“Parade” by Matchbox Twenty

Matchbox Twenty’s “Parade” is an interesting tune in which it seems a number of different ideas are being presented. For instance, the song’s first verse in particular apparently harps on the singer’s childhood. That is when he would have been more likely to enjoy an event like a parade but then “have to just go home” due to curfew or what have you. But at the end of the day, that particular narrative seems to be leading up to another, seemingly unrelated point.

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Matchbox Twenty's Parade at Lyrics.org.

Second Verse

Meanwhile the second verse is based on a similar storyline. Only this time around the  winger would logically be older, perhaps someone like a teenager at a party. And we can make this assumption because in this case he has more control over whether to leave when “it’s getting late” or not.  However, leave he does, only later to wish that he “had stayed”.

Song’s Title (“Parade”)

And the above same notion is the one which dominates the chorus. As for the titular “parade”, it does not necessarily read as if it is a literal parade. Rather it comes off as being more akin to some type of exciting event or opportunity. And in latter parts of the song especially, it reads as if it may symbolize some type of joyous, internal feeling. And in that regard the addressee, i.e. the listener, is being encouraged to “stick around”, as in enjoy the opportunity to the fullest, instead of bailing out early. So in a social setting, such bailing would be akin to, as stated earlier, leaving a party early.  Whereas internally, it is like an individual inflicting depression on him or herself due to forcibly not interacting with others.

Addressee is an Introvert?

Now this may seem like somewhat of an unorthodox way to get these points across. But it seems like the general issue Matchbox Twenty are out to deal with in the song, especially when you combine the third verse with the second, is introversion. In other words, the addressee would be someone tantamount to introvert, i.e. a person who shies away from social interactions. And what the singer is telling him or her is that by behaving so, i.e. leaving the parade early for instance, this person is contributing to their own loneliness. 

Therefore, as alluded to earlier, they should try to be more social. And going back to the first verse, if we were to fit it into this overall storyline, it may be that the singer is trying to say that while we did not have the authority to fully enjoy the “parade” in our childhood, now that we do we should take advantage of it.


And based on this explanation you have probably concluded yourself, as we have, that this song is a lot more complex than it appears on the surface. But to summarize it succinctly, it seems as if the band is speaking out against shyness and timidity. And why? Because these two attributes can contribute to a person’s discontent and loneliness.

Lyrics of "Parade"

Who wrote “Parade”?

“Parade” was written by Matchbox Twenty’s frontman Rob Thomas and produced by his regular collaborator, Matt Serletic. 

Album and Release Date

This tune is the opening track on the band’s fourth-studio album, “North”.  Moreover Emblem/Atlantic Records released this track on 4 September 2012 as part of that project.

1 Response

  1. Anonymous says:

    I thought but was a allegory for suicide. Leaving the parade when there is still so much to see.

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