Poetic Tragedy
The Used Lyrics


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The cup is not half empty as pessimists say
As far as he sees nothing's left in the cup
A whole cup full of nothing for him to indulge
Since the voice of ambition has long since been shut up

A singer, a writer, he's not dreaming now of going nowhere
He gave heed to nothing, and all that he was
Is just a tragedy

So he voyages in circles
Succeeds getting nowhere
And submits to the substance
That first got him there, there, there, there

Violent, frustration, he cries out to God or just no one
Is there a point to this madness and all that he was
Is just a tragedy

He feels alone
His heart in his hand
He's alone
He feels alone
I feel

Then on that last day he breaks
And he stood tall
Then he yelled, and he yelled (why world, why world, hate you, hate you, bye world)

Violent, frustration, he cries out to God or just no one




Is there a point to this madness and all that he was
Is just a tragedy

Overall Meaning

The lyrics to The Used's song Poetic Tragedy tell the story of a singer or writer who has lost his ambition and is left with a sense of emptiness. The theme of the song is one of frustration and violence, as the singer feels trapped and alone. The first verse sets the tone, as the cup is not half empty, but completely devoid of anything, leaving the singer with nothing to indulge in. This idea is reinforced with the line, "a whole cup full of nothing for him to indulge."


The second verse reveals that the singer is not dreaming of going anywhere, but has rather given up on his dreams entirely. He feels trapped and lost, and the substance that first got him there is now his only solace. This idea is emphasized by the repetition of "there" at the end of the verse. The chorus returns to the theme of frustration and the feeling of being trapped, as the singer submits to his circumstances and feels that all he is a tragedy.


The bridge introduces a more violent and desperate tone, as the singer cries out to God or anyone who will listen, questioning the madness of his life. The repetition of "Is there a point to this madness and all that he was?" emphasizes the sense of despair and hopelessness. The repetition of "I feel alone" in the final verse drives home the isolation and loneliness of the singer. The song ends with the breaking point, as the singer yells out in anger and frustration, mixed with a light of hope as "He stood tall".


Line by Line Meaning

The cup is not half empty as pessimists say
Contrary to the belief of pessimists, the cup is not lacking something. However, the person in this narrative sees nothing within the cup.


As far as he sees nothing's left in the cup
The singer sees nothing in his life; he feels empty and without a purpose.


A whole cup full of nothing for him to indulge
The singer feels like he has an abundance of emptiness and meaninglessness to dwell on.


Since the voice of ambition has long since been shut up
The artist’s ambition and drive have been stifled, likely due to external factors.


A singer, a writer, he's not dreaming now of going nowhere
The artist is an artist who is not dreaming of future success; the artist fears the worst for him.


He gave heed to nothing, and all that he was
The singer put effort into nothing and feels like he has nothing to show for his life.


Is just a tragedy
The singer's life feels like a tragedy.


So he voyages in circles
The artist feels like he is stuck in a loop and not progressing in life.


Succeeds getting nowhere
The artist feels like he is succeeding at failing, as he is not making any meaningful progress in his life.


And submits to the substance
The artist lets go of his will and gives in to the things that got him to this point in his life, whether that is drugs or something else entirely.


That first got him there, there, there, there
The substances that the singer is using to cope with his life were the starting point for him; he is now lost in them.


Violent, frustration, he cries out to God or just no one
The artist's frustration is strong and causes him to cry out to anyone or anything, including God or something else entirely.


Is there a point to this madness and all that he was
The singer questions whether there is any meaning to his life and all he has done so far.


Is just a tragedy
The singer feels like his life is a tragedy that is slowly unfolding.


He feels alone
The singer is isolated and feels lonely.


His heart in his hand
Metaphorically, the artist is showing vulnerability by holding his heart in his hand.


He's alone
The artist, again, feels alone and isolated.


He feels alone
Repeated to emphasize how alone and isolated the singer feels.


I feel
The singer sings of how he (or she) feels, which complements the singer’s feelings of isolation and loneliness.


Then on that last day he breaks
The artist eventually hits rock bottom.


And he stood tall
Despite reaching a low point, the artist stands up and prepares to face his struggles and his life.


Then he yelled, and he yelled (why world, why world, hate you, hate you, bye world)
The artist yells out in frustration, asking why the world is so tough on him and saying goodbye to the world as he knows it, in a way.


Violent, frustration, he cries out to God or just no one
The singer's frustration and pain reaches its peak, causing him to once again cry out to anyone or anything, even God or nothingness.


Is there a point to this madness and all that he was
Still questioning the meaning and purpose of his life.


Is just a tragedy
Reinforcing the idea that the singer's life is a tragedy in progress.




Lyrics © SOVEREIGN MUSIC
Written by: Quinn Allman, Jeph Howard, Robert McCracken, Branden Steineckert

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Comments from YouTube:

spoocyguy

My good buddy would’ve turned 34 yesterday. He got in a motorcycle accident when he was 19. I’ll never forget that night I got the call from his girlfriend. We would drive around town under the streetlights during our high school years and he loved to play this. He drove a red 1999 Dodge Neon. This album will always remind me of him, especially this one. Listening to feel the memories and remember the love. It all is coming flooding back. The laughs and the tears and the late nights being aimless and having the time of our lives. This one’s for you Ryan.

Jennafer Eldred

His memory lives on

William Pennington

Thanks for sharing. Sounds like good memories mostly.

Justin Strong

Rip

Alexander Paterson

Great song to remember Ryan by.. may he live on through this masterpiece

Danny Franco

May he rest easy. Had a good taste in music for sure!

20 More Replies...

Chris Cruz

Just rewatched the movie Grind. I'm a grown man and im willing to admit that I burst in to tears. It reminded me of such better times. Not a care in the world, just living in the moment and going with the flow. At 30 years old, I understand now when all the grown folk always talked about "back in my day..." I really did take it for granted. I would give most anything to relive those days one more time. Just to savor the little things. All the friends that have come and gone, all the dumb things I did, all the "this is the happiest moment in my life" times. I dont regret any of it.

Archie Watts

I feel you bro. But there is always more joy to live

TheRantWithGrant

Feels like a different world and a different life. The glory days. Music is a time machine.

Lauren Couch

Watched Grind today for the first time in about 15 years—still love it! And the soundtrack is one of the best.

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