The workdays were propping the bar quietly erasing the week and I was in a
Corner-booth thinking (pretending to read) about the impossibility of one to love
Unconditionally and the words that we drive into the ground, their repetition
Starts to thin their meaning.

Then everything got frighteningly still as they entered and intersected the
Floor and I tried to choke my stare at the perfection that others would kill for.
But all of the parts are the same on every face (few variables change).
The differences pale when compared to the similarity they share

Finally there is clarity and there is purpose after all, but every night ends
The same as I'm collapsing once more by your side.
Finally there is clarity, this tiny life is making sense.
And every drop numbs the both of us, but I alone am staggering.


Lyrics submitted by jephque

Debate Exposes Doubt Lyrics as written by Christopher Walla Benjamin Gibbard

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Debate Exposes Doubt song meanings
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34 Comments

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  • +2
    General Comment

    This song, like many other DCFC songs should be taken literally.

    He's sitting in a bar on a Friday night with a drink. His girlfriend is at home at this moment. He's thinking of the ideal of love (how to love one unconditionally), which he doesn't feel for his girlfriend, as is explained later in the song. Suddenly a couple enters the bar. Everything gets frighteningly still (this is just Ben looking up and being completely mesmerised at this couple's chemistry. Which he doesn't feel with his own girlfriend).

    Now, finally he sees the "clarity" (what a perfect relationship is all about). Think about what he says here: "But all of the parts are the same on every face (few variables change)." A relationship isn't what you've been taught it to be. A perfect relationship just IS perfect. It's just perfect. No compromise.

    Now, the saddest part of the song: "every night ends the same as I COLLAPSE (probably being drunk) once more by your side". He's staying with this girl for the sake of both of them. He doesn't see a way out. Fear of being alone perhaps. "Every drop numbs the both of us" is a direct link to alcohol. Alcohol makes the truth easier to bear, but they stay together for the sake of both of them.

    Incredible song this and I think many people feel like Ben does in this song,

    Orangewanon April 11, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I think that this song is a perfect example of really matching lyrics with music. this is a song I can listen to for hours on repeat (I probably have, now that I think about it).

    I can't wait until the day when I can say "finally there is clarity: this tiny life is making sense."

    catherinekson September 25, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I definitely agree that I can listen to this many many times. For me, this song is about how he sees "perfect" examples of love everywhere, the same kind of couples saying "I love you" so much, that the words have lost its meaning through its repetitiviness. But either way, he still can't help giving in to love as "every night ends the same as I'm collapsing once more by your side."

    stoppretendingon March 11, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This song along with every other song Ben's ever written is a perfect example of the way ALL lyrics should be. But I'm glad these songs only belong to Ben and DCFC because they're what makes me love this band so much.

    Title_Trackon March 26, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    superb integration of the piano into this song.

    lowell,maon May 01, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    One of my favorite songs from them. I think it's underrated a little.

    strykerchickon June 04, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    i think the band in general is underrated, many people just think their lyrics are nonsensical or whatever even though ben is one of the best song writers alive.

    fish eat steelon April 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    because he says "the impossiblity of one to love unconditionally and the words that we drive into the ground: their repetition starts to thin their meaning." i would agree that hes talking about the words I love you and how they get used without the real context. but when he starts talking about the couple that walks in and how amazingly perfect they are, and how he can see on everyones face (even if they look different) theyre thinking the same thing, i believe he realizes that their IS love unconditional and he doesnt have it, but he knows its there. then he thinks, thats clarity, it makes sense, "BUT" every night ends the same and hes by the others side that doesnt make as much sense. and he alone is staggering. not the girl. him. meaning he knows their is more in life to have, and she thinks she has it cause but he knows better.

    shannoninlimboon May 10, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    he's talking about observing people's actions, more specifically verbal actions such as "i'm sorry" or "i love you" and how they can lose it's meaning with repetition.

    i believe the last bit is how if you think enough, life starts to make sense, but if you think too much, you start wondering if things are worth it when they really are, hence "debate exposes doubt". The end also obviously points out how he is a much better person when he is with someone else.

    The song as a whole talks about relationships and how couples achieve for perfection and how obvious it is that everyone is trying for this perfection.

    I'd like to see some interpretation of middle part of the song. it's hard to crack.

    dancehallhipson June 24, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    "...but all of the parts are the same on every face (few variables change). the differences pale when compared to the similarity they share"--how beautiful is that?

    Talking about beauty--everyone has the same features on their face, yet some are regarded as better looking than others? We all have noses, lips, and eyes, all different from the next person, but the fact of the matter is that in the end, they all are the same, they serve the same purpose on everyone. Stunning.

    mnemeon October 04, 2004   Link

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