Wish I Knew You by The Revivalists: Lyrics Meaning and Interpretation

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Written by the Revivalists in 2016, “Wish I Knew You” is a song that belongs to the genres of alternative rock and indie rock. It has reached the #1 spot on the Billboard charts for alternative rock.

The Revivalists are an American rock band from New Orleans. They are a highly acclaimed band who are considered by many fans as well as critics as one of the greatest bands in the contemporary rock scene.

What does the title mean

The title of the song immediately creates curiosity about what the song is about. It suggests a situation that is almost a paradox: if the singer doesn’t know the person they’re singing about, then how can they wish they knew the person?

“Wish I Knew You” is a title that includes two people, the speaker as well as the person they’re singing about. It is clear from the title that the song will explain what the singer means. Although the title doesn’t give us the explanation, it does allude to the idea of wishes, which everyone is familiar with. The idea of wishing for someone to be with is all too familiar to most of us. Thus, the title captures the yearning that we feel to be close to someone and to know them intimately.

Verse 1 – What does it mean

You shine like a star

You know who you are

You’re everything beautiful

She’s hot, hot like the sun

The loneliest one

Still everything beautiful

Well I’ll be god damned

You’re standing at my door

We stayed up in the city

Until the stars lost the war

So Friday night, holy ghost

Take me to your level

Show me the one I need the most

I need the most”

Intriguingly, the verse switches from “you” to “she,” making us wonder if the singer is referring to two different people. However, it seems more likely here that they are referring to the same person. The term “she” could have been used here to refer to the person’s more public persona. She seems to be someone who is a celebrity, who is seen as beautiful and attractive by everyone, but who is actually very lonely.

She knows who she is, or at least gives the impression that she does. But she still seems to want the companionship of someone who is not as famous or successful as her. She turns up at their door, showing that she needs them. She comes across as someone who truly does know what she wants and is not afraid to go after it.

The term “holy ghost” seems to celebrate the idea of romantic love as almost something that is holy or spiritual in nature. The singer’s words seem to be a prayer for someone on a higher level than them to raise them up. The last line of the verse shows their yearning for what they need the most.

What does the chorus mean

I wish I knew you when I was young

We could’ve got so high

Now we’re here it’s been so long

Two strangers in the bright lights

Oh I hope you don’t mind

We can share my mood yeah

Two strangers in the bright lights

I wish I knew you

I wish I knew you

Oh I wish I knew you when I was young”

The chorus finally reveals the answer to the paradox that the title had suggested. The singer wishes that they had known the person they love when they were both young. These lines suggest that youth offers opportunities that we don’t get when we’re older. They also encourage us to know what we want and to go after it without wasting time. The chorus shows the singer’s yearning to have been able to spend more time with the person they love when they were younger.

The idea of meeting a stranger under bright lights, possibly in a club, and falling in love at first sight is very strong here. Interestingly, the song subverts the stereotypical notion that only young people can find love. Since the singer wishes to have known the other person when they were young, they imply that they’re older now.

Verse 2 – What does it mean

Truth, it’s all that you need

You bury that seed

It’s everything beautiful

And that sound comes from the underground

It’s all inside you now

It’s everything beautiful

But what you, what you, what you, what you running from?

And they got, they got, they got, they got you on the run?

So Friday night

Holy ghost

Take me to your level

Show me the one I need the most

I need the most”

The idea of burying the seed of truth suggests that we usually hide our true dreams and desires and go after conventional goals. By saying that the truth is everything that is beautiful, the singer recalls the poet Keats’ idea that beauty is truth and truth is beauty. This seemingly simple and straightforward idea is something that most of us forget in our pursuit of things such as money and fame. These lines remind us to be true to our own desires and beliefs.

The person in the song is running from something. It seems as though someone is after her. More than a literal pursuit, this could be a metaphor for the fears that we all have. We are constantly running from the things that we are afraid to think about or acknowledge.

The verse contains the idea of the truth emerging from underground as well as the repetition of the notion of the holy ghost. These words again remind us that the singer thinks of love as a spiritual experience. It can save us from our demons by giving us what we need the most.


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What does the bridge mean

Maybe we can share my mood

Hmm hmm hmm

Maybe we can share my mood

Hmm hmm hmm

Maybe we can share my mood

Hmm hmm hmm”

These lines contain both words and humming. Humming is a very popular way through which singers can imply that there are things that go beyond words. Music can sometimes capture emotions that we just don’t have the words for.

The “you” and “I” from earlier are now replaced by the plural “we,” suggesting that a shared bond has been formed. “We” is a hopeful word because it shows that the two people are seeing themselves as one entity. The singer here is offering to share their positive and hopeful mood with the other person. They are trying to show their love and support, implying that even if the other person is feeling down or having difficulties, they will help them.


This memorable and catchy song uses deceptively simple lyrics to guide us to deeper meanings. It tells us that even the most famous or popular people can be lonely, encouraging us to actively seek out love and companionship. It reminds us about how we often forget to go after the things we need the most.

Love is presented in the song as a deep and spiritual connection. Maybe most importantly, the song encourages us to believe that it is never too late to find love. Even though the person singing the song didn’t know their lover when they were younger, they have found each other now, and that’s all that matters. The song is a beautiful reminder to pursue our dreams and happiness.

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