Good sense, innocence, cripplin' mankind
Dead kings, many things I can't define
Occasions, persuasions clutter your mind
Incense and peppermints, the color of time

Who cares what games we choose?
Little to win but nothin' to lose

Incense and peppermints, meaningless nouns
Turn on, tune in, turn your eyes around

Look at yourself, look at yourself, yeah, yeah
Look at yourself, look at yourself, yeah, yeah, yeah!

To divide this cockeyed world in two
Throw your pride to one side, it's the least you can do
Beatniks and politics, nothing is new
A yardstick for lunatics, one point of view

Who cares what games we choose?
Little to win but nothin' to lose

------ instrumental break ------

Good sense, innocence, cripplin' mankind
Dead kings, many things I can't define
Occasions, persuasions clutter your mind
Incense and peppermints, the color of time

Who cares what games we choose?
Little to win but nothin' to lose

Incense and peppermints
Incense and peppermints

Sha la la
Sha la la
Sha la la
Sha la la
Sha la la [fade]


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Incense and Peppermints song meanings
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36 Comments

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  • +5
    General CommentAt the time this song came out, there were many events in political history that were playing out here in the United States during the 1960's. I was a child at that time, but I do remember seeing some of the events on television. I hope my interpretation isn't too lengthy, so I apologize in advance because this is one of my personal all time favorite songs and I just want to see it given the treatment it is deserved!

    During the time of the 60's, young people didn't watch the news, they LISTENED to it. Underneath all of the groovy music was the news of the day and the calls to the people to listen to what's going on. This was the clarion call to the Summer of Love in 1967.
    -----------
    Here's the breakdown:

    The reference to "Dead kings, many things I can't define" is a reference to JFK, the "Age of Camelot" that his young administration was bringing to the country and his untimely death. Also the assassinations of his brother, MLK and Malcolm X were the many thing he couldn't define.

    What was "Good sense, innocence, cripplin' mankind" was the events of the Vietnam War and how it was wasting the youth through the tortured battles.

    "Occasions, persuasions clutter your mind/Incense and peppermints, the color of time"
    Here is where the hippie movement took the reference that just drop out and don't give into the "machine"

    "Who cares what games we choose?/Little to win but nothin' to lose"
    Another reference to apathy and not conforming to what "straight" society wants from you.

    "Incense and peppermints, meaningless nouns/Turn on, tune in, turn your eyes around"
    A callback to Dr. Timothy Leary who advised the youth to "Tune in, turn on and drop out" meaning to not give in to the machine that was stealing young people with futures.

    "Look at yourself, look at yourself, yeah, yeah/Look at yourself, look at yourself, yeah, yeah, yeah!"
    A mantra to the listener to reflect what was said, and to see where they are at the moment.

    "To divide this cockeyed world in two/Throw your pride to one side, it's the least you can do"
    This one was the most telling of the drug ideology. That you divide the old sense of blindness and really SEE the world around you and what kind of future you can create for yourself.

    "Beatniks and politics, nothing is new/A yardstick for lunatics, one point of view"
    This was the inclusion to the movement of the Beats into this emerging power structure. The people were the power, because if enough of them stood up, they knew they could move the world.
    seetedwalkon January 12, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI don't know about anyone else, but I play this song non-stop when I cramming for finals Some the lyrics just seem to fit.

    "Dead kings, many things I can't define
    Occasions, persuasions clutter your mind"

    "Incense and peppermints, meaningless nouns"

    These lines pretty much sum up the state of my mind during cramming.

    "Turn on, tune in, turn your eyes around "

    A actually quote this line to get myself to focus.

    "A yardstick for lunatics, one point of view"

    That is exactly what a final is. ;)

    "To divide this cockeyed world in two
    Throw your pride to one side, it's the least you can do"

    "Little to win but nothin' to lose"

    To me this means that no matter how bad I think I'm going to do, I'd might as well take them.
    TheNightStalkeron January 17, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentTo me, this song is about how psychedelic drugs are good; and how staying away from them harms you. "Good sense, innocence, cripplin' mankind"-- they're saying that society's views on drugs are flawed and their parents "common sense" on the subject is crippling mankind. Basically, this song promotes drug use.
    SmokeyJon November 23, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIt's probably the most psychedelic song of all time...one of them at least.
    OpinionHeadon January 03, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti think this song is about choosing your own way (their way seems to be drugs)
    Look at yourself... throw your pride to one side, it's the least you can do... persuasions clutter your mind. don't fallow the norm or go with the flow of the days politics and veiws
    burningwateron March 01, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's about everyone getting along and not fighting about who's side or opinion is right. 'incense and peppermints, meaingless nouns' is an expression to drive home the point that arguing is pointless. other lines like 'take a look at yourself' 'beatniks and politics, nothing is new' 'one point of few' 'occassions persuasions clutter your mind' etc. seem to support this.
    Bluejay Fusionon December 19, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthen again, I could be totally wrong. which is the point of the song.

    who cares what games we choose
    with little to win and nothing to lose
    Bluejay Fusionon December 19, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThose who mention that the song is about drug use are absolutely right. One thing that gives it away is the phrase "Turn on, tune in," which is a reference to Timothy Leary's catchphrase "Turn on, tune in, drop out" referring to turning your mind on with psychedelics, tuning in to the effects and how they change you, and dropping out of mainstream society. There may be other meanings as well, but it definitely encrouages drug use.
    neo_hippieon July 11, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentPeople....Are you kidding? Incense and Peppermints! I'm not even from that generation and I know what it means. Incense and Peppermints are used to cover up the scent of marijuana from your room and breath. As for the rest of the lyrics...well they were probably high as hell when they wrote the song so who knows.
    BigNastyon March 18, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song was originally intended to be an instrumental, however some of the temp members wrote lyrics & their manager only put their names on it so the writer of this song got ripped off.

    anyway i think it wouldn't be what it is w/o its psychedelic lyrics.
    muffins4teaon August 25, 2007   Link

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