Unpacking the Meaning in A&W Lyrics







A&W is a popular song by American alternative rock band Sheryl Crow, which was released in 1993 on their debut album, Tuesday Night Music Club. The song's lyrics are poignant and poetic, touching on themes of heartache, longing, and self-discovery. In this post, we will unpack the meaning behind the lyrics of A&W to delve deeper into the emotional landscape painted by the song.

Analyzing the Lyrics

Verse 1:

The song opens with the lines, "Whiskey bottles and brand new cars, oak tree, you're in my way." The juxtaposition of whiskey bottles and brand new cars sets the tone for the rest of the song - a mix of indulgence and materialism that ultimately leads to emptiness. The mention of the oak tree blocking the way can be seen as a metaphor for obstacles in life that prevent one from moving forward.


The chorus of A&W repeats the lines, "Sometimes I feel like I don't have a partner, sometimes I feel like my only friend is the city I live in, the city of angels." These lines speak to a sense of loneliness and isolation that many people can relate to. The city of angels, often a symbol of glamour and opportunity, becomes a lonely and isolating place for the singer.

Verse 2:

In the second verse, the lyrics "Lonely as I am, together we cry" reflect a sense of shared pain and vulnerability. Despite feeling lonely, the singer finds solace in the act of crying together, highlighting the human need for connection and empathy.


The bridge of the song brings in a sense of yearning and longing, with the lines "Heartfelt, a court of love, standin' on cathedral steps". The imagery of a cathedral symbolizes spirituality and transcendence, suggesting that love has the power to elevate and inspire.


The song concludes with the repeated line, "It's the only time that I ever feel real." This final statement underscores the idea that authenticity and emotional connection are fleeting, emphasizing the search for meaning and truth in a world filled with superficiality.

Themes in A&W

  1. Loneliness and Isolation: The lyrics of A&W capture the profound sense of loneliness and isolation that many individuals experience in their lives. The singer's yearning for connection and companionship is a central theme that runs throughout the song.

  2. Emotional Vulnerability: The raw and emotive lyrics of A&W reveal a deep sense of emotional vulnerability. The singer's willingness to expose their innermost feelings and struggles adds layers of depth and authenticity to the song.

  3. Search for Meaning: A&W touches on the universal human quest for meaning and purpose. The singer's introspective reflections on life, love, and self-discovery invite listeners to contemplate their own journeys towards fulfillment and understanding.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What inspired Sheryl Crow to write the song A&W?
    Sheryl Crow has shared that A&W was inspired by her personal experiences with loneliness and longing, as well as her observations of the fast-paced and often superficial nature of Los Angeles, also known as the city of angels.

  2. Is A&W a true story or a work of fiction?
    While A&W is based on real emotions and experiences, it is ultimately a work of art that blends personal truth with creative storytelling. The song captures universal themes that resonate with listeners from diverse backgrounds.

  3. What is the significance of the title A&W?
    The title A&W is a reference to the popular fast-food chain A&W Restaurants, known for its root beer floats and classic American diner fare. The choice of title adds a nostalgic and whimsical touch to the song's introspective lyrics.

  4. How did A&W perform on the music charts?
    A&W received critical acclaim and commercial success upon its release, peaking at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song continues to be a fan favorite and a standout track in Sheryl Crow's discography.

  5. What impact did A&W have on Sheryl Crow's career?
    A&W played a pivotal role in establishing Sheryl Crow as a talented singer-songwriter in the alternative rock genre. The song's evocative lyrics and memorable melody helped showcase Crow's unique artistic vision and musical style.

  6. Are there any covers or reinterpretations of A&W by other artists?
    Over the years, several artists have covered A&W and offered their own interpretations of the song. These covers range from acoustic renditions to bluesy reinterpretations, highlighting the enduring appeal and versatility of the track.

  7. What message does A&W convey to its listeners?
    A&W conveys a message of introspection, emotional authenticity, and the importance of human connection. The song encourages listeners to embrace their vulnerabilities, seek genuine relationships, and find moments of truth and clarity in a complex world.

  8. How does the music in A&W complement the lyrics?
    The music in A&W features a captivating blend of acoustic guitars, soulful vocals, and melodic hooks that enhance the emotional impact of the lyrics. The instrumental arrangements create a rich sonic backdrop that resonates with the song's themes and mood.

  9. What makes A&W a timeless classic in Sheryl Crow's repertoire?
    A&W stands out as a timeless classic in Sheryl Crow's repertoire due to its evocative lyrics, memorable melody, and emotional depth. The song's relatable themes and heartfelt performance have cemented its status as a fan favorite and a standout track in Crow's discography.

  10. How can listeners connect with the emotions in A&W on a personal level?
    Listeners can connect with the emotions in A&W on a personal level by immersing themselves in the evocative lyrics, reflective themes, and soulful delivery of the song. By exploring their own feelings of loneliness, longing, and self-discovery, listeners can relate to the universal truths encapsulated in the music.

Diya Patel
Diya Patel
Diya Patеl is an еxpеriеncеd tеch writеr and AI еagеr to focus on natural languagе procеssing and machinе lеarning. With a background in computational linguistics and machinе lеarning algorithms, Diya has contributеd to growing NLP applications.
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