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Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind

Album: Third Eye BlindReleased: 1997Charted:
4
33
  • This song is about a drug user's descent into crystal meth addiction. The line "I want something else..." contains a reference to crystal meth in the song. Stephen Jenkins of Third Eye Blind explained on the HBO show Reverb that they intentionally put a chipper melody to the dark lyrical content. Said Jenkins: "When I wrote 'Semi-Charmed Life,' the guitar riff was intended to have this sort of bright duh-nuhnuh-nunt, this shiny thing, because that was a feeling of speed. You know, it's sort of a bright, shiny drug. And we all were sort of into hip hop, and so it has a hip-hop flow over it."
  • The line: "Doing crystal meth will lift you up until you break" was a little racy for some radio stations, who played an edited version with the words "Crystal Meth" distorted.
  • Talking about the deeper meaning of the song on Reverb, Jenkins said: "It's a song about always wanting something. It's about never being satisfied, and reaching backwards to things that you've lost and towards things that you can never get. I think everybody has some identification with that. The story line between the people, the demise of this relationship, is just an extreme example of that condition. I think that's what makes people really relate to 'Semi-Charmed Life.'"
  • The band has admitted that they borrowed the doot doot doot part of the song from Lou Reed's "Walk On The Wild Side."
  • This was Third Eye Blind's first single. The group's name could be a reference to a penis, but The Third Eye is also a metaphysical term in new age spirituality referring a state of enlightenment and is associated with clairvoyance. (thanks, Jules - w bloomfield, MI)
  • The original line was "I want nothing else..." but when the song was eventually released, it was changed to "I want something else." No explanation has ever been given for this, however recordings of the original can be found. (thanks, Andy - Chattanooga, TN)
  • This was played in the Norm MacDonald movie Dirty Work as Norm's character, Mitch, returns home after being fired to find his girlfriend is also kicking him out. (thanks, DC - Kansas City, MO)
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Comments: 46

I am fascinated by all the comments here, not being part of the drug culture past or present it was an education. I of course recognize some of the drug references, I also thought (however incorrectly) that he had cheated on his girl and wasn't able to get back to the point before that happened. In any event I love this song, it is just so passionate about whatever it is that happened between the folks involved.Rick - West Chester, Pa
"Semi Charmed Life" Maybe the " I want nothing else" was changed to "I want soMETHing else" because of the "something" is METH.Sue - Oceanside, Ca
this song is clearly about him doing crystal meth and snorting cocaine and he wants more/other drugs to get him through his fun yet debilitating life.Gianna - Maple Shade, Nj
A junkie is actually a person who will do anything for any kind of high. Be it duster, pot, coke, cm, heroin, cough syrup... etc.Shannon - Hamilton, Oh
Here's an attempt to understand, most of the symptoms are in this song:

I'm packed and I'm holding,
I'm smiling, she's living, she's golden and
she lives for me, She says she lives for me,
Ovation, She's got her own motivation,
she comes round and she goes down on me,
And I make her smile, It's like a drug for you,
Do ever what you want to do,
Coming over you,
(she's blowing him for free CM, obviously pretending that she's into him)

Keep on smiling,
what we go through.
One stop to the rhythm that divides you,
(They're high and taking turns)

And I speak to you like the chorus to the verse,
Chop another line like a coda with a curse, (Probably attention deficit, he's so hyperactive that he never finishes anything; moving on to new conversations, actions, thoughts)

And I come on like a freak show takes the stage.
We give them the games we play, she said,
(He's also a dilla who uses his own product)

I want something else, to get me through this,
Semi-charmed kind of life,
I want something else,
I'm not listening when you say, Good-bye.
(He's tired as hell of the up and down and he wants a different kind of energy supplement)

The sky it was gold, it was rose,
I was taking sips of it through my nose,
(Post-use visual clarity?)

And I wish I could get back there,
Some place back there,
(Memory loss, failure to recall specifics)

Smiling in the pictures you would take,
(He hates himself for his horrible mood swings. OR a meth mouth doen't make a pretty smile)

Doing crystal meth,
Will lift you up until you break,
It won't stop,
I won't come down, I keep stock,
(CM is expensive/precious but he keeps doin it anyway)

With a tick tock rhythm and a bump for the drop,
And then I bumped up. I took the hit I was given,
Then I bumped again,
And then I bumped again.
(Heart palpitations but keeps on takin it)

How do I get back there to,
The place where I fell asleep inside you?
(Insomnia - can't sleep even after a lot of sex)

How do I get myself back to,
The place where you said,
I want something else to get me through this,
semi-charmed kind of life,
(Probably, she introduced him to CM. 'priestess' later suggests that she is the dominant one.)

I want something else,
I'm not listening when you say, good-bye,
(He can't quit, though a part of him wants to)

I believe in the sand beneath my toes,
The beach gives a feeling,
An earthy feeling,
I believe in the faith that grows,
And the four right chords can make me cry,
When I'm with you I feel like I could die.
And that would be all right,
All right,
(Emotional meltdown. He's so tired of the cycles and rollercoaster rides that he doesn't mind dying. Probably nothing to do with the girl here. Just him, the other him and CM.)


When the plane came in,
She said she was crashing,
The velvet it rips,
In the city we tripped,
On the urge to feel alive,
But now I'm struggling to survive,
The days you were wearing,
That velvet dress,
You're the priestess,
I must confess,
Those little red panties,
They pass the test,
Slide up around the belly,
Face down on the mattress,
One,
Now you hold me,
And we're broken.
(Aggressive/Angry/Violent sex, stemming from disconnectedness, intolerance, self-hate and a breaking relationship. And then the random moments of reflection and peace surfacing from a worn-out mind. Probably an upset conscience.)

Still it's all that I want to do, just a little now
Feel myself with a head made of the ground,
I'm scared but I'm not coming down.
And I won't run for my life,
(The duality of CM - heavy head, high energy. Then, the side effects scare him but still he can't quit)

She's got her jaws just locked now in smile
but nothing is all right,
(Lockjaw and teeth grinding)

All right, I want something else,
To get me through this,
Semi-charmed kind of life,
I want something else,
I'm not listening when you say,
good-bye.
Han - Penang, Malaysia
They're both on meth and they wanna quit because they're extremely tired and are feelin the neg effects. That's why they want somethin else.

Symptoms:

Locked jaws (jaws now locked down in a smile, bubblegum - for grinding teeth)

insomnia - he can't fall asleep even after sex(back to the place where i fell asleep inside you).

Aggression, sex drive - face down on the mattress.

The duality of the meth high - head made underground(heavy) vs i'm not coming down(high).

Memory loss - And I wish I could get back there Someplace back there, in the place we used to start

Finally, the inability to quit and the drive to keep smokin another (just a little now, not listening when you say goodbye).

If you quit soon enough, you're rewarded with clarity. Peace.
Han - Penang, Malaysia
Loved this song and the lyrics are so blunt.Theresa - Murfreesboro, Tn
a junkie isnt necessarily a heroin addict. its anyone who has an addiction to a drug. learn your facts.Victoria - Baldwin, Ny
It appears that in this song, the guy and his girl got high. At the end he says, "And I wish I could get back there
Someplace back there, in the place we used to start". I also saw on MTV bank in '96, that Stephan Jenkins wrote this song because a lot of his friends had become addicted to drugs and sex.
This is a true song with something to be learned from it. Drugs is a semi-charmed kinda life.
Deborah - Houston, Tx
Great song! I know everyone has their own meanings, but to me its about this meth addict who is always high on it and thinks about it, even when he's with his gf. She says she wants something else, semi charmed life meaning she loves him but him doing this is making the relationship not exactly perfect. Hence semi charmed. She wants him to stop so they can be happier. When he says smiling in the pictures you would take, he like feels bad cause before and after that he's talking about doing lines and getting high. So hes high when hes with her, and he feels bad and knows hes hurting her but just cant stop. I used to relate to this song but with coke. Thanks to my wonderful gf for saving me!Austin - Houston, Tx
Great song! I know every word. This song puts me in the best mood and all my friends love it.Hannah - Adelaide, Australia
Crystal Meth is HORRIBLE, NEVER do it!

Youll be a schizy paranoid bonerack pickin scabs off your body, believe me, some parts of your brain never recover, Ive seen people I used to know like that now!
Brian - Vancouver, Canada
This is a song that me and my ex always used to sing together...I will have a spot for it in my heart FOREVER. I LOVE Third Eye Blind. Lyrical geniuses!Krista - Carbondale, Pa
In short, i believe this to be about a relationship spoiled by crystal meth. Take it from an ex-meth addict :Lydia - Auckland, New Zealand
it was a good song though... I was 4 when it came out... i got it on casette!!!Alex - East Point, Ga
ok..me and my mom used to listen to this song.we couldn't believe what the song meant.i was shocked..i still love it..the line, "She comes round and she goes down on me"..i might be missing it but is she giving him head??? and the other line i had trouble with was "Those little red panties they pass the test,Slides up around the belly Face down on the mattress" what does that mean and how come they didn't play that part on the radio....i didn't even know they had that part until a couple of weeks ago. if anybody could help...thanksMegan - Eire, Pa
I have to find the "Kidz Bop" version of this song! I always joke about the most ironic songs that end up on those CDs.Matt - New York, Ny
This was my first favorite song. I was 8 and had no idea what the song was about. When I found out it was about drugs, I started not to like it. Now I like it again because I've realized there are a lot, a lot of songs about drugs.Scott - Boston, Ma
I found it quite ironic that this was on a Kids Bop cd. I personally like the song but considering the lyrics I really don't think kids really should hear the song. Makes me wonder...Do the producers of Kids Bop actually take a look at the lyics of the songs before they release their cd's?Jessica - Detroit, Mi
I was always surprised that the radio station never cut out "she comes 'round and she goes down on me."Anne - Dodge City, Ks
someone on another site said this was about waffles that was mm gay (love gay ppl no ofense)its about crystal meth i like the part wear it says still its something i wanna do just a lttle nowJessica - Chattanooga, Tn
I think it's funny that everyone is arguing about who knows more about crystal meth use! Who cares? If you use drugs, you use drugs. End of story. But if you want to get more specific, just say "meth addict" or "meth user".Ben - Claremont, Mn
i believe it has to do with a girlfriend and also crystal meth. it seems as though they loved each other very much, but meth was tearing them apart, and she 'wanted something else.' she then leaves, and hes still hopped up on the meth, and says 'How do I get back there?
To the place where I fell asleep inside you?
How do I get myself back to the place? where you said I want something else To get me through this semi-charmed kind of life' like he would do anything to go back to that moment when she decided to leave. she comes back 'When the plane came in she said she was crashing
The velvet it rips in the city
We tripped on the urge to feel alive
But now I'm struggling to survive'. they must still be in love, 'and you hold me
And we are broken
Still it's all that I want to do
Just a little now Feel myself with a head made of the ground I'm scared I'm not coming down, no, no And I won't run for my life She's got her jaws now locked down in a smile But nothing is all right, all right' but no matter whats goin on with this girl, hes still too addicted to the meth. well, i tried :-)
Ashli - Mboro, Nh
stephen jenkins is one hell of a gurtaristCody - Hagerstown, Md
Actually, Tim is right, a junkie IS a Heroin addictLuke - Manchester, England
In interviews Stephan Jenkins has said that it is actually about the culture in San Francisco and the use of crystal meth. No one in the band has ever used crystal meth, but the song is reportedly about people Stephan Jenkins knew. Interestingly, Jenkins changed the lyrics from originally being "I want nothing else" to "I want something else," as can be heard in the demo of the song versus the final LP.

A common misconception is that the name of the band is a euphemism for penis. However, Stephan Jenkins indicated during a radio station interview that the band's name came from the metaphysical idea of a mind's eye, a topic of a book he had read. The other group members liked it and chose it as the band's name.
Tim - Sydney, Australia
wow... i love this song.. third eye blind is COMING OUT WITH A NEW ALBUM.. song is about crystal meth... in a concert they played stairway to heaven with this song.. so maybe theres a connectionKevin - Mansfield, Ct
it is about a junkie that wants a religon to get him to stop a live a better lifeRyan - Poplar Bluff, Mo
Back when tickets for 3eb shows use to be $6 he would always yell out "this song is about f*cking" before they sang semi-charmed life.Patrick - Portage, Wi
Its wierd...until i read the lyrics, i thought it was about a girlfriend.Robert - Mountain Lakes, Nj
I thought the group was named after "The Third Eye", which is located between your eyes and has something to do with chi...Nathan - Saint Peter, Mn
Tim, you seem to think you have all the insight-why don't you try again.Ann - Mesa, Az
Randy way more people use meth in VA than you know, and what does "bubblegum" mean when used in that context?Aly - Woodstock, Ga
I only heard them use this waste of ears once to promote the Tigger Movie. Apparently someone woke up.Fisher - Mars, Nv
Radio stations DO edit. Stations will edit depending on the demo of their listening audience. True some labels will release radio edit versions of the song, but stations will also take the liberty to edit it even more if they feel their area (such as the Bible belt) would react negatively to certain lyrics accepted in other areas.Matt - Dallas, Tx
<>...an their only good song ever. What a friggin' waste of money this CD was. Great song, though.Nessie - Sapporo, Japan
Featured in the movie "American Pie"...Andrew Archer - Tokyo, Japan
Adrian - radio stations don't edit. The record labels do - they often deliver shorter or 'cleaned up' versions of songs to stations to guarantee airplay. I think it's hysterical that a song that talks about a time where he "fell asleep inside you" was used to promote the Tigger movie!Pam - Vancouver, Canada
The lead singer of 3EB isn't a meth head, he knew a meth head who he wrote the song about. if you wanna check out www.stephanjenkins.com you can find tons of information and interputation about the 3EB songs. some of the songs have comments from stephan himself and other band members.Sabs - Jun, Ak
thank u guys, i just knew it now. so is that mean he used to be a meth addict or what? sorry i just dont get it clear.......Piet - Surabaya, Indonesia
Tiga, the radio stations only edit that out to make the song shorter. Its 4 and a half minute length is a little bit of a stretch for them.Adrian - Wilmington, De
This has always been my favorite 3EB song cuz i am an ex- meth user and i understood where he was coming from. The funny thing... when i stumbled upon this song, i was listening to it... hmmm anyway just had to put in my 2 cents.Mara - Las Vegas, Nv
***Apparently, on the radio they cut even more out, all this: When the plane came in she said she was crashing,
The velvet it rips in the city,
We tripped on the urge to feel alive,
But now I'm struggling to survive,
Those days you were wearing that velvet dress,
You're the priestess,
I must confess,
Those little red panties,
They pass the test,
Slide up around the belly face down on the mattress,
One,
And you hold me,
And we are broken,
Still it's all that I want to do,
(Just a little now).

Feel myself head made underground,
I'm scared I'm not coming down (no no),
And I won't run for my life,
She's got her jaws just locked now in a smile,
But nothing is all right, all right.
Tiga - Mount Carmel, Pa
One day I was in the car and this song came on. Me, knowing all the lines and only messing up the song a little at the end sang along(even though they distorted the word, I sang it out anyway for memory which got me some funny looks in the car) and then end came and I started singin "One,
And you hold me,
And we are broken,
Still it's all that I want to do,
(Just a little now).
Feel myself head made underground,
I'm scared I'm not coming down (no no),
And I won't run for my life,
She's got her jaws just locked now in a smile,
But nothing is all right, all right."
but it cut that whole part out and went directly to the end. I ignored this and just assumed that I had ya kno, mesed up the ending or confused it with another part of the song, but then, just as I finished watching the video on Yahoo's LAUNCH, i've noticed again. That part is (maybe only sometimes)cut out of the song on the radio and apparently on the video.
Tiga - Mount Carmel, Pa
Oh and BTW, a junkie is a heroin addict. A tweaker is a meth addict. TRUST ME, I used to be a meth addict :(.Tim - Myrtle Beach, Sc
This song is about meth addiction. Proof of this is due to "I'm packed and I'm holding"(He's high and he's got meth on him), "Chop another line like a coda with a curse", "Doing crystal meth will lift you up until you break", "And then I bumped up, I took the hit that I was given" (Bump is a popular term for small line, he smoked the hit that he was given), "I'm scared I'm not coming down" (he's so wired that he's getting paranoid), "I was taking sips of it to my nose" (he was snorting bumps), "I won't come down" (meaning he doesn't want to lose the high, ever), and of course "I want something else" (which refers to that he wants something other than meth to get him through life)Tim - Myrtle Beach, Sc