Love, love is a verb
Love is a doing word
Feathers on my breath
Gentle impulsion
Shakes me, makes me lighter
Feathers on my breath

Teardrop on the fire
Feathers on my breath

Night, night after day
Black flowers blossom
Feathers on my breath
Black flowers blossom
Feathers on my breath

Teardrop on the fire
Feathers on my

Water is my eye
Most faithful mirror
Feathers on my breath
Teardrop on the fire
Of a confession
Feathers on my breath
Most faithful mirror
Feathers on my breath

Teardrop on the fire
Feathers on my breath

You're stumbling in the dark
You're stumbling in the dark

Lyrics submitted by Selfmutilized, edited by just1x, TheOldHacker, MycroftJr, eeeeee, Stephen1961

Teardrop Lyrics as written by Robert Del Naja Elizabeth Fraser

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Teardrop song meanings
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  • +26
    General CommentThe first time I heard this song, I was blown away by what I heard. After a while, I came to the conclusion I wanted to know what the song was about. After reading what is on this forum and information dealing with the song, I think I know what the song is about. I don't know if has been posted here already or not, but the song is about being in love with someone who cannot hear it, due to death. It's hard when you lose someone you love, which is what the lyricist Elizabeth Fraser was feeling when she lost her good friend Jeff Buckley. This is what I believe is the analysis of the song.

    "Love, love is a verb
    Love is a doing word
    Fearless on my breath"
    -In this instance, she states that love is what she feels and that she's not afraid to say it.

    "Gentle impulsion
    Shakes me makes me lighter
    Fearless on my breath"
    -This is speaking of living on without the person she loves, as impulsion means the act of impelling, driving onward, or pushing. The thought of living without this person is bittersweet as it shakes her to tears but it also make her happy to have known that person.

    "Teardrop on the fire
    Fearless on my breath"
    -This can mean two things at once. A teardrop cannot put out a fire. Therefore this means that though she cries for this person, the sadness will not extinguish the passion she has for this person. The other thing this means is that she will not spend the rest of her life crying for this person, as crying when grieving is healthy, but one cannot cry forever if they want to live on.

    "Nine night of matter
    Black flowers blossom
    Fearless on my breath
    Black flowers blossom
    Fearless on my breath"
    -This has to do more with the actual person that died, Jeff Buckley. I believe the nine represents the 29th, which is the day he died, May 29th. Night refers to the last time he was seen alive. Black flowers represent death and farewell. The fact that they are blossoming means that it is not a dismal farewell but one that she grow from.

    "Teardrop on the fire
    Fearless on my..."
    -I believe this is a reflection, like she was thinking strongly of the person lost, because after this there is an instrumental part before it starts up again.

    "Water is my eye
    Most faithful mirror
    Fearless on my breath"
    -She states that the tears she cries for the person are an honest reflection of her feelings.

    "Teardrop on the fire of a confession
    Fearless on my breath
    Most faithful mirror
    Fearless on my breath"
    -I believe the confession she is speaking of is a confession of love, which now falls on deaf ears since the person the love confession is to has died and can no longer hear it. She repeated the part about most faithful mirror which goes back that she is being honest about her feelings.

    "Teardrop on the fire
    Fearless on my breath"
    -Repeated from above.

    "Stumbling a little
    Stumbling a little"
    -This is showing how it has been hard to deal with the death.

    Also, the "fearless on my breathe" throughout the song refers to not being afraid to speak. In this case, it is that she not afraid to express her feelings about the death.
    UneGothNoireon July 08, 2010   Link
  • +9
    General CommentI was about to come here and voice my disbelief at the ignorance of everyone who provided an opinion about the meaning of this song until I read ",ozoneocean's," post. FINALLY someone used the gray matter between their ears and did some research. This song is clearly about loss, and dealing with loss. The woman who provided the vocals for the song was even quoted as saying that she had her friend Jeff Buckley, who died in a drowning accident, in mind when she was writing it! She said it helped her cope. It could be interpreted as any loss, it depends on hoe the individual listener relates to it. It could be the loss felt due to the ending of a relationship, or the loss felt over a loved one passing away. Anyone who has ever lost someone that meant the world to them knows how difficult it is to deal with it. It's as difficult as trying to put out a fire by standing over it and crying. "Teardrops on the fire...?" You people who say its about abortion are just plain dumb. Yeah, Massive Attack is going to make a song that describes in detail an abortion procedure; are you mad? I seriously doubt a woman would listen to this song for comfort after having an abortion. And those who say that is what it's about because of the're even dumber than the other people. Have you never seen a music video from Tool, or Gorillaz? Their videos have nothing at all to do with the lyrics of their songs. Massive Attack is a new age rock band. Of course their videos are going to be weird. It's how they are defined.

    C'mon people, think before you post dumb crap. This is a very sweet and touching song. Don't ruin it's meaning with the macabre.
    IrishWxmanon October 28, 2012   Link
  • +7
    General CommentWHY IS MUSIC SO AWESOME?
    slinkstersarson March 28, 2005   Link
  • +6
    My InterpretationAs quoted from the Guardian. [The news that Buckley had disappeared — he drowned, swimming in the Wolf river in Memphis — came while Fraser was recording Teardrop with Massive Attack. "That was so weird," she says. "I'd got letters out and I was thinking about him. That song's kind of about him — that's how it feels to me anyway." It seems she is haunted by guilt: for not being there for Buckley, for everything. As she puts it: "I need to forgive myself."]

    It's her process of breaking up with him and forgiving herself and her feelings of being responsible for it..

    Her feelings of love, fearlessly saying it, and crying drives her forward in her process of mourning.. black flowers are goodbyes/farewells to let that love for him go...
    IzzyKayon June 17, 2013   Link
  • +5
    General Commentim a huge rock/metal fan, but for some odd reason i really really like this song. its just...mesmerizing.
    MusicIsLifeon May 09, 2002   Link
  • +5
    General Commentoops, i posted this as a reply just now instead of a comment.

    Even before reading the lyrics, one immediately feels the sensuality present in this song. I believe this song is about giving in to the passion one feels, confessing your love for another person, and being unafraid of the possibility of having made a mistake.

    Love is a verb; love is a doing word: -the singer is convincing herself to act on her desires.
    Fearless on my breath: -almost like a mantra, this phrase is repeated throughout. it has to do with being confident and unafraid to express what you are truly feeling.
    Gentle impulsion: -an impulsion is a thrust, a push forward, representing her desire to act, with an obvious sexual connotation. It is a confession of love or the act of making love or giving in to her physical desire.
    shakes me makes me lighter: -reservations are cast off. this line evokes a sense of releasing a burden. the singer is casting aside her fears and doubts and giving in to the passion she feels.
    Fearless on my breath: -aware of possible consequences, but unafraid.
    Teardrop on the fire: -This line does not represent futility so much as it represents the fire of passion consuming any remorse or regret she might feel.

    Nine night of matter: -it has already been mentioned on this thread that nine nights are Jamaican multi-day wakes. Rather than mourning a lost loved one, the friends and family throw a big party and sing songs and play games and share food and memories. The singer is acknowledging a potential loss by giving in to her desires, and she is celebrating that loss rather than mourning it.
    Black flowers blossom: -same idea. black flowers are both dark and beautiful. this is a symbol of lustful, passionate sex.

    Water is my eye: -this is an obvious metaphor for crying. the singer is feeling remorse, most likely after the act at some point.
    most faithful mirror: -her own eye is her most faithful mirror, in other words she knows herself better than anyone else. she knew there would be remorse and loss.
    fearless on my breath: -but she is still unafraid and has no regrets.
    Teardrop on the fire of a confession: -her passion was so great that she had to acknowledge it and act on it (love is a verb, after all) regardless of the consequences.

    stumbling a little: -mistakes are inevitable, but it is better to feel passion and pain than to live in fear.

    The video is a metaphor. The child is shaken from it's place of comfort and thrust into the world, which is a big scary place rather than being allowed to stay in the peaceful tranquility of the womb, much like the singer who opts to live passionately and stumble a little rather than play it safe and never learn or grow.

    That's my take on this beautiful song.
    coldpheasanton November 19, 2008   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThey played this song at the funeral of my sister... this song is so beautiful.
    FeyTHon October 12, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General CommentStrange lyrics but the song is truly beautiful...look at my arm! Goosebumps!
    fadedon May 01, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThe song is about mourning and love lost.
    "Love is a doing word" love to her in this context wasn't just something she said, it was active and real.
    "Tear drop on the fire" simply describes eyes hot with tears. There's also the reference to "shakes".
    The lyrics "night, night of matter" are a clear reference to death and "black flowers blossom" concern mourning.
    "Fearless on my breath" probably means these emotions are freely and openly expressed.
    "stumbling a little" - not completely coping.

    The singer has said that she was thinking of the death of her good friend Tim Buckley when she wrote the lyrics.
    ozoneoceanon September 16, 2011   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningI think I understand now! This song is about declaring one's love to another person at cost of his/her peace of mind:

    Love, love is a verb//love is shown by acts
    Love is a doing word//love is said and done
    Fearless on my breath//I'm not scared to admit it.

    Gentle impulsion//Love makes me go for it
    Shakes me makes me lighter//this is what it makes me feel
    Fearless on my breath//However, I'm not scared.

    Nine(I think it's 'nigh') night of matter//A difficult time is coming
    Black flowers blossom//With hardships
    Fearless on my breath//But love makes me fearless.

    Teardrop on the fire//suffering won't extinguish my love (fire)
    Fearless on my breath//I'm not scared.

    Water is my eye//I cry
    Most faithful mirror//Tears are enough to show my feelings

    Teardrop on the fire of a confession//My sadness means nothing, I'm telling you how I feel.

    Stumbling a little//I did it and I feel insecure.
    Snipeon February 27, 2009   Link

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