Bad Religion
Frank Ocean Lyrics


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Taxi driver
Be my shrink for the hour
Leave the meter running
It's rush hour
So take the streets if you wanna
Just outrun the demons, could you?

He said, "Allahu akbar"
I told him, "Don't curse me"
"Bo Bo, you need prayer"
I guess it couldn't hurt me
If it brings me to my knees
It's a bad religion, ooh
This unrequited love
To me, it's nothin' but a one-man cult
And cyanide in my Styrofoam cup
I can never make 'em love me
Never make 'em love me
Love me, love me
Love me, love me
Love me, love me
Love me, love me
Love me, love

Taxi driver
I swear I've got three lives
Balanced on my head like steak knives
I can't tell you the truth about my disguise
I can't trust no one

And you say, "Allahu akbar"
I told him, "Don't curse me"
"Bo Bo, you need prayer"
I guess it couldn't hurt me
If it brings me to my knees
It's a bad religion
Oh, unrequited love
To me, it's nothin' but a one-man cult
And cyanide in my Styrofoam cup
I can never make them love me
Never make 'em love me
No, no, ah

It's a, it's a bad religion
To be in love with someone
Who could never love you




Oh-oh-oh, only bad, only bad religion
Could have me feeling the way I do

Overall Meaning

Frank Ocean's "Bad Religion" delves into the theme of unrequited love and the emotional pain that comes with it. The song is a dialogue between Frank and a taxi driver who is acting as his therapist for the hour. The taxi driver is the only person Frank can confide in about his struggles with his unrequited love. The song is so named because the love Frank feels is like a religion, something he can't help but believe in despite the fact that it's not reciprocated.


The lyrics are powerful and emotional, as Frank pleads with the taxi driver to help him escape his own mind and the demons that come with unrequited love. His use of religious references is particularly interesting, as he juxtaposes the taxi driver's invocation of "Allahu akbar" with his own admission that love feels like a cult. The inclusion of cyanide in the styrofoam cup speaks to the idea that Frank feels as though his love is slowly killing him, while he is powerless to stop it. The chorus, with its repetition of "never make 'em love me," is a lamentation on the futility of trying to force someone to love you.


Overall, "Bad Religion" is a poignant and beautifully written song that packs an emotional punch. It's a window into the pain that comes with unrequited love and the struggles that one can face in trying to love someone who will never love them back.


Line by Line Meaning

Taxi driver
Frank Ocean addresses his taxi driver, fulfilling the role of a listener in his life


Be my shrink for the hour
Frank Ocean is asking the taxi driver to act as his therapist for the time being


Leave the meter running
He asks the driver to continue charging him, indicating that he needs this help and is ready to pay for it


It's rush hour
Though there may be delays, Frank Ocean needs the talk more than ever and wants the taxi to take its time


So take the streets if you wanna
Frank Ocean gives the driver the choice to diverge from the common route, possibly leading them to a quicker resolution


Just outrun the demons, could you?
Frank Ocean believes that if he covers more ground, he can move past his personal struggles faster


"Allahu akbar"
A phrase used in Muslim prayer, but also linked to terrorism, heightening Frank Ocean's anxiety


I told him, "Don't curse me"
Frank Ocean becomes paranoid and asks the driver not to cause him harm or wish negative things upon him


"Bo Bo, you need prayer"
The driver further suggests the importance of prayer for Frank Ocean, highlighting how damaged he feels


I guess it couldn't hurt me
Frank Ocean is willing to try anything that may help him, and decides to take the driver's advice despite his initial apprehension


If it brings me to my knees
Frank Ocean confesses that his struggles are debilitating and all-consuming, and hopes that this prayer will help him gain perspective and clarity


It's a bad religion, ooh
Frank Ocean recognizes his unhealthy attachment to someone who doesn't love him back, and calls it a 'bad religion'


This unrequited love
Frank Ocean is in love with someone who does not reciprocate his feelings


To me, it's nothin' but a one-man cult
Frank Ocean feels trapped in his obsession with this person, as if he is the only one who believes in the relationship


And cyanide in my styrofoam cup
Frank Ocean compares his destructive attachment to the poison cyanide, which he acknowledges is damaging and unhealthy to him


I can never make 'em love me
Frank Ocean has come to terms with the fact that he cannot change someone's feelings or make them love him back


Love me, love me
Frank Ocean repeats these words as a plea for affection, which he knows will never be granted


Taxi driver
Frank Ocean addresses the taxi driver again


I swear I've got three lives
Frank Ocean speaks to the complexity of his identity and the different lives he leads


Balanced on my head like steak knives
Frank Ocean feels the weight of his different identities, like knives ready to cut him down


I can't tell you the truth about my disguise
Frank Ocean is afraid to reveal his true self to anyone, including the driver as his therapist, but especially to the object of his obsession


I can't trust no one
Frank Ocean reveals his fear of others and their potential to betray him


And you say, "Allahu akbar"
The driver's repetition of the phrase makes Frank Ocean feel even more exposed and vulnerable


I told him, "Don't curse me"
As before, Frank Ocean pleads with the driver to not bring him harm


"Bo Bo, you need prayer"
The driver's words begin to resonate with Frank Ocean, and he starts to consider that maybe he does need to turn to prayer


I guess it couldn't hurt me
Frank Ocean repeats this line, indicating his increasing willingness to try different measures to help himself


If it brings me to my knees
Frank Ocean repeats this line, emphasizing the potential power of prayer in guiding him to a better place


It's a bad religion
Frank Ocean repeats this line, almost as if it is an acknowledgement of his current state, and a surrender to the situation he is in


Oh, unrequited love
Frank Ocean repeats this line and the following ones, showing the magnitude of his pain and heartbreak


No, no, ah
Frank Ocean ends with these words, which could represent his resignation or acceptance of his situation, or possibly his wish for a different reality


It's a, it's a bad religion
Frank Ocean ends as he began, with the repetition of this line, which shows how central and overwhelming this issue is to his life


To be in love with someone
Frank Ocean concludes with this universal sentiment, describing the relatable pain of loving someone who cannot love you back


Who could never love you
Frank Ocean ends with these words, highlighting the unlikelihood and impossibility of his love being returned


Oh, only bad, only bad religion
Frank Ocean ends with this line, repeating the key message of the song that his obsessive love is like a 'bad religion'.




Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Written by: Charles Gambetta, Christopher Breaux, Kevin Ristro, Waynne Nugent

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Introductory line, no real meaning behind it.


Every day is unpredictable, and we have no control over it.


No matter how hard we try, the future is always uncertain and out of our control.


The environment is always changing, and we can only adapt to the changes.


No matter the circumstances, life will always be what it is.


Our experiences in life shape us and influence how we react to certain situations.


Stay alert, be aware of your surroundings, and face your adversity head-on.


Life can be slow and monotonous, but it's important to keep moving forward.


Sometimes we wish things were different, but we have to work with what we have.


Change is constant and inevitable, and we must adapt accordingly.


We are confined to our natural surroundings and must find ways to thrive within them.


I will be there for you and remain reliable through thick and thin.


Stay calm and composed when things are going well.


I will not abandon you when things fall apart.


I learned how to remain dependable and support others from your example.


My upbringing and past taught me how to love and connect with others.


There is a power or higher force that we cannot control but can find solace in.


I have respect and admiration for the person who has influenced me so deeply.


Things will become easier once we've overcome certain obstacles.


In the aftermath of a disaster or tragedy.


Referring to the black community and the beauty of darker skin tones.


Going underwater.


Represents makeshift arrangements that still offer a sense of stability.


Taking risks and enjoying life, despite the danger.


The inspiration and influence of those older and more experienced than us.


An allusion to reincarnation, a second chance starting over.


Coming back to the surface after experiencing hardship.


Showing gratitude for the world that has allowed us to survive and thrive.


Being thankful for everything that we have and acknowledging our place in the universe.


Our environment and experiences offer an opportunity to learn and grow in order to survive.


We must persevere even when things get tough.


Reflecting on our lives and past experiences.


Referring to the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood.


Giving a shout-out to friends or individuals who have impacted their life.


Acknowledging people they love or admire.


Showing appreciation for the promise of eternal life or a legacy that will live on after death.


Preparing to take action, possibly to run or escape.


Trying to escape the pain and hardship of life through various vices or addictions.


Engaging in reckless behavior or coping through unhealthy means.


Looking for comfort or pleasure in the face of adversity.


Jokingly considering the benefits of eternal life or a lasting legacy.


Accepting that life, with all its joys and hardships, is finite and will eventually end.

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