"Grinding Halt" as written by Robert James Smith, Laurence Andrew Tolhurst and Michael Stephen Dempsey....
No light
No people
No speak
No people
No cars
No people
No food
No people
Stopped
Short
Grinding halt
Everything's coming to a grinding halt

No sound
No people
No clocks
No people
No fine
No people
No me
No people

Stopped
Short
Grinding halt
Everything's coming to a grinding halt
Everything's coming to a grinding halt

Slow down
Slow down
No people
Slow down
Everything's coming to a
Everything's coming to a
Everything's coming to a
Everything's coming to a


Lyrics submitted by oofus

"Grinding Halt" as written by Michael Stephen Dempsey Laurence Andrew Tolhurst

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Grinding Halt song meanings
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12 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentI read in The Cure's biography that this song's lyrics were actually written by Lol Tolhurst and the lines were originally longer, but then Robert shortened them so they only contained the start of each sentence. And it's apparently about 'apathy and decay'. It could be interpreted literally as being about the world coming to an end, but more likely it represents a state of mind, a person not caring any more to the extent that their world comes to a grinding halt, as in it no longer means anything for them.
    MaskOfSanityon April 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti dunno i like it you know
    hehehe
    its the old stuff.. can;t listen to it as much as the new stuff but when i am in a really grr grr mood it suits just fine.. no bloody people.. a mental deletion for a while
    Ratzodyon September 15, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is like things suddenly coming to an end, almost like the end of the world maybe. (No light/No people/No speak). Who knows?
    theexplodinggirlon January 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think maybe this song is about death and or dying. I appreciate "Grinding Halt" because it's minimal...it grabs my attention, but it's what's not in the song, and how intricate and wrought it isn't, that makes it enjoyable.
    sorrywrongnumbahon January 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song rocks!
    HateSaikoon January 29, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentto me this song could mean both things a sudden end to something or the fact that without people there wouldn't be any fine's, car's etc
    ashiton December 29, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI totally agree with MaskOfSanity. The meaning is right on the dot.
    penguinTUXon February 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's about the end of the world, possibly through nuclear catastrophe
    CuteSparkinaon August 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentlove it. kudos for maskofsanity
    existentialanxietyon February 02, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe "group home demo," from the deluxe edition of _Three Imaginary Boys_, has the un-shortened lyrics (for convenience I'll call the two Grinding Haltses the "short version" and "long version"). It's a rather fuzzy recording (it's from 1978, and the sense I get is that it was recorded in somebody's bedroom — given the ages of our heroes at the time, probably a very messy bedroom), and I find Smith's accent tough to decipher in some of his earlier stuff already, even under the best of recording conditions, so I've had trouble figuring out more than a few ("most" would be another appropriate word; "the vast majority" would also be descriptive) of the words. Actually, the only reason I never posted about this here was that I just assumed that everyone here had the same difficulty.

    Of course, I'm hardly the first person to try to figure out these lyrics. I didn't look at the attempts that a few quick searches turned up until after trying to figure it out myself. It's a research thing — don't want the results to be biased. I was hoping that what I was able to find would be just the beginning and that with the aid of so many (seemingly) different sources I would surely find the real words. Alas, when I did take a look look at said search findings, a lot of the alleged lyrics didn't even fit the number of syllables let alone the actual sound.
    only only only only only It seems clear to me that a lot of them just copied each other, that none of them had any particular claim to authority. (The official Cure site has only the short version, understandably.) I only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only only onlt was clear that a lot of them were either posted by the same person or that they were using each other as sources. In general, if I read the lyrics to a song, and it's accurate
    When I listened to the demo recording again I couldn't get much of the posted "lyrics" to match up except for the occasional not-very-helpful word or two. (Usually, if I read lyrics I know are accurate (e.g., printed on the album insert) while listening to a song, they match up well even if I couldn't tell what they were from just the recording.) Nobody else seems to have been able to come up with anything at all for the fourth line of the final verse, which suggests that if there is any other recording that has been used as source material, it too has some fuzziness, and also that none of them actually had access to the correct words. The point being that I found all the posted lyrics for this song to be decidedly unreliable. Personally, I think it's better to just admit that you don't really know the words than post the wrong ones.)

    I can't imagine I'm the only one here who has heard this recording (if you don't have, you can hear it on countless web sites), so I'm wondering:
    (1) what do people think of the long version? [the song itself, that is; as noted above, the recording definitely isn't exactly top of the line,]
    (2) does anyone know if there are any other recordings of the long version out there?
    and (of course)
    (3) can anyone figure out any more of the words to the long version (and convince me that their interpretation is correct
    GwiberWyrddon March 17, 2018   Link

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