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Snow (Hey Oh)

by

Red Hot Chili Peppers



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This song is about cocaine and China White heroin, 2 of lead singer Anthony Kiedis' drugs of choice. Both are a white powdery substance, which looks like snow. The lyrics, "So white as snow... Privately divided by a world so undecided" refer to dividing the coke/heroin into lines, so as to deal them or snort them. The line, "The more I see, the less I know, the more I'd like to let it go" means the deeper Kiedis was immersed in these drugs, the less he knew what was going on, and the more he wanted to kick the habit. (thanks, Ethan - Mt. Pleasent, SC)
Anthony Kiedis: "It's about the repeated failure to start your life anew and how difficult it can be to get rid off old ways of thinking, and destructive ideas we become so attached to." (thanks, Erik - Fairfield County, CT)
Red Hot Chili Peppers
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Comments (65):

I hate to be the ONLY person that doesn't want to write about drugs, but I think the whole musical concept of the song is genius - including (but not limited to) the excellent, catchy guitar riff, the melotron keyboard that comes in half-way through, the rhythm of the lead vocal, & the background vocals. If any song can get lodged in your cranium hours after listening to it, it would have to be this one!
- Dan, Newton, KS
I have to say this is probably my favorite Red Hot Chilli Peppers' song. I just love the vocals and lyrics and the bass is kickin' it! WOOP! WOOP! lol
- Megan, Stevenson, AL
It bothers me that people comment that the fact about it being about drugs is wrong.Everything is an interpretation. Its no better a song whether it is or isnt.
- Alayna, Gainesville, FL
@Mark - Dude I think you're right. That's the best theory on this page. Btw, fave song eva.
- Ivy, Springfield, NE
One of my favorite songs ever.
- Ivy, Springfield, NE
This is my absolute favorite song ever. This annoying kid in my class says "That's a terrible song. There's no variety in the voice! He stays on the same note the whole time!" Dude, do you hear the frikin gymnastics he's doing on the guitar? Just putting that out there, in case you were wondering. =) HEYYYOOOO . . .
- Ivy, Springfield, NE
I think when he says "Come to decide that the things that I tried were in my life just to get high on." I take that to mean, everything hes been through was there to make him a better person. And when he says "Step from the road, to the sea, to the sky, and I do believe that we rely on." I think hes saying that he tries to take everything up a notch, and moving on and becoming wise. But thats what i think.
- Remington, Whitehall, PA
I think that this song shouldn't be taken on face value with the lyrics. It's metaphorical... its about life and what people go through.
- Megs, Seavale, South Africa
This song is kick ass. Top to bottom. Chase(dallas) hit it pretty squarely on the head. Right? When an artist releases something...it's out on the table. Open to interpretation. There is no right or wrong. Is it about drugs? I don't think so. Noway-0. Not for me. Maybe it is for you.
- Tommy, Old Forge, PA
I love the fact that almost all of there songs are drug related thats probably why most of their lyrics don't make sense but you gotta love RHCP!
- Clay, Henagar, AL
No doubt the lyrics are about Anthony's addiction to coke and heroin. I'm not sure if he meant for the "hey oh" to represent "hayo" slang for heroin, but he's a deep guy so who knows...coincidence or not it's GREAT. I love this song. It goes a lot deeper though...if you listen to the main riff, it sounds very frantic almost like John is winding down and maybe crashing or coming off the buzz. The riff, like the lyrics, symbolize the craziness of drugs and then when it mellows out for the chorus I think it shows that Anthony has found transcendence and peace through rehab. This is my second favorite song off of Stadium Arcadium..."Especially in Michigan" is by far by first. Keep the comments coming ya'll, it's fun to read your interpretations.
- AJ, Campton, KY
while this song can definsntly apply to drugs, I think it is also a song that can apply to any personal situation in your life where you are stepping up. The first line can be a realization that a person has been a sitting blob all their life getting high on tv and braindead entertainment , suddenly out to change his life. The snow could represent drugs, but I'd like to think it could go deeper than that. Snow is pure white, cleansing all in it's path. The snow could also represent the cleansing of the person who is abandoning his old highs and starting a clean slate.

I'll need to read the lyrics more, but this is my opinion on the meaning. A drug song is never JUST a drug song, what's on the surface is never the full package. All songs, even perhaps "jizz in
My pants" have a deeper meaning that even the artist might not be aware of.
- j, sv, AK
I was on my way to detox when this song started playing and it was really heavy to me at that moment it was an vindicated feeling and believe it or not on my way back home a few days later it was sonwing and i had my first natural high that day. (I wasn't on herion or coke me drug of choice was xanax clonazepam ativan just anything and weed of course)love the song
- Jillian, Gadsden, AL
This song is also featured as the ending song for the live action version of the manga/anime of Death Note. Rather, it's the ending theme to the second movie: Death Note 2: The Last Name
- Jason, Massillon, OH
This song is also featured as the ending song for the live action version of the manga/anime of Death Note. Rather, it's the ending theme to the second movie: Death Note 2: The Last Name
- Jason, Massillon, OH
How the hell can John play this and sing at the same time?!? It's inhuman!!!!!
- Airk, Skagway, AK
Well, it's hard to deny this song references drugs when the first two lines are:
"Come to decide that the things that I tried
Were in my life just to get high on"
I agree, it's about that moment of clarity where you decide whether you want to go on doing this and how hard it is to make that decision when it's so easy to just do one more. And yet you know it's killing you and you can't go on forever:
"When it's killing me
When will I really see
All that I need to look inside"
On the other hand, that last line is deeply spiritual, seeking the inner strength and wisdom needed to change his life. Keidis is a truly gifted lyricist and his lyrics have many layers of meaning, yet there are some dominant themes in this song that are impossible to ignore.
- Mark, Portland, OR
From a recovering heroin, methadone and coke addict, I think this song is real simple. This song speaks to us suffering addicts in metaphors. For those of you who question what the song is about- The title of the song tells you. Snow is about China White heroin only. He did coke yes but this song is about the heroin. Snow ( hey ohh..) Heyyo---means heroin on the streets. Trust me. Just like yayo is coke. replace with an H and wamo! you got heroin. More importantly, its about the struggle to get high or not. its very hard to live with the desese. I struggle every day with it. "All that I needs to look inside." All of anthonys songs, teach spiritual growth and most importantly, "Love." Give your love no matter what. Even to the less experianced person. Thats what he wants us to learn through all of his songs. By the way, all of your interperetations are great. Really fun to read. By the way, Stephen, were on the same page, you rock bro.
- Jono, Detroit, MI
The song may be about drugs (and I read it as such - as someone who does know) but it is also about flying, if you want it to be :) Step from the road to the sea, to the air - go hang gliding, it's a natural high!
- excell, Sydney, Australia
I believe just about one thousand percent that the song is about searching for the one big fix for all the world's various problems, be it drugs, a new world leadership, a new philosophy, or even a new God. If a person wants drugs as representation of an antidote for all the problems in oneself and existence, then fine. However, another perfect wonder CAN BE ANYTHING, EVEN THE PRESIDENT. In addition, life can be a journey for some that never has a real ending, rather constant quest for seeking the ultimate resolution of things, which may in fact be life's journey. The End.
- David, montpelier, VT
You know this is the second song I've compared to a Thomas Hardy novel today - the first was When You Were Young by The Killers. I thought that the power of nature as a healer - seen in Return Of The Native - is evident in this song. As well as being about drugs, I think that this song references the fact that nature and the seasons have a way of dwarfing the ups and downs of a mans life. No matter what we do to the world and ourselves, there will always be a layer of snow to come along and cover it up. I think that the main theme of the song in fact is the worlds ability to allow us to be reborn, and that the drugs mentioned are really just what we are trying to leave behind.
- Robert, Glasgow, United Kingdom
John plays very quick aprogys for the verse while Flea lays down a simple bass line.
- Austin, Smallsville,New England, --
This song is interesting I like it is all that matters
- Matt, Mansfeild, OH
i think its about how Anthony Kiedis matured and looks back on his life and the things hes grown out of, like drugs.
- cj, vermont, VT
Bryan is correct, and I'm as Christian as anyone, but just check out the live stuff and the word is clear. LOVE. It does sound more like Lord in the album version though IMO, but it's clearly not. Good job Bryan in correcting in a non judgemental manor IMO.
- mark, worcester, MI
I hate to break it to you Jean from Seattle, but he says "tell my love now." If you want to apply this song to your religious beliefs, thats fine. But not everything in this world has been inspired by christianity, and this definitely wasn't. You can apply a song to your life and musical artists expect that. But don't come on here changing the lyrics to suit your tastes.
- Bryan, Edwardsville, IL
Ironic how it seems the bands most committed fans are the ones who want to sell this song so woefully short as just a "drug" song. It's so much more than that.
- mark, worcester, MI
I so totally agree with Barbara, Chicago! But I think what makes the song so great is that it is describing a person's life caught up in drugs while at the same time it describes wanting out of that lifestyle using the same words as metaphors to describe the only way to get out is to look to the Lord...the lyrics mingle both messages in a beautiful and meaningful song of struggle and hope...also, he says "tell my Lord now" (not tell my love now)...a prayer that he's aware that there is a higher power to answer to and call out to for deliverence and to get himself right with things that confuse him..."the more I see the less I know the more I like to let it go" says he is feeling pretty small in comparison to God and he feels like maybe God wouldn't accept him with such a broken past so he questions should I "let it go", how many times can he "go to the well" and and then fall back in the sin of the drugs? Just a great song! And I hope he finds the truth and the life...the God of the bible.
- Jean, Seattle, WA
I don't think that this song is about drugs, per se. It seems to me that it's more about the clean start after Anthony's (and John's) very heavy drug addictions.
- Jon, West Bend, IA
whoever thinks this ISNT about drugs..it so is...snow is the name of it, they use hey oh to discretely say yayo...and most all their songs have to with drugs and a lot of them have struggled with drugs, explain to me how its not
- dylan, oneida, WI
i feel like he wrote lyrics that mean more than what he was intending, like "So white as snow... Privately divided by a world so undecided" yea that makes sense dividing the coke lines before snorting, but it could be which is the better or 'right' world; just because you dont see whats going on is that bad? it is out of control but we dont have to get stressed. and its so undecided if it is bad..and 'so white as snow' can be translated as it does look like snow (snow could be reality or satisfaction)but it just looks like snow, its really the drug youre about to do.
- dylan, oneida, WI
Its about starting fresh. He uses his use with drugs as an example
- danny, sacramento, CA
drugs?
- Mirna, Portoviejo, Ecuador
If you don't think this song has anything to do with drugs (as many of their songs do) then read Anthony Kiedis's autobiography. So maybe no words actually directly mean heroin, cocaine, etc. but the song itself is about his struggle with drugs. He went through rehab several times, and is the writer of most of their lyrics. Put it together.
- Adam, Columbia, MD
People who say this song isnt about drugs realy doesnt know the band. Almost all of their songs (more recent ones especialy) have some kind of relevence to it. Songs like these show what they have been though as a band (more to anthony with this one) but it shows what they have been through and how theyve overcome it and learned from it.
This song IS about drugs...but its in a deeper sence then most people take it as. The "snow" is not meant to be refered to as coke or heroin. The snow is sybolic of purity and starting fresh. People go through their lifes and they make mistakes, they screw up. But the tracks they leave behind are all covered up by the snow.
"people need the cover of another perfect wonder where its so white as snow"
People need the snow to cover their past and start fresh.
This is what Anthony is refering to in this song. About how his whole life he was looking for that high ("come to descide that the things that ive tried were in my life just to get high on") and how his past is covered by the purity of this white snow. SNOW! NOT HEROIN!
- Mariah, Colorado springs, CO
If you are only thinking of the music as about drugs and drugs only, I really think you are not allowing the music to reach it's full potential. It can be so so so much more to you than just another song if you allow it to adjust and you are able to apply and think of it in relation to your own personal situation.
- Chase, Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
To the band personally, and to alot of ya'll, it's about drugs. It's the meaning of it to Kiedis and his struggles to kick the habit are the inpiration behind it. But, it can mean to each one of us something completely different. It's the beauty of music- the beauty of this song. We've all had our "drug" at some point in our life. We've all have struggled at some point with something. We've all gotten ourselves into something we shouldn't have. We've all done things we might regret. The song brings about the fact that we're all in this together, we're not that different from one another in the big picture, and we're all going through our own, personal issues and that is perfectly ok. You shouldn't feel like you alone, it's apart of life and if handled correctly, you can learn and grow from it like you never could have imagined. Brilliant song by a brilliant band.
- Chase, Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX
the first line is come to decide that the things that i tried were in my life just to get high on
sounds like something to dowith drugs
- john, melbourn, Australia
no this is definitely about drus has anybody els noticed that the first line is Come to decide that the things that I tried
Were in my life just to get high on.
- john, melbourn, Australia
Being familure with the "drugs" that are supposidly being talked about in this song I can understand why people think that thats all this song is about. But you should think deeper.
"The more I see the less I know
The more I like to let it go" - could mean the way he feels about the government, and the war. that there is so much that we dont know about it, and we just want there to be peace.

"Deep beneath the cover of another perfect wonder
Where it's so white as snow"- Means a new beginning. Pure and peaceful.

"Privately divided by a world so undecided
And there's nowhere to go" - There is really no where that is truely peaceful without thoughts of war or poverity.

"Running through a field where all my tracks will
Be concealed and there is nowhere to go" - He just wants to run away, and get away from all the problems and everything that brings him down.

"Step from the road to the sea to the sky
And I do believe that we rely on" - There are some things that we have to rely on, no matter what.

thats what i think about that.
- Emi, Dallas, TX
im sorry, actually that quotes from a song, though still- anything to do with the particular lne in this song?
- Courtney, cleveland, OH
theres a quote from john lennon if youve heard it "the more i see the less i know for sure"
i know it doesnt necessarily explain the song, but did anyone in the band think of that quote particularly? i wonder...
- Courtney, cleveland, OH
I don't know if it is a coincidence or not, but there is a nickname for cocaine, "yayo" I have heard the term, and it is also mention in "Scarface" the movie. If you listen to the song, when "hey oh" it sounds like "yayo" Something to chew on.
- Allen, Hoquiam, WA
for those of you who contend this isn't about drugs, you need to read scar tissue (the book).

any lyrics written by kiedis pertaining to a "fresh start" or "covering ones tracks" has to do with getting clean.
- Elmo, san francisco, CA
Yeah, this is about drugs for sure.Every successful musicians use drugs and like to sing about it sometimes, like in this song.And Sonja, if you dont have anything smart to say just shut up.
- I Fuck Your Mothers, Pleasure Town, Serbia
wow its blatantly obvious that anytime RHCP talks about something its either about sex drugs or both. this song is about doing cocaine and how bad it f*cks you up.
Remember,
The devil aint red its white
- Zack, Erie, PA
It's interesting to read the opinions of all you tards... fact is its all speculation. who cares, its a great song.
- robert, melbourne, FL
think whatever you want. the song can be about anything. i mean, every person will interpreting it on its way. the only persons who knows exactly what it is all about are Peppers. and you can't arguing about it. so if you cant normally discuss about it, leave your opinion for yourself.
- Sanja, Zabok, Croatia
I think when he says, "step from the road to the sea tot he sky" he is drowning.
"all my life to sacrifise" he is just taking it
"hey oh listen what i say oh" he is telling someone to stop
"the mroe i c the less i know the more i like to let it go" he wants to quit
"so white as snow" coke
"running through the feild where all my tracks will be conseeld and there no where to go" running from the police
and its not properly divided by a world so undicided, its privatly -.- i saw it on the lyrics website
"tell my love now" he wants them to tell his gf or wife that he loves her cause he is about to die
"hey oh" means help me something like that
XD
- kaitlin, greer, SC
I am sorry "Sam", but the opening to this song is not exactly like Baba O'Reilly. Play them both at the same time, listen really close, u can tell tehy are different. Snow uses different notes, and you can tell that.
- Brian, Houston, TX
I believe that this song is about the forgiveness and purity that he feels under the "cover" of another "perfect wonder"... Jesus, the one who is white as snow. It is about the sins that Jesus takes from us and frees us from the bondage. He mentions going back to the "well" as in the bible story of the woman at the well, who came there for forgiveness and met Jesus there. "Step off the road, from the sea to the sky is about taking that leap of faith towards heaven. "Privately divided by a world so undecided.." is his own doubt and struggle with a faith that is so looked down upon my popular culture today. There is so much more...but my kids say I find "Jesus" in everything! This is true, but it is why I love this song!
- Barbara, Chicago, IL
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the fact that this song's guitar intro is the exact same intro (except played on a keyboard) of Baba O'Riley. Don't get me wrong I love RHCP but they still shouldn't given Pete Townshend credit.
- Sam, Portsmouth, VA
Thank you Jono. You can articulate it better than me.
- Stephen, Denver, CO
This song is about drugs and sobriety. Even if its about a new start, its about starting new in sobriety.- from drugs. I'm a recovering heroin addict myself and this song and "Otherside", explains perfectly the struggle between your overwhelming cravings to get high and the fight to get sober and live a meaningful life. So not to be a slave to the poppy plant. More importantly it shows that devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other thing, arguing weather to get high or not in his head all the time. Lyric: " When will I know that I really can go to the well once more now to decide on, when its killin me, when will I really see, all that I need's to look inside.-- Going to the well is being at the point of making the decision (jump in, or not)then he asks: when its killing him--how much (if any) will it take for him to change. "All I needs to look inside" means he knows the right path but something tells him to get high anyway and he needs to look inside and get back to his foundation of sobriety. By the way, I give it a 99% chance that by now anthony has relapsed on heroin, even if for a brief time, just by listening to his lyrics.
- Jono, Detroit, MI
I'm all for the song about starting anew. But you would have to be pretty ignorant to just blatently state that it's not about drugs. Kiedis was a heavy drug user and even the other members of the band were. (They gave River Phoenix the speedball that killed him) This song is about starting anew like a sheet of snow from the dirty life of drugs. RHCP are not just gonna come out and say it's about drugs. Do they have to spell it out dumbasses?
- Stephen, Denver, CO
Derek, I appologize for my previer comment. I was very irritated when I typed it, so I'm not surprised I "sounded" rude. I was more thinking about the line "privately divided by a world so undecided" behing about splitting cocain and heroin, which, to me, sounds a little bit far-fetched.
Of course I agree with you, everybody has to make their own ideas about things.
- Nikie, Stockholm, Sweden
Music is an art, and any type of art is open to individual interpretation. For example, nobody will ever know the real reason Mona Lisa has that goofy grin on her face. Therefore, I find it very rude to discount, negate, or belittle ANYone's opinion regarding this or any other song/art.

That said, I find it hard to overlook the implications of drug use in this song. the very first line "Come to decide that the things that I tried were in my life just to get high on" says this quite plainly, I think. I realize Anthony was reported as denying it, for what reason i don't know. He was an addict, maybe song is the only way he can express feelings but doesn't wish to talk publicly about it; maybe admitting to a song about drug addiction was viewed as bad press. Could it be about other things as well? CERTAINLY!

The bottom line here is that interpretation is subjective--your conclusion can be miles off the mark from mine, and that's okay. That's the cool thing about art--and RHCC as the artists get to sit and laugh at how wrong we all might be! ...think how Don McClean must feel with American Pie!
- Derek, Columbus, OH
I have been sitting here, just laughing at this. I don't get it. You guys WANT this to be about cocaine and (deleted), but it's not, as most of us already figured out.. Anyways.. I love this song. I love the lyrics, love the melody, I love everything about it. I also think the vid is very nice.
- Nikie, Stockholm, Sweden
"properly divided by a world so undecided..." about cutting cocain? HAH, NO! Think deeper Yoni.
- Brad, Philadelphia, PA
This song has nothing to do with drugs. Period.
- Dawson, Draper, UT
I dont care what you think I like the Red Hot Chili Peppers no matter what.
- samandar, ATL, GA
It has to habe a double meaning then, because to discount is being about cocaine would be insane. I mean, look at the song title (Snow...Hey Oh= Yayo) and lyrics: "properly divided by a world so undecided..." what do you divide? coke!It just can't be a coincidence...can it?
- Yoni, Brooklyn, NY
Yeah, according to Wikipedia this songfact is completely wrong. On the RHCP page, under Musical Style/Themes it says...

The song Snow (Hey Oh) from Stadium Arcadium is refering to the metaphor of covering ones tracks and starting fresh, like a fresh sheet of snow. It does not refer to cocaine use
- Bert, Pueblo, NM
In my defense, I was only restating something I had read about the lyrics, didn't mean to upset anyone, simply giving the opinion of some people. no need to be hostile rob.
- Ethan, Mt. Pleasent, SC
this song has nothing to do with drugs and heroin. its jsut a very misinterpreted song. in an article that i read in an australian magazine anthony said that the song is about a fresh start and has no connection at all to drugs. im tired of people misinterpreting those lyrics. i think the fact needs to be changed to something that is a real fact
- rob, sugar land, TX
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