken
Eyes wide shut unopened
You and me
Always between the lines
Between the lines

I thought I thought I was ready to bleed
That we'd move from the shadows on the wall
And stand in the center of it all
Too late two choices to stay or to leave
Mine was so easy to uncover
He'd already left with the other
So I've learned to listen through silence

Leave unsaid unspoken
Eyes wide shut unopened
You and me be
You and me always be

I tell myself all the words he surely meant to say
I'll talk until the conversation doesn't stay on
Wait for me I'm almost ready
When he meant let go

Leave unsaid unspoken
Eyes wide shut unopened
You and me
Always be
You and me
Always between the lines


Lyrics submitted by ld305

Between the Lines Lyrics as written by Sara Bareilles

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Songtrust Ave

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Between the Lines song meanings
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  • +9
    Song Meaning

    Don't want to step on anyone's toes above, but this song has very specific meaning, and those who have been involved with a married person would definitely understand:

    In the song, she's in love with a married man who claims he loves her as well. The relationship is closeted because he's married, but he keeps on promising her that he's trying to leave his spouse.

    "to burden your mouth with what you say, no pieces of paper in the way" is her saying that it's time to stop with the excuses . . . with the primary excuse that a marriage certificate (or divorce papers -- take your choice) are the "pieces of paper in the way" that he keeps giving as an excuse for keeping their relationship a secret.

    "when loving you later is if at all" refers to the fact that she can't keep playing this game where the start of their "official" relationship keeps getting pushed back with his excuses.

    The second verse is her reflection to the moment when she realized that their relationship was ending. "Until now, he told me her name" refers NOT to the fact that it was the first time she heard her lover's wife's name; but rather (at the moment of realization), and it was first time she REALLY listened and understood. "I could have sworn I'd heard him say it ten thousand times" is about the fact that he HAD actually talked about his wife, but she totally ignored it in the past because she refused to face that reality -- which really gets at the heart of the chorus . . . "leave unsaid unspoken, eyes wide shut unopened." Sometimes when people are in love they display this willful (and potentially harmful) ignorance. Again, if you've been in a relationship with a married person you might understand.

    "move from the shadows on the wall, and stand in the center of it all" was her hope that her lover would leave his wife and that they would become official, instead of illicit. (Believe me, it SUCKS to be in an illicit relationship--always being secretive makes you constantly feel like you're doing something wrong.)

    "He already left with the other" refers to him chosing the choice "to stay" with his wife . . . leaving her with the other choice: "to leave." At which point the heartbreak happened and she's learned to listen to those non-verbal queues in a relationship that tell you something's wrong.

    "Wait for me, I'm almost ready" refers to the time-after-time-again promises that he is planning on leaving his wife for her. In retrospect, she's realized that while he was saying those words, he was really signaling for her to "Let go."


    Side note: The guy in the song is likely not a complete a$s-hole. He was also stuck in the middle of two genuine loves (or maybe had kids with his current wife and it further complicated the issue). From my view, the "guy" in this song could have potentially written an equally powerful song that expresses the heartbreak he feels being caught between the love that he has (his wife) and the love that he wants (his lover).

    lyricalsoulon April 17, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    Definitely one of her top songs, in my opinion.

    As for the meaning: Friendship between two people being something more, potentially, but lost after intentions left unspoken.. and the aftermath: her waking up to the reality of what she's been blinded from due to false hope, but still not feeling closure.

    Museicalinon July 06, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    i just heard this song right as i've been drifting from my sort-of boyfriend... to me its describing when you are in love with someone and you kind of make yourself believe that you really have something with them when really youre just trying to convince yourself that there's something there. and the line "I tell myself All the words he surely meant to say I'll talk until The conversation doesn't stay on "Wait for me, I'm almost ready," When he meant "Let go,"

    its talking about how she had this image of him, like she convinced herself he was telling her things he wasnt and she just interpreted them in the way she wanted as to fit with her dream. and like with my boyfriend, she cant really let go from him because she doesnt know if its REALLY over...like she always feels like theres another chance.

    selujxxon January 18, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    Since my username is inspired by this song, I thought it would be appropriate for my first comment to be for "Between the Lines" :) This is one of my all-time favorite songs, and probably my favorite Sara song. I fell in love with her version on Little Voice, and appreciate the song even more after hearing the live version. Everything about it is flawless; the lyrics, the melody, and her voice.

    This is what this song means to me: When I first listened to this song, I assumed it was about being cheated on. But in one of Sara's live performances she stated it was about "loving someone who didn't love you back," and I saw this song in a whole new light. This simple explanation by Sara seems to embody a feeling that probably most everyone has experienced in their life; missed chances and unreciprocated love. To me, it seems to maybe be about a good friend that she had feelings for, never said anything, and now he has found someone else. She learned the hard way, and now they will always be "between the lines."

    I can't say enough how much I love this song....God bless you Sara Bareilles for the heart and soul that you pour into your music, and the chance we've all had to listen to it!

    betweenthelines1024on May 26, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    i think this song is about two people who have recently broken up because he went back to or to a close girl-friend of his. i feel like shes telling herself that she should have seen it because he only 'said her name a thousand times' and she didnt see this other girl as potential to ruin her relationship with him..

    the seaweedon August 02, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    this song made me cry, songs obviously can mean different things for different people just depends on your interpretation, but for me this is defnly about two friends one is in a relationship with someone else (the guy) and the girl is just waiting for him as always and he kinda leads her on about wanting more with her but wont leave his girlfriend... thats just my take on it... i just love this song tho!

    sarahb523on February 18, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    This is about a relationship which has run its course. She loved him but he loved somebody else. The other woman was important to him through their relationship but she never saw it as more than that. They were friends perhaps work colleagues. She should have read between the lines.

    trubador09on March 20, 2014   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation

    I started listening to this song right after it was released, and for the longest time, I couldn't understand why I would listen to it over and over again. It just seemed to resonate deeply with me but yet I had never been cheated on in any relationship. And then I realized that it wasn't necessarily about being cheated on, at least not for me. But rather, that you can try being with someone, dating someone, and then you realize that they're talking about another person, and you have a realization that they are in love with that person but he hasn't figured it out yet. So the song evokes this soft, plaintive feeling to the loss of the "potential" of a relationship. That you had hoped for more but instead you realize that you should let go, that you'll never step out of the shadows into a real relationship with that person.

    lagaviotaon February 02, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I totally agree with Museicalin .... That is exactly what I hear. this song sounds like something else I can't put my finger on.

    music631on September 25, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I agree with Museicalin and angelik416 too. i LOVE the line "the loving you laters if at all no right minds could wrong be this many times." it's a tear-jerker. scary thought... :(

    shibby_shoeson November 21, 2007   Link

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