Two Slow Dancers by Mitski Lyrics Meaning – A Dance Through Time and Memory

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Mitski's Two Slow Dancers at
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning


Does it smell like a school gymnasium in here?
It’s funny how they’re all the same
It’s funny how you always remember
And we’ve both done it all a hundred times before
It’s funny how I still forgot

It would be a hundred times easier
If we were young again
But as it is
And it is
We’re just two slow dancers, last ones out
We’re two slow dancers, last ones out

And the ground has been slowly pulling us back down
You see it on both our skin
We get a few years and then it wants us back

It would be a hundred times easier
If we were young again
But as it is
And it is

To think that we could stay the same
To think that we could stay the same
To think that we could stay the same
But we’re two slow dancers, last ones out
We’re two slow dancers, last ones out
Two slow dancers, last ones out

Full Lyrics

In the vast expanse of musical poesy, there exist songs that transcend mere melody and lyricism to touch the very soul of listener. Mitski’s ‘Two Slow Dancers’ is such a siren song, a hauntingly beautiful pièce de résistance that wraps nostalgia, the inexorable passage of time, and the bittersweet tang of aged love in an elegiac dance.

From the first, echoing notes that recall the ambiance of a deserted school gym, to the melancholic acceptance of life’s relentless march, Mitski crafts a narrative that is poignant in its simplicity. Let us delve into the layers of meaning ensconced within the lines of ‘Two Slow Dancers’, and uncover the heart of this musical masterpiece.

The Indelible Scent of Youth and Nostalgia

When Mitski asks if it smells like a school gymnasium, she isn’t inquiring about the forgotten echo of basketballs or the faded lines of a volleyball court. Instead, she conjures a universal memory, a shared reverie where all gyms smell of youth, of sweat and dreams and the pungent odour of ambition. It’s the smell of a time when every door seemed open, every horizon reachable.

This shared memory, intertwined with personal recollection, creates a moment out of time – it’s funny how we always remember. The power here lies in the collective nostalgia; Mitski taps into a common vein of remembrance, ensuring that each listener finds a piece of their own history reflected in her words.

A Gyrating Waltz with Longing and Regret

‘It would be a hundred times easier if we were young again,’ Mitski laments—not once, but repetitively, as a mantra of lament. There’s no mistaking the yearning in these lines, a longing to recapture the effervescent ease of youth, the limber step, the resilient heart unburdened by the weight of years.

Yet, the power lies in the unflinching acceptance – ‘But as it is, and it is.’ The stark repetition underlines the irrevocability of the passage of time and the universality of aging. In its stoic resignation, the song invites listeners to a grave contemplation of their own inevitable decline.

Embracing the Gravity of Age

With the genius of a painter adding subtle strokes to transform a simple sketch into a depth-filled canvas, Mitski illustrates the inexorable pull of gravity – not just on our physical selves, but on the soul’s fabric. ‘And the ground has been slowly pulling us back down,’ is more than a commentary on sagging skin; it speaks to the diminishing years, the shrinking possibilities and the receding tide of opportunities that age begets.

In this, there is an undercurrent of poignancy–a recognition that we get ‘a few years and then it wants us back.’ The awareness that life is fleeting and that all the dances, no matter how passionate, slow to an end, infuses the song with a melancholy that resonates with the universal human experience.

The Song’s Hidden Meaning – A Metaphor for An Enduring Connection

Beneath the surface narrative of accumulated years and youthful reminisces, ‘Two Slow Dancers’ unfolds as a metaphor for lasting relationships. The two dancers, the ‘last ones out,’ symbolize a bond that persists when the music has faded, when the crowd has dispersed, and the spotlight dimmed.

It’s a love that survives the shifting eras of personal histories, that withstands the fraying of time. In a world obsessed with the fast-paced rhythm of the new, Mitski elevates the slow, steadfast twirl of enduring love, holding it up as a beacon for the weary heart.

Quotable Cadences: The Song’s Most Memorable Lines

‘But we’re two slow dancers, last ones out’ echoes as a refrain that captures both the song’s essence and its most haunting line. It is intimate and universal, a personal vignette that extends an arm to encircle all who’ve felt the pang of age and the comfort of shared solitude.

The repetition of ‘To think that we could stay the same’ is a poignant reminder of humanity’s shared folly—the belief in perpetual sameness within a world defined by change. This lyric crafts a trenchant statement, not as an admonishment but as a companionable arm draped over the shoulder of the listener.

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