Push – Unveiling the Emotional Depths in a Post-Punk Anthem

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for The Cure's Push at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. The Intensity of Conflict Embodied through Lyrics
  5. The Secret You: Unpacking the Song’s Hidden Meaning
  6. A Sadistic Brushstroke: The Violence of Imagery
  7. Ephemeral Solace in Fading Memories
  8. Memorable Lines: The Anthemic Power of Repetition


Go, go, go, go, go, go
Push him away
No, no, no, no, no, no
Don’t let him stay

He gets inside to stare at her
The seeping mouth, the mouth that knows
The secret you, always you
A smile to hide the fear away
Smear this man across the walls
Like strawberries and cream
It’s the only way, it’s the only way to be

It’s the only way to be, yeah

Exactly the same clean room
Exactly the same clean bed
But I’ve stayed away too long this time
And I’ve got too big to fit this time

Full Lyrics

Searing through the post-punk new wave scene, The Cure’s ‘Push’ stands out as an enduring riddle wrapped in the band’s iconic gauzy guitar tones and Robert Smith’s haunting vocal delivery. The track, an intricate tapestry of dark melodicism, invites listeners into a foreboding yet strangely cathartic narrative.

Beneath ‘Push’s’ seemingly simple exclamatory chorus, lies a labyrinth of emotion and meaning that distinguishes it as a highlight within The Cure’s rich discography. This article dives into the heart of ‘Push,’ attempting to decode the layers that make this track a masterpiece of opaque storytelling.

The Intensity of Conflict Embodied through Lyrics

The dichotomy present in ‘Push,’ with its contrasting ‘go’ and ‘no’ commands, reflects an intense internal struggle, a psychological tug-of-war. This relentless push and pull could symbolize a battle against personal demons, an external antagonist, or the trials of love and its discontents.

The song’s opening lines evoke a feeling of urgency and a determination to maintain distance from a seemingly negative force. The visceral imagery of conflict, coupled with Smith’s passionate exhortation, amplifies the emotional weight of the song.

The Secret You: Unpacking the Song’s Hidden Meaning

As the enigmatic ‘he’ gets ‘inside to stare at her,’ listeners encounter a voyeuristic element that may allude to introspection and the confrontation of one’s inner self. Is ‘he’ an external lover, oppressor, or a personification of the self? The Cure crafts a multifaceted character that serves as a vessel for various interpretations.

The line ‘the secret you, always you’ suggests an intimate—perhaps even clandestine—relationship with oneself or another. This ‘secret you’ could be the aspects of our identity we struggle to acknowledge or reveal, manifesting as an entity within the lyrical realm of ‘Push.’

A Sadistic Brushstroke: The Violence of Imagery

There is a visceral brutality in the command to ‘smear this man across the walls.’ Here, the aggressive desire to subdue or eliminate the intruding presence shaded in a metaphorical violence that’s unsettling yet poetically potent, mirroring the sometimes harsh nature of emotional revelation.

The vividness of ‘strawberries and cream’ against this brutal backdrop paints an image that is almost indulgent in its violence, juxtaposing the innocuous with the grim, perhaps hinting at the guilty pleasure one might find in finally releasing pent-up emotions or overcoming a figment of personal conflict.

Ephemeral Solace in Fading Memories

The recurrence of the ‘exact same clean room, exact same clean bed’ introduces an element of nostalgia to the song—a yearning for a past untainted by the present’s complexities. This repetition speaks to the human desire to freeze time, to preserve moments of peace amidst the chaos of change.

Yet, as the singer admits to having ‘stayed away too long’ and ‘got too big to fit,’ there is an acknowledgment of growth that renders the past unreachable. Perhaps these lines resonate with the listener’s own experiences of outgrowing relationships, homes, or versions of themselves.

Memorable Lines: The Anthemic Power of Repetition

The song’s recurring phrases, such as ‘it’s the only way to be,’ take on a chant-like quality, burrowing into the listener’s mind. This mantra serves both as a defiant assertion of identity and a survival strategy against the adversities encapsulated within the song.

Such memorable lines become a vehicle for catharsis for both the listeners and The Cure themselves. As they echo these words, they affirm their stance, offering a moment of solidarity for anyone wrestling with the urge to push away the hardship and the push toward self-realization.

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