James Arthur’s “Train Wreck” Lyrics Meaning

Musical superstardom is not always what it’s cracked up to be. This is an idea that we have come across in numerous songs by a variety of different artists. And it is also such a notion which, in an indirect way, serves as the premise of James Arthur’s “Train Wreck”.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for James Arthur's Train Wreck at Lyrics.org.

In other words, at the time Arthur wrote this track, he was already an established music  star. For instance, he had won The X Factor, the most-popular music talent show in the entire UK. Then his debut album, “James Arthur”, achieved platinum status in his homeland. 

So it’s like from a layman’s perspective, he was set going into the making of his second full-length, “Back from the Edge”, which this track is featured on.

A Very Rough Road

Despite all the success, all was not peachy keen in the world of the singer. For instance, he got into somewhat of a personal beef with Simon Cowell, the X Factor patriarch, which led to the singer parting ways with his label, Syco Records. 

But even worst, James was depressed and a victim of serious panic attacks. In fact the first verse of this song is said to detail one of those episodes, where dude would suffer panic attacks so severe that he mistook them for heart attacks. 

This is where the reference to “sirens” comes from. James would get so shook from said panic attacks that he would call an ambulance to make sure he didn’t expire. And as can be seen at the conclusion of the verse, he is looking for some type of help, even of the divine variety, as apparently in his mind the issue is by and large insurmountable.

Train Wreck

Indeed the aforementioned challenge is what the title of this song alludes to. That is the narrator being “broken” and “hopeless” to the point where, as the latter word implies, he does not perceive any way out of the situation. Or rather let’s say that he is able to comprehend that he needs help alright. However, his depression is so severe that he is not able to glean where such would possibly come from. 

Or as implied earlier, he feels it would have to be of a supernatural variety to truly help him overcome this condition.

Are the Narrator’s Problems caused by a Beef he has with someone?

Meanwhile the second verse seems to indicate that said condition can at least be partially traced back to some type of less-than-ideal interpersonal relationship the singer is in. 

He has “bad blood” with someone whom he shares a “home” and a “sanctum” with. Or instead, this verse appears to be founded on the idea that our homes are in fact our sanctums. But due to discontent in his own, he’s not at peace there, as he should be. 

So he is desiring to rebuild his relationship with this individual(s). And it does not sound as if he really believes such is feasible. But if there is just a “one in a million chance” that such is possible, he is more than willing to take the risk, as said relationship is just that important to him.

A Search for Devine Intervention?

Meanwhile the bridge is a bit more ambiguous. It is not clear if James is addressing the selfsame person or someone else. But more to the point is that, as expressed at the end of the first verse, he needs someone to be his “God” or his “savior”, i.e. an entity to effectively “help” him out of his current state. 

And no, it doesn’t necessarily read as if the singer is, say, considering joining a religion as the answer to his problems. Rather it’s more like there is no one or nothing he really believes in at this point, and he is wishing to find a figure to play such a role in his life.


So in the end, this is a song which evokes sympathy for the narrator at hand. Yes, he is definitely dealing with some harrowing internal issues. But they are exacerbated by interpersonal concerns which may be even worse than those he is experiencing on the inside. 

And conclusively, he is looking for someone to ‘pull him out of the train wreck’. But all lyrics considered, he doesn’t come off as being too hopeful that such will actually occur.

Lyrics of "Train Wreck"

When did “Train Wreck” come out?

This track was originally released, on 28 October 2016, as part of James Arthur’s second album, “Back from the Edge”, a product of Columbia Records. It wasn’t until some four years later, in late 2020, that an acoustic version of the song was issued as a single. And that was due to the tune going viral on TikTok.

In fact the newfound life “Train Wreck” found on TikTok led to it peaking at an impressive number 16 on the UK Singles Chart. And it also went on to chart in nearly 10 other countries, in addition to achieving gold certification in the United States and Switzerland.

Did James Arthur write “Train Wreck”?

Yes, he did. He wrote this touching song alongside Andrew Jackson and Adam Argyle. And it was also Argyle who produced the track.

More about James Arthur

James Arthur is a British singer who has been semi-professionally active since the age of 15. He really got his foot in the door after competing on and winning The X Factor back in 2012. 

He promptly proceeded to become one of the most-successful UK-based musicians of the 2010s. For instance, his aforementioned “Back from the Edge” (2016) project topped the UK Albums Chart. 

His very-first single, “Impossible” (2012), topped the UK Singles Chart and was one of the top-selling songs of 2012. And by the year 2020, his songs had been streamed over a billion times on Spotify. 

And the last number one he has scored, leading up to 2020, was via his participation on the 2017 charity single “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Artists for Grenfell.

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