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In Circles

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"In Circles" is a song found in the soundtrack for Transistor, featuring the vocals of Ashley Barrett. It can be played at any time in the Sandbox after the player has completed the first Speed Test.

It also serves as the boss theme for Sybil. Midway through the encounter, the theme switches to the corrupted version "_n C_rcl_s".

Lyrics

I hear you buzzing, a fly on the wall

In through the window and up through the hall

Flying in circles just trying to land

I see you hurting, I do what I can


But I won't save you

I won't save you


Maybe you're looking for someone to blame

Fighting for air while you circle the drain

Never be sorry for your little time

It's not when you get there, it's always the climb


But I won't save you

I won't save you


I won't save you

I won't save you

Meaning

The song is describing Sybil's unrequited love for Red. It is uncertain whether Red, as the in-game writer of the song, is directly referencing Sybil or just an unknown character in her song. Red did have interactions with Sybil for a while, and may have even known, to a certain degree, how she felt about her. However, Darren Korb, as the real-world writer of the song, is definitely referencing Sybil, as her's is the only battle in the game with a lyrical song.

Sybil is the "fly", falling in love with Red ("Flying in circles just trying to land"). Red is aware of the infatuation ("I hear you buzzing"), and tries to let her down gently ("I see you hurting, I do what I can"). Ultimately, Red does not feel the same way ("But I won't save you").

The second verse is a bit harsher, implying a depression from the fall ("Maybe you're looking for someone to blame / Fighting for air while you circle the drain"). Red gives the advice to learn from the experience ("Never be sorry for your little time") and respect that relationships are not a destination ("It's not when you get there, it's always the climb").