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The Meaning Behind The Song: Red Wine, Mistakes, Mythology by Jack Johnson

The Meaning Behind The Song: Red Wine, Mistakes, Mythology by Jack Johnson


I have always been captivated by the lyrics and melodies of Jack Johnson’s songs. His ability to convey deep emotions through simple yet powerful words is truly remarkable. One song that particularly stands out to me is “Red Wine, Mistakes, Mythology” from his album “To the Sea” released in 2010. In this article, I will explore the meaning behind this song and share my personal experiences with it.

Understanding the Lyrics

The song starts with the lines, “Everybody is made of clay, That’s what they used to say, Until the truth stepped on us all, Now everything that was big is small.” These lines seem to convey a sense of vulnerability and the realization that we are all imperfect beings, just like clay that is easily molded and shaped.

Johnson then refers to us as “little crying robots” who yearn for something more in life. We long for success (“Program me, I wanna win the race”) and the fulfillment of our desires (“Where the king, Locked up the princess, Jump the fence, And drink a little bit of…”). The repetition of the phrase “Red wine, mistakes, apologies, Red wine, headaches, mythology” in the chorus suggests that we often make mistakes and seek solace through apologies and the mythical escape that red wine symbolizes.

In the second verse, Johnson poses the question of who holds the power and control in our lives. Referring to Jupiter, the king of the sky in Roman mythology, he wonders why the game of life is always changing and why he has faced strangeness. It’s a reflection of the constant ups and downs we experience in life, where things can be unpredictable and uncertain.

The lines “What’s the matter, Is the feast not fat enough, Up the ladder with your feet, Reaching with your hands” express the desire for more, the feeling that what we have may not be enough, and the need to strive, putting in efforts both physically and mentally.

The Deeper Meaning and Personal Reflections

“Red Wine, Mistakes, Mythology” carries a deeper meaning beyond the surface-level interpretation of its lyrics. It speaks to the human condition, our shared struggles, and the ways in which we navigate through life’s challenges. The song reminds us that we are all vulnerable, prone to making mistakes, and seeking forgiveness. At times, we may even resort to escaping reality through the mythology of red wine.

For me, this song holds personal significance as it resonates with my own experiences. It reminds me of the moments when I’ve made mistakes and had to face the consequences. It acknowledges the times when I sought solace in apologies, hoping to mend relationships and find forgiveness. The references to mythology remind me of the times when I turned to art, literature, or music to escape from the complexities of life.

Johnson’s lyrics also underline the importance of laughter and toasting to life, even in the face of adversity. The lines “Let’s all laugh so that we don’t cry, Let’s all lift our glasses up to the sky” encourage us to find joy and happiness amidst the challenges we encounter.


“Red Wine, Mistakes, Mythology” by Jack Johnson is a powerful song that delves into the human experience and explores themes of vulnerability, mistakes, and the yearning for something more. Through heartfelt lyrics and a catchy melody, Johnson reminds us of our shared imperfections and the universality of our struggles. The song invites us to reflect on our own journeys and find solace in the knowledge that we are not alone. So, let’s raise our glasses and toast to life, embracing both our triumphs and our mistakes, as we continue to navigate the beautiful chaos of existence.

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