I was hanging from a tree
Unaccustomed to such violence
Jesus looking down on me
I'm prepared for one big silence

How'd I ever end up here
Must be through some lack of kindness
And it seemed to dawn on me
Haemoglobin is the key

Haemoglobin is the key
To a healthy heart beat
Haemoglobin is the key
To a healthy heart beat

At the time they cut me free
I was brimming with defiance
Doctors looking down on me
Breaking every law of science
How'd I ever end up here?
A latent strain of color blindness
Then it seemed to dawn on me
Haemoglobin is the key

Haemoglobin is the key
To a healthy heart beat [Repeat: x4]

Now my feet don't touch the ground
Now my feet don't touch the ground
Now my feet don't touch the ground
Now my feet don't touch the ground

As they drag me to my feet
I was filled with incoherence
Theories of conspiracy
The whole world wants my disappearance
I'll go fighting nail and teeth
You've never seen such perseverance
Gonna make you scared of me
Cause haemoglobin is the key

Haemoglobin is the key
To a healthy heart beat [Repeat: x4]

Now my feet don't touch the ground [Repeat: x8]


Lyrics submitted by Ice

Haemoglobin Lyrics as written by Stefan Olsdal Brian Molko

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Haemoglobin song meanings
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74 Comments

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  • +5
    General Commenti cant believe no one has mentioned this. its clearly about OD-ing and being rescued just in time.
    lidia88on September 11, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General Commentyeah i get the whole racism thing, the lynching and colourblindness, but when it comes to the haemoglobin, i'm lost, perhaps it has to do with knowing that deep down where all the same, we all have haemoglobin, we need it to survive (binds with oxygen). *shrugs*
    sunday_girlon March 04, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentRacism. Haemoglobin is the same color in everyone. And by "healthy heartbeat" i think he means that a healthy heartbeat is one without hate. So if you remember that haemoglobin is in everyone, you'll be without hate for race... and therefore... hate-less, and healthy.
    or maybe I'm just tyring too hard.
    Scabareton July 03, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti have had a brainwave here. haemaglobin is the same colour in everyone, no matter what racem gender etc. i fink mayb brian is tryin 2 say how if yuo look deeper than the skin we see we ar ethe same. maybe, i dunno. makes kinda some sorta sanse to me anyways
    stebugon March 05, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIn many instances, I've noticed people talking about how LSD makes you think Jesus is looking at you, and like the Ben Folds song, he was up a tree. He might've OD'd, and that explains the doctors looking down on him. Perhaps the haemoglobin reduced signifigantly and his heart went whacked. The part about his feet not touching the ground may be symbolic to the fact he's high.
    oxyhaemoglobinon June 06, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhen I listened to the lyrics, REALLY listened to them, I thought of a monkey in the wild jungle just living it's life and minding it's own business. Then, scientists came and took the monkey and used him to test things like hair dye, make up, etc. That was always my first thought. But my second thought was definitely about the Holocaust. I love this song.
    tarynxzerowitzon July 29, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with the suicide-meaning sally mentioned. The heamoglobin stands for self-injuring I guess...
    "Haemoglobin is the key to a healthy heart beat" -> When the blood comes out (because of the self-injuring of cause...), he feels better.
    XCrusherXon April 06, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm currently writing an english assignment on this song, and my interpretation thus far goes as such:
    I was hanging from a tree
    Unaccustomed to such violence
    Jesus looking down on me
    I'm prepared for one big silence
    - he's obviously being hanged, but why he doesn't know. It's ironic that he's "unaccustomed to such violence" because whatever crime he supposedly committed must have been violent for people to hang him.


    How'd I ever end up here
    Must be through some lack of kindness
    And it seemed to dawn on me
    Haemoglobin is the key
    - by know he thinks he himself is to blame, ie: "must be through some lack of kindness"
    And here is wear Haemoglobin comes into play. I had no idea what Haemoglobin was, so I looked it up on Wikipedia. Long story short a deficiancy of Haemoglobin can cause anaemia. What are the symptoms of anaemia? Deathly pale skin.
    Get it?!
    He realises that *haemoglobin* is the key to why he's up there. If he had less of it, he would be paler. He would not have been lynched, he would have a "healthy heart beat"


    At the time they cut me free
    I was brimming with defiance
    Doctors looking down on me
    Breaking every law of science
    How'd I ever end up here?
    A latent strain of color blindness
    - okay, here I think the character has actually died. He's brimming with defiance, but he's helpless to stop whatever the doctors are doing to him, which is symbolic of a lot of racism. And of course, the colour blindness line. Racism. It's also interesting to compare the "doctors looking down on me" with "jesus looking down on me"


    Theories of conspiracy
    The whole world wants my disappearance
    I'll go fighting nail and teeth
    You've never seen such perseverance
    Gonna make you scared of me
    Cause haemoglobin is the key
    - the character now feels lost, abandoned, angry and alone. The whole world hates him. At the beginning of the song he's confused and naive, now he's been turned into some twisted creature by the people who outcast him. ala "I'll go fighting nail and teeth...gotta make you scared of me" By murdering him, they turned him into what they feared in the first place.

    Yeah, that was very long winded and pointless. I know I've read too much into it, but it *is* for an english assignment. :P
    heartbeats_xxxon March 03, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHi everyone, loved this song for years.

    I don't think the song is about suicide at all. The line "Unaccustomed to such violence" suggests to me that the person is a victim of violence from other people, not violence inflicted by themself.

    Also the line " Must be through some lack of kindness" - i always thought it meant the victim is in this situation because of the bad actions of others (or lack of kindness).

    But now I think, as someone else mentioned sort of, that the victim is confused and maybe naieve as to why he/she is hated. Almost like a confused child the victim assumes that he/she must have done something wrong, when in fact it is the blind hatred of people that is the problem, not the person hanging on a tree....

    p.s I just realised how pretentious my username may sound. Just listened to serj's song "unthinking majority" from SOAD so i thought id be clever lol
    ThinkingMinorityon September 05, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThere are cases in life where a person actually dies on the operating table...or at least they are "pronounced dead". Then, shortly after, they actually resume their heart beat, and come back alive, in a way. This appears to be what happened to the person speaking the lyrics..."doctors looking down on me, breaking every law of science"...as in...it seems impossible that he woudl come back alive. And I think the haemoglobin reference is just a metaphor for him willing himself back to life...by realizing what he needs to do to become alive again. Haemaglobin is necessary for a person to live, and it seems like this realization just made him bring himself back to life. Also, it is indeed true that haemoglobin's binding to oxygen gives blood its red color. This works with the anti-racism theme then...because it's like the person died for being sinfully racist in the first place (latent strain of color blindness)...and then realizing that the substance which is necessary for EVERY human being to live is actaully colored (red) he snapped back into life with a confused state of mind (filled with incoherence). The one thing i'm not sure about is the whole "gonna make you scared of me" thing.
    rhoadsnroses82on October 27, 2008   Link

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