19th Nervous Breakdown – Unraveling a Classic’s Commentary on Privilege and Mental Health


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Rolling Stones's 19th Nervous Breakdown at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. The Affluent Protagonist: Decoding the Persona
  5. A Cry for Genuine Attention Amongst Hollow Treasures
  6. The Parental Shadow and the Inevitable Rebellion
  7. Dissecting the Psyche: A Journey Through Past Relations
  8. The Timeless Echo of ‘Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown’

Lyrics

You’re the kind of person you meet at certain dismal dull affairs.

Center of a crowd, talking much too loud running up and down the stairs.

Well, it seems to me that you have seen too much in too few years.

And though you’ve tried you just can’t hide your eyes are edged with tears.

You better stop, look around,

Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes, here it comes.

Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown.

When you were a child you were treated kind

But you were never brought up right.

You were always spoiled with a thousand toys but still you cried all night.

Your mother who neglected you owes a million dollars tax.

And your father’s still perfecting ways of making sealing wax.

You better stop, look around,

Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes, here it comes.

Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown.

Oh, who’s to blame, that girl’s just insane.

Well nothing I do don’t seem to work,

It only seems to make matters worse. Oh please.

You were still in school when you had that fool who really messed your mind.

And after that you turned your back on treating people kind.

On our first trip I tried so hard to rearrange your mind.

But after a while I realized you were disarranging mine.

You better stop, look around,

Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes, here it comes.

Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown.

Oh, who’s to blame, that girl’s just insane.

Well nothing I do don’t seem to work,

It only seems to make matters worse. Oh please.

When you were a child you were treated kind

But you were never brought up right.

You were always spoiled with a thousand toys but still you cried all night.

Your mother who neglected you owes a million dollars tax.

And your father’s still perfecting ways of making sealing wax.

You better stop, look around,

Here it comes

Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown.

Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown.

Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown.

Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown.

Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown.

Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown.

Full Lyrics

In the pantheon of rock ‘n’ roll, few songs capture the zeitgeist of the ’60s social and emotional turmoil as sharply as The Rolling Stones’ ’19th Nervous Breakdown.’ Released in 1966, this track is not merely a musical milestone; it is a rich, satirical critique packed into a fast-moving rhythm.

The lyrics unfurl the tale of a person teetering on the edge, brought to life with Mick Jagger’s signature sneer and Keith Richards’ relentless riffs. But beyond the visceral rock sound, the song bends an incisive lens on the costs of a privileged life disconnected from reality. Engaging with the track’s depths, we find poetry that reflects a generation’s struggle and a timeless commentary on human fragility.

The Affluent Protagonist: Decoding the Persona

The song’s main character emerges at stuffy, joyless gatherings – a cacophony’s nucleus and epitome of restlessness. Whether this figure represents a real person or symbolizes a broader societal segment, the Stones paint a vivid picture of someone accustomed to the spotlight, yet profoundly dissatisfied and internally adrift.

Sharp observations allude to a lifetime of wealth and excess, peppered with emotional neglect. It’s an archetype that would resonate across the decades, capturing the perennial trope of riches and ennui and the peculiar melancholy reserved for the ostensibly fortunate.

A Cry for Genuine Attention Amongst Hollow Treasures

Jagger’s penetrating chorus warns the central figure to ‘stop, look around,’ before the inevitable ‘nervous breakdown’ hits. The repetition is a hammering call to consciousness, a wake-up shout to inspect the hollowness of their life filled with ‘a thousand toys.’

This refrain weaves throughout the song, gaining potency with each iteration. It’s a shared narrative in the annals of songwriting that wealth and material spoils fail to quell the human yearning for meaningful connection and purpose, underscoring the despairing consequences of its absence.

The Parental Shadow and the Inevitable Rebellion

A reference to a mother mired in debt and a father immersed in trivial pursuits presents a clear image of neglect and abdication of parental guidance. The Stones illustrate a poignant backstory laced with irony – a child neglected by those whose foremost responsibility was their upbringing.

This lack of foundation fosters rebellion and personal turmoil, reflected in the song’s character turning a blind eye to ‘treating people kind.’ Such narratives evoke sympathy for the protagonist while simultaneously critiquing the societal structures that perpetuate emotional destitution.

Dissecting the Psyche: A Journey Through Past Relations

The Stones trace the protagonist’s psychological struggle back to a formative relationship that ‘messed your mind.’ These lines speak of attempts to ‘rearrange your mind,’ hinting at the monumental task of healing a troubled psyche – and the often-overlooked impacts of toxic relationships on mental well-being.

Surprisingly, we find the narrator’s own serenity disrupted by the chaos of the protagonist. It’s an admission of the shared struggle within relational dynamics, with each party seeking stability amidst uncertainty.

The Timeless Echo of ‘Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown’

Some lines in rock history echo endlessly and ‘Here comes your nineteenth nervous breakdown’ is one such refrain. Its cultural resonance lies in the universality of approaching a breaking point – a sentiment that transcends era and status.

That phrase has morphed into a colloquialism applied to everyday stresses, yet when anchored in the Stones’ narrative, it reveals a graver context – a call to grasp the threads of one’s unravelling psyche before it’s too late.

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