What does "The Getaway" by Red Hot Chili Peppers mean?
SONG MEANING: “The Getaway" by Red Hot Chili Peppers appears to be about a relationship between two people of very different ages but who have to break it off.
Red Hot Chili Peppers just released the next single from their upcoming album The Getaway which will be released on June 17, 2016. Musically, "The Getaway" is slow, methodical, and hypnotic. It sounds like something that Coldplay would put out, and it's quite catchy.
The meaning, however, is not so simple to decode. Check out my explanation below, and let me know in the comments what yours is!
Line-by-Line Lyrical Analysis of "The Getaway"
In the first verse, Kiedis sings, "That's right. You're right / We will do our thing tonight, all right." The song is sung to a specific person--the indefinite "you"--and he shares a relationship with that person. The mention of "tonight" and "our thing" suggests hanging out, sex, or any number of other things.
He continues singing, "Take me through the future / It's time. You're fine / Just another color coded crime / Incision and a suture." He wants this person to stay with him into "the future" and assures her that it'll be "fine." After all, this is just "another color coded crime"--a cut that'll heal up right afterwards.
The "color coded crime" could refer to maps that show what kinds of crime happen in certain areas. In these maps, different colors or shades of color show the frequency of the crimes in those areas. When Red Hot Chili Peppers uses that phrase here, they could be suggesting that there's nothing significant about this thing they're doing--it's catalogued and expected where they live. The mention of an "incision and a suture" further suggest that it'll happen quickly and then be over quickly.
Based on the last iteration of the chorus, where Kiedis sings, "A May December might not be so smart," this songs seems to be about a relationship with a person much younger than the singer. The fact that he refers to it as a "crime" suggests that the person could even be a minor.
The first verse continues with Kiedis singing, "You told my friend / We would get it on no matter when / A supercavitation / Let's go. You show / Me something no one will ever know / A love hallucination." The mention of what the "you" said to Kiedis suggests that this even happening may be sex. The mention of a "supercavitation" suggests that they'll be all alone, separated from everyone else, and the second-to-last line suggests that they'll be sharing intimate information or physical contact, what Kiedis calls a "love hallucination."
In the pre-chorus, Kiedis continues to sing about this unlikely rendezvous. He refers to his narrator as "[a]nother lonely superstar" and sings about getting "away inside your car" and taking "it much too far." He urges them together to "[s]urrender to the brave inside," which could refer to their inner desires and fantasies that aren't limited by what seems appropriate or realistic. He also suggests that at least one of them is not a virgin--a "lover that another tried." The last line, "Take it, too my ride," is confusing but suggests that he is telling her to go for it and to not be afraid.
In the chorus, Kiedis sings, "You don't have to keep it if it's mine / . . . / Another place, maybe another time," while a backup singer repeats lines from the pre-chorus. In these two lines, he seems worried about rejection and seems to be trying to take pressure off of his lover, giving her leeway to put off their rendezvous.
Here, Kiedis sings, "Complete repeat / Sitting in your car and on your street / Lost in California." He's with her in a car, and this seems to be a second chance for them to be together. He suggests that they go somewhere together: "Let's steal this wheel / Take a spin to find out how we feel / Just around the corner."
He suggests that they "[s]low down for sound" perhaps so that they aren't heard or so that they can listen to something that's happening outside of the car as they drive past. He seems to reverse his request a second later when he sings, "Turn it up and, no, we can't be found." They're lost in the music or the feelings they have for each other and seem to "transcend" "[t]he body."
He finishes the verse singing, "Asleep, you weep / Find out that the trick is never cheap / A melancholy girlfriend," suggesting that either she's unhappy after they spend time together or that the relationship still leaves them looking for something else.
Bridge (for lack of a better term)
Red Hot Chili Peppers' bridge appears to be an altered version of the first half of the first verse. In hit, Kiedis adds, "Drive the constellation," and, "The song is fascination," adding to the dream-like imagery and the idea that he's, for lack of a better term, "lost in her eyes," day-dreaming or obsessed.
Here, Kiedis replaces the two lines he sings with, "A May December might not be so smart / . . . / Arrivals that we wish would not depart." This is the majority of what helps listeners to understand the song. According to Urban Dictionary, a May December romance is one between people of significantly different ages. In the song, Kiedis seems to understand that it might not work out, and he admits that it "might not be so smart" after all. It was fun while it lasted though, and he wishes the relationship "would not depart," suggesting that he's treating it like an airplane that must now takeoff again.
In the outro, Kiedis sings, "Don't be late 'cause you're my savior / Make it great whatever stays / Golden gate my rearranger / Hold my name inside your rays." Even though the relationship is over, he still depends on this person and wants her to come back for him. Whatever part of her is willing to stay with him, he wants her to let it do so. While the references to the "Golden Gate" and "rearranger" are mysterious (and could be sexual), Kiedis makes it clear with the last line that he wants to "bask" in her presence a little longer.