Our Lady Peace Song Explanations

Though Raine has his own reasons and inspirations for writing the lyrics of songs, he prefers that the listener takes something different from each one, instead of him telling fans what they mean. It's important that the lyrics be challenging enough for him to sing, to keep interest in the long term. "I'm the one who has to sing these songs and if it ends up being 300 nights a year, they'd better have a powerful effect on my life. Otherwise, they'll end up feeling stale."

"If you're going to go on stage and sing your own music, and, I guess, my lyrics, I just have to be completely honest. You just let yourself go with it. [They're] meant to be interpreted. I have a huge fear of being pretentious or grandstanding with my lyrics. So I try to make them a little bit more ambiguous, just to make them more universal, just so that each listener can approach it from every angle and take whatever they want from it, rather than me just sitting there telling them about my problems. They're really not that unique. It's a fine balance between being passionate about what I'm talking about and not giving it all away at the same time."

"I'd rather people criticized me for being honest than for being some guy who is preachy or full of shit."

"I think it's like having a baby [the lyric writing process] is very painful for me. It's all observational for me and I take notes about things that interest me. I go back to them every couple of weeks or months and see if they have any relevance to me and slowly decipher stuff until we're ready to put music to the words. It's a really strange thing how it all happens for me and it's tough, because when I write, I'm playing the acoustic guitar and trying to put all these melodies to the words and, all of a sudden, you have all these rules. It's not like poetry, but I feel that I'm becoming better at it and hope to continue getting better."

"As a lyricist, I've grown tenfold. I don't know for what reason, maybe you just get better with age or experience. I think the lyrics are not as surreal and ambiguous as they were on the Naveed disc. I think Clumsy's lyrics kind of hit home, a little more. They all derive from personal experience, but I don't think people will think I'm overindulgent and just talking about myself. Clumsy's lyrics guide the listener through the story a lot quicker. You'll be able to pick up on the meaning within the song, without trying as hard. There's a lot of room for interpretation, they're still very open, which I think is important. My problems really aren't all that unique, so if people can't take them home with them and feel like they can somehow relate them to their lives, then it's not really worth it."

"The more general and open-ended you can leave lyrics, the more people are going to be able to take home for themselves and put their own perceptions on them, and not be so narrow-minded because someone is telling them specifically what you need to take out of a song"

The Birdman

"I assume he was some kind of politician that lost it and was living on the streets and just going nuts all night,"
begins Maida with the brand of easy charisma that assures a spellbound audience for each of his effortless tales.
"It was so strange. [The next morning] I just caught a few words as I passed by him, and he was one of the most
intelligent people I've ever heard speak. Right then I had this enlightenment. I didn't give him a chance, and
there's probably so many times where you miss opportunities because you form an opinion so quickly." - Raine Maida

From Our Lady Peace by Alison Rosen/Axcess magazine[Vol III #3 1995]


Like many other songs, this too is based on a book. I believe that it's by Ken Carey, and is titled "You are the seed, the origin of much that is to come."


"Not a whole lot [is behind the song]. The lyrics are my take on religion. I'm into a lot of meditating. My Dad was Catholic and he tried to school me in that, but I never really caught on. I'm always interested in religion and the way it effects society. The "Starseed" thing is about going out on a meditation journey and coming back with something tangible. Something you actually believe in. Something that means something to me. In Western society, trying to have that incorporated into any religion would be hard to accept. Most people are hard pressed to change their views. I realized with my Dad you can't change the old dog." - Raine Maida

From ROAR Breakout: Our Lady Peace by Ray Koob/FMQB/March 24th 1995

"It was based on this book by Ken Carey, 'The Starseed Transmission,' about a channeling experience he had .I took the premise of that and combined it with Western religion and how it's so hard to convince my father's generation of anything other than the religious values instilled in them. My dad tried to raise me as a Catholic. Every time I talk about religion with [him] it's kind of tough, you just kind of have to go about it on your own and persevere under the duress of your family, usually. I think our whole generation is looking for [answers] and looking for bits and parts of religion and not being sucked in by the whole stringent approach, like Catholicism and stuff like that. And the [song's] whole chorus is about if you've had this channeling experience and found something that actually meant something to you, bringing it back and trying to convince anybody else is
not always an easy task. We're obviously not the first generation to [seek spiritual answers], but it seems really relevant right now, especially the last few years with the economy and everything, everyone's questioning stuff. Especially my three years at the University [of Toronto], it seemed like everybody was just passing time, and they knew they wouldn't have a job [upon graduation]. They were still going through the motions. It's just been a weird few years. I think these days with the whole global village, information is so readily available, you can learn about Taoism or any type of philosophy or religion, so you can pick good things out of all of them and make your own... If you are going to have religion, it should be something you're comfortable with, not something you're fighting." - Raine Maida

From The Modern Age by Eric Boehlert/Billboard/week ending May 13, 1995


"It's named after a friend of mine. His name is Naveed. He's Iranian and one day he told me the background [of the name] was a person referred to as a bearer of good news. We don't want to make this seem like a big concept album. But it just seemed to be fitting for us to kind of put some optimism in the whole record. I mean, the lyrics are kind of dark and I think one can see there's an aggressive nature to the record. But we didn't want to be another angry band that didn't think." - Raine Maida

From Virtually Alternative "Our Lady Peace" by Karen Holmes/Virtually Alternative/March 13th 1995

"Naveed is an ancient Middle Eastern term for bearer of good news encompassing the distance between
mysticism and reality," he explains. Naveed bursts with emotional openness coupled with Maida's stream of
consciousness musings. The singer intentionally leaves his lyrics open-ended, but the themes are universal,
questioning spirituality, love, liberty, hope and despair. "'Naveed' was a friend of mine," explains Our Lady Peace singer Raine Maida about the title of his band's debut record (on Relativity). "It's Persian for 'Bearer of Good News,' and in the lyrics, there's always some kind of optimism... the idea was to thread some positively through the entire record." - Raine Maida

From Our Lady Peace Biography May 17, 1995

"Naveed" is kind of ties in all the lyrics. Naveed is a middle eastern name that stands for the bearer of good news, and a lot of the songs talk about strife and struggle, but it's more on a personal level for me. 'Naveed' talks about someone scared to die, but at the same time interested in it." - Raine Maida

From Our Lady Peace by Drew Masters/M.E.A.T. Magazine/March-April 1994, Issue #48

"Naveed is the ancient Middle Eastern name for bearer of good news," explains Our Lady Peace vocalist/lyricist
Raine Maida. "We took the concept of Naveed and placed it into the dark optimism of our music. Naveed is a
constant quest to obtain knowledge, possessed with the desire to grow mentally and spiritually. We have forced
Naveed to travel the distance between mysticism and bitter reality." - Raine Maida

From Our Lady Peace "Naveed" Date unknown/Sony Music Entertainment

Superman's Dead

"It's just about how hard it is for kids to grow up today. They're inundated with the media and images and cliques
they try to have to fit into. Two images that are really strong for me lyrically are ordinary's just not good enough
today,' and when I think of kids today, I would never think of a group of eight year olds going out to a baseball
park and throwing the ball around. It doesn't happen any more. I have a nine year old brother; he's either inside playing Nintendo or staying up late on a school night watching Beavis & Butt-Head. And you juxtapose that against the old Superman, on the black and white series. He was a real hero, good values, strong willed, a gentleman, but I think Beavis & Butt-Head wins today." - Raine Maida

From Edging your bets: OLP tramps back to town by Mike Ross/Express Writer/Friday, August 29, 1997

"Media in general has made it pretty impossible to have an innocent view of heroism. No one can be a hero without there being an ulterior motive. You're not doing it because you're nice, you're trying to get something. That's sort of an element of what we're talking about in 'Superman.' It's not good, kids don't have their own identity because they get one made for them. Their told by advertisers, media and entertainment. What they like, who they should be friends with, what music they listen to, what clothes they wear. They have a complete identity that they learned to conform to by they're 15 or 16. They've had absolutely no personal investment in getting their own identity and that's not good." - Mike Turner

From Our Lady Peace: Is Superman Dead? by Jess Redmon/November 29th 1997

Automatic Flowers

Mr. Maida began by thinking about a woman who lived alone in her apartment. She has little going on in her life, and the apartment is dingy, without much of a view. She has boxes from her childhood, and one day she takes out a pop-up book and opens it to a garden with pop-up flowers. Whenever she wants to cheer herself up, she opens the book.

He doesn't put that entire history in the lyrics, just traces of it - ``Crying, crying/She couldn't afford the view/Crying, crying/These automatic flowers won't do.''

From Peace songs offer lyrics worth digging for by Bill Syken/Sept 11th 1998


    "Hey, you all remember that game where you're, you're like 8 years old or 9 years old, you'd be walking home from 4th grade, remember 4th grade? Remember your 4th grade teacher? Mine was Ms.Bealak, she was a real bitch. Remember 4th grade and you're walking home right? All of a sudden you're jumping, like this, right? You're avoiding the cracks, you're not steppin' on the cracks because, remember that game? Don't step on the cracks, don't break you're mother's back. Well, we're playing in Denver, it's hot as shit and we're all exhausted by the heat and all. Mike and I are walking right, and we start hopping over the cracks like a bunch of idiot's. Hold on, you don't understand. In my crazy head I start thinking about this silly kids game. It's supposed to be this silly kids game were you hop over the cracks, you don't break your mother's back. I'm thinking: you know what this isn't a game, this is like preparation for being an adult, or being like a teenager, and what happens, hold on, is those cracks become the math exam you failed, or the girlfriend or boyfriend, and now you're having a baby, they're pregnant, or the day your parents sit you down and tell you that they're getting a divorce. Those are the cracks that you have to hop over, you guys get that? This is what I'm thinking, and you're mother's back becomes your back, and no shit that it's to hard to take and sometimes you're gonna break right? Well this next song is about those days when you feel like you're surrounded by the cracks, they're all around you. It's called 'carnival'" - Raine Maida

Edgefest 1997

ARW: A lot of people wanted to know about "Carnival."

Mike: There's actually a cool story with how it happened. We sort of sequestered ourselves in a
cottage in northern Toronto to write this record. We did it by leaving a tape running, we had a cassette
machine and a microphone in there, we just left it running. The cottage is also pretty seriously haunted. I
know that says all granola and groovy.

Duncan: It's never been haunted before.

Mike: Coutts family cottage, so he's still complaining about it. Jeremy saw stuff.

Duncan: I saw stuff. Jeremy was playing with a wee gee board.

Mike: Which was stupid, stupid!

Duncan: I only did it once before. I was with a bunch of people and they asked "is this a good spirit or
a bad spirit" and simultaneously all the candles in the room blow out. I'm like, I'm never touching a wee
gee board again. So Jeremy buys a wee gee board to bring up to the cottage. He's like "I want a bad
spirit, I want a bad spirit." He literally went into this trance 6 hours later and some really weird things
happened. We were sifting through the tape a couple days later.

Mike: We were going back through the tape and I heard that (hums the strange melody) and
everybody's like, ewww!

Duncan: Where did that come from?

Mike: No one remembered playing it. It was like "did anyone remember this? What were we working
on when this happen?" Basically that section was almost complete. The song sprang out of that pretty
quickly, it has that vibe. We tried to keep that kind of dark, semi twisted vibe to it.

Duncan: It's just got one of those cool vibes too it, it'll always be a weird song for us.

From Our Lady Peace: Is Superman Dead? by Jess Redmon/November 29th 1997

Big Dumb Rocket

originally titled 'Spider Gun' and then 'Disgusted'

    "We were at friend's house and this one person had a really cool looking gun. He told me it's a Beretta. It's like a handgun, a real gun right. So my friend decides to take a shower. So I take the gun and play with it. I used to be this super huge Starky and Hutch fan. So i'm holding the gun thinking I'm pretty cool I guess. I take the clip out because I don't want to hurt anyone, obviously. So I put the clip back in the box thinking I'm fine. I go to his bathroom and sneak behind this corner and I can see him with my left eye. I decide that I'm gonna scare him. So when he shut off the shower, I come around and I say BANG!!! And he falls on the shower floor, very scared! He's laughing and crying. I just pointed his Beretta on him (my best friend). He said, "Do you know that a Beretta has 13 bullets, and there's a bullet still in the chamber you know!" - Raine Maida


    "The song 'Big Dumb Rocket' is about me almost killing one of my best friends with a gun. It was one of those stupid incidents. I didn't know there was a bullet in the chamber, it was a Beretta, I removed the clip, but I didn't
know that the bullet stays in the chamber always. That happened about two and half years ago, and I still have
nightmares about it. I was just a fucking idiot. Every song, is pretty much based on those four or five seconds where you have the chance to make the right or wrong decision. Luckily, in some of those instances, I didn't have to pay, but I did make the wrong decision." - Raine Maida

From Enjoying Mega Success by Mitch Joel/Circus Magazine/April 1998


Just generally a very personal song for Raine ("that song's about as personal as it gets"). His parents are really divorced, so this song has to do with the relationship between him and his father. The title of the song has a double entendre as well. '4am' - the time he wrote the song, and 'for A.M.', his father's initials.

 Canadian Musician Magazine

."4 am was like an epiphany," he says. "It happened at about 4 a.m. in my bedroom one night -- I wrote the chords and lyrics in about five minutes. Those types of things scare me, because you can't rely on that stuff. I get a little worried about that. When it happens that quickly, you feel like it's a gift. Sometimes I feel like I didn't write it," he adds, cryptically. "That someone, wherever, gave it to me." - Raine Maida

From Our Lady Peace on course by Kerry Gold/Vancouver Sun/January 27, 1998


"How are you guys doing this evening? So how many people here have younger brothers or sisters here? That you're going to go home and beat the shit out of? I have a younger brother...we did that until he got bigger than me, but most of our songs are about just that i, try to write all the lyrics that just specifically talk about pounding your siblings...but this next song is about going home, maybe even this evening and giving them a hug, it's called Clumsy." - Raine Maida
"This next song is about hugging your brother" (sound on my sounds page)

From Live at the Troubador - L.A. 1997

    "There's a connection between the song 'Clumsy' and it being the title of the album. There's a line in the song
that says: 'I'll be waving my hand/watching you drown/watching you scream', it's about seeing something but not
seeing it for what it really is. It is about decisions. That image of 'waving your hand/watching you drown', is about
seeing someone in the water, they're waving back at you and you're just waving back, not realizing that they are
drowning. Or, you think they're drowning, but they're just waving at you. It's those weird situations where you just take something at face value, but you can be so wrong. You have to look deeper and question things. I think it's something that too many people don't do these days. We're so inundated with fucking media, and you just believe it. How many times, not to just focus on us, have we read an interview or an article where we've been completely misquoted? We're just some small band, you think about some of the major players and you really have to question how true it all is." - Raine Maida

From Enjoying Mega Success by Mitch Joel/Circus Magazine/April 1998

"It's all about perceptions. I think a lot of times people tend to not give people the benefit of the doubt. It's a lot easier to get angry at someone and shrug them off, than really spend the time and put the effort into feeling out what may be troubling them or disturbing them or building a nurturing relationship with someone that you care about." - Raine Maida

From OLP Hopes for a Long Career by Jane Ratcliffe/Detroit News/March 5, 1998

"It's like I said before, it's just about perspective. At different times of the day you see the same things differently. It's just about standing back sometimes trying to really see what's happening and get to the heart of
whatever it may be. It's important to be analytical about things. i think sometimes people are a little temperamental or judgmental. Sometimes the energy you have stored up in your body comes out the wrong way and you have to be aware of the things you say to people and the way you view your problems. That's the whole 'watching' thing. You can see someone and they might appear to be waving you good-bye and you can walk away and they'll end up drowning, or you an see it from a different perspective and see that they are drowning and they need your help and you need to jump in and save them." - Raine Maida

From OLP interview in Extreme Magazine(issue 16)/Spring 1997

Hello Oskar

Derived from a book titled 'Hello, Oscar', about schizophrenia. There is a reference to Betty Page, who was a 50's pin-up girl, one of the most photographed people ever - up there with Marilyn Monroe. She would pose nude for lingerie, until one day she just disapeared. She probably left to pursue a normal life, and no one has heard from her since. The character Betty Boop was based on this woman.

The Story of 100 Aisles

originally titled 'Anacin'

Car Crash

One of the only songs on the album where the title is exactly what the song means.

(sound on my sounds page)

"It's a song about a, the long country road. It's 2:30 in the morning and you're driving home. And you're tired and your eyes are falling. You can't see too far ahead of you. All of a sudden traffic slows down, right? And all you see is brake lights for miles. In your mind, frustration builds. Slowly but surely traffic moves, and you finally get over this hill, and you can see there's all these beacons, right, it's a police car, or, an ambulance or both. Frustration slowly, slowly turns into anxiety, right, and you wanna see what's going on up ahead. All of a sudden your car gets close enough to where you can see that there's another car that's flipped over in the ditch, and there's, one beyond that, is maybe on fire, and there's police officers and ambulance attendants, and everyone's frantic, right, and you, you reach for that door, to get out, and then something pulls you back and you get this sick feeling in your stomach right, that, tells you to stay in your car. This next song's about a night just like that and the reason you were stopped in your car is because somebody crossed that yellow line and tried to kill themselves. It's a song called Car Crash." -Raine Maida

From Live at the Troubador - L.A. 1997


"So um, I have an interesting story, The story is something I read about four years ago. This story is about the Russian circus, or the country that used to be Russia, that was famous for this circus, and in that circus they were most famous for their high flying trapeze artists, right. Hold on, These trapeze artists, the unique thing about this was that these two famous, or most famous people was they were married. They were a husband and wife team, how romantic is that? The funny thing, one day, they'd been touring for eight or nine years, the husband before he's about to perform makes his way slowly, slowly but surely up the stand to his little perch, right up here, he'd be there in big arenas like this right, they were playing arenas like this, right. So the husband would be perched up here, right, and he'd be waiting patiently for his show to begin, right. So he would stand up there all ready and his wife would be at the other end of the arena, that'd be way over here, and what he'd done for eight years was, just before they were about to perform he would give this loving, knowing glance to his wife. So, once there was this time he looked across the arena, he looked across the arena and he would pick up the beautiful smile she had. Now this one particular evening, the husband was up there, he knows it's time, and he looks across the arena right, he waits for his wife's knowing glance, that beautiful, knowing glance, and he looks for it, only this time, hey, hey, only this time the wife perched up there is not looking that way but she's looking down in the corner, and in that corner is the human cannonball, so the husband starts thinking, his mind starts racing, he's thinking about the last two days, two weeks, two months, two years, and he realizes, he says to himself "Holy shit...my wife's fucking the human cannonball" And this next song, we've recorded but have not yet released is about the four seconds that he has to decide whether he actually wants to catch his wife or not, it's a song called "Trapeze"."

Arena Tour 1997

."Some of the first lyrics I wrote were for 'Trapeze', a song which never made the record, but we play it live. These initial ideas kind of set the tone, because I really told a story. 'Trapeze' is about the head trapeze artist at a Russian circus who was married to one of the female performers. The couple got a divorce because he found out she was having an affair with someone else in the camp. That kind of set the tone for the record, which I think is based on making decisions, but when you get caught off guard and you have to make a choice. It's about what people choose to do in those times." - Raine Maida

From Enjoying Mega Success by Mitch Joel/Circus Magazine/April 1998

One Man Army

"One Man Army' is about the struggle for individuality. It's about finding the courage to strip naked and set fire to all your inhibitions. It's about cleansing yourself of all the people and things that suffocate your individuality." - Raine Maida

From the Woodstock.com Artist Bio/July 1999

Is Anybody Home

"[It's] a distress signal, really. It's a call to everyone who's found themselves stuck in their rooms having their souls sucked out of them by TV and having television or the Internet mold their values and interests. It's a call for help from one isolated person to another." - Raine Maida

From the Woodstock.com Artist Bio/July 1999

Other Songs from Happiness...

 Potato Girl - about a guardian angel
Lying Awake - about Benny Hinn
Annie - about a teased high-school girl who kills everyone

E-mail Alison - ourladypeacer@audiophile.com