Open Menu
 
Phonetics with M-E
Disturbia (Rihanna)
Touch a word or the <play> button for sound
Click on a word or on the <play> button for sound
Click on a word or on the red <play> button for sound

This is a disturbing song, a disturbing video and a disturbing meaning, but people going through high disturbing situations can identify with it. There's a very dark place in human soul and it's very dangerous to open its door and go to live there. If you do, this is what you may find: welcome to Disturbia.

You can sing to the karaoke version here.

Bum bum be-dum bum bum be-dum bum (What's wrong with me?)
Bum bum be-dum bum bum be-dum bum (Why do I feel like this?)
Bum bum be-dum bum bum be-dum bum (I'm going crazy now)
Bum bum be-dum bum bum be-dum bum

No more gas, in the red
Can't even get it started
Nothing heard, nothing said
Can't even speak about it
All my life on my head
Don't wanna think about it
Feels like I'm going insane, yeah

It's a thief in the night
To come and grab you
It can creep up inside you
And consume you
A disease of the mind
It can control you
It's too close for comfort

Put on your brake lights
You're in the city of wonder
Ain't gon play nice
Watch out, you might just go under
Better think twice
Your train of thought will be altered
So if you must falter be wise

Your mind’s in Disturbia
It's like the darkness is light
Disturbia
Am I scaring you tonight?
Disturbia
Ain't used to what you like
Disturbia
Disturbia

Bum bum be-dum bum bum be-dum bum
 
Bum bum be-dum bum bum be-dum bum

Bum bum be-dum bum bum be-dum bum

Bum bum be-dum bum bum be-dum bum

Faded pictures on the wall
It's like they talkin' to me
Disconnectin' on calls
Your phone don't even ring
I gotta get out
Or figure t** s*** out
It's too close for comfort

It's a thief in the night
To come and grab you
It can creep up inside you
And consume you
A disease of the mind
It can control you
I feel like a monster

Put on your brake lights
You're in the city of wonder
Ain't gon play nice
Watch out, you might just go under
Better think twice
Your train of thought will be altered
So if you must falter be wise
Your mind’s in Disturbia
It's like the darkness is light
Disturbia
Am I scaring you tonight?
Disturbia
Ain't used to what you like
Disturbia
Disturbia

Bum bum be-dum bum bum be-dum bum

Bum bum be-dum bum bum be-dum bum

Bum bum be-dum bum bum be-dum bum

Bum bum be-dum bum bum be-dum bum

Release me from this curse I’m in
Trying to maintain, but I'm struggling
If you can't go-o-o-o I think I'm gonna ah, ah, ah

Put on your brake lights
You're in the city of wonder
Ain't gon play nice
Watch out, you might just go under
Better think twice
Your train of thought will be altered
So if you must falter be wise
Your mind’s in Disturbia
It's like the darkness is light
Disturbia
Am I scaring you tonight?
Disturbia
Ain't used to what you like
Disturbia
Disturbia

Bum bum be-dum bum bum be-dum bum
Bum bum be-dum bum bum be-dum bum
Bum bum be-dum bum bum be-dum bum
Bum bum be-dum bum bum be-dum bum

GAS (AmE) = petrol (BrE), fuel. Short for "gasoline".

IN THE RED = with an alarmingly low amount (of money or, in this case, fuel, psychological sanity). The metaphor comes from bank accounts. When you don't have money but debts, that amount is marked in red figures, so "to be in the red" is when you don't have enough of it.

NOTHING = Spelled with O but pronounced /nʌθɪŋ/

ON MY HEAD= If something is on your head, you feel the moral responsibility for it, so maybe she’s here referring to all the guilt she feels about her bad life, and that’s what is driving her crazy, because she can’t take any more (after all, this song appeared in the remake of "good girls gone bad"). We can say the phrase "on your head be it" to tell someone that they will have to suffer the consequences of their wrong action or decision.

WANNA= Want to

INSANE= crazy, mad.

IT’S A THIEF IN THE NIGHT= This biblical sentence refers to someone or something that appears unexpectedly to steal something from you. In the Bible it refers to Jesus, who in the last days will return like "a thief in the night" to try and "steal" (take away) the souls of good people from the hands of Evil (2nd Peter 3:10). But in this song, whichever or whoever is coming like a thief in the night has no good intentions at all, it’s not going to save her from hell, but to send her straight into it.

GRAB= Take

CREEP= Move slowly and soundlessly (with no sound), like insects do. We also use the word "creepy" to mean "scary, spooky, fearful", so this word, in this context, is talking about movement but also bringing to us a sense of pure fear.

CONSUME= The U in this word is pronounced like "you" in BrE but like "oo" in AmE. She says "consoom". BrE /kɒnsju:m/, AmE /kɒnsu:m/.

DISEASE= Illness, sickness. If you have a disease you are ill.

IT’S TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT= You would feel more comfortable if it were a long way from you, but it’s very close and you are not comfortable (it’s coming to get you and you know it). The word COMFORT is spelled with O but pronounced with the vowel in HUT (not the vowel in SOCK).

BRAKE= To press the brake pedal in your car to make the car stop or slow down.

PUT ON YOUR BRAKE LIGHTS= Slow down or stop (because you’re moving fast in the wrong direction). If you brake your car, the brake lights go on, so if you put on your brake lights, you’re braking. In this line she’s talking to herself. That means that if she’s heading to madness, it’s her fault, it’s something she’s doing rather that something which is happening to her.

THE CITY OF WONDER= A place full of marvellous things (wonders), a wonderful place. By now we now that those wonders are illusions, bad things that look or feel good, so they attract you in the same way as ancient Greek sirens, with her beautiful bodies and songs, attracted sailors to the cliffs to kill them and eat them.

AIN’T GON PLAY NICE= It’s not going to turn out nicely, it’s going to be horrible (if you don’t stop).

WATCH OUT= Be careful.

YOU MIGHT GO UNDER= You will perhaps sink. To go under is to go under water or as if under water.

BETTER= You had better = you should.

YOUR TRAIN OF THOUGHT= Your capacity of reasoning, your rational mind. But usually, when we say "my train of thought" we refer to a single threat of reasoning, a developing idea, for example, we’re talking about politics, explaining why something is wrong, something disturbs us and we say "sorry, I lost my train of thought" (I don’t know what my next step of reasoning was going to be).

ALTERED= Changed

FALTER= To hesitate (doubt) in purpose or action, as from loss of courage or confidence.

IT’S LIKE THE DARKNESS IS LIGHT= It is or feels as if the darkness is not darkness, but light. This means that bad thinks look good, but they aren’t. When your mind is disturbed, you can’t see reality clearly, so you can’t tell right from wrong.

AM I SCARING YOU= Are you afraid of me?

AIN’T USED TO= I’m not used to. AIN’T is the colloquial negative of the verbs "to be" or "to have", especially in the USA.
- I ain’t got no money = I haven’t got any money
- He ain’t no doctor = he’s not a doctor

FADED= If something is faded it has lost intensity, in this case, colour.

IT’S LIKE THEY TALKIN’ TO ME= I feel like the pictures are talking to me.

DISCONNECTIN’ ON CALLS= When I phone you, your telephone disconnects, so I can’t speak to you.

YOUR PHONE DON’T EVEN RING= It should be "doesn’t", but in colloquial English we sometimes use "don’t" for the 3rd person too, and we can also use no –S (e.g. "he go to school), but that’s even more unusual.

I GOTTA GET OUT= I have to get out, I’ve got to get out.

FIGURE something OUT= Try to solve a problem, find the exit to a troubling situation. The original song uses a rude word here, but on the video that part has been erased so you can’t hear it.

RELEASE ME= Liberate me.

CURSE= Malediction, an evil spell, something terrible.

RELEASE ME FROM THIS CURSE I’M IN= I’m in a horrible situation, so please, take me away from here.

TRYING TO MAINTAIN= Trying to survive, trying not to "sink", to stay sane.

STRUGGLING= Fighting (to solve this situation); making big efforts.

IF YOU CAN’T GO, I THINK I’M GONNA AH, AH, AH= If you (the disturbing thing) don’t disappear from my life, I’m going to go crazy or die or simply explode.

Much has been said about the meaning of this song but nobody really seems to know what she’s talking about here. Something seems clear to me, she’s talking about a mental state of insanity (temporal, definitive?). She feels it coming, grabbing her and driving her literally crazy. Disturbia is the land of disturbing things and in there, everything is insane and scary, pure madness, but it’s also attractive, alluring, and it’s difficult to resist. She might be talking about some foul love, drugs, crime, sex or about the dark face of success (a bit like she did in her previous song "Umbrella"), but whatever it is, it’s something we should try to keep away.

Apparently, she is speaking to someone, saying that she wants that person to at least save her from her psychological stage of insanity that she is in because she is already consumed by that monster. But I think she's talking straight to the disturbing situation just the same as a victim would plead mercy from her aggressor: "release me from this curse...  if you can't go, I think I'm gonna ah, ah, ah" (=go crazy). So the lyrics could fit in with schizophrenia, depression, insomnia or any slew of psychological disorders or even spiritual possession. "Disturbia" is a state of mental anguish and confusion.

4:21            
 
 

Get one-to-one writing help from custom essay writing service ThePensters.com

© Angel Castaño 2008 Salamanca / Poole - free videos to learn real English online || InfoPrivacyTerms of useContactAboutwhy?
This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read more