1

In the song I Want It All by Queen, there are these lyrics:

I'm a man with a one track mind
So much to do in one lifetime (people do you hear me?)
Not a man for compromise and 'wheres' and 'whys' and living lies
So I'm living it all (yes I'm living it all)
And I'm giving it all (and I'm giving it all)

By dictionary, "one track mind" means "having only one interest/think about only one topic". But here he said he wanted to do so much in life. This is kind of contradictory.

What does it mean here? And if there is contradiction, what is the meaning of the whole passage?

3

In the context of the song:

I'm a man with a one track mind
So much to do in one lifetime

The "one track mind" refers to his wanting it all, that is all (the only thing) he can think about. The speaker is single-minded, determined and, in this case, extremely focused. In another sense, he is very much aware that life is brief, which means he doesn't want to miss out on anything, he wants to experience everything that life offers him, and the sooner the better “‘I want it all, and I want it now”.

Without context:

a man with a one-track mind

is usually used as a euphemism for a man (in this case) whose only thought and interest (fixation) is sex.

  • And no, Bill, I wasn't talking about sex - you have a one-track mind!

Origin:

The “one track” alludes to the single-track railway or to a train that that runs in only one direction. First recorded in 1928 (source)

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  • In the song, does "one track mind" also mean he is determined, related to "not a man for compromise". Also what is the meaning of "and 'wheres' and 'whys'"? Thanks – THN Jul 1 '18 at 7:30
  • @THN Only one question at a time and one only. Choose wisely – Mari-Lou A Jul 1 '18 at 7:33
  • OK, I choose this: In the song, does "one track mind" also mean he is determined, related to "not a man for compromise", it's detail of the original question. To understand the whole passage here, there are more questions needed though. – THN Jul 1 '18 at 7:38
  • @THN First of all, it's a song and more often than not words are chosen for their rhyme, and metre. In response to your 2nd question, yes, you're right. In this song the "one track mind" is similar to being single-minded, determined and, in this case, extremely focused. He is ambitious and very impatient. – Mari-Lou A Jul 1 '18 at 7:42
  • Thanks, I see, extended discussion makes me understand it better. Unfortunately place for discussion is very limited. – THN Jul 1 '18 at 7:47

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