The Neighbourhood – “Cry Baby” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

In “Cry Baby” by The Neighbourhood, we’re taken on an emotional rollercoaster with the protagonist who’s grappling with vulnerability and fear of heartbreak. The song touches on themes of self-awareness, anxiety, and the dread of falling in love when you’re scared of getting hurt. It’s about the struggles of opening up and the worries that come with new relationships—essentially about trying not to be someone’s “cry baby,” a person who’s left brokenhearted and crying over love. The songwriter penned this track as an anthem for those who find themselves guarded, trying to navigate the complexities of love without losing themselves in the process.

Ever wondered what’s going on in the mind of someone who’s scared to fall in love? Let’s explore the fears and desires tangled up in the lyrics.

“Cry Baby” Lyrics Meaning

Starting with a confession, “I think I talk too much,” sets the tone for a reflective and intimate song. The protagonist is aware of their flaws and anxiousness, a trait that resonates with many of us. They know they need to listen more—to others and to their own heart. It’s a call for self-improvement, a realization that sometimes we need to step back and not try so hard to justify who we are.

“I hope there’s some time to change it,” shows a desire for personal growth, but the repeated “I can taste it, my heart’s breaking” signals the inevitability of heartache that they’re desperately trying to avoid. This internal conflict is the soul of the song—wanting to love and be loved, yet being acutely aware of the potential pain that comes with it.

The chorus echoes the dilemma: the knowledge that they’ll fall for this person, yet hoping they won’t be lied to. The juxtaposition of “I hope you won’t ever lie to me” and “And if you do, I know I won’t be your cry baby” reflects a defense mechanism. It’s a shield against the vulnerability that love demands, suggesting that they’ll put up a tough front rather than show their brokenness.

As we progress to “The sun’s coming out but I’m feeling colder,” it illustrates a classic paradox; when things seem to be getting better (“the sun’s coming out”), they internally feel worse (“I’m feeling colder”). This line represents the loneliness and isolation that can accompany fear of intimacy.

By the end, the repetition of “cry baby” transforms from a phrase of vulnerability to a chant of resilience. It’s like the songwriter is convincing themselves that it’s okay to feel, to be vulnerable, and if they both show their true emotions (“We need to cry”), they can navigate the complexities of love together.

The Story Behind “Cry Baby”

In the throes of creating “Cry Baby,” the songwriter was likely navigating their own emotional landscape. Maybe they were falling in love and felt the urge to put these feelings into words, to capture the struggle between wanting to dive in and wanting to stay safe from heartache.

The song can be seen as a therapeutic confessional—a moment of self-awareness from an artist who’s trying to understand their own heart. It reveals the universal fear of emotional pain and the armor we wear to guard against it. The “cry baby” is both a vulnerable figure and a symbol of the strength it takes to be emotionally honest.

Through the vulnerability of the lyrics, listeners are invited to acknowledge their own fears and find comfort in the shared human experience of love and loss.