Metanoia, reshaping the world
It can teach you
And reprogram you
It can show you the flood
That's trapped inside
This one's alive
The tail is breathing
And she's listening
Kill the serpent
Divide, disperse and grow
Into an oak
A silver lining on a black scale
Wicked hunter on three hooves he still rode
But where is the fourth?
You can climb there
To your lofty perch
It can teach you the fairytale of hurt

Mystic referee, don't look on me with scorn
I'm a child, I'm a lover being born
Disregard the path I'm on
You can justify the action, should you bless
My ambition and my indecisiveness
Let me know that you exist
Watch me tremble as I'm answering the phone
I am separate from everything you know
Mystic referee I promise to return
Once I've given up and lessons have been learned
You can watch my fire burn

We were talkin' junk right,
Just before the show
This wild-eyed kid came up to the fence
He took one look at us, and he said:

"Help me,

We didn't play his favorite song,
Now he'll never come to another show

Hospitals and woods confirm
Red in the eyes of everyone
Parasites and lovers scrape the meat from bones
Turned into jade and tiger's eye
Save me some dark hair over a face like hers
She'll help the rain come to a pour
Bathroom floor of stone and tiles broke in two
Warm where they touch her porcelain
Timid skin I'm careful to untie this road
Wrapped in a knot indifferent
Lion's foot unearthing all the things I've seen
But never truly understood
Rotten wood from oceans that were never green
Crumbles beneath the canopy

Let's pretend we never touched the sugar

Tonight, under rose
You won't find another wheel to roll
When autumn winds appear
We wear these fears on our right
It just wants to be surreal 'cause
All dressed in diamond image jeans
Mercury's found in old field
We miserable in love
And chance we walked
Right on in, into the streets of the city but
Watching people disappear
Without reaching out
Years and years
You're left by yourself
On the wheel

Lyrics submitted by Baldwin_XX

Metanoia Lyrics as written by Andrew Wells Vanwyngarden Benjamin Nicholas Huner Goldwasser

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Metanoia song meanings
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  • +5
    General Commentoh my god-damn, this song gets so 70s rock to me. Reminds me of zeppelin at parts.

    Metanoia is a mental breakdown with the purpose of reconstructing the psyche in a new more positive way. It's an attitude of seeing a breakdown as a good thing. It also refers to thoughts that are just beyond your scope or reach. I often wonder what else I could be thinking.

    My favorite part is the line starting with "mystic referee." I think mystic referee is f***ing great imagery. That feeling that if someone is up there watching our actions, they'll be able to follow our line of thought and understand why we choose to do the things we do.

    Satchidananda was or still is? a very spiritual guru from India who spent many many years meditating.
    Maybe he is the mystic referee being refered to.

    The lyrics seem to be longing for a certain spiritual certainty. He wants to know he's on the right path. maybe he is, and his ambition and indecisiveness is actually blessed and justified...
    but there is another part of him saying he's on the wrong path, seperate from the mystic referee, and he knows it. He will come back to religion later in life after he has given up trying to solve his problems w/o any religion.

    And in the middle of these deep thoughts....a kid comes up wanting a free ticket. They don't play his favorite song, and now they're afraid he'll never come to another show.

    The lyrics go from extremely deep to hilariously trivial. And that's why I love MGMT so much.
    sgr7447on July 28, 2008   Link
  • +5
    Song MeaningI think i can tackle this line by line in a way that still gives the listener freedom of interpretation.

    The opening line gives a description of metanoia which is {the process of experiencing a psychotic "break down" and subsequent, positive psychological re-building or "healing"}

    "The tale is breathing, and shes listening" this line , in my view, gives the feeling of sudden awareness, to know that this existence is a story and it is very much alive, "she" is hard to determine, i would say a goddess or even the spirit of the earth since this song is full of ancient mythology.

    "kill the serpent, divide, disperse and grow into an oak"
    this relates to some celtic symbolism. the serpent is an image for metanoia. the serpent sheds its skin and is seen anew. the celtics used serpents as symbols for the cycles of the earth. and in this case it is a dying of self to be reborn. So the divide is clearly seen in this imagery. and now that one is free of its former self it can grow. the oak, in celtic view is considered a cosmic storehouse of wisdom embodied within its towering strength.

    "silver lining on a black scale" could be using the serpent to say that there is still a bond between the darker realities and lighter with the imagrey of the serpents shed skin as a silver lining on its black scale. black scale also being an indifferent and dark judgement. such as the universe is indifferent and filled with black and a silver lining of stars.

    "Wicked hunter on three hooves he still rode
    But where is the fourth?
    You can climb there
    To your lofty perch
    It can teach you the fairytale of hurt"

    the image of the wicked hunter riding on a three legged horse comes from danish folklore. helhest is a three legged horse that brings death and illness. hel in norse mythology derives from a word meaning 'to cover up or hide something' and is adapted in english as hell. hest meaning horse. so we have the image now of a wicked hunter which rides on a hell horse collecting souls. the question is asked "but where is the fourth?" hel "to conceal" it is repressed but can be revealed if you "climb to your lofty perch, it can teach you the fairy tale of hurt" which in a sense , the writer has literally pieced together literal fairy tales of hurt but in a much less literal sense it is transcendent and up to each of us storytellers to see our own.

    "Mystic referee, don't look on me with scorn
    I'm a child, I'm a lover being born
    Disregard the path I'm on"

    the mystic referee is a personified collection of rules that society hold or that we ourselves hold because when you venture into the mind and through the hive mind of society and further you find yourself fearful of judgement(dont look on me with scorn) for the places you travel and the state your in. judgment by whom? it can come from many places most importantly yourself, it is referred to by mgmt as the mystic referee, which i love.
    back to the rebirth "im a child im a lover being born" a statement to the referee (himself) when he hits a wall of fear and judgement. and to realize that there is no shame that you are a child and lover going through the painful and ugly process of being born. you come into a new realm "Satchidananda
    Let me know that you exist" the eternal bliss consciousness. state of supreme enlightenment. in this state of birthing and pain we need desperately to know that something better exists.. the whole world does. were all looking for it in all kinds of places. but if you can forget about the specifics of your religion or belief system or philosophies. (disregard the path im on) you can see how its all connected (satchidananda)

    "watch me tremble as im answering the phone, i am seperate from everything you know.mystic referee i promise to return , once ive given up and lessons have been learned. satchidananda. you can watch my fire burn."

    in these lines you see a return to fear and a retreat from the peak of the trip. answering the phone is a term coined in the 60's for getting a message during a trip (a state of enlightenment) which can be a frightening experience even if its beautiful , simply overwhelming really. he goes on to tell the ref that he will return when he can make better sense of what has happened and he will again subject himself to the fire of purgatory 'hel' and dig up his subconscious mind to be judged by his now expanded conscious mind.

    and this is also where im giving up. i promise to return with the rest tomorrow.
    Filfyon March 20, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General Commentdude my favorite mgmt song right now.
    "help me! drummer! ticket! yeah!"

    i think its just about metanoia, that makes sense right?
    shit changing in your life, plus a bunch of psychedelic apocalyptic shit that just makes for really good lyrics. i'm sure it has much more meaning to the band, but it's kind of all over the place, like every line's another stream of thought...
    trixie-trashon July 17, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Commentomg i love this song,i could listen to it all day,it's got so many layers etc etc :D
    reminds me very much of the beatles in parts,anyone agree?
    it could really be split up into seperate songs couldn't it but it just wouldnt be the same and just wouldnt have that ... thing :]
    the lyrics are really interesting,there'sm so many ways you could interpret them and there's so much to talk about,but i'll just say the bit i picked out was 'let's pretend we never touched the sugar' if you look at the lyrics around it and the way the song changes from before and after this line,it brings to my mind the garden of eden,touching the fruit and all that? in some mixed up kinda way :]
    anyway,there sure is a lot more to say, but :]
    lahlahhhon December 02, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentyeaaaaaaaah
    Proof327on September 13, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLove this song so f*king much. It really reminds me of Pink Floyd, or just, you know..good 70's rock music. as far as i'm concerned, MGMT are about to change the world of music as we know it.
    Franky-sanon January 30, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commenthelp me! drummer! ticket! yeah!

    This is great song!!!!
    I just found this cool video of metanoia!
    I think its really special
    c u all @ the next MGMT concert!!!! YA!!!!!!!!!…
    metanoiaon May 04, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentmetanoia = spiritual transformation
    satcitananda = existence, consciousness, and bliss

    hollylouise100on March 24, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe "Mystic Referee" is Carl Jung.…

    Thoughts? I'm still working this song out, but I love it. The outro gets me, especially.
    xypotionon February 08, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Commentdamn good comment...
    more on Satchidananda though..
    he WAS a big guru guy from india, etc, but he caused alot of controversy, because he wore a watch and drove a car, etc. so there was alot of sceptecism surrounding his practices. however, he went on to lead alot of people, Alice Coltrane, Allen Ginsberg, Jeff Goldblum, Carole King, etc. and opened the Light of Truth Universal Shrine, in Yogaville, Buckingham, Virginia.
    basically he was a really cool dude.
    trixie-trashon July 31, 2008   Link

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