“High Hopes” Lyrics Meaning [Explained]

“High Hopes,” a standout track from Panic! At The Disco’s 2018 album “Pray for the Wicked,” is a captivating and energetic anthem about perseverance, ambition, and the power of dreaming big.

Through its catchy melody and inspiring lyrics, the song highlights the importance of maintaining high hopes, even in the face of adversity.

In this article, we will analyze the meaning behind the lyrics and explore the messages that Panic! At The Disco’s frontman, Brendon Urie, aims to convey through this powerful tune.

Lyrics Interpretation

Before we delve into the story behind this song, let’s take a closer look at each verse of the lyrics.

Verse 1

Had to have high, high hopes for a living

Shooting for the stars when I couldn’t make a killing

Didn’t have a dime but I always had a vision

Always had high, high hopes

The song starts with Urie reflecting on his journey to success, emphasizing the importance of ambition and dreaming big. The verse highlights the fact that even when he had nothing and faced struggles in life, he never lost sight of his vision. His unwavering belief in himself and his aspirations served as the foundation for his eventual success, underscoring the power of having high hopes.


Mama said

Fulfill the prophecy

Be something greater

Go make a legacy

Manifest destiny

Back in the days

We wanted everything, wanted everything

Urie pays tribute to his mother, who encouraged him to chase his dreams and fulfill his potential. She urged him to create a legacy and reach for greatness, even when the odds were stacked against him. This verse highlights the role of parental support and guidance in shaping our aspirations and fostering resilience.


Had to have high, high hopes for a living

Didn’t know how but I always had a feeling

I was gonna be that one in a million

Always had high, high hopes

The catchy and uplifting chorus serves as a reminder that sometimes, all it takes is unwavering belief in oneself to achieve success. The line “I was gonna be that one in a million” speaks to the universal desire to stand out and achieve something extraordinary. The chorus encourages listeners to hold onto their dreams and aspirations, no matter how unattainable they may seem.

Verse 2

Mama said

Burn your biographies

Rewrite your history

Light up your wildest dreams

Museum victories, every day

We wanted everything, wanted everything

In this verse, Urie emphasizes the importance of taking control of one’s destiny and rewriting one’s story. By “burning your biographies,” he suggests that we can break free from the limitations of our past and redefine our future. Furthermore, he encourages listeners to pursue their wildest dreams and strive for “museum victories,” or achievements worthy of being immortalized in history.


Mama said, don’t give up, it’s a little complicated

All tied up, no more love and I’d hate to see you waiting

They say it’s all been done but they haven’t seen the best of me-e-e-e

So I got one more run and it’s gonna be a sight to see-e-e-e

The bridge of “High Hopes” offers a message of resilience and defiance in the face of adversity. Urie acknowledges that life can be “a little complicated,” but emphasizes the importance of not giving up. His mother’s advice to avoid waiting around for love and opportunities serves as a reminder to seize the moment and take control of one’s destiny.

The lines “They say it’s all been done but they haven’t seen the best of me” and “So I got one more run and it’s gonna be a sight to see” express Urie’s determination to prove his doubters wrong and showcase his full potential. This message encourages listeners to defy expectations and pursue their dreams with unwavering confidence.


Stay up on that rise

Stay up on that rise and never come down, oh

Stay up on that rise

Stay up on that rise and never come down

The outro of “High Hopes” serves as a final call to action for listeners to continue striving for their dreams, no matter the obstacles they face. By urging them to “stay up on that rise,” Urie encourages perseverance and tenacity in the pursuit of one’s goals. The repetition of “never come down” further emphasizes the importance of holding onto one’s aspirations and never losing sight of what truly matters.

True Meaning Behind “High Hopes”

When “High Hopes” was released, Brendon Urie shared a heartfelt message with his fans about the importance of setting high expectations and embracing the possibility of failure in order to grow.

Although Urie didn’t explicitly link this sentiment to the song, the lyrics and overall theme of “High Hopes” align closely with the idea of holding onto optimism and pushing oneself to aim higher.

In contrast to Pink Floyd’s “High Hopes,” which focuses on the nostalgia of childhood as a time of unbounded dreams and aspirations, Panic!’s “High Hopes” encourages listeners to maintain that hopeful outlook throughout adulthood.

While Pink Floyd’s song laments the loss of dreams and the burdens of adult life, Panic!’s version serves as a reminder that it is possible to maintain high hopes even in the face of challenges.

Brendon Urie’s tweet about the importance of aiming high and accepting failure as part of the growth process adds another layer of meaning to the song. This message of resilience and persistence is essential for anyone pursuing their passions and seeking to achieve great things.

Music Video

“High Hopes” was released on May 23, 2018. The band uploaded the song’s audio track to their official YouTube channel on the same day, followed by an official music video on August 27, 2018. Since then, the music video has been watched more than 711 million times as of January 2023!

The music video features the band’s lead vocalist, Brendon Urie, walking through the busy streets of Los Angeles. While walking, people bump into him, but that doesn’t stop him from pursuing his dream. He approaches a skyscraper with a glass exterior, determined to climb it. To everyone’s amazement, he puts his foot on the glass, flips horizontally, and begins walking up the side of the building.

As he climbs higher, people gather at the bottom of the building, recording Urie’s impressive feat. He acknowledges their support by waving to them as he climbs. Eventually, he reaches the roof of the building, where he joins the rest of the band and continues to sing the final chorus of the song while the sun sets.


Use in Various Promotional Campaigns

Released in 2018, the song quickly became a hit and has since been used in various promotional campaigns.

NBC and NBCSN used the song to promote their coverage of the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals, and CBS Sports later used it for their featured SEC Game of the Week. Rede Globo also used it for advertisements for its streaming service, and it was even featured in the trailer for the animated film Klaus. The song has been a favorite among political candidates as well, serving as the campaign anthem for Pete Buttigieg during the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries.

But not everyone has been a fan of the song’s use. Panic! At The Disco’s lead singer Brendon Urie expressed his disapproval of the song being played at a Trump re-election rally and issued a cease and desist order. However, the song has found a new home as the walk-on song for 2022 UK Open champion Danny Noppert.


In conclusion, Panic!’s “High Hopes” serves as an anthem for those who want to aim higher, embrace the possibility of failure, and maintain the optimism of their youth in order to achieve their dreams.

The song encourages listeners to push through obstacles, stay committed to their goals, and believe in their potential for greatness.

By connecting the song to Brendon Urie’s personal message, “High Hopes” stands as a powerful testament to the importance of resilience and determination in the pursuit of one’s passions.

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