"Can't Make a Sound" as written by and Steven P. Smith....
I have become a silent movie
The hero killed the clown
Can't make a sound
Can't make a sound
Can't make a sound

Nobody knows what he's doing
Still hanging around
Can't make a sound
Can't make a sound
Can't make a sound
Can't make a sound

The slow motion moves me
The monologue means nothing to me

Bored in the role, but he can't stop
Standing up to sit back down
Or lose the one thing found
Spinning the world like a toy top
'Til there's a ghost in every town
Can't make a sound
Can't make a sound
Can't make a sound
Can't make a sound

Eyes locked and shining
Can't you tell me what's happening?
Why should you want any other when you're a world within a world?
Why should you want any other when you're a world within a world?
Why should you want any other when you're a world within a world?
Why should you want any other when you're a world within a world?

Lyrics submitted by EnjOy IncUbus, edited by come for f

"Can't Make a Sound" as written by Steven Paul Smith Steven P. Smith

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Can't Make a Sound song meanings
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  • +6
    General Comment"i have become a silent movie"- speech is futile, i have nothing to say, "the hero killed the clown" perhaps this is about a woman he cared for who moved onto another, the other man is viewed as the hero, he is the clown, the one fumbling for her affections, failing.
    "nobody knows what he's doing" "still hanging around" yes what is the clown still doing here, what is he still trying for, he has been taken from the picture, eliminated, what is he still hanging around for> this can be also for why is he still trying at life, he should give it up.
    the "slow motion moves me, the monologue means nothing to me" the emptiness of living, mechanical actions, useless, meaningless words, experiencing the pain of life as if it is dragged out, slow motion, never ending.
    "bored in a role but he can't stop, standing up to sit back down" - tired of himself and the way he is, the part he plays in the world, the part he plays in his life, feels like there is an inability to overcome certain things about himself, then the back and forth motion of it all- standing up only to sit back down- making progress only to regress back to the previous state. ( this can be applied to addiction, or relationships). and "lose the one thing found" lose the one thing between standing up and sitting back down that was gained, lose the one thing that he finally thought he cou=ld hold onto (in himself,the world, or another person).
    "spinning the world like a toy top till there's a ghost in every town" - to me this is the way he perhaps travels the world physically or mentally trying to find something of meaning, instead everything exposed bare, spinning the world like a toy top, as if carelessly, like a child playing with a toy, as if he has given up already internally and all this search these attempts are again empty actions, and turn up already what he knew they would- nothing, for eventually whatever had meaning, whatever seemed alive to him remains in the end as nothing but the ghost of that thing. (ghost of a relationship, experience, the ghost of a feeling, the remains that haunt him, because they are a cold, inpalpable memory).
    "why should you want any other when you're a world within a world" - to me this is as if he should believe this, he wants to, and yet its not possible to. believing this would make him happier perhaps, it would lessen the need of another, of someone else, if he is so abundant, if his internal world is so full, why should he ever have to look to another to fulfill anything within him, to make up for any empty spaces? i see this last line as yes a bit sarcastic, ironic, sad. if only that idea were true. if only. maybe it would spare all the pain. but even then there is this thought behind it that feels lonely. and this is the irony.
    carmenadrifton October 20, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentMaybe it's about his rise to stardom. He goes from being this average guy with a talent for songwriting (the clown) to this semi-underground superstar (the hero) who seemingly can do no wrong.

    "Eyes locked and shining" sounds like some fan looking at him with this unconditional adoration, and him having no clue of why he should be so deserving of some strangers awe.

    The final repeated line is a sarcastic lament. Why would you want another, and perhaps more real life when you're finally living in the world you thought you dreamed of.
    Momuson April 12, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Commentmy interpretation of it is that it's portraying the triumph of good over evil in his head. he's accepted his introversion and is now content with his own company whereas before he felt he had to act up to everyone's expectations and entertain them i.e be "the clown".
    enigmatic_jesson February 04, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think this is about drug addiction and what it has done to him"i have become a silent movie
    the hero killed the clown" is how drugs have made him separate himself the clown being him and the hero being the drug "can't make a sound" is how it makes him feel "nobody knows what he's doing
    still hanging around" no one knows why he is still alive"the slow motion moves me the monologue means nothing to me" im guessing the drug makes him feel like hes in slow motion while the monologue is the speech his friends and family give to him about his condition"bored in a role, but he can't stop standing up to sit back down and lose the one thing found spinning the world like a toy top
    till there's a ghost in every town" he wnts to syop cant resulting in him losing the one thing he loves his girlfriend this happens more than once resulting in his relationships (the ghosts) dying whereever he goes "eyes locked and shining can't you tell me what's happening?" kind of self explainable
    "why should you want any other, when you're a world within a world?" why should he stop when he disconented
    cokfight666on February 12, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe slow motion moves me.
    The monologue means nothing to me.

    Does it get any better than this?
    I think the fuck not.
    H.B.on July 23, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOne of Elliott's more powerful songs ... the line "Nobody knows what he's doing" is a very poignant image to me: the visceral image of an individual fucking up royally but also (most importantly) very publicly. And everybody else standing around and watching and wondering why that person is fucking up so badly, the bystanders judgmental but also ultimately unable to change that person's decisions ... such is free will

    Like standing up to make a speech at a wedding and fumbling over the words and mucking the whole thing up because you're nodding off or something, then sitting back down but too high to be embarrassed ...
    seanmo63on April 24, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI really adore this song, everything about it. I'm not quite sure what it means but knowing Elliott Smith it's not happy. MAYBE it's about getting sick of having an image to live up to. not necessarily him, but anyone.
    I can do the Frugon March 14, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwow. yet another elliott smith song that so many people can relate to. i think it's about slowly losing your spark. he's lost the will to go out and be exposed to the rest of the world. he doesn't like it necessarily, but life is so confusing....like this song. and sometimes, when you're not too into the real world, you make your own world within a world. because, life gets so boring when you're quiet.
    comatoaston April 18, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI've always seen it like...it's hard to explain...you know when you think and feel and know so much that you can't express it? when you're going so fast that you are frozen? when extremes touch?

    I think that the last line is not sarcastic, but very positive. it's every introvert's idea after all. it's not about dreaming, or illusions, it's about being so full and complete you don't need to look outside for anything. kind an ode to autarchy. yes, maybe a bit solipsistic (sp?), but not negative in itself. I actually read it as very positive. it is for me at least.
    dorareeveron April 16, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit seems the character in this song has become a trgic hero and has lost his/her ability to enjoy themselves...the slow motion of the tragedy is the only high they can get from life conversation is meaningless for they are detached ...they are bored with life nothing is challenging..."standing up to sit back down" actions make no sense anymore the sum is always the same ,mundane...the days keep passing by friendships die from self absorbtion/pitty...eyes staring hopelessly can't anyone see them struggling and help... but why do they need anyone else when you are stuck in your own world you do not need anyone
    poopdeckpappion November 24, 2004   Link

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