Song Meaning, Song Lyrics and Music Analysis: “Faster” (by Third Eye Blind)

Third Eye Blind Out of the Vein CoverWhen I first heard the Third Eye Blind song “Faster”, I liked how it sounded. It sounded fast. It sounded fun. Then I listened to the words. Then I didn’t like it anymore. Or to be more specific, I deemed it inappropriate for me to be listening to and unchecked the box on iTunes so it wouldn’t play.

In retrospect, though, it’s probably not right to reject art on the basis of it not being “pretty” or “clean”, as that’s like pretending there’s nothing in this world other than what’s “pure” and “good”. So I feel I owe it to this song to go back, take another look, and see whether or not there’s anything meaningful here, or if this song really is just something meant to be raw and explicit with no interpretive depth or merit.

Warning: This Music Analysis is sexually explicit and filled with adult language. So it’s not for children. Or at least, not for children who haven’t been to high school. Or maybe middle school, these days…

Video:

Lyrics:

Horny & burned out now is how it always ends for me
Chemicals wear me down in your summertime bacchanalian
I saw you go
Faster
Then the morning comes
She walks away like a lady
It’s always the fallen ones
I think are always going to save me
I saw you go
Faster
I want to get off one time and not apologize
You got to steal the time from a life that’s passing by

In bed she flexes her knees to try and abate the feeling
She mouths the words please to the poster on the ceiling
I saw you go
Faster
Right in front of me
She stares at him so madly
She’s got the nerve to say
She wants to fuck that boy so badly
I saw you go
Faster

I want to get off one time and not apologize
You got to steal the time from a life that’s passing by
I want to get off one time and look you in the eyes
I want to get off one time, get off one time
I was hoping you would be waiting there for me lately
I was hoping you’d be waiting for me
I was hoping you’d be waiting there for me lately
I was hoping you would be there waiting there for me
I was hoping you would be waiting there for me lately
But you’re not the kind who would be waiting, not for anybody
You’re not the kind who would be waiting for anybody not even me

Just one time
I could go off right now
I want to get off one time and not apologize
You got to steal the time from a life that’s passing by

Not for sale

Not for sale

Not for sale

Analysis:

Uhh. Well that was different. I feel pretty scandalized for including those lyrics within this blog at all. But as explicit as those lyrics were, it’s also not immediately obvious exactly what they’re talking about. There certainly does seem to be room for interpretation. Time to go line-by-line.

The first line of this song is “Horny & burned out now is how it always ends for me”. Clearly, our speaker has had some recurring relationship issues, and the way the line is written makes it pretty obvious that the relationships didn’t end in the way that the speaker had wanted himself. We skip down a few lines, where he states, “It’s always the fallen ones/I think are always going to save me“. So the speaker is acknowledging here that these issues have happened to him enough times for him to refer to the occurrence as “always”. In addition, the speaker is confessing that he needs someone to “save” him. Save him from what, though? Loneliness? Despair? And just what kind of women has he been with, that he refers to them as “fallen”? Let’s read on before trying to jump to conclusions…

A key line that gets repeated over and over within this song is: “I want to get off one time and not apologize“. First, the term “get off” isn’t one I use–ever–and I wasn’t absolutely positive about its meaning, so I had to look it up to clarify exactly what it refers to. The more fitting definition I found for the term is “a derivative of ‘getting your rocks off’, which means to ‘relieve sexual frustration with the aid of another person‘”. An alternate definition is “to relax and be relieved of one’s duties and responsibilities temporarily“. While the latter definition would be a lot cleaner for me to work with, it’s unfortunately not applicable here. Within the context of this song, it’s pretty clear the speaker’s not talking about “getting off” on video games or something.

But why would the speaker need to apologize for “getting off” with this girl? Why would one need to feel guilty about an action that generally makes both people feel good? In a sexual sense, it could be presumed that the speaker is “getting off” and that his lover is not. But is this a song about sexual incompetence, and the speaker keeps losing girls because he sucks in bed…? I say no way. There’s definitely something deeper going on here. To take it one step further and strike a much more interesting layer, we can infer that this relationship is fulfilling for the speaker, but not for his lover. Thus, the speaker is “getting off” psychologically and being fulfilled by their relationship, whereas his lover is not. As a result, the speaker is feeling guilty and believes he has to be apologetic for making love to a girl, something that’s typically considered to be a good thing.

An accompanying line that gets repeated a few times is that “You got to steal the time from a life that’s passing by.” Let’s hold on to that one for a little bit, because it’s going to be vital in our analysis of the conclusion to this song.

Then we have some crucial lines about the girl staring at this poster of a guy on the ceiling during the sex: “Right in front of me/She stares at him so madly/She’s got the nerve to say/She wants to fuck that boy so badly“. Well, this is pretty straight-forward (though not classy), but it also has a bit of poignancy to it. Here’s this girl in the process of having sex with the speaker, but she’s staring at this poster of another guy, and saying that she wants to fuck him so badly. What kind of psychological/emotional repercussions does that have for the speaker, knowing that this girl he’s expressing his feelings for isn’t feeling much of anything for him, and is in fact wishing she was having sex with someone else while the speaker is making love to her? It’s no wonder he comes out of these relationships feeling “burned out“, as he stated in the first line.

Of note is that the lyrics about the guy in the poster are surrounded by a pair of lines about the girl going “faster”. This is where the song gets its name from. The girl is getting more excited–she’s physically moving faster during the sex–when she’s thinking about someone else besides the speaker. Mentally, she’s also moving on “faster” to another man besides the one she’s sleeping with. The speaker is fully aware of this and has to cope with it. This song is entitled “Faster” because it deals with the psychological consequences of the speaker being involved with this girl who’s more interested in other men than the speaker, even though she’s sleeping with him.

We also get the line from the speaker “I want to get off one time and look you in the eyes”. This is further confirmation that the speaker can’t look the girl in the eyes because he knows that they don’t have a real, mutually-loving relationship and as a result he feels guilty indulging in sex with her. Just once he wants to make love to a girl and be able to look into her eyes and see his feelings reciprocated.

This brings us to the section of the song with the lines “I was hoping you would be waiting there for me lately/But you’re not the kind who would be waiting, not for anybody”. These are pretty straight-forward lines expressing the speaker’s disappointment that the girl doesn’t want to be with him, and in fact she may not be willing to “wait” for any man. She may just want to jump from relationship to relationship, looking to experience as much self-indulgence and pleasure as possible.

What’s “not for sale“? Unfortunately for the speaker, it’s the love of the girl he’s involved with. As the speaker repeated within the song several times, he has to “steal the time” from her–he can enjoy her fleetingly, but she’s not something that can be permanently obtained or “bought”. The ending of this song is both an acknowledgment and a lamentation that the speaker’s feelings cannot and will not be returned by the girl that he’s singing about in this song.

Summary: So is this just a song about sex…? Well, no. Not entirely. I mean, this is definitely a song about sex, but it’s more about the speaker’s feelings about the girls that he’s been involved with. This is a song about loneliness and despair, about romantic emotions and unrequited love. What the speaker is feeling is near-desperation. He’s looking for someone who’ll have a mutual, loving relationship with him, but all he seems to get involved with are girls interested in sexual flings and then moving on to guys that they like more than the speaker. Unlike many songs, there’s no positive resolution to this song, no promise of a happy ending. The speaker is simply lamenting these incidents that have happened repeatedly to him in his love life, with no guarantee that things are ever going to get better. Just as in real life, there’s no certainty of achieving”true love”, just a feeling of the speaker’s determination to continue trying to find it. That’s definitely different from your typical song. I like that.

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2 Responses to Song Meaning, Song Lyrics and Music Analysis: “Faster” (by Third Eye Blind)

  1. Brian says:

    Personally I feel this song is more than just about sex. I think it is being mutually accepted by someone…probably a significant other and not wanting to be criticized by them.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Definitely about sex. I always took the “I was hoping you would be waiting for me…” line to be about orgasm.

    This song is awesome and I assume about Charlize Theron and Stephan Jenkins’ relationship.

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