I see that smile
I see that smile
I see that smile on your face

We hear you cry
We hear you wail
We see that smile on your face

We see you laugh
We see you dance
We take that away every day

We see you cry
We turn your head
Then we slap your face

Bow down, bow down
Bow down, live your life
Head down, head down
Head down, hide that smile

Head high, head high
Head high, you've got to smile
Head high, head high
Head high, you've got to smile

I see you try, I see you fail
Some things will never change
We hear you cry, we hear you wail
We steal that smile on your face

Bow down, bow down
Bow down, live your life
Head down, head down
Head down, hide that smile

Head high, head high
Head high, you've got to smile
Head high, head high
Head high, a song you like

Lyrics submitted by jt

Head Down Lyrics as written by Hunter Benedict Shepherd

Lyrics © Peermusic Publishing

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Head Down song meanings
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  • +7
    General Commentit's a sarcastic welcome song to a newborn about how the numbed, resigned, and cynical adults will finally succeed in shaping even the most creative, optimistic and freethinking children into molds resembling their own worn-out, senseless and emotionally crippled image. have a look at the background photo to this song in the sleeve.
    Lepra Messiason April 15, 2005   Link
  • +6
    General CommentI somewhat agree with ex77. I've listened to this song a lot through the years and I strongly feel that it is about the expectations that society places on us, especially in the business/corporate world, which Soundgarden rejects.

    Moreover, this song is about how our social norms are self-contradictory. For example, if you act all happy-go-lucky in the world of business, you will rub people the wrong way, especially if you're male. People will find you dislikable because you seem happy while their lives are often not. Or maybe they think you're weak. On the other hand, you are expected to make THEM feel important and boost THEIR ego and self-confidence by smiling and being polite and laughing at all their stupid jokes. If you don't, you're not a "team player." You are weird and "stand-offish." People will think you're planning to go postal or something.

    So you start off trying to be polite and nice, and people are like "Hey! Head Down! Hide that Smile" like us. Stop being Mr. Happy Pants. But when you accomodate their request, suddenly it's like, "Hey man, Head High, You've Got To Smile. People are starting to think you're rude and antisocial and dont' want to be a team player."

    I think this song is Chris or Ben's rejection of that whole charade. I think that is why a lot of Soundgarden's songs express a certain rejection of bourgeousie social conditioning. It's just a trite, stupid game.
    iwas_aton December 13, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwhoa. psychedelic arrangements. confusing lyrics. amazing song.
    suckmykisson April 07, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThese lyrics are horribly off. Great song and great lyrics.. though these aren't them.

    Catchy tune.
    Mokushion November 25, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHead down. I always thought about how people avoid eye contact when your walking around. People stairing at their feet rather than looking up. I always thought it had to do with low self-esteem and how music makes you feel good.
    Bettyforsmuton January 23, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentiwas_at nailed it. It's hard to see a 'happy go lucky' especially if,
    like so often in our time, other people have to work so hard to support them
    and they can be so carefree about life.(not that that's what you were sayin)
    I myself have staunched the happiness of a loved one who seems to live in
    a sort of peewees playhouse sort of mentality. I don't want to, but the world
    demands and the price is heavy for those who are slow to grow up into
    responsibility. Another side of me kicks myself and is heavily grieved/ashamed
    for my consultation because her stream of happiness is what brings so much
    life into my sometimes dreary responsibility laden reality.

    I'm a 39 year old professional singer/lead guitarist. Started playing in
    nightclubs at age 16, smoking weed since age 9 so i know full well about how
    that favorite song is what sustains our happiness in a world that can seem
    hopeless. My advice is: choose your place in the scheme, play your role but
    do not make a self out of any of it. Don't make an identity out of it because
    it is a very confined/limited program the world offers and that includes
    the happiness we are emotionally attached to even in the form of the
    entertainment we use as an escape mechanism. Meditate, deal with your fears,
    be willing to feel your pain without grabbing a hold of it and making a self/
    identity out of it, give to others, and always remember that you could be
    in their shoes, you could have been born them instead of you. Choose compassion.
    manofdewon May 03, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me this song screams authoritarianism. We see all, we know your feelings, no happiness from yourself only through us, no matter how many times you try and break out you fail, your life is forfeit.

    The beautiful, sad music and lyrics combine to make a perfectly dystopian song, straight out of 1984.
    karebexaron February 04, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWe see you laugh
    We see you dance
    We take that away
    Every day
    Bow down to live
    Your Life
    --i say "yes-ish"....or something like it....
    one of my favorite soundgarden songs...
    audioslave sucks, but rock live....ironic?
    RedRavenon November 09, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMokushi- yeah, I know. Anyone know a way to change them. It's a tad annoying. I've seen a few other posted lyrics that are innaccurate. Ah well...

    Class song. I always had the image of this song addressing a girl (don't know why). I guess it could be applicable to a male too. But it's too vague to read too much into it. But then I guess you CAN read too much into it because of its vagueness. Am I making sense?
    Anyway, it sounds like some authoritarian being derogative. Could be anyone of us. Wonder who....
    drunkenbabyon February 17, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFunny, I also pictured it as being adressed to a girl...

    Anyway, I think that Lepra might be right. It makes a lot of sense (specially after looking the album sleeve).
    alexvickerson April 28, 2005   Link

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