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  • Dead as dead can be
    The doctor tells me
    But I just can't believe him
    Ever the optimistic one
    I'm sure of your ability to become
    My perfect enemy

    Wake up (why can't you)
    And face me (come on now)
    Don't play dead (don't play dead)
    'cause maybe (because maybe)
    Someday I'll walk away and say
    You disappoint me
    Maybe you're better off this way

    Leaning over you here
    Cold and catatonic
    I catch a brief reflection
    What you could and might have been
    It's your right and your ability
    To become my perfect enemy

    Wake up (why can't you)
    And face me (come on now)
    Don't play dead (don't play dead)
    'cause maybe (because maybe)
    Someday I'll walk away and say
    You disappoint me
    Maybe you're better off this way

    Maybe you're better off this way [Repeat: x3]

    You're better off this
    You're better off this
    Maybe you're better off

    Wake up (why can't you)
    And face me (come on now)
    Don't play dead (don't play dead)
    'cause maybe (because maybe)
    Someday I'll walk away and say
    You fucking disappoint me
    Maybe you're better off this way

    Go ahead and play dead
    I know that you can hear this
    Go ahead and play dead

    Why can't you turn and face me [Repeat: x4]

    You fucking disappoint me

    Passive-aggressive bullshit [Repeat: x12] Writer/s: Billy Howerdel, Danny Lohner, Trent Reznor, Maynard James Keenan
    Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., CONCORD MUSIC PUBLISHING LLC
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 37

  • Cynzia from Italy I think this song once again is about his abuse experience he had in his childhood from his step-dad. He is not able to forgive and forget but is definitely trying to make some peace of mind with his trauma.
  • Karlyn from SeattleI really relate to this song, but in a more general sense. Not so much the specific situation being described.
    More the overall anger you feel inside when the opportunity to even the score with someone you f--king hate has slipped through your fingers. Now your anger has elevated to a brand new level because ( they won ) and it will always remain unfinished business.
    I know EXACTLY how that feels!, anyway that’s what the song means to me.
  • Some Dude From Way Up North from Nwti think it's about being dissapointed in yourself
  • Hotsauce from MaI think it’s about anal play like all his other songs. Lol
  • Calypso from San Antonio TexasIts about himself, He as OD and as he begins to slip his body (soul) is trying to fight or wake him out of it. As the songs goes on, the body (soul) is starting to understand that he is getting to the point of no return. At the end it realized that there is no coming back.
  • Passiveguy from OntarioIt's about a son who resents an abusive parent who has died. The anger, guilt and resentment are still there, but they feel the parent got off easy by dying. Nevertheless, now there is no chance for closure. Time has run out.
  • Kostas from GreeceI think still nobody understand the meaning of the song. I think this song is about himself, he is talking to himself because he had a really bad and serious experience in his life. That could be schizophreneia, psychosis panic attack, depression anything cause he used drugs or alcohol. But this song is giving him courage and strength to move on in his life and to forget about his mind problems. I think he did get over it. If you think about it and listen to the lyrics that's exactly why he wrote this song. And he helped a lot of people to get over their problems.
  • Dan from Tacoma, WaThis song is about the death of a friend/ family member who he had a love/hate relationship with. Passive/Passive aggressive towards it. He couldn't accept the death, but knew it was going to happen. Positive, Negative emotions. Almost as if-if the person in the I.C.U or what ever would of actually woken up and "faced" him he would be "disappointed." But he was still sad to see the person on their death bed. Because they were prob on their death bed because it was self inflicted, like a drug over dose. Some of the first stages of accepting death are anger, and denial "wake up." The longer the song goes on he gets more angry, because hes getting more accepting of it.
  • The One The True from Texas, TxIt is about his refusal to deal with his mother's death, his anger, and he is trying to negoiate with her memory, her optimist (doctor), her god, and her past (christ)...(get it?). I could only dream to have one of my kids be so loving of me. Thanks mjk for allowing us to know judith through you.
  • Adam from Atttleboro, Macould be about ending in a relationship where one person refuses to except the outcome, or deeper meaning could be maynard trying to tell us(people) to be hurd and not sit back on anything that we believe in, if we wish to speak out do so and if we dont well then we deseve to be dissapointed with what we disagree with.
  • Squid from Los Angeles, Cathis song is a left over from 13th step and really didn't fit the theme so was left off the album. but as with most maynard songs, it has dual meanings. with pet it was the drug talking as well as a government talking. in passive i could be viewed as a sponsor (look up how 12 steps work) who has become passive to the dependant. as well as a government or parental figure in the matter of someone deserting. many fathers took this type of approach with sons ditching the vietnam war
  • Jack from Strabane, IrelandI think this songs about when something happens between you and someone the other persons acts really imature and wont talk about the situation instead the bottle it up and ignore you therefore being "passive agressive".
  • Aubrey from Chicago, IlFrustration with someone who manipulates, lies and tries to pull strings in order to control one or get them to snap, however, the frustrated first person lyrics indicate he is handling his frustration in the same passive-aggressive way that he hates being manipulated by. So in a sense, two passive aggressive people/parties playing games and waiting for each other to snap first. (Sort of sick and twisted way of dealing with things) The first person admits that maybe he is better of left disappointed, in consideration that he may be the one that is wrong. He may want the other party to be more direct, yet he is not direct either!
  • Glenver from Elyria, OhSongs can be precieved in many different ways because theyre lyrics are universal. Passive-aggressive means a passive resistance, unwillingness to communicate, negative and angry and most times unresponsive. maybe the doctor is a shrink. saying that the person(dead as dead can be) has a cerebral illness(passive-aggression) and cant help it. he says thats bulls--t and is telling the person to start talking to him and stop pretending not to hear him because hes had enough and is ready to give up and leave for good. at the end he whispers "passive-aggressive bulls--t".
  • Robert from Huntsville, AlThe song is about apathy. The message of the song is to stand up for what you belive in. Here are the exact words from Maynard James Keenan on the meaning.

    "The commentary on 'Passive' seemed very apropos for this album," says Keenan. "The song is very much about apathy. I think a lot of the problems in this country have to do with people willingly staying asleep. They're allowing this administration to manipulate their decisions without actually getting involved in those decisions."

    The song's message about passionately sticking up for what you believe in is a central theme of Constantine. Based on characters from the DC Comics/Vertigo "Hellblazer" graphic novels, the film tells the story of John Constantine (Reeves), a man who has literally been to hell and back. When he teams up with skeptical police detective Angela Dodson (Weisz) to solve the mysterious suicide of her twin sister, their investigation takes them through the world of demons and angels that exists just beside the landscape of contemporary Los Angeles. Caught in a catastrophic series of otherworldly events, the two become inextricably involved and seek to find their own peace at whatever cost. The film also stars Shia LaBeouf, Tilda Swinton, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Djimon Hounsou, Gavin Rossdale and Peter Stormare.

    "If you really believe in something, step forward" says Keenan, reiterating the ultimate meaning of "Passive." "Voice your views, and let's help move everything forward. "
  • Austin from Smallsville, NeI am a little sceptical about this song being about the iraq war. Because Maynard said he tries to leave politics out of his music
  • Derek from New Orleans, La"dead as dead can be"
    "the doctor tells me but i just cant believe .. the optimistic one"

    the sickness of an alter ego .... he once had.... is gone and wants it back

    "wake up and face me"

    "its ur right and ur ability to become my perfect enemy"...

    thats y its "passive" one side is passive and one side is aggressive... he wants his alter ego back cuz thats wut hes used to....
    "maybe ur better off this way"
  • Madhav from Bethlehem, Pathink this song is conceptually speaking about the psychiatric outfit referred to as passive agressive behaviour it was first seen courtesy among american soldiers in vietnam when they showed an inclination in general to procrastinate, shirk orders with their own attitude and refuse authority. they would slack off and disobey orders resisting passively, the trait found its origin their, its a pessimistic attitude via "Never the optimistic one" towards life and authority in general the lines "wake up and face me" being said to the soldier "perfect enemy" being oneself destructing ones own life by that "you f--king disappoint me maybe your better off" defining the problem. it also ties constantine when he discovers his terminal lung cancer hes seein couging his guts out "dead as dead can be the doctor tells me"
  • Tina from L.a., Cawhich is the reason why hes dead as can be... and shes giving him reasons to turn into his perfect enemy which he clearly doesnt want but shes drving him to it... (SUCKS) and hes starting to think theyre better off that way...(alone)
  • Tina from L.a., Cai think this song is about him giving everything, his absolute care, love, and complete self to this "significant other", but that person takes it for granted and throws it aside and doesnt give a sh*t about it and screws him over thinking hell always be there no matter wat... but he basically is fed up and is trying to make her understand that theres only so much somebody can take and he will turn around one day and say "u dissapoint me" and leave even though a part of him has hope for them... but again hes fed up... maybe im wrong but thats how i feel =/
  • Holt from Heber Springs, ArI think this song is about loseing a love...I know this may sound werid but this is what I got out of it:
    He is upset. She died in a hostpital, and the doctore says that she has died, but he doesn't want to bleive it, and all through his head is that she is mad at him and doesn't want to see him anymore. and he goes insane and says that she has dissopointed him and this is just passive agressive.

    Yea.. thats my opinion. Critize all you want I dont' mind.
  • Leighan from Saltcoats, ScotlandTo me this song represents my battle with bipolar. How sometimes I feel dead and depressed and how I am telling myself to deal with it. Like an outer body experience.

    When I was first diagnosed with depression I wouldn't believe it I felt like my life had ended.

    I never did anything about it
    It got worse grew manic depressive and then agrophobic and here I am

    I think to myself
    "maybe your better off this way"

    "what you could and might have been"

    This song means so much to me I find it beautiful and damning every time.

    Someday I will walk away and say you dissapoint me maybe you're better off this way

    - Leighan x
  • Jeremy from Fayetteville, NcPersonally, I think the singer is talking to himself. Maybe he some sort of terminal illness such as AIDS or lung cancer, and he's talking to himself about all the things he could and should have done in life instead of what he has, and he's just so mad he wants to fight himself, 'maybe you're better off this way'. Possibly a trauma earlier in his life scarred him, and the actions he's taken since have caused him to become 'my perfect enemy', a dark reflection of himself.
  • 2012-the-end from ???, TxHe talks about people refusing to accept the Complete Knoledge which will be offered to humanity by Ones in the year 2012.It disappoints him to see humanity be ignorant by making this truely dooming mistake.
  • Brian from Minneapolis, MnThis songs lyrics are one of the main reasons tapeworm broke up. The lyrics were written by Maynard to represent his hatred of Trent.
  • Lahna from Bridgetown, Australiai can see this song representing a bad break up,or a family drama, or simply at war with yourself. how ever you wanna interpretate the song its awesome. also a note to "bakh, cairo, Egypt" or any like him, could you at least spell 'maynard' correctley? he deserves that much...
  • Rafael from Wildomar, Cato me this song is about how you cant go back ... as in war .. you can have fights and at some point after all the fighting .. you almost need to your enemy to define who you are .. and justify your purpose. batman and joker for example .. if joker killed batman .. would being joker be the same? (crude i know) the thing is once you start down that path .. you cant make things the way they were (war)
  • Noah from Davenport, IaFor me a few years back i was with a girl and she was the most beuitful person inside in out to me but she had low self asteem and that was the recking ball that broke me and us apart
    she got in trouble one day with the law for some thing stupid and that made her feel so stupid and bad that she change she became
    SELF DESTROCTIVE she did everything in her power to isolate her self from me from lying say mean thing to hurt me and was PASSIVE about it like she wasn't doing thoughs things she became a pal reflection of what she was as if she was dead
    and this song and the song BLUE witch is about being in denel about ones state the can apear one way like on the outside they look the same but inside there dead and in the end i was no longer OPTIMISTIC she was DEAD AS CAN BE
  • Steven from Victorville, Caafter making that last comment I scrolled down to read everybodys and I saw Marius Nampa's comment and now somehow I feel more strongly that maybe my interpretations of Maynards songs arent so off...
  • Steven from Victorville, Casince right now im going through something with a girl, I told her I loved her after so many years and she reacted very strangely, now she barely even talks to me after we were so close and spent so much time with each other, the song to me at the moment was the feel of our relationship, the doctor metaphoring to actual events and reality and dead being our friendship "dead as dead can be, the doctor tells me, ever the optimistic one" the optimistic being how things were never wrong untill that point and then the very end, "go ahead and try to play dead? I know that you can hear this,.....why cant you turn and face me..... you f*cking dissapoint me" would be my speech to her as of now, why cant she face me and tell me straight out if she feels the same way because I know shes thinking about it and her being so heartless about it dissapoints me, to me Maynards songs have so much internal meaning I honestly feel each one of his songs could be relating to certain people hes experienced, this is more of my feeling for the song since Im going through this but who knows it could be an interpretation
  • Celticknot from Phoenix, AzI don't know why, but this song makes me think of someond in a coma. Thats just my two cents
  • Derek from Ruston, LaThis song is about apathy in today's world and how people just lay back and let other people take charge. "Wake up and face me" "You disappoint me"
  • Ariana Arenas from El Paso, Txnot taking action of oneself, you are responsible of who you are, you can eaither be your friend or your perfect enemy.
  • Marius from Nampa, IdTo me this song was about an ending of a relationship, someone can just turn cold and feel nothing, And trying to talk to or love that person still, maybe they are better of that way..

    being the person trying to rekindle the relationship or not wanting to face the fact that it is dead. "go ahead and play dead" but maybe I'm biased because the timing when i first heard this song )
  • Bakh from Cairo, Egyptthis song is a peice of art ,i like the way mainerd wrote and preformed the chours wake up , faceme don't play dead ,, it's all 2 or 3 sylabes sentences and they are very powerfull in the simple vocal preformance that is like yelling and screaming
  • Ryan from Sheridan, WyThe whole album is full of songs protesting war and to think this song is any different would be absolutely wrong. Also most of this album is a collection of songs writen by other artists (covered excelently, I might add), with the exception of "Passive" and "Count bodies Like Sheep...". Maynard uses a lot of metaphores in his lyrical stylings. So given the anti-war theme of the album I believe the dead person represents people in general, their "passive" approach to our government. Every day I talk to a majority who oppose the war in Iraq, but feel powerles to do anything about it. This song is a call use your voice and say "This is wrong, I will turn and face what screams for our attention." He's "ever the optimistic one" because he knows that someday the people will decide to use that voice. I may be wrong, but It's just an interpretation.
  • Chris from Toronto, CanadaThe last 3 lines of "why cant you..?" are sang as "Why cant you turn against me?" not "why cant you turn and face me?"
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