Play Dead
Björk Lyrics


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Darling stop confusing me
With your wishful thinking
Hopeful embraces
Don't you understand?
I have to go through this
I belong to here where
No-one cares and no-one loves
No light no air to live in
A place called hate
The city of fear

I play dead
It stops the hurting
I play dead
And hurting stops

It's sometimes just like sleeping
Curling up inside my private tortures
I nestle into pain
Hug suffering
Caress every ache





I play dead
It stops the hurting

Overall Meaning

In the opening of the song "Play Dead", Björk seems to be addressing someone who is confusing her with their wishful thinking and hopeful embraces. She then clarifies that she has to go through something alone, belonging to a place that is without care and love. This location is characterized as a place of hate, fear, and hopelessness, where there is no light or air to live in. It is this environment that prompts her to "play dead", which stops the hurting. She goes on to explain that this is at times akin to simply falling asleep, curled up inside her personal tortures. In these moments, she tends to embrace the pain and caress the suffering.


The repeated phrase "I play dead" sounds like a coping mechanism, a sort of escapism from the difficulties of life. The act of playing dead appears to be her way of dealing with the pain, allowing herself to succumb to it and thus halting it. However, this state of being also hints at something deeper, as if she has given up or perhaps feels trapped. It's unclear whether the escape is a temporary solution to a life she finds intolerable or if it's indicative of something more fundamental: her resignation about the world around her.


Overall, this song presents a perfect example of Björk's unique style, her haunting voice, and powerful lyrics. The song points out a feeling of general isolation and lack of belonging, with Björk opting for an imaginary "play dead" solution. This aspect of the song is one of the most haunting since it implies giving up rather than finding a way through life, suggesting that sometimes it is better to shut down than try to fight a battle that you cannot win.


Line by Line Meaning

Darling, stop confusing me,
Stop giving me false hope and confusing signals.


With your wishful thinking.
Stop hoping that things will work out the way you wish they would.


Hopeful embraces,
Your expressions of affection make me feel more confused.


Don't you understand?
Why can't you see how difficult this is for me?


I have to go through this,
I have to endure this experience on my own.


I belong to here where no-one cares,
I feel like I am in a place where no one understands or cares about me.


And no-one loves.
I feel unloved and undeserving of love.


No light, no air to live in,
I feel trapped in a dark place with no escape.


A place called hate,
I am consumed by feelings of hatred and despair.


The city of fear.
I am living in a world of fear and anxiety.


I play dead,
I shut down emotionally in order to cope with the pain.


It stops the hurting.
By pretending to be dead inside, I can numb the pain of my emotions.


And the hurting stops.
I can stop feeling overwhelmed by my pain and find some relief.


It's sometimes just like sleeping,
When I shut down emotionally, it feels like a form of escape, almost like going to sleep.


Curling up inside my private tortures.
I retreat into my own pain, making it my private world.


I nestle into pain,
I take comfort in the familiarity of pain and sorrow.


Hug suffering,
I embrace my own pain rather than trying to push it away.


Caress every ache
I allow myself to feel every bit of pain and sadness.


I play dead, it stops the hurting.
I am able to find relief from my emotional pain by shutting down and disconnecting from my feelings.


I play dead, it stops the hurting.
My emotional pain feels less overwhelming when I am able to disconnect from my feelings.


I play dead, it stops the hurting.
By pretending to be dead inside, I can find some relief from my emotional pain.




Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
Written by: David George Arnold, Jah Wobble, Bjoerk Gudmundsdottir

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Most interesting comments from YouTube:

@kimgardener4902

Omg been looking for ages for this song thank you.

Darling, stop confusing me
With your wishful thinking
Hopeful embraces
Don't you understand?
I have to go through this
I belong to here
Where no one cares
And no one loves
No light, no air to live in
A place called hate
The city of fear

I play dead
It stops the hurting
I play dead
And the hurting stops

It's sometimes just like sleeping
Curling up inside my private tortures
I nestle into pain
Hug suffering
Caress every ache

I play dead
It stops the hurting



@XxihpetS

Darling... stop confusing me
with your wishful thinking.
Hopeful embraces,
don't you understand?
I have to go through this
I belong to here where
no-one cares and no-one loves
no light no air to live in
a place called hate
the city of fear

Oh...

i play dead
it stops the hurting
i play dead
and the hurt stops

it's sometimes just like sleeping
curling up inside my private tortures
i nestle into pain
hug suffering
caress every ache

Oh..

i play dead
it stops the hurting
i play dead
it stops the hurting
i play dead
it stops the hurting.
i play dead
it stops the hurting..."



All comments from YouTube:

@ThePauloVJCastilho

This song is not only about depression and suicidal thoughts. It is also about emotional numbness and apathy, the kind which can take many years of a person's life.

@juhaj.5616

If anyone is reading this and that comment: alcohol is not the ultimate answer. Just saying because it all resembles.

@suleymanthemad1140

I have always considered this song to be about emotional numbness and apathy, never thought of the first things.

@Philip-ei8pu

I empathize with this song.
I lived in Wolverhampton.

@lnerrules-iw6ry

I am suffering from depression 24/7 over the death of my dear beloved mum over 20 years ago. Alcohol is not the answer. Even I told people I would like to swap places with my mum. I'm sorry but the world is a horrible cruel place. I blame the Internet and mobile phones, it ruins peoples life's.

@frodegroven

Yeah. And you endorse it or. To all of you - it is about breaking out of that shit, not to endorse it. Hypericum stada might help you. God Thor bless.

14 More Replies...

@miracleofsound

The emotions in her vocal delivery still give me chills. Her writing and voice are so, so unique and special <3

@quincybeegood6063

Agreed!!

@samgourhan207

I want you to collab with her

@murphybrown666

Start by singing to the mountains on your way to school

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