I Wanna Get Better by Bleachers: Lyrics Meaning and Interpretation


I Wanna Get Better is a song about hope and inspiration by the American pop band Bleachers. It featured in Bleachers’ debut studio album Strange Desire released in 2014. The song saw enormous success upon its release and continues to be a fan favorite. It reached the number one position in the Billboard Alternative Songs chart and was the first song by Bleachers to achieve this feat. It was a part of the top ten songs in the Hot Rock Songs chart. Written by Jack Antonoff and John Hill, the song is an emotional account of a young person trying to make sense of his life and do better things. Jack Antonoff has mentioned in interviews that the song has personal elements and tasks directly about the losses he faced in life. The music video of the song also stars Antonoff and has more than 12 million views on YouTube.

What does the title mean?

The title of the song makes it clear at the onset that it is about hope and becoming better than what you were yesterday. There are no cryptic messages in the title, or even the details of I wanna get better lyrics meaning. Instead, it addresses the issue directly and says that the speaker wants to get better and do better things in life. As we read further into the song, we can see how the title sets in motion everything that the song is about. While the song does appear gloomy and depressing at times, in the end, it is about rising from the ashes and hoping for a better tomorrow. With a simple and straightforward title, the songwriter ensures that the listeners know what they are heading into. Getting into the verses and choruses of the song will contextualize the title and make it even more apt.

The first verse of the song – what does it mean?

Hey, I hear the voice of a preacher from the back room

Calling my name and I follow just to find you

I trace the faith to a broken down television and put on the weather

And I’ve trained myself to give up on the past ’cause

I frozen time between hearses and caskets

Lost control when i panicked at the acid test

The first verse of the song contextualizes the title. It sets the tone for the rest of I wanna get better lyrics’ meaning. With the speaker talking about everything that’s going on, we can identify the source of the motivation to get better. Assuming the speaker to be Jack Antonoff, we can see how he is trying to find meaning from a maze of meaninglessness. He talks about hearing the voice of a preacher – a guiding voice that should take him to his destination. However, it would not be easy to find the goal as he ends up in front of a ‘broken down television’. The television is symbolic of the events of the past, and he mentions giving up on the past and looking forward with hope.

The pre-chorus of the song – what does it mean?

So now I’m staring at the interstate screaming at myself,

Hey, I wanna get better!

With the pre-chorus, we can see the speaker screaming at cars that he wants to get better. Cars suggest the fleeting nature of events in life, and how new things keep happening all the time. Much like cars on a highway, one event in life follows the other. The speaker here wants to let go of the unfortunate past events and look into the future with hope.

The chorus of the song – what does it mean?

I didn’t know I was lonely ’til i saw your face

I wanna get better, better, better, better,

I wanna get better

I didn’t know I was broken ’til i wanted to change

I wanna get better, better, better, better,

I wanna get better

The chorus of the song mentions not knowing the urge to get better until the speaker saw ‘your face’. It is interesting to note that no explanation has been given as to whose face it is. While romantic connotations are obvious in such scenarios, Antonoff’s life story might suggest otherwise. He lost a friend and his sister early on in his life, and the face referred to might as well be theirs. The chorus leaves a little mystery to the song’s subject but makes the theme even more apparent. To better understand I wanna get better lyrics’ meaning, it is very important to understand the pain in the chorus.

The second verse of the song – what does it mean?

While my friends were getting high and chasing girls down parkway lines

I was losing my mind ’cause the love, the love, the love, the love, the love

That I gave wasted on a nice face

In a blaze of fear I put a helmet on a helmet

Counting seconds through the night and got carried away

So now I’m standing on the overpass screaming at the cars

In the second verse, the speaker talks about the time when his friends were enjoying the recklessness of youth while he wasted his life on an unattainable love. There is no explanation as to what this obsessive love could be. However, it would not be far-fetched to assume that the love mentioned here is indeed a sort of frustration that is pent-up as a result of losing loved ones. He laments that through the course of this obsession, time flew by, and he could not really enjoy the life he had.

The third verse of the song – what does it mean?

I go up to my room and there’s girls on the ceiling

Cut out their pictures and I chase that feeling

Of an eighteen year old who didn’t know what loss was

In the third verse of the song, we can see how the speaker is struggling with mirages and pictures. He talks about the time when he was a young boy of 18 and did not know how to get a grip on life. As a directionless teenager, he felt like a stranger who had no control over time. However, his newfound realization pushes him to do and be better.

The bridge of the song – what does it mean?

‘Cause I’m sleeping in the back of a taxi

I’m screaming from my bedroom window

Even if its gonna kill me

The bridge of the song is a set of images that show the desperation of the speaker and how badly he wants to get out of the stagnancy of life. The image of sleeping in a taxi suggests homelessness and poverty, to the extent where lives roll one after the other without making any sense. Similarly, screaming from the windows implies pent-up frustration and desperation to break free from shackles. He mentions that he is willing to go through all of it, even if it kills him. That shows the extent of his desperation and how far he is willing to go to change his life.

The fourth verse of the song – what does it mean?

woman standing watching LED light musical instrument


Woke up this morning early before my family

From this dream where she was trying to show me

How a life can move from the darkness

She said to get better

So I put a bullet where I shoulda put a helmet

And I crash my car cause I wanna get carried away

That’s why I’m standing on the overpass screaming at myself,

Hey, I wanna get better!

In the final verse of the song, we see the speaker waking up from sleep before anyone else in the house. The song ends with a note of positivity, showing that even a lost and directionless person can gather the motivation to wake up early and get his life together. He talks about a dream where an unnamed woman was helping him figure out his life. Despite mentioning bullet shots and car crashes in the last two lines, their meaning is not in a negative context. Instead, they indicate the sacrifice necessary to break away from the chains of the past and find meaning and purpose.

The speaker once again stands on the overpass and can be seen screaming. However, this scream is not the frustrated yells of a man who has lost all sense of direction in his life. Instead, here we see a reinvigorated person who is experiencing a sort of rebirth.


I wanna Get Better lyrics’ meaning is all about hope, failures, losses, and eventually overcoming all hardships. It’s a cult classic song that has inspired millions of people worldwide.

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