I know I let you down
And though you say the days are happy
Why is the power off, and I'm fucked up?
And mom, I know he's not around
But don't you place the blame on me
As you pour yourself another drink and

I guess we are who we are
Headlights shining in the dark night, I drive on
Maybe we took this too far

I went in headfirst
Never thinking about who what I said hurt, in what verse
My mom probably got it the worst of it
The brunt of it, but as stubborn as we are
Did I take it too far?
Cleaning out my closet and all them other songs
But regardless I don't hate you 'cause ma!
You're still beautiful to me, cause you're my mom
Though far be it for you to be calling, my house was Vietnam
Desert Storm and both of us put together
Can form an atomic bomb equivalent to chemical warfare
And forever we can drag this on and on
But, agree to disagree
That gift from me up under the Christmas tree don't mean shit to me
You're kicking me out? It's fifteen degrees and it's Christmas Eve (little prick just leave)
Ma, let me grab my fucking coat, anything to have each other's goats
Why we always at each others throats? Especially when dad, he fucked us both
We're in the same fucking boat, you'd think that it'd make us close (nope)
Further away that drove us, but together headlights shine, a car full of belongings
Still got a ways to go, back to grandma's house it's straight up the road
And I was the man of the house, the oldest, so my shoulders carried the weight of the load
Then Nate got taken away by the state at eight years old, and
That's when I realized you were sick and it wasn't fixable or changeable
And to this day we remained estranged and I hate it though, but

I guess we are who we are
Headlights shining in the dark night I drive on
Maybe we took this too far

'Cause to this day we remain estranged and I hate it though
'Cause you ain't even get to witness your grand baby's growth
But I'm sorry mama for 'Cleaning Out My Closet', at the time I was angry
Rightfully maybe so, never meant that far to take it though, 'cause
Now I know it's not your fault, and I'm not making jokes
That song I no longer play at shows and I cringe every time it's on the radio
And I think of Nathan being placed in a home
And all the medicine you fed us
And how I just wanted you to taste your own, but
Now the medications taken over and your mental states deteriorating slow
And I'm way too old to cry, that shit's painful though
But ma, I forgive you, so does Nathan yo
All you did, all you said, you did your best to raise us both
Foster care, that cross you bare, few may be as heavy as yours
But I love you Debbie Mathers, oh what a tangled web we have, 'cause
One thing I never asked was where the fuck my deadbeat dad was
Fuck it I guess he had trouble keeping up with every address
But I'd have flipped every mattress, every rock and desert cactus
Own a collection of maps and followed my kids to the edge of the atlas
Someone ever moved them from me? That you could bet your ass's
If I had to come down the chimney dressed as Santa, kidnap them
And although one has met their grandma
Once you pulled up in our drive one night as we were leaving to get some hamburgers
Me, her and Nate, we introduced you, hugged you
And as you left I had this overwhelming sadness come over me
As we pulled off to go our separate paths, and
I saw your headlights as I looked back
And I'm mad I didn't get the chance to thank you for being my Mom and my Dad
So Mom, please accept this as a tribute I wrote this on the jet
I guess I had to get this off my chest, I hope I get the chance to lay it before I'm dead
The stewardess said to fasten my seat belt, I guess we're crashing
So if I'm not dreaming, I hope you get this message that I'll always love you from afar
'Cause you're my mama

I guess we are who we are
Headlights shining in the dark night I drive on
Maybe we took this too far

I want a new life
One without a cause
So I'm coming home tonight
Well no matter what the cost
And if the plane goes down
Or if the crew can't wake me up
Just know that I was alright
And I was not afraid to die

Oh even if there's songs to sing
My children will carry me
Just know that I'm alright
I was not afraid to die
Because I put my faith in my new girl
So I never say goodbye cruel world
Just know that I'm alright
I am not afraid to die

I guess we are who we are
Headlights shining in the dark night I drive on
Maybe we took this too far, I want a new life

Lyrics submitted by FacuCba, edited by Nate Ruess, nasses321, kd35master

Headlights (feat. Nate Ruess) song meanings
Add Your Thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +6
    My OpinionEminem has really matured over the years. This is my fav from the new album.
    Pacey2008on November 05, 2013   Link
  • +4
    My InterpretationEminem apologizes to his mom about the cruel things he has said in past songs. He just wants her to know that he still loves her, even though they are estranged. Nate Ruess seems to have overcome his fear of death that he sang about in the song Wait, Wait, Wait by The Format, Ruess's former band.
    Nate Ruesson January 07, 2014   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningIm pretty sure that this song is an apology to his mom. He is telling her that he regrets writing badly about her in another song of his, Cleanin' out my closet (that he deleted from his track) where he called his mother a few names. So I'm coming home tonight

    Well no matter what the cost ... And I was not afraid to die

    this part was him technically saying that he wants to come home, no matter what the consequence is. All in all, this song is one of my favourites and I just learned all this information from the lyrics as well as some research. Just wanted to share it.
    Miimooon June 10, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love this song, in my opinion it is the best track on one Em's best Albums to to date, but being a Nerd I have a problem with his second verse. Marshall, if you looked back when you and your mum were going in different directions, you would see the taillights, not the headlights
    Bendubzon May 09, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmy fav song frm MMLP2 :)
    sidharthon November 25, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentEminem just got back from rehab and now he realizes that blood is thicker than water.
    bmoremion April 04, 2014   Link
  • 0
    Link(s)Nate's part in this song (especially verse 4) is from the unreleased fun. song, Jumping the Shark.
    The lyrics are here:
    And here's video of the song live:…
    The video is from almost 4 years ago, so that gives you a time frame for this song. Nate changed some of the lyrics for Headlights, but most of the content still remains the same.
    millyclaireon April 20, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAt first, I thought that his mom had died, and he was committing suicide...
    I did a little more looking and found out about it being an apology and tribute and I totally see it now. In both ways it made me tear up. A beautiful song, I am highly impressed by the way he was able to rap about such deep emotions and experiences. He is truly gifted. I hope to hear more like this, and the unnecessarily explicit songs he has don't really appeal to me.
    Mulder253on May 06, 2014   Link
  • -1
    My InterpretationMy guess is this is just em just maturing and looking back at the things that happened in the past. Now no matter where his mom went wrong he wants to move past it. Sometimes as you grow older you have a little more clarity on why things panned out the way they did and I think this is just him telling his mom he still loves her despite everything that happened. Great song off one of his best albums in my opinion.
    law187on November 11, 2013   Link
  • -1
    General CommentDoes anyone else imagine that in Verse 4 Em would get the crowd to put their lighters up and sway?
    Bendubzon May 21, 2014   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!

Back to top