Iris – The Goo Goo Dolls

31 05 2010

I put my iPod on shuffle for a change this morning, and it decided to play this song first off. One I haven’t heard in a long time – “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls. The song is an old one and very familiar, but for once I stopped and listened to the words. The intensity and raw vulnerability in them blew me away. I want to do something different today and write my thoughts on the meaning of the song – or perhaps more simply, what it communicated to me. See what you think.

And I’d give up forever to touch you

Cause I know that you feel me somehow

You’re the closest to heaven that I’ll ever be

And I don’t want to go home right now

And all I can taste is this moment

And all I can breathe is your life

Cause sooner or later it’s over

I just don’t want to miss you tonight

Verses one and two talk about the incredible ecstasy of complete connection with another human being. Not just anyone, but someone who understands you fully. With that comes a complete sense of closeness and security that envelops you in a moment of time – and you would ‘gladly give up forever’ to hold onto that powerful moment of pure intimacy.

And I don’t want the world to see me

Cause I don’t think that they’d understand

When everything’s made to be broken

I just want you to know who I am

The chorus takes you back out of that moment into the reality of the world around you, the people you see every day, and the way we live most of our lives inside layered shells of protection, not allowing our deepest selves to be exposed to the outside world… because we “don’t think that they’d understand”. We present a certain face to the world, to protect ourselves and manage the risk of relationship. Rather than being a bad thing, this is more just a necessary fact of the way we live – vulnerability comes with closeness and trust, and the closer we get to someone the more of those protective layers we strip off as more of our deepest self becomes visible. The last line of the chorus struck me the most – “I just want you to know who I am”. This, if anything, is the deepest longing of the human heart – to be known completely – understood – and accepted as who we are. We can know and accept ourselves, but the power and euphoria of receiving this from someone else, is beyond words, and one of the highest points of the human experience.

And you can’t fight the tears that ain’t coming

Or the moment of truth in your lies

When everything seems like the movies

Yeah you bleed just to know you’re alive

Verse 3… what happens if you lose that connection? Say you experience a breakup, or your loved one dies. Perhaps it is “better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.” With the sudden removal of something so deep and close, it seems like the writer has gone into a kind of emotional numbness – “You can’t fight the tears that ain’t coming”. While he is unable to grieve, he still knows that this was the one thing that made his life feel “real” – that deep experience of relationship is “the moment of truth in your lies”... it was so real and deep that everything else in life “seems like the movies”. He finishes the song weighing up the pain against the chance to experience the deepest and most powerful connection that life can offer: “you bleed just to know you’re alive.”

The song ends with one final repeat of the chorus:

And I don’t want the world to see me

Cause I don’t think that they’d understand

When everything’s made to be broken

I just want you to know who I am

What do you think?

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One response

9 06 2010
cyrus

i’ve heard the song a 100 times but never looked into it as well as ou have! Nice one mate!

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