Meaning of “Shake It Out” by Manchester Orchestra

Written By Michael Miller

Michael is a music teacher and professional cellist. He loves uncovering the deeper meaning of popular songs.

“Shake It Out” dives deep into the emotional turmoil of grappling with faith, the past, and finding one’s purpose. It conveys a sense of weariness but also hope. The lyrics touch on the singer’s relationship with God and the challenges of youth. The songwriter delves into moments of doubt, the desire for salvation, and the need to shake off burdens. The recurring theme is a plea for understanding and clarity amid life’s chaos.

Keep reading for a deeper dive!

“Shake It Out” Lyrics Meaning

“Shake it out, shake it out” signifies the need to let go, release pent-up emotions, and perhaps even find clarity in one’s life. The repetition of needing “another and another” highlights an insatiable desire for something more – whether it’s answers, experiences, or a sense of fulfillment.

The lines “How I felt the Lord in my father’s house” suggests a past relationship with faith, perhaps rooted in childhood or family traditions. It introduces the spiritual undertone of the song, which continues as a significant theme.

The reflection on youth with “Standing, we were seventeen, make it clean” indicates memories of simpler times, yet also hints at the desire to cleanse oneself from past mistakes or regrets.

“We bled it out over the floor of my neighbor’s house” paints an image of emotional outpouring, possibly hinting at shared experiences or collective struggles. The lines “God, I’ve never seen a thing so complete” may indicate a moment of revelation or the realization of a higher power’s omnipresence.

The chorus’s repetition, “Are you tired of being alone?”, underscores a universal feeling of isolation and the longing for connection, either with others or with a higher being.

The plea “God, just speak” is poignant. It captures the essence of searching for guidance and yearning for a sign, which further intensifies with “So speak to me.” The raw emotion culminates in the bridge with the declaration, “I felt the lord begin to peel off all my skin,” suggesting a transformation or rebirth. However, the acknowledgment that there’s a “bigger mess that you can’t fix” brings the listener back to the reality of imperfection.

Why Was “Shake It Out” Written?

Delving into the background of “Shake It Out,” one can infer that the songwriter was in a state of introspection when penning down these lyrics. The recurring themes of faith, doubt, and self-reflection hint at a personal journey of understanding one’s beliefs, reconciling with the past, and confronting inner demons.

The raw emotion and vulnerability present in the lyrics suggest a deep personal connection to the subject matter. Perhaps the writer was grappling with challenges in their own life, seeking solace in their faith, or simply attempting to articulate the complex emotions that come with growth and self-awareness.

Regardless of the specific inspiration, “Shake It Out” stands as a testament to the universal struggle of finding meaning, purpose, and connection in an often chaotic world.