Some nights, I stay up cashing in my bad luck
Some nights, I call it a draw

Some nights, I wish that my lips could build a castle
Some nights, I wish they'd just fall off

But I still wake up, I still see your ghost
Oh Lord, I'm still not sure, what I stand for oh oh oh
What do I stand for? Oh what do I stand for?
Most nights, I don't know anymore
Oh whoa, oh whoa, oh whoa oh oh
Oh whoa, oh whoa, oh whoa oh oh

This is it, boys, this is war, what are we waiting for?
Why don't we break the rules already?
I was never one to believe the hype,
Save that for the black and white I try twice as hard and I'm half as liked,
But here they come again to jack my style

That's alright, I found a martyr in my bed tonight
Stops my bones from wondering just who I, who I, who I am, oh who am I, mm, mm

Well some nights, I wish that this all would end
'Cause I could use some friends for a change
And some nights, I'm scared you'll forget me again
Some nights, I always win, I always win

But I still wake up, I still see your ghost
Oh Lord, I'm still not sure what I stand for, oh
What do I stand for? Oh what do I stand for? Most nights, I don't know (come on)

So this is it? I sold my soul for this?
Washed my hands of that for this?
I miss my mom and dad for this?
No. When I see stars, when I see stars, that's all they are
When I hear songs, they sound like a swan, so come on
Oh, come on, oh, come on, oh come on!

Well that is it, guys, that is all, five minutes in and I'm bored again
Ten years of this, I'm not sure if anybody understands
This one's not for the folks at home, I'm sorry to leave, mom, I had to go
Who the fuck wants to die alone all dried up in the desert sun?
My heart is breaking for my sister and the con that she called "love"
But when I look into my nephew's eyes,
Man you wouldn't believe, the most amazing things, that can come from,
Some terrible nights, ah (oh whoa, oh whoa, oh whoa, oh oh)

Oh whoa, oh whoa, oh whoa, oh oh
Oh whoa, oh whoa, oh whoa, oh oh

The other night, you wouldn't believe the dream I just had about you and me
I called you up, but we'd both agree
It's for the best you didn't listen
It's for the best we get our distance, oh
It's for the best you didn't listen
It's for the best we get our distance, oh

Some Nights song meanings
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  • +32
    Song Meaning

    I don't mean to sound condescending, but if you think that this song is literally about war, you have completely missed the mark. Look up The Format, read about how they got started, their progression, and their demise, and you'll understand a lot better. Nate Ruess is traditionally an extremely personal songwriter and this is no different.

    The song obviously begins with a great deal of frustration. Some nights he cashes in his bad luck, meaning that he likes to milk it and get pity. Some nights he just doesn't care enough, and calls it a draw. Some nights he wants to be a superstar musician, some nights he's frustrated with this music thing and doesn't even care anymore.

    Either way, he can't shake this girl, the ghost he speaks of. The entire chorus is essentially echoing his confusion and the fact that he can't make a decision on what he wants in life.

    The "this is it boys, this is war" verse can be interpreted differently, and several people have had good ideas (barring the people who think this song is about war..). It's possibly about the start up of fun. About how motivated he was when he started the band. Those who were fans back then will remember this awesome email Nate sent out, as well as a demo of Benson Hedges. What enthusiasm! It was all about how they were going to not follow rules and make music because they loved it. That's what he's saying here. Unfortunately, despite producing a great album, he wasn't satisfied. Critics were too harsh and others stole is ideas.

    I'm not sure what the "martyr in my bed" verse is. I would venture to say that he's referring to some random girl he's sleeping with to forget his frustration about the music scene. He's saying "The critics don't like me, but whatever, I'll sleep with this girl and take stuff out on her and not think about it." If he wasn't with the girl, he'd be alone with his thoughts, wondering what he should do differently.

    The next little verse echoes the beginning of the song. Some nights he's tired of the time and effort that his career requires, and how it cuts into social time. I think he's afraid that his fans are the ones who will forget him like in the time between The Format and fun. Some nights he wins. Maybe he means that some nights it's fun and he gets good feedback and fan support?

    The bridge, if you want to call it that, is awesome! He's successful. That's not arguable. He's a signed musician, makes songs that are popular, and here he is reflecting on all of this. So this is it...He's at the top of the music industry, where people would do anything to make it to. He's asking himself if it was worth it. Selling his soul perhaps means giving in to some of the pressure of the music industry (think back to the Format song "Dear Boy" where he says "they say we're just not high enough octane"), he left AZ and the family which he is so close to, he quit the Format (washed his hands of it) for this new band. He did all of that and he's there, wondering what it was all for.

    For the stars section, I would say that he doesn't like all of the hype he's gotten. He doesn't like being famous. Stars are just regular people to him. As for songs sounding like a swan, perhaps that's a reference to some of the overlapping themes in the Format's song "Swan".

    This next verse is really him being honest and maybe blowing up and saying more than he should. He was super excited for fun. and wanted to take it far, but he's barely started and he's bored, just like he was in The Format. He's been a musician for 10 years now and he still doesn't feel like people get who he is, what he wants to be, and why he does this. He also admits that he had to be selfish and leave AZ and go make it big. The "desert sun" reference has NOTHING to do with the war. What a dumb suggestion. Go listen to "On Your Porch". There are other songs throughout his career where the "desert sun" is a clear symbol for Arizona. He spent a lot of time there, but he doesn't want to just die out here. He wants to make something out of his life.

    The next little bit ties up the theme of the song. Some nights, his life feels really terrible. But he thinks to the experiences his sister has has. Clearly she had a bad night (or several) and ended up with a child. But that kid, Nate's nephew, is really neat. Nate gets a bit of an epiphany and sees the glass half full. Sure, some nights suck, but good things can come from even the most terrible nights.

    At the end, Nate dreams about the girl that he is no longer with. He wanted to speak to this girl about the dream, but he hesitated. They had a mutual agreement to stay apart and let each other move on. Simple as that.

    I think songs can be interpreted differently by different people. Some of you see war in this song. That's cool, but the song isn't about that. See things how you want, and make memories around the song (I remember a big bike race in Southern California when I hear this song), but I thought I'd jump in and clear up the actual meaning of the song. Cheers.

    Maelglonon July 28, 2012   Link
  • +12
    My Interpretation

    This song, without a doubt, is about self doubt and Nate's climb to "the top". He ditched his first band the Format (whom was amazing). He then moved to New York, left his family and friends, and spent the next few years becoming the famous guy he now is. He has guilt, and regrets from the things he did, and people he hurt to get to this place. But also really enjoys it at the same time. Some night's he is happy with what he has, some night's he would take it all back.

    Some nights I wish my lips would build a castle, some nights I wish they'd just fall off -refers to his struggle between his talented voice and lyricism and wanting to use them, and how sometimes hew wished he had no talent and desire so he could be normal.

    Some night's I wish this all would end, cuz I could use some friends for a change- refers to, just that. He left his whole life, including friends he grew up with to become famous. I am sure he knows whatever friends he has now will never be as true as his ex band mates and Arizona friends.

    Some nights I wish you'd forget me again- refers to his band the Format, rising in fame, dwindling, ending. People forgot him, he started another band.

    Some nights I wake I still see your ghost- refers to his old band mates...whom he ditched.

    When I see stars, that's all they are - refers to famous people, being just people.

    I miss my mom and dad for this - refers to leaving his family for fame, which is not what he thought it would be.

    Who the f*** want's to die alone all dried up in the desert sun- refers to ....Arizona, where Nate is from.

    He then goes onto talk about his sister's struggles with her ex and his nephew which was the one good thing that came from that, which is a topic unrelated to the rest of the song.

    chewbecca1on April 10, 2013   Link
  • +7
    My Interpretation

    I'm going to make a completely different analysis about what this song is about. I look at it as man who is trying to fit into a world that won't change. He is a down to earth man trying to fit into a world that relies on media and propaganda, but overlooks what is right and just. Furthermore, the world is getting worse and not subject to change their actions. This man must either comply to the world or be alone in solitude with his own beliefs.

    "Some nights I stay up cashing in my bad luck" indicates his lifestyle from the start, though "cashing in" indicates that he wants to remain in his "bad luck" because he doesn't want to be anyone other than himself, no matter what the world urges.

    "Some nights I wish my lips could build a castle, some nights I wish they could just fall off" indicates the two-faced world he must live in. Often he wishes to comply to worldly affairs for better luck, while other times he wants to remain himself, as that is who he is. He has this internal battle within himself where he cannot figure out his decisions or himself (thus the relevance to war indirectly).

    "But I still wake up, still see your ghost" indicates that he is willing to live to bring back what the world used to be without all the media-driven propaganda and hostility that fulfills the world today.

    "I was never one to believe the hype, Save that for the black and white I try twice as hard and I'm half as liked, But here they come again to jack my style." This is one of the most relevant passages of the song within this given analysis. The man is "not one to believe in hype" which indicates that he doesn't believe in the media or propaganda around him. "Save that for the black and white" indicates the people of the world around him which he distances himself from, and the same people who follow the media and propaganda because they believe it will provide them a better life. "I try twice as hard, but I'm half as liked" indicates the man's willingness to change, but the world continuing to ignore his changes for a better place. "But here they come again to jack my style" indicates the people who follow worldly affairs are taking over those who believe in themselves and ignore the media, thus destroying individuality.

    "That's alright, I found a martyr in my bed tonight" is the man's recognition of someone who died for their individuality and fought against the media and propaganda which is currently spoiling the earth. The man is considering himself as better off because he has not been dead, but remaining alive would mean complying to the worldly affairs.

    The whole song is a constant battle of the man's individuality and the man's willingness to comply to worldly affairs. He doesn't want to lose recognition as himself, but he is afraid to die as a martyr. Throughout the song he contemplates what he should do, but there is no right answer. You must die for your own rights, or give into something you don't believe in. If he fails to choose a side, he remains in solitude, where he is now. Many other lyrics indicate this.

    "The other night, you wouldn't believe the dream I just had about you and me" is the man imagining a utopian world, one free from all the media, propaganda, and sadness that currently surrounds his regular lifestyle.

    The whole song works as a monologue into a man's thoughts on how he can keep his own individuality while remaining in a world that fosters everyone being the same.

    costumedancepartyon June 26, 2013   Link
  • +6
    Song Meaning

    Some people here have some pretty bizarre interpretations of this song, but I guess it's cool that it can touch people in different ways.

    After listening to the song a number of times, I came here to see the lyrics. And it's pretty obvious that this song is entirely about the writer and his conflicted feelings about being a touring musician, seeking fame, but missing love in his life. He left a girl behind, as well as his family, and he's not sure if it's worth all the trouble, even though it comes with some great perks.

    Some highlights:

    Some nights, I wish that my lips could build a castle Some nights, I wish they'd just fall off

    (At times he wants to break through to super-stardom, other times he wishes the whole music career would implode so that he can go home and live a normal life.)

    But I still wake up, I still see your ghost Oh Lord, I'm still not sure, what I stand for

    (He's haunted by the memory of the girl he left behind. He thought that by leaving her behind and seeking fame he would find his purpose in life, but that hasn't happened.)

    This is it, boys, this is war, what are we waiting for? Why don't we break the rules already?

    (The music business is a vicious competition. He's sometimes very enthusiastic about trying to succeed, but they're trying to make it by using all the old boring techniques like touring and giving interviews. He thinks they need to differentiate themselves in some new creative ways.)

    I was never one to believe the hype, Save that for the black and white I try twice as hard and I'm half as liked, But here they come again to jack my style

    (His band sometimes get great reviews which he tries to live up to, but then the next review comes out worse. Despite this, he sees others copying him, trying to capitalize on his successes.)

    When I see stars, when I see stars, that's all they are When I hear songs, they sound like a swan

    (Most people are amazed by the hypnotizing beauty of the stars in the night sky, but he feels that way by listening to music.)

    Well that is it, guys, that is all, five minutes in and I'm bored again Ten years of this, I'm not sure if anybody understands

    (He's having trouble keeping up his enthusiasm for performances. He doesn't feel like the audience is getting what he's trying to say.)

    My heart is breaking for my sister and the con that she called "love" But when I look into my nephew's eyes, Man you wouldn't believe, the most amazing things, that can come from, Some terrible nights (some think he says 'lie', it's not clear)

    (His sister is going through a divorce, but despite all that pain, the relationship gave her a wonderful son, and he's amazed by that apparent contradiction.)

    The other night, you wouldn't believe the dream I just had about you and me I called you up, but we'd both agree It's for the best you didn't listen It's for the best we get our distance, oh

    (Here he goes back to talking about the girl he left behind. He had begged her to come visit him, but she doesn't want that kind of relationship and thinks they need to stay apart to heal from the breakup.)

    MaxWilderon December 12, 2012   Link
  • +5
    Song Meaning

    To me, the meaning is pretty clear.

    The war is with himself and his feelings about his music/art.

    He tried for 10 years (originally in the Format) not to sacrifice his artistic principals for fame and acceptance. But he finally couldn't take it anymore. The ghost he is referring to is the ideal of getting famous without sacrificing his art.

    When he speaks in the middle is maybe the most significant part of the song. He is speaking directly to us--his audience. He is telling us that he finally sold his soul (sacrificed his art making a more traditionally "pop" album)--that he left home, and everything he once believed. When I see stars, that's all they are:" he is saying that there is no longer any reason he shouldn't be famous--there is nothing special about stars that he doesn't have. "when I hear songs, they sound like this one:" he made a pop song for the sake of getting big--"so come on," and let him finally make it. Interestingly, this is where he uses the vocoder....making a statement about how pop stars don';t actually have to be talented (the can just use vocoders--and somehow THAT has become popular. So the song he hears "sound like this one," vocoder and all. Again, he feels like he sacrificed the true art of what he is doing to be successful as a pop star.

    In the end, "the most amazing things can come from some terrible nights." He is starting to accept that he "sold out" because holding onto your principals is just not worth "dying alone all dried up in the desert sun." What is life, if no matter what you do, you're never appreciated?

    In the end, he is saying he had a dream about his past art--his past self. "It's for the best you didn't listen:" His younger self would have hated what he became. "It's for the best we get our distance:" he's finally accepted the reality that he cannot live up to his artistic ideal. But he's also finally happy...he feels successful and accepted...and his hard work has finally paid off.

    EvanWPon September 12, 2012   Link
  • +5
    General Comment

    I think a lot of you are over thinking this song. In its simplest form without over thinking it too much or examining the lyrics further than needed it is about how cruel love is. Love has treated him so badly that in a way it has completely changed him or corrupted him so much that he does not even know what he stands fro anymore.He stills sees the girl who broke his heart everywhere he goes "I still see your ghost". "try twice as hard and I'm half as liked" this is saying that he can't believe that he put everything that he had into the relationship but she still couldn't love him the way he deserved. I could go much more in depth with every line but these are the biggest lines that prove my point. But I also need to point out the most important line to validate my stance on the song. "My heart is breaking for my sister and the con that she calls love" this is saying that as much bad luck that he has had with love he feels even worse for his sister because she was convinced she was in love but the man bailed on her when he got her pregnant even though he said he loved her. This song is definitely about how cruel love can be.

    MANU25on November 05, 2012   Link
  • +4
    My Interpretation

    Some nights is first and foremost an anti-war song. It is written from the perspective of a young soldier, presumably in Iraq. This is clear from the references to 'dying dried up in the desert sun', as well as "10 years of this". This is supported by the phrase "This is it boys, this is war!" as well as the very military sound of the drum beat (clearly borrowed from Simon and Garfunkel's Cecilia, although fun have not acknowledged this influence). The soldier feels very disillusioned, and wonders "what do I stand for" multiple times throughout the song. He gazes at the sky, and sees only stars, having lost his faith in the heavens, and some power larger than himself due to all that he has seen.

    The martyr in his bed is a religious reference, presumably to some young girl sacrificing herself to make some money by prostituting. The soldier is aware of using sex as an escape from his disillusionment with the war. He also has left a girl at home who appears to have cheated on him once, as he wonders if she has 'forgotten him again', meaning has cheated on him again. He thinks of her often, as suggested by seeing her "ghost" at night, but realizes it's better if they don't have contact while he is away.

    The young soldier misses his mom and dad, but "had to go", meaning he felt compelled to join the military for some reason not explained in the song. But he realizes now that it was a mistake because the fight doesn't seem to have a meaningful purpose and is even "bored" by the whole experience.

    He thinks of his sister, not just because he feels bad about her situation in an abusive relationship, but refers to it as a metaphor that sometimes amazing blessings come from the most terrible of nights--that perhaps there will some day be good coming from the war he is involved in.

    The reference he makes to "the other wouldn't believe the dream I had about you and me" is a subtle (and brilliant) reference to the song made famous by Simon and Garfunkel called "Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream", which is an anti-war song written in 1950. It is a dream about peace for all mankind, which is what this young soldier in "Some Nights" is ultimately hoping, even praying for. In the end then, the song reflects both disillusionment and hope.

    friedakon December 07, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    I think people are watching the music video and then trying to understand the song from the video. From what I know about Nate Ruess' writing style both from Fun. and The Format is that he doesn't write many figurative songs. Most of them directly stem from his personal life. This, like most of the songs, on Some Nights are about being at a cross-roads in his life with Fun. Many of the lines are about the aftermath of The Format, moving from Arizona to New York...etc I get this as kind of his midlife crisis, where he doesn't know what he's doing with music anymore. He doesn't know what his purpose is. I think you can take this song as a pretty literal picture of Nate's life since the first Fun. album.

    KTskateron February 04, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    I mostly agree with @gwright2. Here is what I would like to add/change

    first stanza: I think he wishes his singing could bring him $$$. He wants the american dream! But at the same time he doesnt want all the exposure that comes with being famous.

    second: I think he is conflicted. He liked being an unheard of band. Life was simpler, maybe even more fun? At the same time he has these amazing new fans who adore him and also has this new cash flow. Maybe he never really wanted to be famous but now that he is he doesnt know anymore.

    third: He wants people to break social norms - a.k.a stop worshiping famous people. He hates the paparazzi and all that exposure. He never bought into all of that celeb bs (TMZ, National Enquirer, etc.) and doesnt think people should do the same to him now that he is one. Also, when your famous, no matter how hard you work at your music there are still going to be haters who call you a fake, say all you care about is the money, etc. These haters are bringing him down, making him feel like all is hard work is for nothing.

    fourth: I am not sure about this part. Maybe he found someone who understands what he is going through? maybe he found out that being famous has its "perks" (lots of girls wanting to get in your pants!) I dont know.

    fifth: When famous, it is hard to distinguish between a true friend and someone who is just using you. He want to be a nobody again because then he would have true friends again.

    sixth: Still conflicted. I dont know what the ghost is referencing. Maybe himself before he was famous?

    7th: He took a huge gamble in life and it ended up working... he is famous! But its not as grand as he thought. He questions if he should of made such a sacrifice just to be famous.

    8th: When he sees stars (celebs) he just sees them as regular human beings and thats how they should be treated.

    9th: He is alluding to the 15 minutes of fame and he is already 5 min in. He is past the OMFG IM FAMOUS faze and he is bored with it. He is sorry he ever left (for california? or wherever he is doing his music). He misses his mom and dad. He want to go back to them and everything be like it used to. But to do that he has to give up what he loves, singing. To him that would be as bad as dying in the desert alone maybe? (that might be a stretch...)

    10th: He realizes good things can come from bad decisions. His sister had a night she probably would like to forget with a guy she thought she loved but now she has a beautiful son which the lead singer is glad to have him in his life.

    11th: Maybe he had someone special in his life before he got famous. Now that he is famous he made some bad decisions and it cost him the love of his life. If he never was famous, he would not of made those mistakes (maybe he couldnt resist all the ladies flinging themselves at him? or he let the fame get to him and left her in the dust). This might be another reason why he is conflicted. He might of had a dream about the life they could of had. They realize whats done is done, no dream will ever change that.


    redhawk87on February 29, 2012   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation

    I think there are two ways to explain the song. On the one hand, there is indeed the story of someone who fights in a war. As someone here already explained. But I also see a lot of similarities with another explanation. The song could also be about the fatigue of being famous. It is a constant struggle between the desire to be famous and be loved, and to just live a normal life with family and friends. He does things that go against his own person. He is fighting a war against his own principles he, for this life, sometimes needs to put aside.

    Jazzelon November 24, 2012   Link

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