Daredevil by Fiona Apple Lyrics Meaning – Unpacking the Intensity of Emotional Recklessness

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Fiona Apple's Daredevil at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning


I guess I just must be a daredevil
I don’t feel anything until I smash it up
I’m caught on the cold, caught on the hot
Not so with the warmer lot
And all I want’s a confidante
To help me laugh it off

And don’t let me ruin me
I may need a chaperone

Say I’m an airplane
And the gashes I got from my heartbreak
Make the slots and the flaps upon my wing
And I use them to give me lip
Hip hip for the lift
Hip hip for the drag
I want them all in my bag
Oh give me anything and I’ll turn it into a gift

But don’t let me ruin me
I may need a chaperone

Seek me out
Look at, look at, look at, look at me
I’m all the fishes in the sea
Wake me up
Give me, give me, give me what you got
In your mind, in the middle of the night

Maybe you let me look out for you
Protect what I found in you
And never let it starve
Then that way, you let me stay
Skirtin’ the skirt like I want to
And I will try hard to hold onto you with open arms

But don’t let me ruin me
I may need a chaperone

Full Lyrics

Fiona Apple’s ‘Daredevil’, a track from her critically acclaimed album ‘The Idler Wheel…’, plunges deep into the tumultuous waves of emotional vulnerability and self-preservation. With a haunting melody and introspective lyrics, Apple lays bare a psyche that craves affection yet fears its destructive potential. This pensive anthem is a sonic journey through the complexities of the heart and mind, an invitation to dissect the layers behind the persona of a self-proclaimed daredevil in the realm of love.

Known for her poignant and intricately woven songwriting, Apple employs ‘Daredevil’ as a metaphorical canvas, splattering it with visceral emotions and stark, poetic imagery. Her candor is disarming, the raw vulnerability of her voice reflecting the naked honesty of the lyrics. Now, let’s dive into the poetics and paradoxes of ‘Daredevil’, unraveling its enigmatic messages and the achingly beautiful fragility it seeks to cloak with a veneer of audacity.

The Thrill of Emotional Destruction: Fiona’s Fearless Confession

The opening lines of ‘Daredevil’ are a blunt admission of emotional extremity – ‘I don’t feel anything until I smash it up.’ This paradoxical craving for feeling through self-inflicted pain exposes a struggle between numbness and the yearning for intense experience. Apple’s self-proclaimed daredevilry isn’t just about courting danger; it’s a vivid portrayal of someone who seeks the adrenaline of emotional highs and lows to affirm their existence.

Her words capture a certain emotional masochism, concealing a deeper plea for significance in a world where sensations have been dulled. This declaration sets the tone for a song that’s as much about confronting one’s brokenness as it is about an unending quest to feel alive. Fiona’s voice, simmering with a blend of defiance and introspection, augments the song’s poignant tension.

Airborne Analogy: The Flight of the Heart

The chorus of ‘Daredevil’ sees Fiona comparing herself to an airplane, the ‘gashes’ from her heartbreak representing the ‘slots and flaps upon my wing.’ It’s a powerful metaphor that speaks to the idea of transforming pain into power. The ‘lift’ and ‘drag’ become symbols of her resilience, the mechanism by which she rises above her emotional turbulence.

In asserting that she wants ‘them all in my bag’, Apple implies a fascination with collecting experiences, no matter how damaging. Yet, amid this seemingly reckless behavior is the redemptive act of turning suffering into ‘a gift’, a testament to Apple’s alchemistic ability to craft art from the chaos of her emotions.

A Cry for Companionship: Seeking a Confidante in Chaos

Stripped down to its core, ‘Daredevil’ showcases a fundamental human need for connection. When Apple sings, ‘And all I want’s a confidante / To help me laugh it off,’ she weaves a narrative of companionship that transcends mere solidarity. It’s an intimate longing for someone who can witness her life’s oscillations and remain steadfast.

These lines illustrate the intrinsic tension in the song—between raw independence and the search for someone who understands. The repeated plea, ‘don’t let me ruin me / I may need a chaperone’, becomes a haunting refrain, revealing the inherent contradiction of requiring help to maintain one’s self-control and self-preservation.

Hidden Meanings: Decoding Fiona’s Metaphorical Mastery

Throughout ‘Daredevil’, Fiona Apple employs a wealth of metaphorical language to obscure and simultaneously highlight the intricate nuances of her message. The call to ‘look at, look at, look at, look at me’ is both a demand for attention and an invitation to explore the multifaceted nature of her identity, akin to ‘all the fishes in the sea.’

This theme of introspection and projection poses questions about the nature of vulnerability and ego. Apple plays with the notion of being seen and truly understood, the idea that within her, there is a world as vast and varied as the ocean, teeming with life and complexity.

Haunting Statements: The Lines That Echo Long After Listening

Among the most evocative lines in ‘Daredevil’ are those that express a raw and unfiltered desire to protect and preserve love—’Maybe you let me look out for you / Protect what I found in you / And never let it starve.’ Here Apple touches on the fear of losing the beauty she has discovered in her partner, indicative of her deep-rooted craving for emotional sustenance.

The way Apple sings about clinging to her partner ‘with open arms’ conveys the struggle between her instincts for self-protection and intimacy. It’s a poignant reminder of how holding onto someone can sometimes be an act of sheer defiance against one’s instinct to self-sabotage. These lines create a lasting impression, the sort that keeps listeners pondering the complexities of love and self long after the music fades.

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