"Ashes to Ashes" as written by Hudson, Patton, Bordin, Gould and Bottum...
I want them to know, it's me
It's on my head
I'll point the finger at me
It's on my head

Give it all to you, then I'll be closer
Smiling with the mouth of the ocean
And I'll wave to you with the arms of the mountain
I'll see you

I will let you shout no more
It's on my head (It's on my head)
I'll pick you up from the floor
It's on my head (It's on my head)
I'll let you even the score
It's on my head (It's on my head)

Give it all to you, then I'll be closer
Smiling with the mouth of the ocean
And I'll wave to you with the arms of the mountain
I'll see you

Give the same to me, then I'll be closer, closer
Give the same to me, then I'll be closer, closer
Smiling with the mouth of the ocean
And I'll wave to you with the arms of the mountain
Give the same to me, then I'll be closer, closer
Give the same to me, then I'll be closer, closer


Lyrics submitted by jt, edited by JulesGatz, champiodi, AndySC, Rokken, Shaun Steinfeger, thedarkrider, Addıct, msxgalaga, FacuCba, lichka, bichuelo, sokorny, ruinfix

"Ashes to Ashes" as written by Jon David Hudson Bill Gould

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Ashes to Ashes song meanings
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  • +8
    Lyric CorrectionThe actual lyrics:
    I want them to know it's me
    It's on my head
    I'll point the finger at me
    It's on my head

    Give it all to you, then I'll be closer
    Smiling with the mouth of the ocean
    And I'll wave to you with the arms of the mountain
    I'll see you

    I will let you shout no more
    It's on my head (It's on my head)
    I'll pick you up from the floor
    It's on my head (It's on my head)
    I'll let you even the score
    It's on my head (It's on my head)

    Give it all to you, then I'll be closer
    Smiling with the mouth of the ocean
    And I'll wave to you with the arms of the mountain
    I'll see you

    (Solo)

    Give the same to me, then I'll be closer, closer
    Give the same to me, then I'll be closer, closer
    Smiling with the mouth of the ocean
    And I'll wave to you with the arms of the mountain
    Give the same to me, then I'll be closer, closer
    Give the same to me, then I'll be closer, closer
    EllyListenson June 08, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General CommentPatton understands lyrics better than most, as in every song he's written, there's been a very blurred direction, open for interpretation relying on the listener to determine a meaning for themselves, so songs become personal - it's a beautiful talent. :)
    Honor Punkon April 29, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentExcerpt from "Mike Patton" Wiki entry;
    When interviewed about his lyrical content with Faith No More, Patton responded, "I think that too many people think too much about my lyrics. I am more a person who works more with the sound of a word than with its meaning. Often I just choose the words because of the rhythm not because of the meaning"
    kimbobjoneson March 16, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentFor me, this song is more about a lack of commitment, at least the line..."Give the same to me then I'll be closer." This person has given a lot to the other person and just wants some of the same commitment back.
    IWasWrongon October 13, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think this song is about earning forgiveness, trying to recover a relationship through atonement.
    alliedcolaon January 13, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHe's done something (considered/) wrong and he either is proud of it or willing to take resposbility for it
    GotMeNowon January 02, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI want to stand on the top of a mountain and scream the chorus 'til I die.
    Big Nihilon November 20, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAll of a sudden this song makes sense to me.
    I interpret it as a individual that has finally given up fighting with someone close to them for a long time.
    As if it is time to move on, and that person is not going to change, you can't win, and is not worth the energy it takes of yourself to keep going on with.
    Hence the line "give it all to you, then I'll be closer'
    like closer to being free!
    monster9on January 20, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThe meaning of this song is clearer if each word is treated as meaning the same thing at all points in the song. Once you treat “it”, “you” and “I” as having the same meaning throughout, the possible interpretations narrow a lot.
    Before examining the words of Ashes to Ashes line by line it is important to identify some general features about it, which inform the understanding of each line.
    First, the title “Ashes to Ashes” comes from the Funeral Ceremony from the Common Book of Prayer. It means that this is a song about one or more funerals following one or more deaths.
    Secondly, it is written from the point of view of a single person narrator (“I want”, “I will”, “I’ll”).
    Thirdly, it is addressed to “you” and this appears to be a single person (“I’ll pick you up from the floor”; it is probably hard to pick up more than one person or God from a floor).
    Fourthly, it is written at a single instant in time and with two exceptions, it is all about what is going to happen in the future (“I’ll”, “I will”). It describes only one present fact (“I want them to know it’s me”, describing the narrator’s current desire, but as to a future matter) and one past fact (“I will let you shout no more”, meaning that the “you” has been shouting).
    Taking those four general observations, we have a single narrator in a song about a funeral, talking to one other person about what the narrator wants and what is going to happen.
    Now we can start looking through the song verse by verse.
    The first verse is solely about blame. The narrator is to blame for something “it’s me”, “it’s on my head” and he wants “them” to know about it. Not only that, but to make sure they know about it, he is going (in the future) to point the finger at himself. While the first verse does not hint what “it” is or what the narrator has done wrong, given that the song is about a death it seems likely that “it” means a funeral or a death.
    The chorus starts “Give it all to you”. “It” is not defined but assuming that “it” is the same “it” from the first verse and is also the subject of the song then this line should be read as “Give death to you”, i.e. it means kill “you”. (It seems strained to give someone a funeral). This describes a key event in the narrative of the future that the song offers: the narrator is going to kill someone.
    The second half of the first line of the chorus “then I’ll be closer” does not say to what the narrator will be closer but that becomes clear from the next two lines. It is necessary to consider them by reference to the funeral service from which the words “ashes to ashes” come.
    Here is one version of the passage from the service:
    Having given thanks for the life of our brother N......., we now commit his mortal body to the ground/ to be cremated, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, [in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life] through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died, was buried, and rose again for us. To him be glory for ever.
    Note that the “resurrection” passage is optional. The phrase “ashes to ashes” goes hand in hand with “earth to earth”. As has been previously identified in this thread, the phrase “earth to earth” provides a partial explanation for the “mouth of the ocean / arms of the mountain” passages. The narrator of the song expects to die. This is after the narrator has “given it/death” to “you”. The narrator expects to be returned to the earth and very literally to live on in the very fabric of the earth. In the narrator’s mind, after death, he will smile and wave from the physical features of the earth.
    So, the narrator will be dead, “you” will be dead, and the narrator after death will be in the earth.
    The second verse starts with “I will let you shout no more”. This provides the clue to why the narrator wishes to cause death to “you”. He does not want to let “you shout”. Once the shouting is stopped, the narrator will “pick you up from the floor”. Dead, the victim lies on the floor. But in death, the victim will “even the score” because the result of the narrator “point[ing] the finger at me” is that he will likewise be killed. Note that the victim cannot even the score by herself because she is dead. The narrator must “let” the victim even the score which given that the narrator will be pointing the finger at himself does not leave much for the dead victim to do.
    Here is another version of the passage from the service:
    Forasmuch as it has pleased Almighty God to take from life on earth N......., we therefore commit his body to the ground/to be cremated, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, trusting in the mercy of Almighty God, to whom we shall all give an account.
    The phrase “all give an account” is echoed by “I’ll let you even the score”. All the sins of the narrator will be counted up and made even.
    The final repetition of the chorus is slightly varied: “Give the same to me”. Note that it does not say who will give the same to the narrator. It is not “you” but a disembodied society enforcing capital punishment.
    So, at this point, that relatively straightforward analysis makes this song look like someone who is angry with a lover, wife, friend, whatever, plans to kill them but will take the consequences afterwards. That is a tragic scenario but put in such prosaic terms is somewhat mundane material for song which has music that is extremely dramatic if not grandiose.
    Now let us look at the colour Mike Patton has added to this scenario principally in the chorus. The narrator sees himself after death living on in the earth but not in minor features, not the odd rock or stone, or tree but big features, mountains and oceans. The narrator does not expect the “resurrection to eternal life” that the optional text describes where although his physical body will be mixed with the earth his soul would join God in heaven. The distortion of the single human into massive objects shows that the narrator sees the contemplated murder as transforming him in a magnificent way. He sees the murder as taking him away from a mundane world of shouting and floors to a massively grandiose destiny of eternity and pervasion of all things.
    What Mike achieves here is that although the song tells quite a simple little story of domestic violence and hatred leading to murder he imbues the murderer with such strong emotions that it tells a very vivid tale.
    GrainySnapshoton August 05, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentUh, has nobody noticed these aren't even the lyrics??? It even says written by David Bowie at the bottom.
    dapOrkon February 20, 2012   Link

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