What You Are
Dave Matthews Band Lyrics


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I walk into this room
All eyes on me now
But I do not know the people inside
Look straight through me these eyes
Seeking more wisdom
Than I have to give away
Realize realize
What you are

[Chorus:]
What you've become
Just as I have
Are you and I so unalike
Huddled here
You just as I am
Afraid if we dance
We will die
Mock the world
Live safe say why
Don't you know
When you give life
Then you become
What you are

The sea is unsparing
We're all drifting away
Away from you
But I pray for you now
Hoping to god on high
Is like clinging to straws
While drowning oh

[Chorus]

What you are
Is a best in a lover's arms
What you are
Is the devil in a sweet sweet kiss
What you are
Is a puzzle to me





[Chorus]

Overall Meaning

The Dave Matthews Band's song, What You Are, addresses the apprehensions and fears that come with self-discovery, the universal human experience of sometimes feeling like an outsider in social situations, and the idea that our decisions shape who we ultimately become. The song's opening lyrics express the feeling of being the center of attention while feeling like an outsider, attempting to connect with unfamiliar people. The phrase "Seeking more wisdom than I have to give away," suggests that the singer is feeling vulnerable and exposed, which is why he/she is seeking acceptance and understanding from those around them.


The chorus speaks of the fear involved in creating our own identity, and the idea that we're all afraid of taking risks that might change us. The line, "Are you and I so unalike," suggests that we're all trying to find our place in the world, and while sometimes it may seem like we're completely isolated in our experiences, we're all facing similar struggles. Further lines in the chorus such as "Mock the world, live safe say why," imply that fear and apprehension often hold us back from taking chances, something that is required to truly find out who we are. The song concludes on a bittersweet note, with Dave Matthews singing about the irony of life: "What you are is a best in a lover's arms. What you are is the devil in a sweet, sweet kiss. What you are is a puzzle to me." Essentially, the song exhorts people to be true to themselves and to take control of their lives in order to experience self-discovery.


Line by Line Meaning

I walk into this room
I enter a room filled with people


All eyes on me now
Everyone in the room is looking at me


But I do not know the people inside
I am not familiar with the people in the room


Look straight through me these eyes
The people are not interested in me as a person


Seeking more wisdom
The people are looking for knowledge or insight


Than I have to give away
I do not have the knowledge or insight that they are seeking


Realize realize
I come to understand


What you are
What kind of person you truly are


Chorus: What you've become
The person you have transformed into


Just as I have
Just like myself


Are you and I so unalike
Are we really so different from each other?


Huddled here
All gathered together in this place


You just as I am
All of us present in the room


Afraid if we dance
Scared to let loose and be ourselves


We will die
We will suffer the consequences


Mock the world
Make fun of life


Live safe say why
Play it safe and never take any risks


Don't you know
Do you not realize


When you give life
By putting yourself out there


Then you become
Your true self is revealed


What you are
The kind of person you have the potential to be


The sea is unsparing
Life can be harsh and unforgiving


We're all drifting away
We are all slowly losing our way


Away from you
Far from the true meaning of life


But I pray for you now
I hope that you find your way


Hoping to god on high
Asking for divine guidance


Is like clinging to straws
Asking for help that may not come


While drowning oh
As life continues to be difficult


Chorus: What you are
The kind of person you have the potential to be


Is a best in a lover's arms
The happiest version of yourself is with someone you love


Is the devil in a sweet sweet kiss
Sometimes the things that seem good for us can be the most harmful


Is a puzzle to me
We all have our own mysteries and complexities


Chorus: What you are
The kind of person you have the potential to be




Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, CONCORD MUSIC PUBLISHING LLC, Peermusic Publishing
Written by: GLEN BALLARD, DAVID MATTHEWS

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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