This is one of my favorite songs. I listened to this thousand times, watched video several times but still cannot get the connection. What is the background story of this song? How the Music Video connect with the song?

I know these are famous questions. But I thought "I should ask from experts".

Here is link to music video

  • It's a poem of medieval Christian theology which referred to the living as "aerials" who live in the air (below the moon) and "ethereals" who live above, in the eternal unchanging ether (seven heavens). In this view, we, the aerials, are spirits visiting this world of change and chaos (the "waterfall") and of choices (to "play"), and in death we rejoin the ether ("lose small mind", "eternal prize"). The average medieval peasant would read these lyrics as straightforwardly stating their common beliefs. C.S.Lewis "The Discarded Image" describes this forgotten world view. Jun 18 at 5:37

5 Answers 5


Genius has a cool feature which lets users interpret song meanings cooperatively. It also allows you annotate the meaning of smaller blocks of the lyrics.

As it happens, Aerials has been interpreted quite extensively:


This is the main interpretation of the song:

The overall theme of the song is our mistaken views of ourselves as being individual and isolated from the rest – mankind and other lifeforms – and how we actually are a tiny part of something greater, from wich we come when we are born, and to wich we go when we die. It speaks of clinging to life and not accepting death, cause we see death as an ending, not as another step of existence. When we die, our matter is decomposed and is transfered to things like worms that feed on us, to the atmosphere in the form of gas, and to the ground and plants that feed on him. We are always moving through the cicle of existence, there is no stillness, only movement and transformation.

And as an example, these are the opening lines:

Life is a waterfall
We're one in the river
And one again after the fall

A user posted this as an interpretation:

The lyrics rush you with several meanings at once. Life is a waterfall, what do we notice about waterfalls? They fall downwards, so life brings us down. Isn’t it true? The actual reality of the things that go on in the world, murders, rapes, death, it can really bring you down if you acknowledge them. Another thing about a waterfall is that it never exists on its own, it always has a source, like a river or a stream. So if a waterfall is the acknowledgement of the terrible things in the world and letting it bring you down, what could the river be? The time before you realize what goes on in the world, often times this is your childhood. So when we’re one in the river, and we’re one again after the fall, it shows we are ourselves before and after the reality if life hits us and brings us down. Is that true for everyone? No, but think about it. When we were living as children with not a worry in the world, we were ourselves. Then once we began figuring out how the world worked and what happens in the world, we probably had a time of inner conflict where we had to figure things out, and after we figured/figure it out can adjust to it and find ourselves again.

An interpretation that another user commented on:

Actually, he says in the first line that life is a waterfall, meaning that life is the fall. Before life, we are all part of the calm river, then we are born and live through our life the way a waterfall falls to it’s inevitable end, which reunites everyone in death as we were before life. One with everything.

I guess the main thing here is that there isn't always a wrong or right when interpreting lyrics. However, Genius has a voting system similar to Stack Exchange, so I recommend you to go there and find out what the lyrics mean to you.


It's about the coming of the Inuit Godhead and the fact that his or her enemies must lose : that is all it means and visually portrays.

  • 3
    Could you add more details?
    – Bebs
    Jan 26, 2017 at 7:51

This song is about how people can lose their identities and become just like everyone else. Some lyric analysis: "Life is a waterfall,we're one in the river, one again after the fall." - We all start off the same and we all end up the same. "Swimming through the void, we hear the words,we lose ourselves, but we find it all." - As we go through life we are told lessons, but we ignore them. We forget who we really are in the mix of seeking the synthetic lifestyle, and that's the price to lose who we really are. "'Cause we are the ones that wanna play, always want to go, but you never want to stay." - We always want to be part of the scene. We strive for what we want and when we get it, it still does not satisfy. "And we are the ones that want to choose, always wanna play, but you never wanna lose." - We want and want. We do whatever we can but if trouble is ever near we do whatever we can to maintain innocence. "When you lose small mind you free your life." - When we stop to see the full picture is when we really have control of our lives. "Life is a waterfall, we drink from the river then we turn around and put up our walls." - We take and take and in the end we give nothing. This shows how greedy, oblivious and inconsiderate people can be.


It is about the evolution of god, as mentioned above. Waterfall is moving, unstoppable, inevitable. Journey, individual, and goal, the one. But, we cling to our self-identity, our worm-brain, our pathetic desire to control, and desire in general. Ironically enough, self-interest is common interest and facilitate this evolution as it has all previous evolutions. Our creation, our pet will become our master and subject is for eternity. And it is written, "I was, will be, and have ever been". Paradoxical as every truth.


I believe "Aerials" is about the ancient alien theory. We are considered as humans. They are obviously the extraterrestrials. To them humanity is a game they created. "Free your small mind" means all the bs of our everyday life and the bs every capitalist religious-driven society puts on humanity.

  • I agree its about aliens even has an alien in the video Sep 8, 2017 at 4:51

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