This song was written in response to the success of Bush's multi-million-selling debut album Sixteen Stone after years of failure. Frontman Gavin Rossdale told NME:
"When you first climb that ladder if you're lucky enough, and I was lucky enough to have that insane success with it, it's a bit overwhelming in some ways. I didn't go to school where you learn how to prepare for any kind of success, I was English, I'd failed for many years, I was not used to being successful – and there's something about being swept up in that success that's daunting and really overwhelming... it wasn't a complaint, it was just an observation."
Rossdale added that "Swallowed" was a bit like his version of "Help!," although he was quick to say he's not "as good as The Beatles."
The video, directed by Jamie Morgan, shows the band performing at a house party with some odd characters. The neon crucifix later appeared on the cover of the band's 1997 album Deconstructed.
This song was nominated for a 1996 Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance, but lost to the Smashing Pumpkins' "The End Is the Beginning Is the End."
Asked about his favorite lyric from the song, Rossdale replied: "There was a girlfriend I had at the time, and the line 'heavy about everything but my love' – it's that thing where you have a girlfriend who's talking to everyone else about things but you think 'where am I?' It was just that line. It always tickled me a bit."
Rossdale explained in a 2017 interview with Entertainment Weekly: "I didn't even know it was possible to get as successful as we got. 'Swallowed' was a sense of getting lost in that tidal wave. I mean, it's the greatest tidal wave you'll ever be in. But at the same time, there's something... when you're doing it constantly and you tour for three years and you're strung out and disconnected from everyone you know and your relationship is suffering because you're away, I just felt like this sense of being swallowed up and eaten up by the life and lost to it. I mean, it's such a high-class problem that now you talk about it and go, 'Really?'"
Timmy from Miami, FlTo me, this song is about him losing the love of his life. Gavin is saying that the pain that's the heartbreak is causing has to be swallowed in a way. Even though he's around people who love him (i.e family and friends) but she's the only one that can make him happy or better again. (I'm with everyone and yet not; heavy on everything but my love). She is the only thing that can make him happier and since she doesn't want him, he wants to leave to get away from all the pain. (i gotta get away from here.... i miss the one that i love a lot)
Alison from Monterey, CaI think this song is mainly about the downside of fame and touring (swallowed, followed, borrowed, worm on a fish hook, etc.). It's about feeling down and being away from the one you love. "I'm with everyone and yet not." The crowd loves you at a concert, but they are really just strangers.
Dave from Cardiff, WalesBush had already taken America by storm in 1996 before the band - then unknown in their native Britain - scored their first major UK hit with this single at the end of the year
Saf from Qnz, FlI think Swallowed is talking about almost any type of addiction. Ex:heroin, alcoholism, smoking. Even food addiction (swallowed). It's a good song. I love the break down, 'Hey you said you would love to try some...' The darkening lyrics don't match the almost care-free bass line in the back. It's sexy.
Alex from Narberth, PaThis song is great. It reminds me of my friend who is on drugs and his transition into drugs with the line "Hey you said that you would love to try some, Hey you said you would love to die some". Its sad. But true.