Song Analysis – “Jar of Hearts” Christina Perri

[I’m not sure how clear I’ve made this in the past, but repetition doesn’t hurt, so I’ll say this – the fact that I’m analyzing a song doesn’t mean I endorse that song. There are songs I’ve analyzed that I love, but there are also songs I’ve analyzed that I dislike. This is one I dislike.  When I hear a song, a kind of Spidey-sense sometimes goes off and tells me, “I have to analyze this.” If that’s too new age for you, I can put it this way, when an artist uses language in such a way that I see multiple levels beyond the literal, that’s when I’m inclined to do an analysis.]

I know I can’t take one more step towards you
‘Cause all that’s waiting is regret
And don’t you know I’m not your ghost anymore
You lost the love
I loved the most

[So apparently she was his ghost but now she isn’t. I don’t know how that works, but then I don’t believe in ghosts. I am especially skeptical about the concept that people become ghosts. She’s talking about losing the love of a significant other.]

I learned to live, half alive
And now you want me one more time

[I do like this concept of living “half alive” because I think it’s pretty universal. Many life experiences can give you the feeling of being less lively – disease, poverty, divorce, depression, and so on.]


And who do you think you are?
Runnin’ round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You’re gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don’t come back for me
Who do you think you are?

[I love the part “You’re gonna catch a cold .  .  .” because it’s wrong on so many levels that it’s ridiculous. First off, it implies that people catch colds because of cold temperature, which is commonly believed, but false. People get more colds in colder months because they spend more time indoors where it’s easier for viruses to spread. ( Second, it makes no sense to have ice within a soul. A soul isn’t physical so it can’t have volume. Since it can’t have volume, something physical like ice can’t be inside it. Also, how does something within your soul which exists on a spiritual plane, cause an effect like a cold on a physical plane, where your body is? All sorts of philosophical problems are going on here.]

I hear you’re asking all around
If I am anywhere to be found
But I have grown too strong
To ever fall back in your arms

[She seems to have come to the conclusion that she was only with this person because she was weak and he was supportive. Ok, I’m assuming the person is a he, so sue me.]
I learned to live, half-alive
And now you want me one more time


And it took so long just to feel alright
Remember how to put back the light in my eyes
I wish I had missed the first time that we kissed
‘Cause you broke all your promises

And now you’re back
You don’t get to get me back

[Maybe I’ve been doing this too long, but I’m pretty tired of the image of “light in the eyes.” Some people have lovely eyes and that’s super. But you use a phrase too much and it’s just like overusing a drug – the thing loses its effect.]
Refrain (2x)
Don’t come back for me
Don’t come back at all

Who do you think you are? (3x)

[Hey, maybe some of my readers can comment about this, but I wonder if the question “who do you think you are” translates well out of English. We use it so much in English that probably many people don’t even realize that it’s a figure of speech. If you ask me, “Who do you think you are?” you aren’t asking my name. You really aren’t asking anything. You’re saying, and rather rudely at that, you think I’m acting arrogant. It’s sort of like saying, “Do you think you’re God because you’re acting like you think you know everything?” Another way of putting it figuratively is “Who died and made you king of anything?” – Sara Bareilles. Here the speaker thinks her ex is arrogant because he keeps hurting people and doesn’t even care.]

(Shout-out to wolflllover of deviantart for the fantastic image!)

  1. #1 by Task maker on September 7, 2011 - 5:43 pm

    When she says ” I’m not your ghost anymore” I don’t think she means a literal GHOST as in “ooooo hauntinggg~~!” A ghost is classified as anything without a personality or opinoins, as they are said to just roam around the earth( I don’t believe in ghosts either but we’re looking at this theoretically). So in this relationship he was obviously, THE only person and she was like his goon… a thing he highered to follow him around. She gets paid with his supposed affection and he pay himself with her heart at the end to put in his collection.
    Hope I made myself clear and I appear logical.
    Task Maker

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