Lydia by Highly Suspect: Lyrics Meaning and Interpretation

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The song Lydia is the first song ever released by the American Rock Band Highly Suspect. It is the lead single from their 2015 debut album Mister Asylum. Lydia was a decent success, charting in the top 5 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Charts.

The band Highly Suspect makes alternative rock, blues rock, hard rock and grunge rock music. As of 2021, the band has released three albums – Mister Asylum (2009), The Boy Died Wolf (2016) and MCID (2018). Highly Suspect include Johnny Stevens has the lead vocalist, Rich Meyer as the bassist, Ryan Meyer on the drums and Matt Kofos on the guitar and synthesizer.

Lydia narrates the story of a broken, toxic relationship. It describes the process in which the relationship eventually falls apart. The song also explores topics of drug abuse, envy, mental illness and sex. Despite its dark content, the song is beautifully composed with poetic imagery.

What does the title mean?

Lydia is a love tale about a broken man who could not sustain the relationship with his ex-lover. It tells the story of this man who struggled with his personal demons consisting of drug abuse, mental illness and love. He fails to keep his love intact due to his addiction which leads to the break up.

Lydia could have been the real name of the songwriter’s former lover. But it is not clear. For now, Lydia is a fictional name of the girl whose heart the writer broke due to his shortcomings.

Verse 1 – What does it mean?

Black ocean, cold and dark

I am the hungry shark, fast and merciless

The imagery here describes the world of a drug addict. “Black ocean” refers to that bleak and dark world. Like an ocean, “cold and dark”, the narrator’s world-view is desperate and devoid of hope. As an addict, he helplessly floats in the water with no land in sight.

He is a “hungry shark” in this ocean. “Shark” means addict here. He is hungry for his next high. Like a shark that primarily spends its time looking for prey, the narrator is “fast and merciless”. He fails to see the bigger world beyond, blinded by his need to get high off his drugs. His priorities in life have become limited due to his addiction.

But the only girl that could talk to him just couldn’t swim

Tell me what’s worse than this

The only girl (Lydia) who could love him, interact with him, could not be a part of the narrator’s world of addiction. She “just couldn’t swim”. This implies that Lydia was not a drug addict like the narrator. She could not truly understand the ocean where the narrator drifts. It is truly tragic since the only girl who had the potential to get through to the narrator failed to fathom his deepest compulsions. What can be worse than that?

And it echoes in the halls

They danced along the walls

But Lydia made an attempt to understand this world of the narrator. “Echoes in the halls” could refer to the romance between them. Like the wedding bells in a church, their love did blossom. They found comfort and passion in each other.

It could also refer to the fact that the girl herself tried to join the narrator in his addictions. The imagery of “halls” and “walls” describe the apartment or house where the narrator got high. The couple found their own little space in their zoned out state.

The memories of your ghost

You are the one that I used to love

And I’m still in love, but I’ve never loved you the most

Now the narrator comes back to the present, where they are no longer together. He is probably getting high in the same place as before. But the girl is not with him. Her memories remain like a “ghost” in the attic of the apartment.

Here comes a very heart-breaking line from an addict. He confesses that he truly loved the girl. But he desired and longed for drugs more than he loved her. It beautifully captures the tragedy of a drug addict. There is nothing else in the world that can replace the need to get high. Even if it is as beautiful and miraculous like the love the narrator shared with his lover.


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Chorus 1– What does it mean?

I’ve seen better days

So unafraid in my youth

I can’t breathe, much less believe

The narrator is reminiscing the past, when he was young and new to drugs. “Better days” could mean two things. Either, he was clean in the past and got addicted later in life. Or, he is now a recovering addict who is remembering the glory days of his youth when everything seemed possible. If he is recovering in the present then he regrets his past decisions, especially the one where his relationship with Lydia died.

“Can’t breathe” highlights the intensity of the narrator’s regret. It could also describe the withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting drugs. The narrator is introspecting and facing his emotions which were numbed during the drug abuse.

Verse 2 – What does it mean?

You gave me everything you had

Every little thing you had

The narrator recollects his relationship with Lydia. According to him, she truly cared for him and tried to help him every way she could. The distinction between “everything” she had and “every little thing” she had describes the deep, nuanced relationship the two shared. It encapsulates many struggles in these two lines.

A pure love unrehearsed

I’ve seen your best and worst

Lydia’s love for the narrator was pure. She did not have any ulterior motives. There was nothing for her to gain from the relationship except the love she had for the narrator.

And at your worst, you’re still the best

But at my best, I am the worst

It’s a curse

In his memories, Lydia was great to him. Even at her worst, she was there for him. This also implies that the narrator’s addiction and helplessness brought out the worst in Lydia. Regardless, she tried to save him.

The narrator plummets into self-loathing. Even when they shared good moments, he was still high, still an addict. He had no control over it. It was like a “curse”.

Your eyes are lined in pain

Black tears don’t hide in rain

“Black tears” may refer to Lydia’s eyeliner, which spilled down her cheek from crying. The narrator’s addiction was the cause of her pain and suffering.

And I tied you to the tracks

When I turned around, I heard the sound

I hit the ground, I know there’s no turning back

“tied you to the tracks” can mean two things. Either, the narrator tied down Lydia and their relationship on a train track to be run over and destroyed (like damsels in distress were tied down in the silent era films). Or, train tracks could be a metaphor of popping veins visible on the arms of intravenous drug users. This would mean that Lydia too got hooked on drugs. The narrator destroyed Lydia’s life by making her an addict too.

Chorus 2 – What does it mean?

I’ve seen better days

So unafraid in my youth

I can’t breathe, much less believe the truth

Better days, so unafraid in my youth

I can’t breathe, much less believe the truth

The narrator continues to lament his past decisions that led him to lose Lydia. The use of drugs has spoiled his faculty to think clearly, “much less believe the truth”.

Verse 3 – What does it mean?

Black ocean, cold and dark

I am the hungry shark, fast and merciless

But the only girl that could talk to him, she couldn’t swim

Tell me what’s worse than this

What’s worse is all the coke

The ice, it numbs my throat if only for the night

The narrator describes the substances he is addicted to, which are cocaine and ice (meth). The drugs take away some of the narrator’s pain but only momentarily.

My muscles will contract, your bones will crack

It’s just a fact ’cause I am here to win this fight

These lines strongly indicate that Lydia too became an addict. Due to drug use, their bodies are falling apart. “Win this fight” refers to the struggle of making it through the day. The only thing an addict can focus on is surviving the low before getting the next high.

[Chorus 3]

I can’t fucking breathe, much less believe the truth

I pick up a gun, aim for the sun, and shoot

Better days, so unafraid in my youth

I can’t breathe or believe the truth

The narrator describes his helplessness. As an addict, it is impossible to cope with the addiction. Getting over the addiction is like shooting at the sun, hoping to bring it down. It seems that impossible.


Lydia captures the plight and struggles of drug addicts beautifully. It does not make the familiar tale sound cliché or cheesy. The narrator’s pain and anguish come across effectively through the words. There is also a hint of hope attached to the lyrics. The fact that the narrator is coming to terms with his losses could motivate him to drop the filthy habit for good.

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