Matchbox Twenty – Push Song Meaning & Lyrics Explained

In the sweeping landscape of alternative rock, Matchbox Twenty has carved out a distinctive place with their emotive lyrics and versatile sound.

One song that particularly stands out in their renowned discography is ‘Push’. And, since it was brought back to light recently by the popular Barbie movie, it’s time to get a bit more in depth and see what is the meaning of the lyrics of Push by Matchbox Twenty.

Released in 1996, the song quickly catapulted to the top of various charts, capturing the attention and hearts of millions.

This fusion of passionate poetry and engaging music proved to be a potent formula that contributed to Matchbox Twenty’s skyrocketing fame.

The controversy and misinterpretations surrounding it added another layer to its intriguing legacy. So, with all these in mind, let’s just find out everything behind this masterpiece.

Matchbox Twenty – Push Music Video

While reading, you can play the video below to have the song as background music. Or just enjoy it once more before jumping into all the explanations.

If you want to check out another hit song of the period, why not read more about the meaning of Jain’s Makeba lyrics?

Matchbox Twenty – Push Lyrics Meaning

Upon its release, “Push” sparked controversy due to misinterpretations of the lyrics, leading some listeners to believe the song endorsed violence towards women.

These claims were strongly denied by frontman Rob Thomas, who clarified the metaphorical meaning behind the lyrics.

The lyrics of “Push” delve into the subject of emotional manipulation within relationships, told from the perspective of someone who feels stuck in a pattern of pushing others away.

As Rob Thomas explained in 1997, the song draws on his personal encounters and observations.

It’s about feeling powerless and used in a relationship where the other person is pulling all the strings.

Thomas underscored the metaphorical nature of the word “push,” noting that it signifies emotional coercion rather than physical violence.

You can also read about the meaning of Shawn Mendes’ hit song There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back here.

Delving deeper into the meaning of the lyrics of Push by Matchbox Twenty

On the surface, ‘Push’ is a song of conflict within a relationship.

The lyrics reveal a constant push-and-pull dynamic between two people, fraught with significant emotional tension.

This is evident in the first verse, wherein Rob Thomas, the band’s lead vocalist, sings, “I want to push you around, I will, I will.” It suggests a will to assert control over a relationship.

Beyond the literal interpretation, the lyrics of ‘Push’ reveal deeper layers of meaning open for subjective interpretation.

For instance, when Thomas belts, “I want to take you for granted,” it reflects internal struggle, a fight with self.

The chorus of the song resonates with chaos and desperation, representing a plea for understanding.

Here, lyrics like “I’m a little bit rusty, and I think my head is caving in” speak to a mental state of brokenness and an inability to cope with the inherent conflict of the relationship, showcasing the theme of personal struggle and emotional imbalance.

Thomas’s remarkable vocal execution gives life to the lyrics. His voice, a spectrum from husky whispers to full-out roars, mirrors the multiple emotions tucked within the lyrics.

The surge of intensity in his voice aligns well with the rising tempo of the song.

Strategically placed moments of silence act as dramatic intermissions, enhancing the impact of the lyrics.

Such as the pause before the chorus, the power of the following musical burst is amplified, making the song more pronounced in its delivery.


“Push”, one of the most powerful tracks from Matchbox Twenty, delves into the intricate dynamics of human relationships.

It addresses themes such as vulnerability, power struggles, and the need for control. Its emotional honesty, combined with Matchbox Twenty’s captivating sound, helped cement its status as a staple in the world of late-90s rock music.

Rob Thomas, wrote ‘Push’ during a very introspective period of his life. The song dives into the theme of human emotional complexities and the enormous distress resulting from them.

Thomas explained that ‘Push’ expresses how someone can take control over your feelings and forcibly push them in a certain direction.

He dissected the lyrics stating that the song is about feeling a lack of control – feeling like someone else is driving you, rather than any physical or emotional abuse.

Overall, amidst the initial confusion surrounding Push’s lyrics, the fan interpretations of the song have varied considerably over the years.

Many related to the song on an emotional level, identifying with feelings of manipulation and lack of control. Others found the lyrics to be cathartic, expressing emotional baggage and enabling listeners to confront their own vulnerabilities.

After all, ‘Push’ continues to resonate deeply with listeners, even decades after its initial release. Its popularity among fans, critics, and newcomers alike has not waned over the years.

If you have different interpretations of the song or the lyrics, don’t hesitate to share your thoughts by commenting below.

Also, make sure to continue learning more about the deeper meaning of popular songs and read on about the meaning of Iggy Azalea’s Fancy.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.