"You can thread a needle With a teardrop from my eye"

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  • JustKate

    Senior Member
    I don't get it either. Even by the standards for pop music lyrics, which are pretty low, this is pretty bad. It seems to be saying that the teardrop is very small (how else could it fit through the eye of a needle?), but that makes no sense at all. Why would someone whose illusions are shattered cry tiny little teardrops? That's senseless.

    I think it would be best if you just accept that whoever wrote the song cared more about how the words sounded than what they actually mean.
     

    TimLA

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I don't get it either. Even by the standards for pop music lyrics, which are pretty low, this is pretty bad. It seems to be saying that the teardrop is very small (how else could it fit through the eye of a needle?), but that makes no sense at all. Why would someone whose illusions are shattered cry tiny little teardrops? That's senseless.

    I think it would be best if you just accept that whoever wrote the song cared more about how the words sounded than what they actually mean.
    I'm with you, I don't have a clue.
    In situations like this I often google with the name of the song and then add the words 'lyrics' and 'meaning' - sometimes it helps, but most often not.
    My 'trick' today, came up with nothing - meaning that the meaning is perfectly unclear.:)
     

    fiercediva

    Senior Member
    American English
    That is such a word salad that I looked up the songwriters - Swedish EDM DJ/producer Avicii, his manager, Mike Dean (a hip hop/rap producer) and Madonna. I'll make an educated guess that Avicii wrote the majority of the song and the others contributed tweaks and lines for a cut of the songwriting royalties.

    Electronic dance music is quite often lyrically impressionistic, as it is all about hooks and creating a mood on the dance floor. Thus, this string of philosophical cliches has the benefit of sounding profound at 4am amidst a sea of glowsticks, while not making a lot of literal sense. Don't overthink such lyrics. :)
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    While I agree with the above, that the line was written more for its sound than its sense, I think it originates in a combination of two things:

    1) The idiom 'to thread the needle' meaning "to find a path through opposing views", as it is explained here: The trick is to thread the needle

    2) An old trick for getting the thread to go through the eye of the needle was to moisten the end of the thread.* I was taught to lick my finger and then to roll the thread between my thumb and forefinger to dampen it. (I see by an Internet search that some people advise moistening the eye of the needle instead.)
    In any case, the singer suggests that the moisture from a tear would work as well as spit.
    (I wonder who among the songwriters fiercediva lists above knew how to thread a needle.)


    * For instance, it's the first tip listed here: Sewing With Kids: 5 Tips For Threading Success
     
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    sorry66

    Senior Member
    English, England
    The idea of water as a purifying element is a recurring theme in the song:

    < Excessive quotation removed.>


    Maybe the songwriters, in a drug-fuelled song-writing session, aiming at something deep and transcendental, mixed up common themes from the Bible. The were playing with the very familiar idea of the 'camel' and the 'eye of the needle'.

    "Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
    "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
    "Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy."


    Ok! I know it's a long shot but....(and here I flounder)



    < The limit of 4 lines of verse applies to the thread as a whole. Cagey, moderator.>
     
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