Meaning of “What You Give” by Tesla

Written By Michael Miller

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

At its core, “What You Give” by Tesla is a love song that digs deep into what truly matters in relationships. It’s not about material things or surface-level attractions. The songwriter is speaking to the idea that love is something that exists beyond possessions and appearances. The love expressed here is genuine & raw and comes from a place of emotional connection. The song’s lyrics are full of a desire for something real, a longing for true companionship, and a sense of being lost without it. So, why did Tesla write this song? Well, it seems like a soul-searching anthem, a tribute to love that’s honest and selfless.

Ready for a deeper dive? Keep reading to unearth the layers and hidden messages packed in this soulful song by Tesla. You won’t be disappointed!

“What You Give” Lyrics Meaning

The song kicks off with a volley of questions: “Who’s the one that makes you happy? Or maybe, who’s the one always on your mind?” These lines set the stage for a meditation on love and how it affects us emotionally and mentally. It’s about identifying what really matters in a relationship, and that is often intangible – a connection that’s more emotional and spiritual rather than material.

“I feel so lonely, yet I know I’m not the only one to ever feel this way.” With this line, the singer acknowledges the universal feeling of loneliness but also the specific loneliness that comes from being deeply in love. It’s a loneliness that makes you “go crazy” because you’re so engrossed in the thoughts of your loved one.

When the singer says, “It’s not whatcha got, it’s what you give,” he’s hitting on a profound truth. It’s a reminder that in love, and in life, it’s your actions and contributions that count, not your assets or what you own. These lines are crucial to understanding the song’s deeper message about the nature of love, commitment, and what makes relationships last.

The singer also admits that love can be a bit maddening, a little obsessive even. Phrases like “I lose track of time, lose track of the days” and “I’m goin’ crazy, outta my head” emphasize that when you’re in love, everything else fades into the background.

Importantly, the song doesn’t shy away from the realities of love. It acknowledges that everybody needs someone, and it’s a basic human need to share a “special kind of love” with another person. While the lyrics don’t specify who the song is about, the universal language suggests it’s a love song for anyone who has ever felt a deep emotional connection.

Why Was “What You Give” Written?

This song comes off as a reflective anthem, one born out of a period of soul-searching and emotional exploration. Considering the recurring themes in Tesla’s music, it’s clear that they like to venture into the nuances of human emotions and relationships. The songwriter was probably navigating the challenges and wonders of love, trying to put into words how it’s not about material things but about something far deeper. “What You Give” serves as a heartfelt reminder of what love should be, and perhaps a personal memo for the songwriter himself, a compass pointing to what matters most in life.