There's no beginning to the story
A bookshelf sinks into the sand
And a language learned and forgot in turn
Is studied once again
It's a shocking bit of footage
Viewed from a shitty TV screen
You can squint at it
Just snow and static
To make out the meaning
And keep on stretching the antenna
Hoping that it will come clear
We need some reception
A higher message
Just tell us what to fear
Because I don't know what tomorrow brings
It's alive with such possibilities
All I know is I feel better when I sing
Burdens are lifted from me
That's my voice rising

So Michael please keep the tape rolling
Boys keep strumming those guitars
We need a record of our failures
Yes, we must document our love
I have sat too long in my silence
I have grown too old in my pain
To shed this skin
Be born again
Oh, it starts with an ending
So thank you friends for the time we shared
My love stays with you like sunlight and air
No, I truly wish I could keep hanging around here
My joy is covering me
Soon I will disappear

It's not a movie
No private screening
This method acting
Well, I call it living
It's like a fountain
A door has opened
We have a problem
With no solution but to love
And to be loved

So I've made peace with the fallen leaves
I see their same fate in my own body
But I won't be frightened when I'm awoken from this dream
And return to that which gave birth to me

Gave birth to me, gave birth to me, gave birth to me
And the story goes, and the story goes
And it goes on and on and on and on
It's going on and on and on and on
It's going on and on and on and on
It's going on and on and on and on
It's going on and on and on and on
It's going on and on and on and on
It's going on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on


Lyrics submitted by PLANES

Method Acting song meanings
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50 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentListen to Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch do this Song. It has a completely different feel. I think the lyric meanings come out more sublimely in their voice inflections.
    daytrotter.com/dt/dave-rawlings-machine-concert/…
    npr.org/templates/story/…

    rahulioon February 06, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with some of what colston03 said. This is possibly my favourite bright eyes song. I didn't know Bright Eyes very well and a few years ago a friend couldn't go to an REM concert where they were supporting so I grabbed them for 20 bucks. They blew me away and were way better than REM.

    I want this song played at my funeral because it sums up quite a lot about my personal philosophies on behaviour, love, spirituality and death.

    For me it means:
    There's no beginning to the story
    A bookshelf sinks into the sand
    And a language learned and forgot in turn
    Is studied once again

    ---For me this is a bit of history, unfortunately the Spanish Inquisition burned most of the mystic and spiritual books of the ancients so any knowledge that we might have had about how to connect with a higher being in the heavens or at least within ourselves is now gone, therefore we have to start from the start and figure it all out again.

    t's a shocking bit of footage
    Viewed from a shitty TV screen
    You can squint at it
    Just snow and static
    To make out the meaning

    ---This might be a reference to how universal truths are difficult to figure out when every religion and spiritual guru is telling you what you need to do to ascend, and every tellevision set is telling you what you need to buy to be happy.

    And keep on stretching the antenna
    Hoping that it will come clear
    We need some reception
    A higher message
    Just tell us what to fear

    ---This is about stretching the boundries of that searching, looking for truth in the urban underground, maybe while fucked up at a rave party on acid, maybe at your local yoga class but basically it's about searching for something else because you're terrified of what you have, just a measley little mortal life.

    Because I don't know what tomorrow brings
    It's alive with such possibilities
    All I know is I feel better when I sing
    Burdens are lifted from me
    That's my voice rising

    ---This is about that little thing that many of us have that brings us piece. For Connor it's singing, for me juggling, maybe for someone else dancing or acting. I'm helping with a coporate stress management course at the moment and my job is to talk about the importance of a hobby away from your busy life to give you time to "switch off" or more likely to "switch on" to your natural state of being which isn't to be constantly stressed out about interest rates.

    So Michael please keep the tape rolling
    Boys keep strumming those guitars
    We need a record of our failures
    Yes we must document our love

    ---I think this bit is probably about the need to share is much as we can about how to be happy in a world that's so edgy. Passing on examples of when we've fucked up and how we got past it and sharing the beauty of those times when somethings touched our heart.

    I have sat too long in my silence
    I have grown too old in my pain
    To shed this skin
    Be born again
    Oh, it starts with an ending

    ---This part is about acting on everything that I just wrote about. To get on with it and live a happy life you usually have to shake loose some baggage. It reminds me of when I stopped smoking bongs when I was young and stopped hanging out with half of my friends and finished school so I could go to uni.

    Oh, it starts with an ending
    So thank you friends for the time we shared
    My love stays with you like sunlight and air
    No, I truly wish I could keep hanging around here
    My joy is covering me
    Soon I will disappear

    ---This bit is basically saying to those people that you may have to leave behind whenever you head off to pursue your dreams, "thankyou for being a great friend but I need to move on now, my loves with you but I need to be some place else."

    It's not a movie
    No private screening
    This method acting
    Well, I call it living
    It's like a fountain
    A door has opened
    We have a problem
    With no solution but to love
    And to be loved

    ---I think this bit kindof broadens the concept, in the sense that he's pointing out these concepts are universal, "we" have a problem and there isn't a solution except to learn how to love and be loved.

    So I've made peace with the fallen leaves
    I see their same fate in my own body
    But I won't be frightened when I'm awoken from this dream
    And return to that which gave birth to me

    ---This is one of my favourite bits, for me it was the clincher in this being one of my favourite songs. Obviously it's about comming to terms with your own mortality, eg. Seeing the same fate in a decaying leaf as your own organic body. But for me the extra beauty of it is the last line, it's absolute genius. It is universally applicable, no matter what you believe about death. If you believe in a god, in almost every religion in the world you have to face that god when you do, He watched over your entry into the world and He will see you at the exit door. If you're an athiest, you believe that people come from a fusion of two gametes consisting of atoms that will go on to become part of the global cycle of matter again after your concsiousness ceases.

    However the last bit takes that one step further. That "story" that had no beginning is us. Our story as a sentient species trying to find our place in the world, the mystics of ancient time, the renaissance men, the pope, charles darwin, and you.... and me. And the story will still be going on long after we're gone.

    "When you are dead, seek for your resting place not in the earth, but in the hearts of men."
    -Rumi

    The answer is the same no matter what you think about death, learn to love and be loved.
    Poetic_Justiceon February 12, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAm I the only one who thinks the title of this song comes from King's Crossing by Elliott Smith?
    "The method acting
    That pays my bills
    Keeps a fat man feeding
    In Beverly Hills.
    I got a heavy metal mouth
    That yells obscenities,
    And get my check
    From a trash treasury
    Because I took my own insides out."
    The part after "In Beverly Hills." has nothing to do with my comment, but they're good lyrics :)
    El_Loboon December 07, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is a song about mortality, inadequacy and the passage of time. Quite a big umbrella..

    The "Method Acting" of the title is about how you will forever try to be someone you're not.

    I like the "soon I will disappear" and "returned to that which gave birth to me". They are definately about mortality.
    NurseDischordon January 23, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti can not believe noone said anything about this song yet. it's brilliant and beautiful. the lyrics really hit home.
    stickingtosheetson July 25, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWow, how could only one person talk about this song? It is a wonderful song, i really like the second verse were he goes "We need a record of our failures
    Yes we must document our love" it's such a great song!
    neatocatinoon August 20, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYes, I feel this song is amazing. Connor Oberst is quite simply a genius.
    PeopleAreIdiotson September 01, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti adore this song off the new album.....

    just something about it, makes it stand out to me out of the whole album..

    xxx
    rahtwinkleon September 08, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit might be the tempo,but regardless, it's a great song.

    i especially like the lines: "This method acting,Well I call it living" and "We need a record of our failures, Yes we must document our love"; it's precisely how i feel- illusion, and the triviality of love. i get attached to any song that evaluates ideas exactly how i do.
    dashing_terroron September 16, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song became my new Conor favorite just today (it changes daily)
    an ocean of doubton March 08, 2003   Link

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