Is it a love song?

I am a huge music person. I can't explain my love for it, but if you're a music person yourself, then there is no need to try. I am really focused on lyrics. I can't explain that either, but most people will tell you that I can catch lyrics and pick them out of a song. Why is that?

I like to try and figure out what's going on with the author of whatever song I'm into, and today I got a little more that I bargained for. I really like the band O.A.R. They define honest, thoughtful rock music without being exactly labeled. So earlier today, my wife and I were talking. We were engaged in a conversation when out of the blue, "Shattered" jumped into my brain. It's the newest song from O.A.R.'s latest record.

Don't ask me why. And please give me a few days to understand the reason this post flowed from this tune. If you're like me and thoughts flow in a random way at times, may I suggest you check out the song and then return to see where I am headed. If not, this post will make absolutely NO SENSE.
But first, ask yourself this one question: Is it a love song?

So, we were talking away when suddenly I wanted to hear the song. I pulled it up on my computer and watched the video. As I was watching and listening, I blurted out, "It's not a love song!" To which my NeNe replied, "How do you know?" I didn't know, and I still don't, and I may be wrong. It happens... However, as I began to really listen, I heard a discussion with ego. Yeah, I said "ego."

I should point out that I have been in a really unusual and uncomfortable space for a while now. It seems that most of my closest friends are in some way experiencing an unsettling, a sort of uprooting or just plain darkness. It is from this space, this place of uncertainty, that I heard the lyrics... perception is vital to seeing truth. I am aware of ego, and I have fallen victim to that part of me that would keep me from finding my true self many times. But, alas, that is yet another discussion better saved for later.

The writer sings about always turning the car around. That is the hook, and for some, perhaps the majority, that is all that remains with them after hearing it. But listen again. He speaks of being tired of the same old scene, thinking of leaving? "...but, it's always back to you." Most of us now hear it as a love song, but listen... he goes out into the dark with his thoughts but they always go "back to you." Have you ever attempted to meditate or really pray intently about something? For me, the first thing that happens is the babbling starts and I have to work through all of that noise to get to the deeper place. That chaos that ensues when you make the effort to get close to God and your deepest self is the great deceiver, the shadow, or the ego.

It almost seems that he has a glimpse of once having gotten to a peaceful place because suddenly inspired, he says, "But I'm good without you..." Then crying out about being broken and not being able to find what he's after (ever been there?), he asks for a break so he can find his own pattern, knowing it takes time, but he's shattered. And whenever that happens, he always goes back to the old way, never pushing, beaten down, unwilling or unable to lean into it and discover the new thing.

Watch as he comments on how long the darkness lasts. Dark Nights are real, and for some of us it can seem like they might last a lifetime. (They don't.)

Back to the song -- could the rain be symbolic of our fears that keep pushing us back? Back to the old way? Maybe. But then he repeats with passion that he's "...good without you."
So then, it would appear that our singer seems to recall times of freedom. Maybe the reason he sounds happy/passionate at this point in the song is because he is aware of how good it feels to be unhindered by fear. He knows that going forward is the best way. He recalls those times when he has honored himself and done what he knew was best... for himself.
Just "give it up, baby. Give it up, give it up, baby."
Accept. Allow. Don't fight it anymore. Listen to your instincts. Trust yourself. Let it go... Stop faking it. Be real. Be real to yourself and the world might just become real for the first time.
Don't turn the car around. Don't go backwards. Get up, get out, and get on with your life.
"...turn this thing around." Turn your thing around.
AND --


  1. We think it could be about drugs and addiction.

  2. When you are in an emotionally abusive relationship, you feel like you are being torn apart piece by piece,little by little. You hold yourself together as best you can, but feel like at some point the pieces of you will shatter and there will be nothing left of the self you use to be. You want to leave, but during the process of your self being torn apart, you have lost your own persona. You have been forced to conform to your partner's. So you do what your partner demands and stay in the relationship.

  3. I think the rain is the onslaught of the darkness, wether it be verbal abuse or the mind games being played, etc. He stumbles out of the rain into the night, the night seemingly an escape.

  4. jeffers_kehoe@yahoo.co.inDecember 17, 2008 at 10:04 PM

    I think it is about succeeding through life's challenges - 'turn this car around' is a metaphor for resilience and having the belief and self-confidence to achieve what you want to happen....JK

  5. think you worded it pretty well....kinda the same concept i had on the song...about being real with yourself...stop turning the car around and going back to the same old same old...move on and realize and brighter things will happen....it could also be about a drug addiction....about going back to the drugs to hide from the truth and he's sick of it and wants to get over the addiction....either way its a great song!!!!!!!!! ~M. NYCE

  6. It is now art! In the universe you get out of anything what you need or want. That is the beauty of manifestation. As we all become one again we may indeed be ofarevolution to a grand singularity that is beyond our brain.


  7. I feel similar to other people. It is about a relationship specifically that he wants to break away from but cannot, for the comfort of having it. The uncertainty fears him, but he wants to experience the uncertainty and not be held down...but his subconscious always brings him back.

    Now if you wanted to take parts out of context...specific points of the song (example: "All that I feel is the realness I'm faking. Taking my time but it's time that I'm wasting. I always turn the car around.") This can take you away from a relationship-specific concept. This goes for everything in life. That part of the song touches me, as I have recently moved to a location I was unsure of as my heart wanted a different location. I haven't been here that long, yet am really faking the realness of being here. Faking my happiness. People say to take time before making a decision...but I feel time (and money) is what I am wasting. I want to turn that car around.

  8. I've HAD this relationship! I think it's about an unhealthy relationship, one in which it's toxic..always back to you! Comfort food for the soul, familiarity! Can't move forward, can't break the past1 Sad really!....a person who cannot move forward...stuck on spinning wheels..so much so he shatters..just plain lost! SO GLAD HE'S GONE IS MY THOUGHT!

  9. In relationship terms i feel that he really does love whomever he is with, but he has yet to experience other things. I feel he needs to find himself and his path in life in order to determine if they should really be together and in the end if its meant to be then its meant to be. His love for this girl keeps pulling him back despite his ambition to find himself. I say this because my boyfriend and I recently ended things when he went to live at college for the first time. He loves me and he always will, but having a serious relation ship at this point in his life will limit his freedom. He feels very uncertain and he's scared that maybe it was not the right decision which tears him apart inside, but he feels he has to make his own pattern in life and find himself before he can fully commit and settle down with somebody else.

  10. A guy who Im not with, but kind of together when he comes home from college( only an hours drive)sent me this song. Hes sent me a good amount of sad love type songs since ive been with him...we both expressed that we really like eachother but things like age difference(hes 22 im 17) and where we are in life at the time holds us back from taking it to the next level and being serious...we recently got in a fight when I told him about another guy I saw but I didn't think it was a big deal to say because we're not together! anyways he went on how im "immature" and "like everyone"...we haven't really talked but he sent me this song in a text message and i do not get how it relates to our situation or how he feels about me? im so confused, what do you think??

  11. i think the boy is confused... that is generally the case with young men as well as old. Find someone who doesn't challenge you when you express yourself honestly. He either loves like you are or he is trying to change you, in which case you should run like hell. good luck and let me know how it goes!

  12. I say it's neither...it's the conflict that we face with love. If he was saying he's moving on he'd say it...instead, he's unsure because he's tried it but still keeps turning the car around. That's the conflict: move on or mend things. Moving on can lead you to find something better...or not.

    And you can see that internal conflict that's killing him in the last three verses:

    "I always turn the car around
    Don't want to turn that car around
    I gotta turn this thing around"

    When he says that he wants to turn this THING around (not the car this time) maybe he's saying the relationship?...who ever knows what's right?

    Thoughts?? I've totally been there and i wanna know if i should turn the car around myself

  13. I have just gone through a separation. That song means more to me now than when I posted it. I think that you should listen to what your heart tells you. It's ok to lean into the risk, just don't give up on your dreams.

    Good luck Daniel. I would love to hear how things work out for you. Your happiness is inside. Check this out -- http://jeffbakertalks.blogspot.com/2009/06/everywhere-i-go-there-i-am.html

  14. SHATTERED will always be a beautiful but difficult rendition of watching my son break away to become his own confidante. He adjusted seemingly well to a difficult divorce with all the unavoidable messes that comes with control struggles for a balanced upbringing. But my concern is that my best intentions has left him wondering if a marriage and home is really all it's cracked up to be. He recently hit the road, and though he has come home a couple of times, plans to eventually live out of his car for an indefinite period of time. I pray that there is enough love and laughter out there to make his journey to maturation a more fulfilling one that his childhood.
    For any of you contemplating divorce, think again.
    For any of you contemplating marriage, think again.
    For any of you contemplating having children, think again.
    If you are blessed with having children now, always, always, see life through their perspective before making a change in their life.

  15. I think the man has found love. He loves this girl and wants to be with her. She loves him too but wants to experience life. He is ready to commit. With that he is caught up between waiting for her to realiZe what she has in him, or move on and risk losing her all together. ??

  16. I can't understand why so many people think it's a love song. It's a sad song yes, but I think it's about someone who feels trapped, like there being controlled and just want to be their self, break free but they just can't do it. I imagine the person in this song as a shy, quiet person who is just scared to be themselves. In school I felt like that I was just the "shy kid" and yet some how I felt trapped and never manage, like when he says turn the car around.

  17. I could never figure out why this song drew me in and pulled emotions out of me that I couldn't explain. Like feeling sad even though I had been happy most of the day. After looking around the internet, reading the lyrics and other's opinions about the meaning of the song, I now am beginning to understand why this song resonates so deeply with me. I dated a guy for a very long time and at the end of our relationship we were growing apart, not fully realizing it, and unfortunately it eventually turned emotionally abusive. This song seems to put words to how I felt during that time in the relationship. I thought I wanted to leave but every time I though I would, I would always go back because I loved him. And since we were living in separate cities, it is easier to understand the "I'm good without you". Before things fell apart he was my refuge from the storm. Then the refuge became the storm. I don't regret a moment of the relationship but I learned quite a bit about love, life, and what I really needed to be happy. I still think this is a well done song and think I'll enjoy it more now that it's helped me to work a bit more through a rough time in my life.

  18. I agree with the anonymous person who said that this guy is in love with this female but wants to experience other things before fully committing to another person for a serious perhaps long-term relationship. From my perspective and understanding of this song, i get the sense that they both love each other, probably the female is more sure about how serious she is to start a relationship with this guy, but the guy on the other hand, is probably a little afraid of committing maybe too soon. He is afraid that if he commits to this other indiviual too soon he might be missing out on other things he can be doing as a single, and free man. I say this because my boyfriend sent me song when we were separated for a while, and this is my interpretation. They both love each other but maybe in this point of their lives getting together and being serious about it is probably not the best moment...at the moment.

  19. Thanks again for bringing up the post Jeff. I initially posted last June but had to rethink why I was so drawn to the songs meaning. I initially identified it to be about my son but after reading other postings I see how it's interpretations can take very different aspects of a relationship. The song always made me feel guilty that my son didn't seem to be breaking away from home in the typical way that teenagers break away to fulfill their dreams. I now feel that he kept coming back to rescue me from an abusive marriage which I just realized I need to break away before I'm shattered.

  20. Thanks for posting! Can't truly express or put into words how I felt - hearing the song while reading your blog! This is GREAT! What an analogy! I am currently where the singer is, I am on the fence of staying/leaving. I am married and have been verbally/emotionally abused now for about 1 year and it keeps getting worse. I need to leave and want to leave, sometimes. I struggle with the fact that I am married and do not know if I should be staying, or if I should be even trying harder to work on things. I am confused! I go to counseling, alone. I try and tell him how I feel and nothing changes. I do love him but do not feel he feels the same. I love this song and love how you blogged about it, you made my day! Thanks!!

  21. Maybe it is about him being in a current relationship that is boring, "burn out scene", and he keeps thinking of that one love that he does truly love and is remiss that for one reason or another did not work out. Maybe they were too young, life forces pulled them apart etc... So the current relationship is the one that he needs to get out of... And he feels he needs to be "turning the car around" to the first love he can never forget.... :)

  22. This is a really sad song. I think one of the most powerful lines to me is "how many times can I break till I shatter?" I first heard this song the day of my Dad's funeral, when I felt completely shattered. Now I am struggling with the devastation of a husband who decided he didn't want me, and a painful divorce. The line "how many times can I break till I shatter" seem so powerful because I wonder how many times I can endure so much pain and not completely shatter. I can relate to "stumble out, in the night from the pouring rain." because I genuinely feel like that is all I have been able to do...stumble out of a horrible situation, trying to save myself.

    I also strongly connect with the line that says "all that it takes is time but I'm shattered." I know I will feel better with time, but coping with it right now, I feel so unprepared for it because I feel completely shattered.

    As for turning the car around...I think it is similar to what alot of people have said. It is that classic feeling when you truly love someone but you are in a terrible spot with them and you need to get out. Back and forth; certain but scared. I truly loved my husband, but he didn't want me and it showed in every possible way. Even still, it took me five years to finally get out. Every time I thought I absolutely had to leave I felt similar to the lines "its always back to you" "push me back to you" "I always turn this car around."

    This is definitely not a love song, though it is definitely about love. For now, the night is "taking so damn long" but I'm hoping I'll be "good without him" eventually.


Have any thoughts on this post? I'd really love to hear from you. Be Peace, Make Peace -- jb