Walter Westinghouse went to town
He found a friend today
His friend was peeling ceiling wax as
He heard Walter say:

"Love me tender, love me sweet
Love me like I love my feet
Sit me down with Ezra Pound
But don't forget to eat.

Or cause a country boy to cook
A carrot or a cake
But don't forget the feelings
Of a friend are hard to fake."

He lives a life of April leaves
Respondent to the thought that

"Often things you caught or bought
Were not the ones you sought."

Now his December is a sender
Singing songs he knows
But all the words are:
"Cheese" and
"Please" and
"Boy, I hope it snows."

He buys the bacon, and the achin'
In his heart is due
To overcoats and Quaker Oats
And if his wife should sue.

Wanda Wanda where you went and
Tell me what'd you take?
I took the tongue of Philip Jung
And left it in the lake.
But, my dear, I think I fear
That you had lost your way.
Cause scrambled eggs,
Cause scrambled eggs,
Were all he'd let me bake.
He said, "Your trust is like a crust
Too brittle and too thin."
I said you're full of nigger nuts
And look like Rin Tin Tin.
Is common ground not ever found
But flees from dad to son?
Or is it just believing that the
Evening steals the sun.
I said your snoot is full of poot
And should be in a shoe
And then I said your stupid bed
Is better off than... you...

Oh, come home, Dear!
Eat Exuding Oinks Upon
And Bleed Decrepit Broken Bones
At Caustic Spells of Hell.
Huh, What's that, Dear? Huh?
Eat Exuding Oinks Upon
And Bleed Decrepit Broken Bones
At Caustic Spells of Hell! Eat Exuding Oinks Upon?
And Bleed Decrepit Broken Bones?
At Caustic Spells of Hell?
Yes, Eat Exuding Oinks Upon
And Bleed Decrepit Broken Bones
At Caustic Spells of Hell!

EatexudingoinksuponandbleeddecrepitbrokenbonesatcausticspellsofHELL!
EatexudingoinksuponandbleeddecrepitbrokenbonesatcausticspellsofHELL!
EatexudingoinksuponandbleeddecrepitbrokenbonesatcausticspellsofHELL!
EatexudingoinksuponandbleeddecrepitbrokenbonesatcausticspellsofHELL!
EatexudingoinksuponandbleeddecrepitbrokenbonesatcausticspellsofHELL!
EatexudingoinksuponandbleeddecrepitbrokenbonesatcausticspellsofHELL!
EatexudingoinksuponandbleeddecrepitbrokenbonesatcausticspellsofHELL!
EatexudingoinksuponandbleeddecrepitbrokenbonesatcausticspellsofHELL!
EatexudingoinksuponandbleeddecrepitbrokenbonesatcausticspellsofHELL!
He sees the threads of worn out treads
And calls his color true
And calls his color true
And calls his color true
And calls his color true
And calls his color true
And calls his color true
And calls his color true
And calls his color true
And calls his color true
And calls his color true
And calls his color true...


Lyrics submitted by JofaGuht

Walter Westinghouse song meanings
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  • +1
    My InterpretationThese are some pretty impenetrable lyrics, but here's my take.

    The whispering voices that open the song sound like gossiping neighbors discussing some sort of local scandal. The music has a bouncy, folk-like character that suggests a happy-go-lucky "country boy" -- Walter Westinghouse of the title. I read this song as a sort of dramatic study of rural social life and the treatment of homosexuality and marriage in Southern culture; specifically, it's about a man's excellent gay relationship contrasted with his terrible married life, and the paranoid whispering of the neighbors spreading rumors about this double life, which Walter himself doesn't mind or doesn't notice. Maybe I'm wrong, but given the fact that at least one Residents is gay and they all grew up in the South (Louisiana and one from Texas) it seems plausible. Perhaps I'm wrong, but here's my take:

    Walter visits town ("went to town" literally) and "finds a friend" -- ie, has sex with another man ("went to town" figuratively). The phrase "peeling ceiling wax" sounds like a euphemism for something. "Love me tender love me sweet" is an Elvis reference and is Walter romancing his male lover. "Love me like I love my feet" seems to add a foot fetish flavor to the interaction.

    "sit me down with Ezra pound" = an intellectual connection between the two men; a sharing of common ground and experience
    "but don't forget to eat" = but don't neglect sex/physicality
    "country boy" = Walter Westinghouse himself
    "cook a carrot" = get an erection
    "or a cake" = probably another sexual euphemism
    "the feelings of a friend are hard to fake" = true sexual pleasure and true rapport/friendship are not to be falsified; their relationship is consummate, honest, open, and true

    Walter, in the "April leaves" quatrian, is shown to be a generally carefree person; he knows that one's own limited intentions generally have no bearing on what was actually does in life. He accepts this and lives life unfettered by the constraits of conservative Southern culture. The next quatrain ("now his December...") adds to the characterization of Walter as someone in tune with nature. He lives in the present and enjoys life and neglects adult responsibilities.

    "he buys the bacon" = he is the head of the family; the breadwinner

    The "achin" in his heart comes from his broken and dissatisfying relationship with his shrewish wife Wanda. "Overcoats" and "Quaker Oats" sound like daily drudgeries that constrain him. He wants to be free from the 9-5 life. His wife is engaged with the obnoxious, backward society that Walter ignores; her interactions with another man lead her to ranting and cursing when she was most likely the one at fault in the first place.

    "I took the tongue of Philip Jung and left it in the lake" = Wanda is a vengeful and vindictive woman; she never lets anyone speak (metaphorically cutting out their tongues)
    "I fear that you had lost your way" = Walter thinks she is needlessly confrontational; he thinks she ought to evaluate her own character rather than relentlessly blaming and hurting others

    Wanda doesn't even hear Walter; she just keeps going on about how Philip wouldn't allow her to do something. We see that Philip doesn't trust Wanda ("your trust is like a crust, too brittle and too thin") so he didn't allow her to "bake" anything but "scrambled eggs" (I don't know what this means, but it seems to be a euphemism, sexual or not. Regardless, it is clear that Philip denies Wanda permission to do something because of her terrible attitude/demeanor/character -- she's unreliable and horrid). Wanda doesn't realize that she is the one to blame because she is incapable of seeing things in any way other than her own. Instead of paying attention at all to what Philip says, she immediately lashes out at him with an abrasive and needless insult ("you're full of nigger nuts and look like Rin-Tin-Tin"), making the situation worse.

    Walter laments in a Shakespearian aside to the audience: "Is common ground not ever found but flees from dad to son?" He wonders if true communication is possible and if we can ever see past our limited perceptions to the truth of our unity and commonality as living beings. "Flees from dad to son" references the way that successive generations continue to be torn apart by a gap in communication ability, ie, the generation gap as a metaphor for lack of communication. Wanda represents this ignorance and narcissism.

    Wanda doesn't notice Walter's insightful aside and just keeps ranting, boring Walter with further details about how she screamed insults at Philip. Finally, Walter has enough; he interrupts her to drive a point home because he's had enough: "Eat exuding oinks upon and bleed decrepit broken bones at caustic spells of hell." I have no idea what this means, but its delivery and context seme to suggest a sinister significance. Walter finally lashes out at his wife, it seems, laying bare his feelings perhaps. Possibly they fight. Possibly he reveals his homosexual affairs. Possibly violence occurs in the form of blows, making Walter an ambiguous character (insightful in some ways, happy-go-lucky, but ultimately violent and misguided if we are to interpret this phrase as implying domestic abuse against his wife, pummeling her to shut her up about her whining and nagging). They both chant together, though, so perhaps "common ground" is found after all, but the common ground turns out to be hatred and violence. It seems likely that The Residents would conclude that humanity in general has the capacity to be flawed, ambiguous, arbitrary, violent, and ignorant, but also insightful and free.

    The ending lyric completes Wanda's interrupted couplet from earlier ("shoe... true") and summarizes Walter's character: he realizes when something is ended "he sees the treads of worn out threads") and moves on. He doesn't let things stick around and bother him. If we assume that he beat up his wife, we could assume that he doesn't really accept responsbility for his violence; he shrugs it off and carries on in his ignorant life smiling. If it was NOT violence that Walter committed, but rather some sort of insight conveyed to his wife (non-violent conncetion), then we have a more positive skew. Walter just does what he does: the concept-free "mindfulness" of non-duality.

    "And calls his color true" = Walter, faults and all, is at very least honest and a real human being. He isn't trapped by the restrictions and judgments of the whispering society that scrutinizes him from the shadows.

    Personally I prefer to think that Walter is not a violent man, but who knows. The text is much too ambiguous to generate a conclusion, and since this is The Residents we're talking about, I'm sure that's exactly as they intended. Who knows? I could be way off. But the emotional arc and the "characterization" through allusive wordplay definitely paint a picture; like seeing the frame or outline of a story that can be filled in with whatever your mind associates. Excellent text; the music is a bit weak, but it works and is refreshingly original in its own way.
    msmoxwilliamson March 03, 2014   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThe Residents' earlier lyrics were unabashedly nonsensical and dada-istic. They have said as much in interviews. Inspired by N Senada, they often wrote lyrics for their phonetic aesthetic, intentionally meaningless.
    stephen112on May 08, 2014   Link

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