The Good That Won’t Come Out by Rilo Kiley Lyrics Meaning – Untangling the Intricacies of Existential Melancholy

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Rilo Kiley's The Good That Won't Come Out at
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning


Let’s get together and talk about the modern age
All of our friends were gathered there
With their pets just talking shit
About how we’re all so upset about the Disappearing ground
As we watch it melt

It’s all of the good that won’t come out of us
And how eventually our hands
Will just turn to dust
If we keep shaking them
Standing here on this frozen lake

I do this thing where I think I’m real sick
But I won’t go to the doctor
To find out about it
‘Cause they make you stay real still
In a real small space
As they chart up your insides
And put them on display

They’d see all of it, all of me, all of it
All of the good that won’t come out of me
And all the stupid lies I hide behind
It’s such a big mistake
Lying here in your warm embrace

Oh you’re almost home
I’ve been waiting for you to come in
Dancing around in your old suits
Going crazy in your room again
I think I’ll go out and embarrass myself
By getting drunk and falling down in the street
You say I choose sadness
That it never once has chosen me
Maybe you’re right

Let’s talk about
All our friends
Who lost the war
And all the novels
That have yet to be
Written about them

It’s all of the good that won’t come out of them
And all the stupid lies they hide behind
It’s such a big mistake
Standing here on this frozen lake
It’s all of the good that won’t come out of me
And how eventually my mouth will just turn to dust
If I don’t tell you quick
Standing here on this frozen lake

Full Lyrics

Rilo Kiley has long been the architect of indie rock anthems that blend melodic craftsmanship with visceral lyrical introspection. ‘The Good That Won’t Come Out,’ a standout track from their trove of emotionally articulate narratives, is no exception. At its core, the song dissects the paralyzing grip of modern ennui—rendered through the juxtaposition of intimate vulnerabilities against sweeping cultural malaise.

But to peel off layers from a track as dense as this one, one must wade through its poetic abstractions and confront the morass of psychic struggle that defines the song’s ethos. The tune’s languid rhythms thinly veil a profound exploration of the self, or more precisely, the wealth of good trapped within, reluctant to surface and ephemeral once exposed.

Dissecting the Frozen Lake Metaphor

Central to the song’s imagery is the ‘frozen lake,’ a motif that serves as a chilling barrier between the self and any forward progression. It’s this ice—a facade of stability—that both supports and entraps. The song’s protagonists are poised in stasis atop this frozen surface, fully aware that dwelling upon the layers beneath them could trigger consequences as irrevocable as the ephemeral nature of life itself.

In this expanse, ‘The Good That Won’t Come Out’ contemplates a purgatory of silence, where the fear of what lies below prevents motion, either towards each other or toward the warm embrace of self-acceptance. The image is haunting, echoing the human condition’s frequent stalls at the precipice of vulnerability.

Unveiling The Hidden Meaning Behind Modern Age Malaise

‘Let’s get together and talk about the modern age’—the song opens with a seemingly innocuous invitation, yet one that belies a collective discontent. This isn’t mere small talk; it’s an incisive critique of an era, our era, glossed over with technological advances and social media connectivity, yet corroded by a chronic sense of dislocation and despair.

Rilo Kiley strips bare the irony of communal gatherings in the digital age—where people physically cluster yet emotionally drift apart. The pets, the gossip, the unwillingness to confront what’s ‘melting’ away—be it environmental dread or human connection—all paint a dystopian vignette of camaraderie that’s both superficial and endangered.

The Searing Honesty of Unspoken Truths

This song doesn’t just weave a tapestry of allegories; it slices open a vein of raw confession. Concealing the ‘stupid lies’ one hides behind, as the lyrics poignantly reveal, is an admission of the grief that comes with recognition of one’s carefully constructed artifices, the shields buffering the world from seeing ‘all of it, all of me.’

There is a cruel sort of bravery in the acknowledgment of these self-imposed walls — the ones that hold back the ‘good’ while offering a sanctuary from the relentless examination of one’s depths. The narrative embraces this dichotomy, acknowledging the allure of the lie while highlighting its inherent devastation.

Memorable Lines that Echo the Collective Conscience

Rilo Kiley mastered the art of embedding memorable lines that resonate long after the music fades. ‘You say I choose sadness / That it never once has chosen me’ reverberates as an indictment of how we process grief and the agency we assert or forfeit in confronting our sorrows.

This lyric touches on an elemental debate about the nature of melancholia—as intrinsic as it might seem, can the human heart actually court despondence, or is it already woven too tightly within us? Here, the song delves into the heartache of trying to navigate between willful despair and the kind that’s thrust upon us unbidden.

Elegiac Echoes and the War Within

Finally, the song contemplates ‘all our friends / Who lost the war’—a metaphorical skirmish, arguably internal and invisible. These are the casualties of daily battles with the self, each person a novel ‘yet to be written,’ a narrative packed with unwrapped potential steered towards anonymity by paralyzing fears and societal expectations.

Rilo Kiley’s insightfulness punctuates the song with a mournful recognition of the human condition’s whispered defeats. Our struggles and stories may be manifold, but the reticence to voice them is the shared silence that this song hauntingly captures, urging its listeners to reflect on the ephemeral goodness within that all too often, refuses to find its way out.

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