Meant to Live

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"Meant to Live"
Single by Switchfoot
from the album The Beautiful Letdown and Music from and Inspired by Spider-Man 2
ReleasedJanuary 27, 2003 (2003-01-27)
Producer(s)John Fields
Switchfoot singles chronology
"You Already Take Me There"
"Meant to Live"
"More Than Fine"
Music video
"Meant to Live" on YouTube

"Meant to Live" is a single by alternative rock band Switchfoot. "Meant to Live" was released to radio on January 27, 2003. The song peaked at number five on the US Modern Rock chart and U.S. Adult Top 40 chart, number six on U.S. Top 40 radio, and number 18 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. It is the first track on the group's 2003 major-label debut album The Beautiful Letdown, and was also featured in the UK version of the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack. In April 2005, the song was certified gold in the United States.[1] The single is generally regarded as the song that helped the band achieve mainstream success.


Lyrically, "Meant to Live" was inspired by T. S. Eliot's poem "The Hollow Men". Singer/writer Jon Foreman has said, "Maybe the kid in the song is me, hoping that I'm meant for more than arguments and failed attempts to fly. Something deep inside of me yearns for the beautiful, the true. I want more than what I've been sold; I want to live life."[2] According to Foreman, this song was also inspired by U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For".[3]

This track refers to C.S. Lewis's novel Out of the Silent Planet with the lyric "Maybe we're bent and broken."

It also refers to John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men, in the lyric "Dreaming about Providence and whether mice or men have second tries."


"Meant to Live" is an alternative rock song that lasts for a duration of three minutes and twenty seconds.[4] According to the sheet music published at by Capitol CMG, it is written in the time signature of common time, with a heavy, moderately slow rock tempo of 76 beats per minute.[4] "Meant to Live" is composed in the key of B minor, while Jon Foreman's vocal range spans one octave and three notes, from a low of D4 to a high of G5.[4] The song has a basic sequence of B5-A5-E5-G5-A5-B5-A5-E5-D5-G5-E5-A5 during its introduction, changes to G5-F5-D5-E5-D5-F5-D5 in the verses, follows G5-A5-B5-E5-G5-E5 at the refrain, has Dsus2-G6-Dsus2-G6-Dsus2-Em7-Csus2-G5 during its bridge and concludes with Dsus2-G6-B5-A5-E5 in the outro as its chord progression.[5]

The song has a lumbering, incensed post-grunge riff driven by heavy guitars. During its yearning bridge, the musical composition momentarily shifts to shimmery folk-rock.[6] "Meant to Live" features lead singer Jonathan Foreman intoning strong melodies which unite the song's different parts.[6] His lyrical content has a uniquely melancholic yet hopeful tone.[6] Foreman's vulnerable verses contain world-weary lines: "Maybe we've been living with our eyes half open/Maybe we're bent and broken."[6] They express a subtly inspirational feeling as well as suggestion to delve deeper or look higher for fulfillment.[6] "Meant to Live" also harbors some political sentiments, containing the topical lines, "we want more than the wars of our fathers."[6]

Critical reception

Comparing its guitar riff to that of Nirvana's In Utero while complimenting the timelessness of its sentiments, AllMusic's claims that the song "has its cake and eats it too, musically and lyrically speaking."[6] She continued writing, "Meant to Live"'s sympathetic, idealistic (not preachy) viewpoint, combined with its powerful guitars, make the song successful as both an alternative CCM and modern rock single.[6]

Music videos

There were three music videos made for this song. The first video features live performance footage, the second is a concept video depicting the band playing inside a house while the walls and insides are slowly being torn down, showing a resemblance to Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" music video, which the "Meant to Live" video has been compared to, and a third video is mixed into clips from Spider-Man 2, and was released exclusively in the UK.

The first two videos featured audio mixed a key higher than the album version.


In 2005, the song was nominated for a Dove Awards for Song of the Year at the 36th GMA Dove Awards.[7]

Track listing

UK CD single

  1. "Meant to Live" (album version)
  2. "On Fire" (live)
  3. "The Beautiful Letdown" (live)
  4. "Meant to Live" (video)



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[22] Gold 500,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Release history

Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref(s).
United States January 27, 2003 (2003-01-27) Alternative radio [23]
June 16, 2003 (2003-06-16) [24][25]
February 2, 2004 (2004-02-02) Hot adult contemporary radio [26]
Australia July 26, 2004 (2004-07-26) CD [27]
United Kingdom August 2, 2004 (2004-08-02) Columbia [28]


  1. ^ RIAA Gold & Platinum Searchable Database - Switchfoot singles
  2. ^ Kim Jones. "Switchfoot - Behind the Songs - The Beautiful Letdown". Entertainment.
  3. ^ Ken Phillips Publicity Group - Switchfoot Archived October 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b c Foreman, Jonathan. "Switchfoot 'Meant To Live' Sheet Music in B Minor - Download & Print". Capitol Christian Music Group.
  5. ^ Foreman, Jonathan. "Switchfoot 'This Is Your Life' Guitar Tab in D Minor - Download & Print". Capitol Christian Music Group.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Maginnis, Heather (February 25, 2003). "Switchfoot Meant to Live – Song Review by Heather Phares". AllMusic.
  7. ^ 2005 Dove Awards - 36th Annual Dove Awards on; Jones, Kim
  8. ^ "Issue 760" ARIA Top 100 Singles. National Library of Australia. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  9. ^ "R&R Canada CHR/Pop Top 30" (PDF). Radio & Records. No. 1565. July 23, 2004. p. 25. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  10. ^ "RR Canada Rock Top 30" (PDF). Radio & Records. No. 1551. April 16, 2004. p. 59. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  11. ^ "Switchfoot – Meant to Live" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  12. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  13. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  14. ^ "Switchfoot Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  15. ^ "Switchfoot Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  16. ^ "Switchfoot Chart History (Alternative Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  17. ^ "Switchfoot Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  18. ^ "Switchfoot Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  19. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 2004". Retrieved November 6, 2021.
  20. ^ "Year-End Charts – Hot Adult Top 40 Singles & Tracks – 2004". 2004. Archived from the original on October 9, 2012. Retrieved November 7, 2021.
  21. ^ "2004 The Year in Music". Billboard. Vol. 116, no. 52. December 25, 2004. p. YE-75. Retrieved November 6, 2021.
  22. ^ "American single certifications – Switchfoot – Meant to Live". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  23. ^ "Going for Adds" (PDF). Radio & Records. No. 1488. January 24, 2003. p. 30. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  24. ^ "Going for Adds" (PDF). Radio & Records. No. 1508. June 16, 2003. p. 26. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  25. ^ "FMQB Airplay Archive: Modern Rock". Friday Morning Quarterback Album Report, Incorporated. Archived from the original on April 24, 2013. Retrieved October 30, 2016.
  26. ^ "Going for Adds" (PDF). Radio & Records. No. 1540. January 30, 2004. p. 23. Retrieved June 14, 2021.
  27. ^ "The ARIA Report: New Releases Singles – Week Commencing 26/07/2004" (PDF). ARIA. July 24, 2004. p. 28. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 6, 2004. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  28. ^ "Meant to Live". Amazon. Retrieved July 2, 2021.

External links

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