In fear every day, every evening
He calls her aloud from above
Carefully watched for a reason
Painstaking devotion and love
Surrendered to self-preservation
From others who care for themselves
A blindness that touches perfection
But hurts just like anything else

Isolation, isolation, isolation

Mother, I tried, please believe me
I'm doing the best that I can
I'm ashamed of the things I've been put through
I'm ashamed of the person I am

Isolation, isolation, isolation

But if you could just see the beauty
These things I could never describe
These pleasures, a wayward distraction
This is my one lucky prize

Isolation, isolation, isolation, isolation, isolation

Lyrics submitted by typo

Isolation Lyrics as written by Ian Kevin Curtis Bernard Sumner

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Isolation song meanings
Add Your Thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +20
    My Interpretation

    As someone with a social anxiety disorder I can relate to this song way too much. A fear that never goes away. You wake up with it, you get into bed with it. You're afraid of things that are weeks in the future and of things that are tomorrow almost equally. You feel inferior to everyone, but you don't look up to them either because you just aren't like them. You always try to fit into the world despite all these problems, but everything weakens you so much that you don't have the energy you need to be someone anyone can be proud of. However, other people don't understand that, not even in your family. You have to look for other reasons to explain your strange behavior, although that disconnects you even more from everyone. The only moments to get some energy back and that you actually enjoy are the ones in which you are alone. It's fun, it's relaxing, it's like medicine. However, people can't understand that either and will criticize you for it. You become too boring for everyone. You have to argue why you don't want to travel around the world and make parties 24/7.

    And that's the contradiction that follows you your whole life. You enjoy those things the most that alienate you, which in return increase the fears even further so that you want to spend even more time alone. But you can't help but cherish those lonely hours without any worries.

    XCrusherXon April 06, 2012   Link
  • +5
    General Comment

    After having read Dostoyevsky's The Idiot, I have come to believe that the line "A blindness that touches perfection/But hurts just like anything else" is referring to the first split second of an epilleptic attack which Dostoyevsky referred to as some sort of complete enlightenment.

    xtiandethon May 22, 2004   Link
  • +5
    General Comment

    I think y'all are off a bit here. It seems almost certain that the "blindness that touches perfection" is referring to the "others who care for themselves" and who have caused him to surrender to self preservation. It is their perfect blindness which "hurts just like anything else." This understanding will also strengthen the tone of isolation and speak to it more directly than seeing in it a reference to the songwriter's epilepsy.

    The basic irony of the song, as I see it, is that the isolation is both torture and pleasure, just as total isolation always is. The songwriter is a person frought with shame and loneliness, but who since that is so total it becomes beautiful. This is his "wonderful prize" which is of course no prize at all. Tremendous, haunting and painful song. One of the best ever written, IMO.

    cothrigeon March 04, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    Even as you search for people and you enjoy their company, nothing to compare to the joy of isolation and being by yourself.

    KILBYon March 05, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    xtiandeth and Schr4nz, you've made me look at this song in a different way. Possibly referring to growing up as an epileptic? The first verse seems to detail how others (family/mother in particular) react to the presence of the condition - "carefully watched for a reason..." etc. I dunno. My favourite JD track anyway, before I even knew the words.

    Random Boyon March 01, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    His fear has created his way of life. It often keeps him from that which he may want yet it also allows him perks. He may be isolated and often sad, but at times he feels great joy. Hence the line "But if you could just see the beauty. These things I could never describe. These pleasures a wayward distraction This is my wonderful prize." So there is a payoff to his condition. He has settled and accepted what he believes is his fate; somehow he's made it work for him. Curtis was a genius.

    MaryMaryQuiteContraryon August 24, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    i agree with xtiandeth, well done, ian had epilepsy, most likely temporal-lobe epilepsy, which most sufferers describe as being complete, or one with the world for that split second (sometimes even longer). its his "one lucky prize". in all of this isolation, because of him being so different, and because of the difficulties faced with his epilepsy, he needed something to hold on to, and through everything, that's all that he felt was worth it, that one moment in time where he would feel complete. A blindness that touches perfection, but hurts just like anything else. I love this song, my favourite one by these guys.

    Schr4nzon May 25, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    The lyrics... I feel the same way, Isolation is good for me, but now, i'm tired of it, I call her aloud from above, i'm surrounded by selfpreservation, and I realized that Isolation hurts just like anything else, but at the same way I say this is my one lucky prize. when you get tired of Isolation, you get a crisis and you'll start to listen "Passover". Great song

    danundergroundon July 27, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My Opinion

    as a person that suffers from mental illness i find this song to almost perfectly describe the, well, isolation experienced by people like me due to the social stigma surrounding those who are neurodivergent.

    "Mother I tried please believe me, I'm doing the best that I can. I'm ashamed of the things I've been put through, I'm ashamed of the person I am."

    as someone who has suffered emotional trauma along with mental illness this line resonates quite well with me. my parents and the people around me do not seem to think that i am trying my hardest to cope with my situation, and i am also reminded of the shame that i have experienced for my life experiences and illnesses.

    anyway, i dunno, this song just really resonates with me and i wanted to give a bit of input from my perspective.

    yuckbudon January 31, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    What's really cool is if you transliterate the song to acoustic guitar, it sounds like... HANK WILLIAMS!

    elephant_rangeon February 27, 2005   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!

More Featured Meanings

Album art
When We Were Young
This is a sequel to 2001's "Reckless Abandon", and features the band looking back on their clumsy youth fondly.
Album art
No Surprises
Same ideas expressed in Fitter, Happier are expressed in this song. We're told to strive for some sort of ideal life, which includes getting a good job, being kind to everyone, finding a partner, getting married, having a couple kids, living in a quiet neighborhood in a nice big house, etc. But in Fitter, Happier the narrator(?) realizes that it's incredibly robotic to live this life. People are being used by those in power "like a pig in a cage on antibiotics"--being pacified with things like new phones and cool gadgets and houses while being sucked dry. On No Surprises, the narrator is realizing how this life is killing him slowly. In the video, his helmet is slowly filling up with water, drowning him. But he's so complacent with it. This is a good summary of the song. This boring, "perfect" life foisted upon us by some higher powers (not spiritual, but political, economic, etc. politicians and businessmen, perhaps) is not the way to live. But there is seemingly no way out but death. He'd rather die peacefully right now than live in this cage. While our lives are often shielded, we're in our own protective bubbles, or protective helmets like the one Thom wears, if we look a little harder we can see all the corruption, lies, manipulation, etc. that is going on in the world, often run by huge yet nearly invisible organizations, corporations, and 'leaders'. It's a very hopeless song because it reflects real life.
Album art
Head > Heels
Ed Sheeran
“Head > Heels” is a track that aims to capture what it feels like to experience romance that exceeds expectations. Ed Sheeran dedicates his album outro to a lover who has blessed him with a unique experience that he seeks to describe through the song’s nuanced lyrics.
Album art
Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran tells a story of unsuccessfully trying to feel “Amazing.” This track is about the being weighed down by emotional stress despite valiant attempts to find some positivity in the situation. This track was written by Ed Sheeran from the perspective of his friend. From the track, we see this person fall deeper into the negative thoughts and slide further down the path of mental torment with every lyric.
Album art
Trouble Breathing
Alkaline Trio
While the obvious connections with suicide or alcoholism could be drawn easily, more subtly this song could be about someone who views the world through a negative lens constantly and how as much as the writer tries to show the beauty in the world, this person refuses to see it. It's one or another between the rope and the bottle. There is no good option for this person. They can't see it. Skiba sings it in a kind of exasperated way like He's tired of hearing this negative view constantly and just allowing that person to continue feeling the way they feel knowing he can't do anything about it. You can hear it when he says maybe you're a vampire.