The lyrics of “Glycerine” are about lead singer Gavin Rossdale’s then girlfriend, Suze DeMarchi. Rossdale croons about her skin and how it feels, pontificating that it must be real because he can feel it. Later in the song, he laments her loss. Indeed, she married Bebe Betancourt just a few months after the release of “Glycerine.” Rossdale says that he could have been easier on her and that although he wanted to change, he was unable to do so because of a deep-seated fear that he considered part of the relationship. Rossdale doesn’t expand on that fear; he doesn’t say whether it was of DeMarchi, the relationship itself, or anything else, just that he was afriad.

Humble Beginning

Rossdale told Howard Stern that he blamed DeMarchi for the song and that the title referred to her as, “… dangerous as glycerine,” meaning the explosive. It’s interesting that he says that because the lyrics for the song are self-deprecating instead of accusing. In another interview, Rossdale says that the song comes from a cynical place. He wrote it while living alone in his London flat.

Conflicting Signals

Further, he says that the off-the-cuff reference to the Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields” is to show happiness and uplifting feelings. It’s difficult to follow Rossdale’s train of thought, however, as he explains what he thinks his music is about. He references struggle, but the explanation is a stream of consciousness that seems to have no reference point.

The chord progression stays relatively the same throughout the song, which conflicts with the meandering way that Rossdale explains this thought process. Perhaps his inability to explain comes from the primal feelings he had while writing the song in that lonely flat. He said that it came to him and spoke to him without a clear origin. He said that he felt as if he were part of something bigger than either the song or the album itself, which is called “Sixteen Stone.”

Other Media

Despite the song’s lackluster performance on the charts, peaking only at No. 28 on the Billboard 100, it has appeared in quite a number of programs on television. The song’s appearance on “The Simpsons” is a parody called “Margerine,” which was a hit for Homer Simpson’s band, Sadgasm, and pun based on his wife’s name. The other appearances, which include “Cold Case,” “Hindsight,” and “The Midnight Club,” are all of the song itself.


It must be your skin, I’m sinkin’ in
It must be for real, ’cause now I can feel
And I didn’t mind, it’s not my kind
It’s not my time, to wonder why
Everything gone white, everything’s grey
Now you’re here, now you’re away
I don’t want this, remember that
I’ll never forget, where you’re at

Don’t let the days go by
Glycerine, glycerine

I’m never alone, I’m alone all the time
Are you at one, or do you lie
We live in a wheel, where everyone steals
But when we rise, it’s like strawberry fields
If I treated you bad, you’d bruise my face
Couldn’t love you more, you’ve got a beautiful taste

Don’t let the days go by
Could have been easier on you
I couldn’t change though I wanted to
Should have been easier by three
Our old friend fear and you and me
Glycerine, glycerine
Don’t let the days go by, glycerine
Don’t let the days go by
Ah, ah-ah-ah, ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah

Glycerine, glycerine
Oh, glycerine, glycerine

Bad moon whine again
Bad moon whine again
As she falls around me

I needed you more, we wanted us less
Could not kiss, just regress
It might just be clear, simple, and plain
Well that’s just fine, that’s just one of my names

Don’t let the days go by
Could’ve been easier on you you you
Glycerine, glycerine
Glycerine, glycerine

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Gavin Rossdale

Glycerine lyrics © Bmg Rights Management (uk) Ltd, Mad Dog Winston Music Ltd

Listeners of Rock music, might also appreciate the song Caraphernelia by Pierce of the veil.