I Burn

Album: Rubberneck (1994)

Songfacts®:

  • In the film Dark Secrets: The Stories of Rubberneck, Toadies frontman Vaden Todd Lewis told the story behind this song. "I was dating a girl and I had this dream that she had invited me to a party, so I'm going to go to this party. I'm walking down the street and as I get closer to the party there's a mailbox on fire, then there's a trash can on fire and then eventually there's just whole houses engulfed in flames. So, I'm getting closer to the party and I get to this house and I kind of walk around the back where the party is and it's all these people jumping around and dancing around. There's music, there's drums and there's a giant bonfire and one by one these people are throwing themselves into the fire.

    The idea is that they were going to transcend their physical bodies by immolation, so they were going to burn themselves in order to become some higher power, something bigger outside the physical realm. And that's what 'I Burn' is about. That's taking the voice of somebody who was in that cult or whatever you want to call it."
  • The character in this song is the same one who haunts "Possum Kingdom," the Toadies most popular song. "As I'm wont to do a lot of times, I make up a character and carry that through several songs," Lewis explained. "I finished out 'I Burn' and I thought, 'Suppose this guy does it and he's just screwed because now he's just smoke and where does he go from there?' So, he goes to Possum Kingdom and tries to find somebody to join him."

Comments: 2

  • Charles from Chattanooga, Tnquote| Ryan form Usa: Is there no connection to Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451?

    THATS WHAT I THOUGHT, TOO! A couple years ago, Vaden Todd Lewis was very forthcoming about the meanings of I Burn and Possum Kingdom. The mystery is now lifted: I Burn is about a cult who jump into this giant bonfire to achieve the higher plane or whatever. Possum Kingdom is about the ghost of one of the cult members who self immolated, trying to lure others into killing themselves and joining them in their lonely, barren existence. :)
  • Ryan from UsaIs there no connection to Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451? The lines

    "In the beginning
    We were smarter
    And the flame was heaven-sent

    Through the ages
    We got stupid
    Now we must repent"

    closely follow themes expressed in the book. The character Beatty more or less explicitly verbalizes those ideas, and indeed at the end of such a rant he utters the line "Fire is bright and fire is clean", which this song seems to quote. Also [[spoiler alert]] the novel does feature self-immolates, which could have been the connection to the dream Vaden Todd Lewis describes.
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