"Opus 40" as written by Jonathan Donahue, Sean Mackowiak, Adam Snyder and David Fridman....
Well she tossed all night like a raging sea
Woke up and climbed from the suicide machine
With her Spanish candles and her Persian poems
Stuck on the rocks inside opus 40 stoned
And scratching her wrists in the pouring rain
She collapses down upon the ocean floor again

Tears in waves minds on fire
Nights alone by your side

Catskill mansions buried screams I'm alive
She cried but I don't know what it means
Somewhere out there across the moonlit sands
There's a line drawn like the lines on her own hand
And slamming her eyes locking the door
She collapses down upon the ocean floor again

Tears in waves minds on fire
Nights alone by your side

Tears in waves minds on fire
Nights alone by your side


Lyrics submitted by Purplestardust

"Opus 40" as written by David Fridman Adam Snyder

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Opus 40 song meanings
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12 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentJust thought id explain Opus 40 for anyone who doesnt know- in 1939 a man named Harvey Fite began to make sculptures in a 6 acre quarry in Saugerties, New York. Although originally intended to stand alone as separate works of art he soon realised their beauty as one whole piece and began thinking of his sculptures as one. Sadly he died in 1976, in a tragic accident on site, and so Opus 40 was never completed. Great song by the way...
    hyper_skittleson July 01, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOkay, I'm probably way off here, but I always saw this song as being about a girl who tries to kill herself, again and again, but never dies, perhaps because she has yet to fulfill her purpose?

    Lines like 'woke up and climbed from the suicide machine', 'scratching her wrists', and 'collapses down...' all imply suicide. She is desperate to end it, but she can't.

    '"I'm alive!" she cried, "But I don't know what it means."'

    All her attempts are futile, and she is wondering why.
    plank201on May 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwoke up and climbed...not inclined..makes a little bit more sence eh?
    samwoodall185on October 16, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyeah definetly "woke up and climbed." it makes more sense and it's that way in the lyrics that came with the cd. also, "persian poems" not bones. and i think it's "opus 40 stone," not stoned.
    this is probably my favorite song on this cd. i love the way the notes descend down the scale then explode in crescendos in the chorus remeniscant of the beatle's "golden slumbers."
    the lyrics are some of jonathan donahue's best. the imagery is great. it describes a girl frustrated with life, restless and almost suicidal ("woke up and climbed from the suicide machine" and "scratching her wrists...").
    I love the surreal turns just before the chorus, "she collapses down upon the ocean floor."
    opus 40 is a stone structure around the kingston new york area where the band is based ("catskill mountains"). the artist's name escapes me though.
    my favorite line in the song is "i'm alive she cried, but i don't know what it means." we know what physically being alive is, but why? it reminds me of the line in the neutral milk hotel song, in the aeroplane over the sea, "how strange it is to be anything at all."
    anyway i love this song and this record. it is at times dark and at times bright but always beautiful, eminating from some cavern deep in the catskill mountains and meandering through its trees into my ears.
    mozzeron May 10, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is a very existential song.
    charrbinon September 24, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentpeople throw out the term existential today as if it were 'like'.
    comaspeedon December 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyes. throw away all your words, cowgirls :)
    sillybillyon December 15, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah thats a good point about the suicide, also the "collapses down, upon the ocean floor" as in drowning herself? Didnt see the song that way, thought the song had quite an upbeat feeling but obviously is quite a dark song
    iloveSFAon November 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti can directly relate to this, having tried to kill myself twice.

    this song is very powerful.
    theAliceon March 09, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always figured it was about some wealthy but lonely person who tried to kill herself at Opus 40 and spent the night in the sea but somehow she survived it. She sees that there must be kind of divine reason why she survived but figures she's only go to eventually anyway so just throws herself in again.
    Twinnieon September 20, 2007   Link

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