The fifth track from 1997's Nimrod, Scattered has become a firm fan favourite. Although never released as a single, it is commonly found amongst the favourites of many Green Day fans. Clocking in at 3 minutes, it's one of the longer songs from the album, although it follows Green Day's usual straightforward song structure.
The song meaning, as far as I can tell, is fairly straightforward, someone who's made a mess of a relationship and is yearning to get it back again. As far as I know, there're no existing interviews dealing with the meaning. If anything, the lyrics are actually strangely straightforward for Billie The first verse has our protagonist reminiscing while looking at old photographs, thinking about how their life feels meaningless without the person they lost. They've learnt from their mistakes, and regret the choices that lead them to this point. In the chorus the protagonist thinks about how the person they've hurt is with them in the "past and present", and hopes they'll be in their "future too", because they'd give anything for it to happen. In the second verse, we're given an incredibly visceral description of the emotional suffering this relationship breakdown has caused our protagonist. Finally, in the bridge, they ask if they can give the relationship another chance.
The most interesting thing about Scattered is how it fits into the story that's told by the opening songs of Nimrod. Nice Guys Finished Last has the protagonist of the story becoming jaded and cynical about life, and Hitchin' A Ride is them burning out. The Grouch is the bitter regret afterwards, and Redundant is a lament to a broken relationship. Scattered is where the pieces start to come back together, and the healing of the relationship can begin.
On a personal note, Scattered is one of my favourite ever Green Day songs, because it really feels like Billie is writing from experience. Plus I know all too well the feelings expressed within the words.
I've got some scattered pictures lying on my bedroom floor.
Reminds me of the times we shared.
Makes me wish that you were here.
'Cause now it seems I've forgotten my purpose in this life.
All the songs have been erased.
Guess I've learned from my mistakes.
Open the past and present.
Now and we are there.
Story to tell and I am listening.
Open the past and present.
And the future too.
It's all I've got and I'm giving it up to you.
Loose ends tied in knots.
Leaving a lump down in my throat.
Gagging on a souvenir.
Lodged to fill another year.
Drag it on and on until my skin is ripped to shreds.
Leaving myself open wide.
Living out a sacrifice.
If you got no one and I've got no place to go, would it be alright?
Could it be alright?
Below is the most recent performance of Scattered, last year at Irving Plaza. Probably one of the best too.
Hey, look at that, Céadóg managed to go an entire post without using a gif.
I translated it into Irish because I planned on covering it, but thankfully for your eardrums I was too busy. Here's the lyrics if anyone is interested