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I was asked to translate a song. I tried to understand the lyrics but I couldn't seem to get it right. The lines are:

(Say Amen, Panic at the Disco)

And every morning when I wake up
I wanna be who I couldn't say I'd ever been

Context (lines that follow):

(But it's so much more than I ever was
If every night I go to sleep knowing
That I gave everything that I had to give
Then it's all I could've asked for)

Do the two lines mean that he wants to be a better person but can't say he has ever been (in the past)?

I am trying to translate it to German!

  • "I wanna be ([someone] who I couldn't [honestly] say [on the mornings in question, or possibly now] that I'd ever been)" – Darael Jul 3 '18 at 21:45
  • "I've never been the person who, every morning, I want to be" is more concise and similar in meaning – Darael Jul 3 '18 at 21:46
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As a native English speaker, you should not be worried that this lyric is hard to translate. Like many lyrics, it changes word order, adds unnecessary words, etc. in order to fit the rhythm of the song.

The meaning is not entirely clear, but my clarification would be something like:

And every morning when i wake up
I wish that I could say that I was a great person. But I wasn't all that great.

And the following lyrics lesson the self criticism, saying

But I'll be a better person than I used to be
If every night I go to sleep knowing
that I gave it my best effort.
And that's all I can ask of myself.

I hope that this is helpful! Maybe you can help me to translate some equally abstruse Goethe. :)

| improve this answer | |
  • Thank you. As a matter of fact I am German :D...! Still, I can better understand the lyrics now. It makes much more sense that way! Well, Goethe is a monster to translate since he spoke a very different kind of German back then, but I can try! – Marcin Nowak Jul 3 '18 at 17:19

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