I'm Clifford Stumme, and I use literary analysis and research to explain the deeper meanings of pop songs. Feel free to leave a comment or to email me at with questions or ideas!

What does "Graveyard" by Halsey mean?

What does "Graveyard" by Halsey mean?

“Graveyard” Lyrics Meaning

Halsey said in an interview with “1075 The River,” that her mom once told her: ”You should never go for the person who gives you butterflies; that’s your body’s way of telling you that something’s wrong. You’re not supposed to feel anxious and nervous and scared when you fall in love. You’re supposed to feel safe. Go for the person who makes you feel calm. If your heart leaps every time they text you, every time they compliment you, every time they come around, that’s not a good sign.” This conversation with her mom inspired the bridge of the song, and tells us that love shouldn’t make us feel like we’re in danger. We should be able to trust that person.

“The warning signs can feel like they’re butterflies” 

In “Graveyard,” Halsey can’t trust the person she loves. She would do anything for them, but they treat her coldly. She begins to realize that it’s not healthy for her to follow them down their self-destructive spiral. In understanding the unhealthiness of their relationship, Halsey makes that difficult choice to let them as she begins to say that she “would have” followed them on that path. She won’t any longer.

While a lot of Halsey’s songs are autobiographical, there’s never a certainty of it until she confirms the meaning. For simplicity’s sake, this analysis will refer to Halsey, but it doesn’t mean that the song is written about her life or from her perspective. Either way, the song is a heart-wrenching metaphor for loving someone who doesn’t have your best interests at heart.

Verse 1

It's crazy when
The thing you love the most is the detriment
Let that sink in
You can think again
When the hand you wanna hold is a weapon and
You're nothin' but skin

The person Halsey loves more than anything is hurting her. She needs to stop and think, in order to take in her situation. The “hand [she wants to] hold is a weapon” used against her. She feels like “nothin’ but skin,” which could mean that she feels this person is using her for her body, or that the relationship has left her feeling empty and hollow inside. 


Oh, 'cause I keep diggin' myself down deeper
I won't stop 'til I get where you are
I keep running, I keep running, I keep running

Though they hurt her, she keeps digging deeper into the relationship. She wants to be where they are, even if that place is toxic to her. 


They say I may be making a mistake
I woulda followed all the way, no matter how far
I know when you go down all your darkest roads
I woulda followed all the way to the graveyard
Oh, 'cause I keep diggin' myself down deeper
I won't stop 'til I get where you are
I keep running when both my feet hurt
I won't stop 'til I get where you are
Oh, when you go down all your darkest roads
I woulda followed all the way to the graveyard 

The people in Halsey’s life are telling her that she “may be making a mistake” by staying with this person. Despite their lack of support, she loves this person enough to go “all the way” down their “darkest roads” to be by their side. Whatever pain it causes her, she will remain with them. Even if she has to have her body carried to the “graveyard” it’s worth it to her, because she’ll be with them. Her lover has chosen a path of destruction, and in her desire to be close, she will suffer the consequences of that choice as well. 

Verse 2

You look at me
With eyes so dark, don't know how you even see
You push right through me
It's gettin' real
You lock the door, you're drunk at the steering wheel
And I can't conceal

Though her commitment to her lover is overwhelming, this person doesn’t reciprocate. When they look at her their eyes are “so dark” that she doesn’t “know how [they] even see.” The unhealthiness of the relationship is getting “real” for her as they “push right through” her, “lock the door” to keep her out, and put her in danger by driving drunk. 


Oh, it's funny how
The warning signs can feel like they're butterflies

Halsey looks back on her feelings for this person and recognizes that she’s ignored a lot of “warning signs” about them. The relationship had become hurtful, and she wasn’t being treated well. She had been impacted by it, but that intense anxiety was often mistaken for intense love. 

Deeper Meaning of “Graveyard” by Halsey

“Graveyard” is about realizing that your love for someone has blinded you to the danger they are to your heart. Love is a truly beautiful thing, and so is self-sacrifice. However, no one should be doing all the sacrificing in a relationship. No one should ever feel like they have to put themselves in danger because of someone else’s poor choices. It’s one thing to go with someone into a dark place because you love them and you don’t want them to be alone. It’s another when they choose that darkness for themselves. It’s another thing when you know that to follow them into the darkness they’ve chosen will hurt you. In “Graveyard,” Halsey realizes how she’s allowed her selfless love for this person to become something that is causing her to stay in a toxic relationship. Her use of the past tense as she says she would have followed them to the “graveyard,” tells us that she wouldn’t anymore. She has grown wiser and is protecting herself now. All of us can do the same. We can love selflessly, but understand that we don’t need to be taken advantage of. We can love others with the understanding that we are valuable people too, and we deserve to be treated with respect and kindness. And for those of us who have stayed in broken relationships? We can look back and say proudly: I would have followed you to the graveyard, but not anymore. It’s not because we don’t love anymore. It’s because now we understand that loving someone doesn’t mean that we let them devalue us. You’re worth respecting and protecting.

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