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Florence + The Machine – Shake It Out lyrics
Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play


And every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues strong
It's always darkest before the dawn

And I've been a fool and I've been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way
I'm always dragging that horse around

And our love is pastured such a mournful sound
Tonight I'm gonna bury that horse in the ground
So I like to keep my issues drawn
But it's always darkest before the dawn

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah

And it's hard to dance with a devil on your
back
So shake him off, oh woah

I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I'm gonna cut it out and then restart
Cause I like to keep my issues strong
It's always darkest before the dawn

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah

And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah
And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back

And given half the chance would I take any of it back
It's a fine romance but it's left me so undone
It's always darkest before the dawn

Oh woah, oh woah...

And I'm damned if I do and I'm damned if I don't
So here's to drinks in the dark at the end of my rope
And I'm ready to suffer and I'm ready to hope
It's a shot in the dark and right at my throat
Cause looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Well what the hell I'm gonna let it happen to me

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah

And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh woaaah

And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh woah
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Lyrics taken from /lyrics/f/florence_the_machine/shake_it_out.html

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Corrected by Holly Cloud

Shake It Out meanings Post my meaning

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    This song, in my opinion, means to shake off the things holding you back, your 'devils' so to speak. Give yourself a second chance. Build yourself a new heart, be a better you. And the 'horse' that she is referring to isn't a literal horse, it's more like all the baggage she's been carrying around. Have you ever tried to drag a horse around? First of all, they can be really stubborn sometimes and second, they weigh a ton. Anyway, my favorite line in this song is "it's always darkest before the dawn. " because it holds so much truth. If you get anything out of this song, it's that one line alone. Give yourself a second chance. Things may seem bad now but the best is yet to come. After all, it's always darkest before the dawn.
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    + 6
    Angeliskate
    This song is about a persons inner demons, you're damned if you bring them to light by the people around you but it's also the only way to move forward in life.
    'looking for heaven, for the devil in me.
    Well what the hell I'm gonna let it happen to me\'.
    Represents this moment of cutting out the graceless heart, burying the horse and shaking the devil off your back. Of deciding that the future is worth more than saving face or pretending that everything is okay. For me personally it perfectly encapsulates how I feel (i should say felt but I'm still dealing) about all my regrets, mistakes and miseries of the past.
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    + 2
    Thalia
    The pound of flesh and cutting out one's graceless heart is also an allusion to Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice. In the play, a moneylender gives his rival a loan on the condition that, should he default, the payment shall be a pound of flesh. When the man indeed defaults on the payment, the moneylender demands the pound of flesh to come from his rival's heart, which would ensure the man's death. This, when someone wants a pound of flesh, they want more from you than you can ever possibly give. In this case, the singer seems to indicate that she is her own worst enemy.
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    This songs meaning can be directly related to the meaning of edgar allen poes "the raven", it's all based on the fact that the human mind has a tendency to with it weigh it's self down with regrets and over thinking, as so this song is written but this talks about getting rid of these regrets, and continuing life, though at the end, they let the regrets swollow them, no happy endings here :(
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    Florence has said in interviews she wrote this song as a hangover cure. It's just so beautifully and metaphorically written that you would never figure out what it actually means. The sexual innuendo in this song flies over most people's heads yet it's fairly obvious: "and all of the ghouls come out to play/and every demon wants his pound of flesh" refers to promiscuous men; "i like to keep some things to myself" refers to not living this promiscuous lifestyle; "i can never leave the past behind" refers to the emotional impact of past sexual activity; "and it's hard to dance with a devil on your back" bluntly alludes to the act of drunken s**; "our love is pastured, such a mournful sound" refers to the meaninglessness of the s**; "it's a fine romance but it's left me so undone" refers to how the s** was good on a superficial level but scarring on an emotional level.
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    "regrets collect like old friends" means that negative emotions from our past (even if was yesterday) tend to cling to the human heart. To be human is to reflect. When we do that too much with the dark stuff, "all the gouls comne out to play. " that means I have to decide what is really, really vital to me. That's what "i like to keep my issues strong," means to me. Change is universally difficult. When we're ready to give up, we have to persist. That's when we have to cling to the purpose we defined for ourselves. Typically, it's those hours when "it's always darkest before the dawn. " and "shake it out," that's just total encouragement to take whatever hurts and micro insults stuck to me through the day, and shake 'em off. I imagine it's like I start every day fresh. Like I'm clean and whole. And then the petty, vain, insulting, negative, demeaning crap (whether it's for me or someone else) just get's stuck on me. So by the time my day is done, I'm like an old winter blanket covered with lint, dust, stains, and residue around me. "shake it out" means take that stuff and shake it like winter's blanket in spring's fresh air. It means, "get that crap off of you before it takes root in your soul. "
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    I've noticed that all of the meanings posted touch on shaking off ones' demons, be they addiction, depression, regret, etc. So one can live or "dance" fully free. I also noticed that people use a very lazy version of english to express themselves and it ends up dumbing down that persons' interpretation. You not you. Your not ur. I not I. Love not love. Wreck not reck. I'm a young person too, but I have some pride in my opinion and intelligence. You all should too. If you can pick out a metaphorical meaning in a song, you can write a complete sentence full of punctuation and proper nouns. You can do it, america!
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    "i can see no way, i can see no way... " I feel this song speaks to us about our own demons, that without confronting them, we cannot move on. That without darkness we will not recognize the light, and without feeling hate we will not know love. Everyone of us must live our demon that we may know heaven and hold on to it. Like winston churchill once said "if you're going through hell, keep going. " and don't give up.
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    She has something that has always bothered her, and hurt her, and to get rid of it and she will never forget it she wants to get rid of it and restart but its really hard she will do anything to get rid or let it happen it must be pretty serious because it will maybe put herself in danger maybe she just needs to be free to dance to shake it out.
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    Recollection of the darkest moments in your life. Remembering all the nightmares you had to live and to not forget them but to not fear them. So when you look back on your life you don't see the bad things but the challenges you went through in order to be the person you are today, and be able to walk with your head held high in to the light of the next day.
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    This song works on so many different levels, whether it's sexual or addiction. But for me (and I know this may be a more boring opinion), I get the impression that its a song of self liberation. The singer seems that she has spent too long suppressing her true desires, doing what everyone expects her to do. But now she is going to let go of her regrets and questioning what she may have done. Now she is going to "shake it off, and it's hard to dance with a devil on your back, so shake him off"
    The devil may refer to any of her regrets, whether it's sexual, addiction or even inner demons. But no matter what, she is going to start fresh!
    I only mention this as I have gone through a similar thing and I am still "looking for heaven, for the devil in me".
    I love this song so much! It's beautiful.
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    The song repeatedly says "i can see no way, i can see no way". I think that the singer "can see no way" to avoid her hurtful and regretable past. They are saying that you need to confront your problems, solve them, and then "shake them out". Because unless you deal with your mistakes and accept them, they'll come back to haunt you and people will always be asking questions.
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    The perfect anthem for starting a new life, recognizing that you will not forget what is behind you, that it may always plague you distantly, but that you can make the choice to start anew and to refuse to let your past mistakes define you or shape your future. At the risk of sounding like a trite thirteen year old, this song is just what I needed right now. Lovely and powerful.
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    It's really special to me. This song makes me feel so much hope when I feel down. It gives me strengh to reach deep inside of me and give my all. It shows me to ignore the ones that give me so much hell everyday and just shake it out. There's always going to be struggle and heartbreak in this world put you have to keep moving on. Because my heart if my strongest weapon. -tianna.
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    Sometimes we let our past hold us, take us and it seems like we carry it around forever. Our demons, the memories, its kind of like a person who suffers from depression. Their past holds them and they find it hard to take a step forward but sometimes you have to harden or even change your heart, bury your past pains and memories. And sometims trying to find a way out, you find the demon in yourself.
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    I think this song really speaks to the heart about forgiving yourself, accepting your past and moving on into the light. Sometimes facing the truth about yourself, tearing down the past, walking through the pain and rebuilding yourself back up from the rubble, clawing through to re-emerge is the only path left. Shaking it off is to me almost being reborn, bruised, and battered but stronger, enlightened and closer to the being the person god hopes we become.
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    For me, this means that the things in my past I've carried with me for so long that they have become a part of me. But, really they are just a part of my past and it's time to put them there. As soon as I can remove them from me, the future will become completely clear (the dawn). I will be able to see again what I'm supposed to be doing here.
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    To me, it means forgiving yourself. You've done things and said things that you regret and now you keep yourself locked away in a continuous circle of punishment for things that have long been forgotten or forgiven by others. You give others grace and forgiveness, but not yourself because a graceless heart deems you not worthy of such. You keep these issues close to your chest and deal with them on your own because that too is part of the punishment that you impose upon yourself. Help, grace, forgiveness, love, mercy are not for the guilty and this is what keeps you prisoner to your graceless heart. I am one of the guilty.
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    It's easy to revert to old patterns and limiting beliefs. When it comes to the point of when we feel broken, lost - the dark night of the soul (devil within) wants to keep us in the blind. So low, we fall on our knees praying for change and light. In that moment of grace, we "shake off" the burdens of our past that have kept un weighted down and binded. We break free and in new consciousness take hold of our new self.
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    We can't just forget our pasts. Sometimes they still live in us. And that's okay, it doesn't have to weigh me down. I can shake it out. I'm ready to hope I'm ready to suffer. It's all part of the plan. So what the hell? I'll let it happen to me. I'll do my part. I think about him every day and giggle at any mention of his presence in my life. And that's okay. He's not mine, but that won't weigh me down. I am who I am.
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    My favorite line is "i like to keep my issues drawn". It makes me think of using your issues, like curtains. I envision the big tall ceiling to floor drapes in my living room as a child. They looked 12 feet tall, and were so thick they blocked out the sun, and made the room completely black. Which was great for watching tv. I think we all use our issues like we used those drapes. To black everything out and block ourselves from the outside world.
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    This song means to me letting go off all of my regrets and just letting everything go and just living my life. I was looking back on my life and realized I've just been a mean person, always holding grudges over long periods of time and not treating the people I loved as best that I could. I heard this song and knew that I just had to change my behavior and attitude unless I would end up driving away everybody that I loved. This song also helped me get through my breakup, it made me realize that I still loved my boyfriend and that I wanted him back. Unfortunately by that time, he was already going out with my best friend and I sort of hated her for that but this song helped me get over that fact and now I'm able to talk to my friend and give her advice on her relationship without secretly hoping it wouldn't work out.
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    Anything can mean anything to anybody. I believe that each one of your meaning is exactly right for you. For me, this song mean that we all go through times when we're just acting, not thinking. And we have a times with this that we enjoy and that we will remember but in each of these points in our lives there are things that we do, or someday will grow to regret for any number of reasons. To shake it off doesn't just mean to forget it, or to leave it behind it means to take lessons from the things we've done and the mistakes we've made. It's hard to grown and to continue in your life enjoying yourself when you live with regret about anything you've done before that point. It hard to dance (enjoy yourself, live, love) with the devil (regret, self doubt, remorse) on your back (mind, heart, soul) to shake it out (deal with it, learn from it, accept it).
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    She spent too much of her past in ways she now regrets: drinking, hiding her true self, sleeping with meaningless people (video plays this out visually as she is drinking, putting a mask on, enters party with many men wearing masks). She now has to face her past, deal with it, forgive herself so that she can move forward, guiltless and fall in love. "all of his questions, such a mournful sound"= (she is in pain thinking of her past and have to explain it to someone she loves); "it's alwasy darkest before the dawn"= that time you set down and face all that you have done at once before you forgive and move forward. Remove the "devil" (guilt) on your back. It's her saying she will clean up and live her life right. She is ready to hope.
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    Hi to everybody ready and getting the chills with this melody!
    This song is about the struggles in life that don't let you get to the next stage of your life. Negative events may include break-ups, death of a relative, career failure, and the worst of all "inner demons" that you are not being able to surpass cause you are trapped unable to move on, so the song's advice to move on "bury the horse tonight", "it's hard to dance with the devil on your back", well you dance when you are happy and you can't be happy if your regrets and hunting moments aka the devil are with you all the way, so you "shake him off" get rid of the negative, it could be a person that's holding you back as well.
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    I think the song is about how all the negative things draw out all of what is good in your life, before you know it you are living in total darkness. Its about wanting to get out of this darkness but its not that easy. In the second part of the song, the artist is resolved to get out of the darkness and remove all the negativity by saying "shake it out" even though it is so hard coz "it's always darkest before the dawn"
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    She's finally realizing that she made a mistake and that she's too late to fix it, but she realizes you just need to shake things off and move on, making sure to correct those mistakes later. I think those ghouls are all her doubters that are tearing her down one step at a time, like "you can't get into harvard with a b on your transcript" but she's shaking them off. It's a strength song. Love this!
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    My life fell apart in 2011. I flunked out of school, I lost my job, I lost the love of my life, and I lost my first child. I just kept telling myself that the new year was a fresh start. 2012 came and things have started to get better. As a sketch comedian and improvisor I have always watched snl as research and skill development. This years thanksgiving episode was hosted by jason segal who, apart from being my ideal man, is a working comedian who I worship both personally and professionally. He and I both have jim henson as personal hero's. For my jim henson was one of the greatest men of all time, and we share a birthday. Back to the point. This song was the second song florence played on the show that night, and it moved me to tears. It gave me strength, and it felt like the universe was telling me to shake it off. This song quite literally saved my life. Thank you florence, I am so serious!
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    I lost my husband 4 years ago. We had a beautiful 9 year marriage, but 2 years be fore he was killed, he told me of his unfidelity for 5 years. After 1 year, I left him. 3 mo's later, he was killed on a horse. I'm always wanting to change the past, make it all go away, make it all like it was before he told me, before I left him, before he was killed. I'm always asking why?. Shake it out means getting on with life even if its to hard to go on.
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    The past is rough, but it's the baggage each person must carry. There will always be struggles in life, and decisions to be made that could lead to disaster no matter what you choose but you have to keep going no matter what. Don't focus on all the negative aspects of life and those who try to bring you down, live your life and forget the rest. Just shake it off.
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    I agree with all of you, but I think it means you have troubles, you've done things your not proud of but there behind you. It's always darkest before the dawn meanin before good comes the bad but just imagining all he good that's going to happen. To me she's saying I've screwed up the devil is trying to make me unhappy and not want to dance, not want to be I have to shake him off and just be me. I think we all have done wrong but his song is saying shake it off don't worry abou it's a new day.
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    Its something that is in your thoughts it hurts you to remember still it hunts your mind a trajic hurtfull time in your life that seems like your dying inside unwanted but unavoidable, unforgetable, yet you need to make peace and leave the thought in the past along with the hatred and pain it caused you but the wound wont heal quickly but you are determined to love them again if only you can bury this deep down and love them again.
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    It is saying that she can't do it any more. Can't survive living the way she has been. With constant analysis, constant self-doubt. She is at the point at which she will either collapse or choose something different. And she chooses something different. To finally live. In the moment. That is all that is needed. And, this time, she means it. I love, love, love this song. If you really want to live, you need to let go of all that you thought defined you, family, success and life. You are you now. It is now that defines you. And, if the now is unpleasant, just laugh at it in the face. Because now is temporary and you are forever!
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    "regrets collect like old friends here to relive your darkest moments"this song is about letting go of your past and "shaking off" the "devil"
    Its like saying you made bad choices you regret, now lets move on.
    Lets start by "cutting outyour graceless heart" and put in a new one with a new attitude. "it's always darkest before the dawn" you have to go through the ugly to enjoy the beauty of something.
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    "it's always darkest before the dawn" means that no matter how hopless a situation might seem there is always light at the end of the tunnel. The horse symbolizes the past and burdens that she's been carrying around and burying it is like moving on from it. "it's hard to dance with the devil on your back" means that it's hard to live your life carrying all those burdens and regrets.
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    To me its about letting your past demons go, whatever they may be. The horse she refers to in the beginning is a reference to the metaphor of beating a dead horse - a past issue that you can't let go. She says "tonight i'm gonna bury that horse in the ground", meaning she's burying her past. She's reached that darkest hour before the dawn and is ready to embrace the new day, new freedom, new life, new possibilities. Shaking the devil off your back and getting on with your life. I don't know that the devil reference necessarily means satan but rather past decisions, a lifestyle, a broken relationship, etc. It could be many things. In a nutshell, the song is about forgetting your past, getting on with your life and embracing the endless possibilities of a new beginning. I think we can all relate to some degree.
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    It seems like there is no way too "leave the past behind" the question is how is it possible to forget the pain from the past. We don't know the answer. But in the present moment when you can do something about freeing yourself from the pain that the devil on your back will cause you, you have to shake him offf. Whether its a person influencing your life for the worse or something else. Shake him off. The shaking is being happy and living your life and showing love to others and being loved yourself. As painful as it might be to shake that person off, it is so freeing once you do.
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    I love the way she sings because you can feel the song in her voice. Past is not easy to let go off. Because it also shapes the way we act in the future. Somethings are harder to let go off because they do not let us reach out to the better things in life. She does not regret it or feel sorry. But she wants to move forward and hope because what would life be if we didn't face what we have to. We tend to focus on the bad things in life. And this song just let's you know it's temporary.
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    This song is full of meaning to and can very well be interpreted various of ways to multiple listeners. I personally feel it is about like most posters have already mentioned; the regrets of past and events that you've been party too. You wish to let it go and escape from it entirely, but the past will always remain and defines who we are in the present. Yet I also do pick up a possibility of it being toward a drug. But those are only my two thinks.
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    I think it is a song about a person seeing that there is nothing you can do about your past and maybe even your future, you have to let go of all of it, and just have fun, relax and enjoy the now. I think that if the person could take it back, they would, but since they can't, you just have to let it all go and live for the now and the future.
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    Lol, not all songs have to be about drugs. I thought the message was really clear.
    "it's hard to dance with a devil on your back so shake him off", "regrets collect like old friends here to relive your darkest moments"
    Regrets, issues we all struggle with or struggling with your past. All the bad things in your life she's saying you gotta just shake it off and keep going. Drugs could be something that you regret, but I don't think she's specifically thinking of drugs. Just regrets in general.
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    Florence we love you! This song is obviously about sniffin' glue with her many references to horses--the glue factory, I get it, florence. I'm focused like a laser beam on those terrible glue sniffin' days we both had. She overcame her glue-demons and became rich and famous. I dream at night how it would be if she kissed me with her ample, beautiful lips. But never with a boozer of a loser like me, she'd need some rich executive-type; not a poor, non-person like me. It says that florence suffered from depression. How could someone so beautiful, so talented, so rich, so young be depressed? She has everything and the world at her feet, I have nothing and she's depressed? Go figure.
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    This song is about being high on pcp. Trust me, when my ole ladies' meth lab blew-up, we were force to go "slumming" with pcp. The "dragging that horse around" reference is obviously about the race horse secretariat. Is florence trying to tell us she thinks secretariat was high on pcp when he won all those races? I'll kindly stick to my jamacian crack pipe cause all this thinking is hurtin my feeble mind.
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    The first line is wrong, it's not 'regrets collect. ' it's 'three girls collect. ' she's referring to greek mythology where the three girls are actually the three fates, the deciders of your death, life, everything. The songs meaning is all about how you cannot scrutinize over every mistake and blunder your committed, it's not about religion or satan, it's about the conscience of a person and how you should just forgive and forget, we are human and we aren't capable of living a perfect life.
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    Crap piles up on us over the course of our lives, and carrying this stuff on our shoulders all the time makes us ache, physically and spiritually. Our souls need to be free now and then, so we must take a break from lugging that stuff around. God knows we aren't perfect, and we'll likely accumulate more crap over time. I am sure that it will always be with us, but I'm also sure that the need to really live and be free is stronger. So now and then we must shake it off, set it aside for a bit, forgive ourselves, if you will, so that we can fully experience being alive!
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    In the official music video we see her in several different dresses. For me this song is about redemption and salvation through jesus christ. At the start of the video she is in black, symbolizing death, sin, and darkness, but during the second chorus we see her in a red dress. This dress symbolizes his blood and redemption through that blood. In the house where the party is being held we see many people performing some sort of ritual in a back room. However right after this we see her running from the house in a white dress. The last dress symbolizes her redemption and purity through jesus christ.
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    I think the song's about someone that she loved dearly but lost him. She feels as if she's been blind all these years for not seeing all his flaws and how badly he has treated her. But, for some reason, she just can't get over him. She's always "dragging that horse around". The "horse" is her ex lover. She has finally decide to get rid of the past, restarting and moving on. "tonight i will bury the horse in the ground" means that tonight she'll forget about him/get over him and move on. "shake it out, shake it out" probably means getting rid off all the memories. "damned if i do and damned if i don't" means that even if she forgets him, she's going to suffer, and even if she does not she's going to suffer. Either way, she's going to get hurt.
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      This song, in my opinion, means to shake off the things holding you back, your 'devils' so to... Read more →
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      This song is about a persons inner demons, you're damned if you bring them to light by the people... Read more →

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