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Drops Of Jupiter (Tell Me) by Train

Album: Drops Of JupiterReleased: 2001Charted:
  • In an interview with VH1, lead singer Pat Monahan revealed that he wrote this song about the death of his mother. Train released their first album in 1998, and were touring that year when Monahan's mother was dying of lung cancer - she was a heavy smoker. This was before the widespread use of cell phones, and Monahan made many stops to pay phones on the tour to speak with his mom during this difficult time. In December of that year, his mother died, and in early 1999 Train was working on their next album when their record company started pressuring them for a hit. Monahan returned to his childhood home in Pennsylvania, and woke one morning with the words "back in the atmosphere" in his head. Beginning a time of healing, he started to compose the song. Said Monahan: "Loss of the most important person in my life was heavy on my mind, and the thought of 'what if no one ever really leaves? What if she's here but different. The idea was, she's back here in the atmosphere."

    He recorded a demo of the song and played it a week later for Donnie Ienner, who was president of their record company, Columbia. While Monahan wasn't sure how the song would go over, Ienner loved it and told him it was his Grammy song. He was right: It won Grammys for Best Rock Song and Best Instrumental Arrangement With Accompanying Vocalist. Ienner had Train record the song quickly so they could put it on the album and use it as the title track.
  • The string section was arranged by Paul Buckmaster, who has done arrangements for Elton John, David Bowie, and The Rolling Stones.
  • Pat Monahan said of this song: "It was an obvious connection between me and my mother. 'Drops of Jupiter' was as much about me being on a voyage and trying to find out who I am. The best thing we can do about loss of love is find ourselves through it."
  • Train was in danger of becoming a one-hit-wonder before they released this. Their first hit, "Meet Virginia," was released 2 years earlier.
  • It was a few years before Monahan revealed the story behind this song, and the common interpretation is that it was about a woman who leaves her man to find out if they belong together. Monahan would give vague answers when asked about the song, at one point saying: "This is a woman who's strong and has to find out who she is and a man willing to let her do that."
  • This is the type of song which lends itself to personal interpretation, and was most often considered to be about a former lover, a young woman or just someone the writer knew who went on a voyage of self-discovery - not necessarily by traveling to distant lands.

    When they suffer personal tragedy, many people feel a closeness to their departed loved one. This is not a song about reincarnation as such, but about the idea that no one ever really leaves us. In spite of the different subject matter, it bears a striking resemblance to the Cat Stevens composition "On The Road To Find Out." Whatever, it obviously struck a chord with many people, and deservedly spent over a year on the Billboard Hot 100.

    Monahan said of the song: "It was an obvious connection between me and my mother. 'Drops of Jupiter' was as much about me being on a voyage and trying to find out who I am. The best thing we can do about loss of love is find ourselves through it." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England
  • Monahan has a permanent scar on his chin, which could explain the line, "One without a permanent scar."
  • Brendan O'Brien produced this track. He has also worked with Pearl Jam and The Stone Temple Pilots. He became interested in the band when he heard their cover of "Ramble On" on the radio.
  • Train performed an updated version of this song at the 2002 Grammy awards, which included a cello prelude by Denise Djokic and a full orchestra. When Train won the award for Best Rock Song, Monahan thanked his mother.
  • This ascended to the top 10 of the Adult Contemporary chart in its 49th week, marking the longest climb to the top 10 on that tally by any act.
  • On December 25, 2009 Two and a Half Men actor Charlie Sheen was arrested on charges of domestic violence against his wife Brooke Mueller. According to Us Magazine their Christmas Day brawl was caused by this song. Sheen allegedly told police that he and his daughter share a love for Drops of Jupiter, which angered Mueller. She lashed out, "You have a song [that] you share with your daughter, but not one with me?" which ignited the fight. Patrick Monahan responded to the news on Twitter, "I'm pretty sure that Drops of Jupiter is a positive part of Charlie Sheen and his daughter's relationship. Just gonna look at it that way."
  • The song returned to the UK singles chart in April 2012 after being performed by audtionee Phil Poole on The Voice.
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Comments: 69

I just heard a song today that sounds like this song:
Drift Away by Dobie Gray
Ed - Malaysia
OK, I've read about 75 of the comments here. Nowhere does anyone explain what the meaning of Jupiter is -- are we referring to the planet or something else? If the planet, what is the significance of that planet to the artist? What are "drops" of Jupiter then -- its moons?Sorry folks, but I have enough problems trying to understand the lyrics to music in general, much less what those lyrics actually mean. Thank goodness there are sites that provide the lyrics these days for those of us afflicted with APD.Thanks to anyone who can provide this explanation.Mal - Somewhere Off The Main Road
I listened to the song in the past without knowing about his mother dying and it sounds like a guy who is almost lamenting the need of his gf to find herself. After learning about the death of his mother and knowing that's what the song is about, it still makes sense, but now you have to look at it in a very different light to see that. Most of the lyrics are about his pondering the cosmic trip his mother took, only to come back because she is thinking about her son (which doesn't make it incestuous, it make her a caring mother), and him thinking that his mother is still paying attention to him after finding out that heaven is no big deal. Some of the middle lyrics make more sense if they are the words of his spirit mother talking back to him.

Artists, when writing spiritual lyrics often phrase things to where they can have a meaning that could be a relationship. Read a lot of U2 lyrics, understand that Bono was a spiritual person and wrote a bit about God and then you see a whole bunch of his lyrics in a totally different light when you first thought they were about something totally different.
David - Irving, Va
I don't recall another song that so many people were spellbound with like this one when it came out. It is so wonderfully epic. The composite of the lyrics: visually appealing; the orchestration: quality to the max; Pat Monahan's voice: passionate, sincere, yearning for answers to the questions he's asking.....all the while knowing that unconditional love is the answer to all of them. For years I thought he was singing about a girlfriend. When I heard he wrote it about his mother I was impressed. I was impressed.Camille - Toronto, Oh
I love Two and a Half Men. This song is alright.Cj - Oak Creek, Wi
Best song Train ever did! Amazing...Love this song! :)Megan - Stevenson, Al
I'm just wondering why he has to mention deep-fried chicken- Nick, Paramus, NJ

Train is one of my favorite bands man, and i could go on, on, and on on how great this song is. He's saying the how much the world would suck without the little things like fried chicken, and just talking on the phone with friends.
Ryan - Richmond, Va
Ok I scrolled down all of these and the ones that actually interpreted the song meaning left out the biggest part of the song.

Everyone's right about the main idea: The girl leaves the guy because she needs to go find herself out in the world before she can love the person again. So she goes out and indulges in the trends of the times (Mozart, Taebo was huge). The guy is scared that when she comes back he'll be too boring for her (plain ole Jane). And all along he keeps asking her questions about their relationship. He always asks if she can imagine life without him, if life would be better with someone else rather than him. The majority of the song is questions asking her this. He keeps asking if she finally understands that life without him is flashy at first, and may sweep her off her feet (wind sweep you off your feet), and she may fall for a guy like that too, who is awesome at first but then turns dull. the main question he asks is if she always misses him while shes trying to find herself. Then he asks her if she can imagine life without all the things they used to do (phone conversations, soy lattes, most importantly, him).
Finally, the last line is the major one: "Are you lonely looking for yourself out there?" The line changes from "did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there?" It shows that the guy finally got tired of waiting for her to come back; he's moved on. It's not worth waiting around for someone who doesnt want to come around either.
Bill - Oak Lawn, Il
Man I hate calling people stupid, but when you have idiots like Stewart, Bellevue, WA who state their opinion like it's fact, well, I really don't even have to call them stupid. The song can have different meanings for anyone and everyone who listens to it. But for Pat it's about his mother and inspired by her death and that's it. It ain't about some girlfriend who broke his heart. I doubt his girlfriends past or present even crossed his mind once while he was writing this song. Proof...


... Next some idiots are going to tell me that the record execs were behind Pat with a gun during the interview making sure he tells us that the song was about his mother.
Ed - Edmonton, Ab
Also... after some ex has perhaps ripped your heart out... the last thing Pat Monahan probably wants is that person bragging to everyone that they have a hit song written about them.Stewart - Bellevue, Wa
I forgot... "Five hour phone conversations"...

With your Mother?

I'm laughing with you Pat lol.
Stewart - Bellevue, Wa
Pat Monohan obviously got sick of being asked which girl the song was about at every dinner party/social gathering he attended that he has thrown his late mother who died of cancer in to stop all the questions (with due respect to his mother). Like Carly Simon, songwriters soeties write personal lyrics from the heart, then suddenly realise after the public inquest that they don't want to have to rehash everything to people they don't even know, let alone those they do know. The lyrics are so obviously about a relationship he had with an ex-girlfriend that to imagine it was about his dead mother, one would have to assume they had an incestuous relationship. The whole first verse, also "Did you fall for a shooting star, one without a permanent scar" (peramnent scar - obvious reference to himself), "Did Venus (God of love) blow your mind?", "Did you miss me while you're looking for yourself out there?". Would he be worried if his mother came back thinking he was "plain ole Jane"? Come on... Pat and his ex, who he probably doesn't want to make famous by naming her as the songs raison d'etre,know what the song is about, and he doesn't need half the world clammering to find out.Stewart - Bellevue, Wa
this song reminds me of my boyfriend and i... strange... yet i love this song so damn muchOlivia - Aurora, Il
It's hard to believe NOT ONE of you said anything about ASTRAL PROJECTION. Traveling in the astral realm. Where you can explore the galaxi,the cosmos and even the Akashic records. You grounded earth bound souls should google astral projection. May you one day reach a higher Consciousness as to understand and see things clearly. NONE OF YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS SONG! Hopefully one day though......Good luckDavid - Kansas City, Mo
This song is obviously about deep-fried chicken, which is an extremely rare and valuable delicacy on Jupiter and, incidentally, after supplanting soy latte as the all-time favorite after-dinner treat of the wealthy elite, also forms the basis of the planet's modern-day economy. Another little-known fact is that "freeze-dried romance" is a reference to the containment and shipping process used to deliver the much-desired commodity from Earth.Oblyvaeon - Hell On Earth, Zimbabwe
Me and my mom love this song!!, wow Im surprised so many people like this song like we do..Daniel - Winchester, Oh
Great song! Train's finest hour..Jim - Long Beach, Ca
This song will be forever be embedded in me. My sister was listening to this song while she committed suicide. It describe her life to a T.
So afraid of commitment. Always looking for herself.
Sandra - Russellville, Ky
This is just one of those song where u sing along even though u have never even heard the song. idk y but sometimes it just makes me think bout what i got. freat song gotta give train maja' propsJonathan - Las Vegas, Nv
I love this song! This is me nd my bf's song and at the dances we always slow dance to it.Tayluur - Binghamton, Ny
i think this song is about loving someone who found "what they thought was love" before they realized you. it's like they went to a different planet (obvious from the metaphors in the song) while they had that love and now they are back...grounded, heartbroken, whatever you might call it and you are the one who must pick them up. i think instead of a song about finding someone who is seemingly better than you, it is about finding someone who needs you to show them reality again.... well what we deam(sp) real.Mike - Ashtabula, Oh
This is so interesting, reading everyone's interpretations, even if a lot of you say it as though it were fact, rather than opinion.

To me personally, this song reminds me of someone who left me, and kept coming back. Said person has actually gone forever now, but knows (or I hope they know) that I'm still waiting for them, should they ever decide to come back.

When I hear it, I can strongly associate with the "Tell me" parts, for these are often what I'm silently asking this person. (Who I do still see on a regular basis)
Discordamongharmony - The Confinements Of My Mind, In
This song is about his mom who died of cancer, and he is asking her about all the things she saw in heaven. He said it on a TV show that asked the meanings behind songs on VH1Emma - Cleveland, Oh
Well, finally..... This has to be one of the most beautifully written songs in our time.... I cry every time I listen to it..... It is beautiful, whatever the under thoughts..... Beautiful.....S.i. - Bay Area, Ca
Worst number one song of the 00s. and thats saying alot!!Jeff - Austin, Tx
the song is about his daughterMarte - New York, Ny
it's about exploration, and by knowing that the 'heaven' she expected is ;overrated', she decided to come back, doing all the simple things like 'soy latte'. That's why it has the phrase 'and then you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there'.

the nicest thing about this song is that it talks about CERTAINTY, that in our journey towards the unknown we might want to get back to our old, defined selves...
Menard - Manila, Philippines
Oooh... I love this song SO much! It's one of those songs- y'know, the ones that you just relate to like BAM! Yeah! Sorry, I'm speaking in abstract today. 'Meet Virginia' is a good one, too. But this was the first Train song I ever heard, and I fell in love. And the message is really great- about letting someone you love go for their own good. Two caffeine-high thumbs up! :PMickey - Mars, Pa
No matter where I am when I here this song, I stop what ever I am doing to listen & sing. It's just one of those kinda songs and I always want more of it!-Selena,Griffin,GASelena - Griffin, Ga
cool song. bizarre lyrics. "best soy latte that you ever had. . ." odd. but cool.Jim - Stonerville, Ca
It's about a girl that leaves her boyfriend to see what else is out there.Jay - Atlanta, Ga
For all of you who whine about it being played on the radio too much, that doesn't make a song bad. I love having iTunes now b/c I can play any song at any time. If I want to mix it up I hit shuffle and skip ones I don't want to hear. The only time I listen to the radio is when I'm in my car (not very often).Pytlak - Bakersfield, Ca
This song I think was dedicated to Pat's mother who was diagnosed with cancer...Mandy - Austin, Tx
Drops of Jupiter is an amazing song....just to let ya know...Judy Collins did a great renditon of this song...and she doesn't do this very often...so its a complement to Pat and The Band
Ally - Modesto, Ca
Alright, I know the history behind this song but I think that the interpretation of the listener is important too. It is true that when most people hear this song they think about a girl who left a guy at the home town to travel and "find herself". This can be assumed from several lines including being "on a soul vacation" and "and looking for yourself out there". The way he's describing this person doesn't sound like she's dead. Furthermore, it seems that she is very different since she has returned from her journey to find herself, implied in the lines "since her return from her stay on the moon, she listens like spring and she talks like june". Also she listens to mozart while she does taeboe seems to be something that she didn't do before. He seems to think that now that she has come back, he is too plain for her (plain ol jane told a story bout a man who was to afraid to fly so he never did land) and that she has found someone better (did you fall for a shooting star, one without a permanent scar). When he's making his list of things she might imagine not to have (no love pride deep fried chicken... and me) it seems that he is listing off things that they experienced together before she left. You must also admit that it doesn't seem that he'd be talking about his mother because you just wouldn't think of your mother as your best friend, first dance, romance, or five hour phone conversations. I just want to close in saying that everything in life has two meanings: what it was meant to mean and what everyone thinks it means. I'd like to think that in this song's case it means the latter because it is beautifully poetic and it could be directly applied to many people's lives, including mine.Pedro - Lake Wylie, Sc
I think this song is about ones daughter growing up. A young girl who realizes that mommy and daddy arent everything, and that there is better and funner things in life. As a father of a young girl, I see that I can relate to this song.Glen - Central, Nj
When i first listend to this song i was Immediately captured by its extravagent lyrics. They are simply out of this world!! I believe this song provides inspiration to anyone with a passion about music. It is one of the truly greatest songs.David - England, England
This song was written about his mother after her death. It was his realization that she was still spiritually with him even though she was physically gone. He spoke about it last spring in a concert in Harrisburg PA. He said it was a way of processing her death and the feelings one has for someone after they have passed into the unknown.Joe - Washington , Dc
Throw this one on the pile of "Songs Played On The Radio Too Damn Much".Tony - Topeka, Ks
love it love it love it! the woman i babysit loves train with a passion and this song is one of her favoritesCaitlin - Upper Township, Nj
This is perhaps my favorite song of the new millennium. Tremendously singable, complex in its lyrical structure, and you've got to admire anyone who can work Mozart, tae-bo, deep-fried chicken, soy latte, and the words "freeze dried" into a romantic plotline.Clarke - Pittsburgh, Pa
I always thought this song was about a woman who lost somebody on 9-11 because this song came out after it and it seemed to just ease everything. I love this song.Jt - Tullahoma, Tn
i've had people say that this is about a girl on drugs, and i think it makes senseKatherine - Perth, Australia
I live a few miles away from where Pat Monahan is from!Greg - Erie, Pa
I find it very hard to like this song, for three real reasons: 1> Top 40 radio in this area drove this song into the f---ing GROUND when it first came out and that just ruined it for me; and 2> for some reason, the line "And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there" just sounded incredibly self-absorbed in the context of the song, like the only thing the singer could think about during all that was happening in the song was himself; and 3> Pat Monahan sounded like he was trying to channel Bob Dylan, and failing badly. (shrug) My $0.02 given.Jameson - Lexington, Ky
When i first heard this song i loved the melody but never really took the time to work out the words until recently when my partner was remixing a version by Craig Eddie from overseas i listened for hours and still have no idea what they mean.Martina - Ca, Ca
For some reason, every time I hear this song I go into a nostalgic mode. It's a depressing yet uplifting song, and it always brings back simple memories of my High School Years.Kevin - Grosse Pointe, Mi
I love this song, especially the play on words they use.Miya - Mcclure, Pa
I think that when he says, "Tell me, did you fall for a shooting star
One without a permanent scar", he's asking her if she met another guy other than him (other than a guy with a permanent scar; himself)
Robert - Mountain Lakes, Nj
this is a good song that i have been listening to this since i was 10 when the Cd first came out. i think when he list things like fried chicken and soy latte and ME. i think he's asking about the things that she missed about earth while she was in "outer space". i think the phrase outer space means out away from the "hometown" and she went out to discover herself. and she never found what she was looking for because what she really needed was the guy.Jeff - Sothington, Ct
Contrary to popular belief, this song was actually written shortly after the death of the lead singers mother. He was trying to create a metaphor for death, such as crossing the Milky Way.Ryan - West Orange, Nj
Two responses:
-Dan,city,CA- I don't know if this is what the band had in mind or not, but "drops of Jupiter" makes me think of Jupiter's moons. Have you ever seen them through a telescope? They look like pearls. I imagine this beautiful woman with pearls and dew drops in her long hair. (The dew drops because, to the Victorians, pearls were a symbol for tears, so the two go together in my mind.)Like I said, that's just the mental image that comes to my mind. Hope it helps some.
-Ashley,Grand Rapids,MI-If it's not about a woman leaving a man to discover herself, then what is it about? Try http://www.mtv.com/bands/archive/t/train01/index3.jhtml, an interview with one of the band members says it's about a "journey of self-discovery." And there are so many obvious lyrical references, like "did you miss me?". If you can offer up another valid theory, that's fine. I realize music, like all art, is dynamic and there's a relationship between the piece and the creator and between the piece and the viewer and between the artist and the audience and each participant's experience is different. That's what makes art so wonderful. But to just say others don't know what they're talking about when they have good grounds for believing what they say, and then not even offering an alternative idea doesn't help anyone grow, and art should help people grow as individuals. There's a difference between pruning and hacking down.
The deep fried chicken reference is a metaphor for their relationship. Fried chicken is comfort food. Is there anything more comfortable than a lasting relationship that you come dependant on? I also think that I view this song a little different than most. Just from perusing this thread. I get a bitter feeling from the one left behind here. "tell me, did the wind sweep you off your feet, huh did it Tell Me!!" I feel an urgency here for answers. He has lied awake and thought about this for months and still doesn't understand "why?" Lyrically in my opinion the greatest song ever written.Johnnie - Wilson, Ok
Thanks to the people who know what the song is really about for explaining it. i hate when people pretend to know what they are talking about, saying it is about a girl who leaves a guy... please do some research first next time! :)Ashley - Grand Rapids, Mi
Dominant songCrazy - Charlotte, Nc
I love this song! K-Pax was a "bad" movie- loved the actors, movie sucked, song is great! Has so many connotations; love forsaken, apostasy, courage in new adventure, in short "hero's journey" motif as eloquently described as I have seen in short space.

10/10 song
Jc - Dayton, Oh
What the hell does this song mean?!??!

more specifically, what does "drops of jupiter" mean?
Dan - City, Ca
i love this song , i knew what it meant even before i looked it up, technically its also the most well produced song ever. Train kick assAnele - Joburg, South Africa
Maybe the "freeze-dried romance" lyric comes from the fact that she's in space...you know, because astronauts can only take freeze-dried food into space. Maybe it means she's sort of...keeping her love on hold while she's out there?Billy - Pittsburgh, Pa
I think this song is a great song, it hits home. Its about a girl who has this guy that she has had in her life all along but doesnt realize it. She has to make mistakes in her life and he is willing to let her make those mistakes to relaize that he was there all along!Jd - Chicago, Il
i totally agree that this is one of the finest songs ever made. and i would definitely say that this song hits home so damn much.one of the prices we pay for being young...to sacrifice a relationship just so you'll know if that person is meant for you and/or to learn more about life by breaking free.and that love is also indeed equal to freedom and letting go. sad and painful, but it pretty much strengthens the essence of love, relationship, and growing up...May - Davao City, Other
This is one of the best songs ever written I think. This song and Calling All Angels were the songs that got me into Train. One thing I like about these guys is that they sound lot like Coldplay and Radiohead on;y not too light and not too heavy. A perfect combination. I love the keyboards in this song.Gabe - Utica, Ny
This song is about a girl who happens to be looking for something else. I mean, she has a nice, stable relationship, but still thinks there's something better OUT THERE. The guy lets her test the field (his love is THAT deep) and then tells her in a very special way that the happiness she is searching so hard for, is exactly besides him. He asks her (very politely and with slight sarcasm) if she already found out that THE BEST she'll ever have is him and what surrounds him. Correct me if I'm wrong, but SHE is afraid of COMMITMENT, she has to grow up.Esteban - Panama, Other
This song is about Pat's mother, the most important person in his life, who was diagnosed with cancer while they were touring, and unfortunately passed away. Pat had a vision in a dream about his mother still being "here" but just in a different way than before. It's about the idea that people never really leave.Caitlyn - Midland, Mi
About the deep-fried chicken:
My theory is that it's part of a list of things she'd miss if she wasn't with him (i.e. was still out in outer space), along with those five-hour phone conversations and "the best soy latte that you ever had". I think the fried chicken was picked because it's so prosaic, unlike the Milky Way. I think that and the "freeze-dried" romance reflect the protagonist's fears of being boring, or too down-to-earth for this girl.
Lauren - Maryville, Mo
yes i was owndering that too nick. great song though. beautiful!Anonymous
It was inspired by Recovering The Satellites, they are huge Counting Crows fans.Bob Sowo - Springfield, Va
I'm just wondering why he has to mention deep-fried chickenNick - Paramus, Nj
This song has such a magical air to it!Melissa - Mt Holly, Nc
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