Meaning of “When I Was Done Dying” by Dan Deacon

Written By Michael Miller

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

Dan Deacon’s “When I Was Done Dying” is an abstract exploration of rebirth and the cyclical nature of existence. The song’s narrative takes the listener on a surreal journey through various forms of existence, from the physical to the metaphysical. It’s not about a specific person, but rather the universal experience of transformation and growth. Deacon’s lyrics suggest a curiosity about what lies beyond death and a playful yet profound contemplation of life’s continuous cycle. This song is a vivid, dream-like tale that blurs the lines between reality and imagination.

Dive into the cosmic journey of Dan Deacon’s “When I Was Done Dying” and explore the song’s intricate tapestry of life, death, and rebirth.

“When I Was Done Dying” Lyrics Meaning

Dan Deacon’s “When I Was Done Dying” is a lyrical odyssey that explores themes of renewal, transformation, and the unknown. The song begins with “When I was done dying, my conscience regained,” introducing the idea of consciousness reawakening after death. This opening sets a tone of rebirth, hinting at a cycle of death and renewal.

As the song progresses, “Out a flash made of time, my new form blasted out,” the listener is taken on a journey of constant change and evolution. The imagery of time as a flash and a new form blasting out suggests a sudden, powerful transformation, symbolic of life’s unpredictable nature.

The lines “And I ran until drained, leaving no choice but rest, So I fell asleep softly at the edge of a cave,” convey the exhaustion of constant change and the need for rest. This rest could symbolize a moment of peace or a transition into another form of existence.

The transformation continues with “But from shirt grew a tree and then tree grew a fruit, And I became the seed and that seed was a brute.” This metamorphosis from a human to a plant form illustrates the interconnectedness of all life forms, and the idea that existence is not limited to human experience.

Deacon’s use of vivid, dream-like imagery, “I dreamt about climbing into the night sky, But I knew had I touched them they’d mouth back ‘Bye-bye’,” further blurs the line between reality and fantasy. This segment of the song reflects on the allure of the unknown and the beauty of aspiration, even when it seems unattainable.

The encounter with the crab, “Oh, it greeted me kindly and then we all drank, And we drooled out together right onto the ground,” brings a sense of camaraderie and shared experience. This part of the song touches on the communal aspect of existence, the shared journey of life in its various forms.

The song concludes with a cosmic perspective, “And the earth looked at me and said ‘Wasn’t that fun?'” This line personifies the Earth, suggesting a broader, more universal viewpoint on existence. It implies that life, with all its transformations and challenges, is an adventure to be embraced.

Why Was “When I Was Done Dying” Written?

“When I Was Done Dying” seems to stem from Dan Deacon’s contemplation of life’s perpetual cycle and the mysteries of existence. The song reflects a state of mind that is curious, imaginative, and introspective. Deacon, known for his experimental and avant-garde style, often explores philosophical and existential themes in his music.

This song appears to be an artistic expression of Deacon’s thoughts on life, death, and what lies beyond. Its abstract and surreal narrative suggests a playful yet deep exploration of these themes. The song is not just a story but a reflection of Deacon’s creative process and his desire to understand and express the complex nature of existence.