The World I Know

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"The World I Know"
Single by Collective Soul
from the album Collective Soul
B-side When the Water Falls (Live Acoustic Version)
Released November 14, 1995
Recorded Late 1994
Miami, Florida
(Criteria Studios)
Genre Alternative rock
Length 4:16
Label Atlantic
Writer(s) Ed Roland
Ross Childress
Producer(s) Ed Roland
Matt Serletic
Collective Soul singles chronology
"Smashing Young Man"
"The World I Know"
"Where the River Flows"
Music video
"The World I Know" on YouTube

"The World I Know" is a song by American alternative rock band Collective Soul, originally released on their 1995 eponymous album. Written by lead singer and guitarist Ed Roland and guitarist Ross Childress, "The World I Know" peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart when released as a single,[1] and spent four weeks at the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.[2]

Music video[edit]

The music video depicts a businessman who begins to go about his day, reading The New York Times on the way to his office. As he reads about death, and sees the homelessness and sadness on the street, he becomes disillusioned with his life and prepares to commit suicide. As he climbs to the roof of a nearby building, he takes off his shoes and looks at the ground crying. He stretches out his arms and readies himself to fall.

However, just as he is about to fall, a pigeon lands on his arm. He feeds it with the bagel in his pocket, and the crumbs attract ants, which makes the man notice the similarities of them to the people walking below. He laughs throwing all his money at the people and pulls himself out of his state.

During the entire video, periodic cuts to singer Ed Roland looking on at the man while singing the song are shown.

The video also shows sadness and happiness in the form of color hues for the video. While the man is disillusioned with his life and is thinking about suicide, the video is in a blue and purple tint, giving a dark feeling to the video. When the pigeon lands on the man's arm, the video's hue changes to show the normal colors of the city, also revealing the sun shining over the city, showing of the sudden change to happiness and relief.

Cover versions[edit]

On May 20, 2008, David Cook, winner of the seventh season of American Idol performed the song. Following his performance, Cook's version peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot Digital Songs chart and #28 on the Billboard Hot 100.[3] Pat Green covered this song in his album Songs We Wish We'd Written II.


Preceded by
"Cumbersome" by Seven Mary Three
Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks number-one single
February 3 – February 24, 1996
Succeeded by
"1979" by The Smashing Pumpkins