"Via Chicago" as written by and Jeffrey Scott Tweedy....
I dreamed about killing you again last night
And it felt alright to me
Dying on the banks of Embarcadero skies
I sat and watched you bleed
Buried you alive in a fireworks display
Raining down on me
You cold, hot blood ran away from me
To the sea

I painted my name on the back of a leaf
And I watched it float away
The hope I had in a notebook full of white, dry pages
Was all I tried to save
But the wind blew me back via Chicago
In the middle of the night
And all without fight
At the crush of veils and starlight

I know I'll make it back
One of these days and turn on your TV
To watch a man with a face like mine
Being chased down a busy street
When he gets caught, I won't get up
And I won't go to sleep
I'm coming home, I'm coming home
Via Chicago

Where the cups are cracked and hooked
Above the sink
They make me think
Crumbling ladder tears don't fall
They shine down your shoulders
And crawling is screw faster lash
I blow it with kisses
I rest my head on a pillowy star
And a cracked door moon
That says I haven't gone too far

I'm coming home
I'm coming home
Via Chicago

Searching for a home
Searching for a home
Searching for a home
Via Chicago

I'm coming home
I'm coming home

Lyrics submitted by papercutcasualty

"Via Chicago" as written by Jeffrey Scott Tweedy Jeff Tweedy

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Via Chicago song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentI was driving home my best friend, wearing a Wilco shirt actually...
    We had just spent the day together and I proclaimed my human feelings for him.

    He's moving to Chicago this Saturday. And this song came on the radio right before we pulled in to his driveway.

    I will forever appreciate Wilco for that.
    lyricallychallengedon June 17, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song is so good... i love wilco
    SoICanBeMyselfon August 24, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWilco certainly uses stars a lot. California Stars. Silvery Stars in Radio Cure. Right about Stars in Jesus, etc.

    Greyshoeson December 27, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI didn't think of it myself, but someone brought to my attention the correlation between this song and the book FAHRENHEIT 451. The fireworks display could = the nuclear war at the end, and the blank notebook, etc. The part that really convinced me of it is:

    One of these days and turn on your TV
    To watch a man with a face like mine
    Being chased down a busy street

    Theres a part in the book where the main character is being chased down a street and cameras are following him, and the whole chase is portrayed on tv.

    I don't know how the person I know thought of it, but it definitely all makes sense to me.
    drroeckson June 03, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me, this song is about his wishing he could just erase a past failed relationship. Like, if he could just kill her and bury her, it would be like it never happened. The whole song just screams "failure" to me--it is the fact that things that didn't work out that kills him, rather than missing that actual person.
    bigwilcofanon February 15, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is the song that I listen to when I just want to stare off at the sunset. There's just some beautiful, tingly imagery in here:
    "the crush of veils and starlight"
    "pillowy star/cracked door moon"
    "a notebook full of white dry pages"

    Tweedy's got such a knack for making words tactile.
    shes_a_jaron September 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSuch an optimistically hopeless song. "Crumbling ladder tears don't fall, they shine down your shoulder."
    Milkman82on October 10, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI disagree with the argument that asserts or claims that Via Chicago is hopelessly optimistic. When in fact, the entire album is at the opposite end of the charged spectrum.

    Our hero loves his significant other so much that even after their seperation, he cares so much that he could and would live through the death of this significant other. He doesn't even mind the significant other's blood raining over him. He doesn't mind watching his lover die: that says a lot about the amount of love he had for this significant other. And the other euphemisms spliced onto dark pop just makes this more interesting, and perhaps the centerpiece of Summer Teeth. "And a cracked door moon says I haven't gone too far" just goes on to explain that he won't be satisfied after burying him/her (most likely her) in a fireworks display. In fact, he's even apathetic to the falsely accussed.

    And as you listen to this song, you hear a guitar weeping and wailing through the saddest days of Summer Teeth.


    Via Chicago works in a similar way with Radiohead's Fake Plastic Trees. Both of these songs address something extremely depressing but tackle it with an anthemic response. In other words, the songs answer comes from the fact that these songwriters are sharing their experiences with others, learning and finding out about each other and realizing that they're not the only ones in this type of situation. And that all of them are still... "search for a home" no matter which city you prefer to reside.

    So perhaps, one could argue that Wilco plays Via Chicago in such a depressing tune in order to send an optimistic message.
    auguruson December 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the person above me has got it all wrong. He isn't saying that he'd be fine with his significant other literally dieing. The song is about him moving away from his significant other, and he misses her. The song is about him trying to forget her. When he says he killed her, it means he's trying to kill his feelings for her. All he wants from the relationship is a notebook full of white dry pages, just memories. He wants to leave his feelings behind. But in the night, his mind wanders back to her.
    thisheargiraffeon January 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"The hope I had in a notebook full of white,
    dry pages
    Was all I tried to save "

    Thisheargiraffe, you do realize that I'm not saying he will kill her, rather that if it happened, he'd be fine, after visualizing it in his dreams. And I do agree that he misses her. But he misses her so much, and he pains so much, that he can't stand not being able to persuade her to feel the same way. It hurts him so much, that he cares to erase her from the living. In another words, yes, forget her as you'd like to say. But Tweedy still implies the graphic intensity of murder, which you have obviously chosen to omit as just blantant insignificance to the song.

    Secondly, if he's killing his feelings for her, then why bother to kill her in the first place? By killing her, he's admitting that he does care that she lives and pains him, like a mosquito mark on your arm, constantly reminding you that you've been bitten.

    Third, if a notebook full of white dry pages include memories, where's the text? The notebook full of white dry pages really describes the fact that he wants to forget or erase the relationship. In another words, yes, leaving his feelings behind. And yes, his mind does wander back to her at night.

    Fourth, where is he moving? The chrous uses a transitive verb, 'searching for a home' in that clause, but he hasn't found one yet. Transitive verbs define actions that are still in motion. He's searching. He hasn't found a place to move to.

    Finally, the song following Via Chicago on Summerteeth is ELT. The first lines of ELT includes, "oh what have I been missing, wishing, wishing you were dead." He's had the intent all along in Via Chicago, boldly reinforced by ELT. Thus, yes, he really was, WAS going to be fine with her dying. He has the intent and knowledge of the consequences.

    And no one has it wrong: it's an opinion. You're entitled to your opinion and I respect it, as should you, but I won't boldly call you wrong since Mr. Tweedy has yet to say much about the song.
    auguruson January 09, 2005   Link

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