“Child” [Lights] – lyrics for English students

A vertical triband design (red, white, red) with a red maple leaf in the center.

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What is this about? _ Where is everybody going? _ What am I doing here?

  • She seems very uncertain about her place in the world.

Can’t separate what I really need to know and _ What I just want to hear

  • *I can’t separate… This is related to today’s media in part since we hear so much information on TV and social media that it’s hard to decide what’s important and what’s not. Also, there may be some trouble deciding between what’s true and what she just wants to accept as true, similar to the whole “fake news” deal.

Maybe I’m alone _ Maybe everybody’s lost too _ Looking for a way out

  • She’s not sure if she’s the only one or if everyone is struggling with this. Problems of our times.

Maybe I don’t know _ Maybe I don’t even want to _ Just don’t want to be let down

  • *I just don’t… To “be let down” is to be disappointed because your expectations were not met.

There is no sureness, I kind of just stumble along

  • “Kind of” is a very popular term in common speech. It often shows that the speaker is not sure or is explaining something that they’re unsure about. It’s also used a lot just to take up space so that the speaker has time to think while they talk. “I just kind of need some help.” We also use it to mean “a little.” “I kind of liked that show, a little bit.” Different from when we use it to talk about a type of something. “Football is a kind of sport.” That’s a completely different usage.

There must be purpose in trying to keep on

  • *There must be a purpose… To “keep on” is to continue with something. In this case, it sounds like she’s questioning if there is a purpose to keep living, working hard, dealing with other people, etc. The tone is not suicidal or depressed, though; she seems to be just questioning the world and people’s motives.

What do I know? _ I’m a child _ Just trying to talk like a mother does

  • She says she’s not really a grownup but a child who is acting like she thinks an adult should act. A little girl in a grown woman’s costume, to put it one way.

Seeing life come and go all the time _ It’s never as long as you wish it was _ oh-oh-oh _ Maybe I’m still trying to see like a child does

  • It sounds like she’s saying that life or childhood don’t last as long as you wish they would. Even as an adult, she’s still trying to be confident and not worry about things, just like children do.

And I always feel like I did when I was younger _ Can’t talk sense into me

  • *You can’t talk sense… To “talk sense into someone” means that you give them some advice to make them wiser. She’s saying that people try to give her advice and help her, but she denies it and does what she wants anyway. This behavior is similar to a stubborn child, which is why she makes the connection.

How do you decide when to know or how to wonder _ Or how to just get free?

  • Here, “get free” means to free oneself from undesired situations, like the stress of social media, the news, and living in a complicated modern world. She struggles between knowing when to be a teacher and give information, when to ask questions and learn, and when to just accept things for what they are and not worry about them. She says a lot with just a few words.

There’s no certainty _ I kind of just stumble along _ Doesn’t bother me

  • *It doesn’t bother me… Her not using a subject in many of her sentences makes the lyrics seem very casual and relaxed, the same way she might talk in regular situations.

I’m trying to keep on

  • She says stumbling (making mistakes) doesn’t bother her, but she’s trying to “keep on.” This makes it feel like “keeping on” is not a huge struggle in her life. Maybe, like most people, she has accepted that there will be difficult times and that she will make mistakes. But she’s trying, and that’s the best she can do.

What do I know? _ I’m a child _ Just trying to talk like a mother does _ Seeing life come and go all the time _ It’s never as long as you wish it was, oh-oh-oh _ Maybe I’m still trying to see like a child does _ I’ve seen both sides of the door _ I’m not a child anymore _ But I can stand in it the way I did when I was a kid

  • She’s been a child and an adult, so she knows how both sides feel. Standing in the door gives the sense that she continues to be rebellious and speak her mind or be stubborn like she was when she was a child, at least when she wants to. She still keeps part of her “inner child” with her, both the bad parts (being stubborn, naïve, insecure, making mistakes) and the good parts (being outspoken, being confident, not worrying too much about life).

Then the lyrics repeat.

  • *Just a note: Child and kid mean the same thing, as with children and kids. Kid is more commonly used and sounds more natural in most situations, though child tends to be used in more serious situations.
    • “Do you want to play with the kids down the street?”
    • “Hey, you stay away from my child!”

Watch the video here: