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Frightened Rabbit – Swim Until You Can't See Land Lyrics 4 years ago
I think (as others do) that this song is about making efforts to forget the past, most likely a past relationship.

"We salute at the threshold of the North Sea in my mind
And a nod to the boredom that drove me here to face the tide and swim."

I think this is the formal acknowledgement of the ending of the relationship and him realizing it's time to move on (or "swim").

"Dip the toe in the ocean. Oh how it hardens and it numbs.
The rest of me is a version of man, built to collapse into crumbs.
And if I hadn't come down to the coast to disappear
I may have died in a land-slide of the rocks, the hopes and fears."

I think dipping a toe in the ocean is a metaphor for "testing the waters" again after the relationship, which can be difficult. I think a large part of him wanted to stay in the relationship and if he hadn't made up his mind to move on that he may have lived out his days in a relationship that didn't work.

Swimming until you can't see land I believe is simply representing taking the steps necessary to forget a significant other. The man v. bag of sand (as pointed out above) I think means do you have the guile to push forward and separate yourself from your ex or are you going to let them drag you down/back to them?

"Up to my knees now, do I wait? Do I dive?
The sea has seen my like before though it's my first and perhaps last time.
Let's call me a baptist, call this the drowning of the past.
She's there on the shoreline throwing stones at my back."

He has made a few steps forward - should he keep going or turn back to the girl? He's been single before but perhaps never like this (after a difficult breakup). The baptism line to me is transparent - getting rid of the past and starting anew. The shoreline reference is probably that the girl is either close enough to turn back to (within a stones throw) or that she is taking active steps to prevent him from leaving (throwing stones at him).

"Now the water's taller than me and the land is a marker line
All I am is a body adrift in water, salt and sky."

I think this is a success story. He is officially over the relationship (he is out of the shallows and the shore is distant/almost out of sight) and he is separated from his ex or anyone else ("all I am is a body adrift in water, salt and sky").



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Wilco – Jesus, Etc. Lyrics 8 years ago
mikeyg,

I agree with your interpretation. I believe that the writer recognizes that we are small and insignificant in an infinitely large universe but that we can seek comfort in eachother's love and companionship.

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Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – In This Home on Ice Lyrics 8 years ago
I have a slightly different take on this song. I'm not sure that this is about a relationship. I think it is more of a critique of our society.

As Levitateme mentioned, ice is thin and can easily crack, thus it is not a strong foundation to build a home on. Although we currently have a beautiful country, its foundation could be seen as shaky due to our controversial foreign policies. Hence "Home on Ice."

In the first verse, "You talk like a noose" could be interpreted as statements made now will eventually hang us in the future.

The second verse seems to say that when the writer looks back at what we have accomplished, he thinks that it really doesn't amount to much ("All that we had salvaged from the fire Was a waste of time")

I also think the third verse refers to governmental policy. The writer doesn't buy what the news is selling him "Should I trust all the rust thats on tv?
I guess with some distaste I disagree." Instead he has his own opinion of our foreign policy ("quite a fashionable dispassion for the dispossessed under-stressed gimme gimme gimme gimme gimme"). The U.S. is apathetic towards the needs of other countries and simply wants to gain power by whatever means necessary. This is exemplified further through the next line ("Now that we fattened the cow And set out to plow unknown enemies")

I think the next line refers to witnessing the dominance of the US in wars on TV, such as the recent "Shock and Awe" of the war in Iraq (""Wow!" shouts the startled crowd "Now now did you see what i did see?"") and the writer is impressed with the destruction ("The ravaged cabbage drifts on dark red skies And it looks so nice Gee it looks so nice")

The writer wishes we built a great country through a strong foundation "Shout just let it on out Confusion becomes philosphy Down we're reaching the town where we dont have to stand around and look over our shoulders"

But in the end accepts that this country is what we have made it ("Hell i never knew was what we made it Lets just take it slow in this home on ice")

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Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – In This Home on Ice Lyrics 8 years ago
I have a slightly different take on this song. I'm not sure that this is about a relationship. I think it is more of a critique of our society.

As Levitateme mentioned, ice is thin and can easily crack, thus it is not a strong foundation to build a home on. Although we currently have a beautiful country, its foundation could be seen as shaky due to our controversial foreign policies. Hence "Home on Ice."

In the first verse, "You talk like a noose" could be interpreted as statements made now will eventually hang us in the future.

The second verse seems to say that when the writer looks back at what we have accomplished, he thinks that it really doesn't amount to much ("All that we had salvaged from the fire Was a waste of time")

I also think the third verse refers to governmental policy. The writer doesn't buy what the news is selling him "Should I trust all the rust thats on tv?
I guess with some distaste I disagree." Instead he has his own opinion of our foreign policy ("quite a fashionable dispassion for the dispossessed under-stressed gimme gimme gimme gimme gimme"). The U.S. is apathetic towards the needs of other countries and simply wants to gain power by whatever means necessary. This is exemplified further through the next line ("Now that we fattened the cow And set out to plow unknown enemies")

I think the next line refers to witnessing the dominance of the US in wars on TV, such as the recent "Shock and Awe" of the war in Iraq (""Wow!" shouts the startled crowd "Now now did you see what i did see?"") and the writer is impressed with the destruction ("The ravaged cabbage drifts on dark red skies And it looks so nice Gee it looks so nice")

The writer wishes we built a great country through a strong foundation "Shout just let it on out Confusion becomes philosphy Down we're reaching the town where we dont have to stand around and look over our shoulders"

But in the end accepts that this country is what we have made it ("Hell i never knew was what we made it Lets just take it slow in this home on ice")

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Wilco – Hummingbird Lyrics 9 years ago
Some other posts have touched on what I believe to be the meaning of this song. To me this song is about a man who lived his life and did not make a lasting impression on anyone or anything, as explained by his effect (or lack thereof) on a woman and on his career. The narrative switches from third to first person throughout the song. The third person observer almost mocks the main character throughout, saying that the man's efforts and goals were foolish, thus belittling his "goal in life" by amounting its ultimate achievement to be an "echo” or “The type of sound that floats around and then back down Like a feather”

With respect to the woman, it seems that he took a lot more out of a relationship than the woman did. He traveled around the world "riding alone, town after town, toll after toll" trying to escape the memory of their breakup "a fixed bayonet through the great Southwest to forget her." But alas, he could not "she appears in his dreams." His efforts to escape this girl and his attitude towards her escalated their relationship in his mind "But in his car and in his arms A dream can mean anything" but to her, the relationship meant little or nothing "A cheap sunset on a television set can upset her
But he never could"

The song then switches to the first person, perhaps even calling out from his grave "Remember to remember me Standing still in your past" as in, remember that their relationship was part of her life. Unfortunately, his presence did not have any effect on her, to the point she might not have even noticed him, as one might not notice a hummingbird's presence because of their silent flight "Floating fast like a hummingbird"

With respect to his career, he appears to have failed to make a lasting impression there as well "But in the deep chrome canyons of the loudest Manhattans No one could hear him.” I take chrome canyons and Manhattan to mean work in a skyscraper in NYC.

I take the lines "So he slept on a mountain In a sleeping bag underneath the stars He would lie awake and count them And the gray fountain spray of the great Milky Way Would never let him
Die alone" to be sarcastic. This man did die alone. The company of stars in the sky is not human companionship. He is now calling out, perhaps from beyond the grave, to be remembered, even if just as a stand-still in someone's memory.

A very sad and very beautiful song.

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Wilco – Outtasite (Outta Mind) Lyrics 9 years ago
Someone asked me if this was a remake. Does anyone know if it was?

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Wilco – Kamera Lyrics 9 years ago
I think this song is about how the writer is perceived by the outside world versus how he perceives himself. A camera can take pictures and provide you with a perspective of how you look at a certain point in time. It is truthful to an extent. The writer in this song has told many lies in his life, to others and more importantly to himself. He has developped a deluded sense of who he is and he needs to obtain an outside objective look at what he has become ("reminding which lies that I've been hiding [what is not true], which echoes belong [which is the true him]"). I believe he was provided this viewpoint by someone he knows and trusts ("I'm counting on a heart I know by heart to walk me through this") and is angered by what he hears or sees ("I smashed the camera") because it reflects just how different he is in reality versus how he perceives himself ("I'm lost on the sidewalk, and no its not okay").

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Wilco – Kamera Lyrics 9 years ago
I think this song is about how the writer is perceived by the outside world versus how he perceives himself. A camera can take pictures and provide you with a perspective of how you look at a certain point in time. It is truthful to an extent. The writer in this song has told many lies in his life, to others and more importantly to himself. He has developped a deluded sense of who he is and he needs to obtain an outside objective look at what he has become ("reminding which lies that I've been hiding [what is not true], which echoes belong [which is the true him]"). I believe he was provided this viewpoint by someone he knows and trusts ("I'm counting on a heart I know by heart to walk me through this") and is angered by what he hears or sees ("I smashed the camera") because it reflects just how different he is in reality versus how he perceives himself ("I'm lost on the sidewalk, and no its not okay").

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