"Tattoo of the Sun" as written by and Stephan Jenkins....
I believe everything you say
'Cause you're not frightened
The way I've been
So I follow you
Just in case you lose your way
So glad you could let me stay around

The chain link fence you climbed
To make forbidden lakes our own
Yours and mine
And with the ease of sea gulls
We cut the engines and cruise high
In the summer sky

Now I could speak to everything
But there's no room for my voice
When sweet feedback is
Jumping through the hoop of your ear
Ring there goes the phone
And then you're off again
On what the caller brings

So I went and trashed myself at the bar
Confused for nothing thinking you'd be there
I'm so embarrassed 'cause it's you
Who comes to take care of me
Shambling home again with you to lead
And it's not the way I want to go

And I'm mad at you and I'm mad at me
Talking endlessly, not a kind word to say
Till your amber beads of wisdom come
And I want to write it down
Just the way you said it
So I could keep it always

I can't forget the smell
Of summer trees at midnight
Bending backwards to please the wind
You touch the tattoo of the sun
On a warm belly that once carried a baby for a while
Then let the cracked leather jacket round you fold
Red face saints monogrammed in gold
And in this beauty I would not go any further
'Cause I suddenly remembered
We can't live this way forever

Idle daylight
I've never caught you in a lie
Not until now
I feel somehow
The passing of these days gone by
What will you do when the feeling
That you have is through

I need to know
'Cause I'll never stop hanging on to you
And it's times like this that I dread
When there's everything to say
And nothing left
To be said

Lyrics submitted by carola

"Tattoo of the Sun" as written by Stephan Jenkins

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management

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Tattoo of the Sun song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentIt sounds like a story of a guy and a girl who dated for a while and then stopped to become good friends. He really really cares for her so he stays around trying to look out for her until he discovers it is her who looks after him. And the lie that she taold was that she didn't want to be together because she does, he can see it in her face and her behavior but they don't know if they can go back to that.
    ChaosFluro24on August 17, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song could mean two things.. I believe that it is about a relationship in which both of the people know it is not going to work out. Stephen is trying to say to the girl that things will not work ever.. but if she doesn't want it to end he doesn't want it to either.

    The Tatoo of the Sun is about a tatoo a woman has on her stomach. When Stephen reveals things about the tatoo it also reveals that this women either had an abortion or a miscarriage. There is also arguements that she could have had the baby. But from the lines, "once carried a baby for a while", we know she lost it somehow.
    blikstaon April 12, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSorry to burst everyone's bubbles...

    A lot of the lyrics to TOTS are borrowed from a poem by Craig Raine

    The Onion, Memory
    Craig Raine

    Divorced, but friends again at last,
    we walk old ground together
    in bright blue uncomplicated weather.
    We laugh and pause
    to hack to bits these tiny dinosaurs,
    prehistoric, crenelated, cast
    between the tractor ruts in mud.

    On the green, a junior Douglas Fairbanks,
    swinging on the chestnut's unlit chandelier,
    defies the corporation spears--
    a single rank around the bole,
    rusty with blood.
    Green, tacky phalluses curve up, romance
    A gust--the old flag blazes on its pole.

    In the village bakery
    the pastry babies pass
    from milky slump to crusty cadaver,
    from crib to coffin--without palaver.
    All's over in a flash,
    too silently...

    Tonight the arum lilies fold
    back napkins monogrammed in gold,
    crisp and laundered fresh.
    Those crustaceous gladioli, on the sly,
    reveal the crimson flower-flesh
    inside their emerald armor plate.
    The uncooked herrings blink a tearful eye.
    The candles palpitate.
    The Oistrakhs bow and scrape
    in evening dress, on Emi-tape.

    Outside the trees are bending over backwards
    to please the wind : the shining sword
    grass flattens on its belly.
    The white-thorn's frillies offer no resistance.
    In the fridge, a heart-shaped jelly
    strives to keep a sense of balance.

    I slice up the onions. You sew up a dress.
    This is the quiet echo--flesh--
    white muscle on white muscle,
    intimately folded skin,
    finished with a satin rustle.
    One button only to undo, sewn up with shabby thread.
    It is the onion, memory,
    that makes me cry.

    Because there's everything and nothing to be said,
    the clock with hands held up before its face,
    stammers softly on, trying to complete a phrase--
    while we, together and apart,
    repeat unfinished festures got by heart.

    And afterwards, I blunder with the washing on the line--
    headless torsos, faceless lovers, friends of mine
    Wordsermanon February 02, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentUnlike myself, I will chuck all meaning aside (although I do agree with Chaos on the meaning) and say that this song just does it for me. Reminiscent of the much hated/loved song SCL (not Salt Lake City), there are four chords that make me cry as well. Along with the end of "God Of Wine," the last words of Tattoo of the Sun regarding the lines about "everyting left to say and nothing left to be said" is all it takes to send me into that part of the consciousness that calls for tears.
    petey3ebon June 13, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song also shows the versatility that 3eb has in their music. there is no other tattoo of the sun. and i totally agree that "everything to say, and nothing left to be said" is perfectly voiced. dont we all know that point in a relationship...
    motorcycledrivebyeron April 26, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI am a really big 3eb fan, with all three CDs and the autographs of everybody but Kevin (since he was gone and replaced by Tony at that point), but of all their songs, this is the best, most poignant, and most meaningfull. The day a guy ends a song, "And it makes me sad... hmm..." is the day you know he's a real artist. The lyrics to all of Steve's songs are poetic, revealing his way with words, but this is by far the best of the lyrical poetry Steve has sung.
    j3ebruleson June 01, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI found this website by accident, so of course I had to see what people thought about one of my favorite songs of all time...This song is great because so many lines in it can be applied to anyone. I agree that when I heard "with everything to say and nothing left to be said...and it makes me sad" just made my respect stephen jenkins so much more. I think everyone has been at that point in a relationship, but its so well put. Also the part about getting trashed at the bar (in order to forget someone? to forget about a fight with someone?) and then it ends up that person ends up being the one to take him home...its like he's saying that he's embarrassed because the situation was out of his control again. Great frickin song!
    kabkeon June 27, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI got this song on one of their singles a while ago and it is just the most captivating song... I can't tell you how long I just sat around analyzing it... I can't remember what I got from it besides what was already written. I still like this song a lot...
    Phrenchornon February 24, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMore people should listen to this song, it's great. In my top five for Third Eye Blind and top ten for all songs easily.
    Ecnalyron May 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy personal interpretation of this song is about summer love and how one person wants their relationship to be more than a summer fling but the other wants to move on (What will you do When the feelings that you have are through I need to know, cause I'll never stop playing an ode to you")

    I love how Stephan just says "and it makes me sad" at the end. It's short, honest, and simple. A lot of songwriters are afraid to be that simple, but sometimes its the most effective way to express emotion rather than to make up an elaborate extended metaphor; although theres nothing wrong with those either. Either way, its an awesome song, one of my favorites.
    asher_611on January 13, 2008   Link

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