"Mr. Mastodon Farm" as written by Greg Brown and John Mccrea....





Birds fall from the window ledge above mine.

Then they flap their wings at the last second.

You see birds fall from the window ledge above mine.

Then they flap their wings at the last second.

I can see their dead weight

Just dropping like stones

For small loaves of bread

Past my window all the time.

But unless I get up

Walk across the room

And peer down below

I don't see their last second curves

Toward a horizontal flight.

All these birds just falling from the ledge like stones.

Now due to a construct in my mind

That makes their falling and their flight

Symbolic of my entire existence,

It becomes important for me

To get up and see

Their last second curves toward flight.

It's almost as if my life will fall

Unless I see their ascent.

Mr. Mastodon Farm,

Mr. Mastodon Farm,

Cuts swatches out of all material.

Mr. Mastodon Farm,

Mr. Mastodon Farm,

Cuts swatches out of all material.

Birds fall from the window ledge above mine.

Then they flap their wings at the last second.

I said birds fall from the window ledge above mine.

Then they flap their wings at the last second.

But unless I get up,

Walk across the room

And peer down below,

I won't see their last second curves

Toward a, a horizontal flight.

All these birds just falling from the ledge like stones.

Now due to a construct in my mind

That makes their falling and their flight

Symbolic of my entire existence,

It becomes important for me

To get up and see

Their last second curves toward flight.

It's almost like my life will fall,

My life will fall,

Unless I see their ascent.

Mr. Mastodon Farm,

Mr. Mastodon Farm,

Cuts swatches out of all material.

Mr. Mastodon Farm,

Mr. Mastodon farm,

Cuts swatches out of all material.

Mr. Mastodon Farm,

Mr. Mastodon farm,

Cuts swatches out of all material.





Lyrics submitted by Ice

"Mr. Mastodon Farm" as written by Greg Brown, John Mccrea

Lyrics © Cake - Stamen Music

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Mr. Mastodon Farm song meanings
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20 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentThe best idea I saw of this song is on another site:

    Mark Daley said...
    Who the hell is this Mr. Mastodon Farm character? And what the hell is he doing with all those swatches? Here is one theory:
    'Mr. Mastodon Farm' is NOT a parallel between McCrea's life and those 'birds that fall like stones.' Rather, McCrea is actually describing (in Cake's typically sarcastic way) the person who reads too much into everything in life. This is indicated by the narrator's need to 'get up and see' the birds everytime they drop, since they are a symbol of his 'entire existence.' He is compelled to make sure they make their 'last second curves toward flight,' because he has read so much into their descent. The refrain/chorus places this revelation beyond a doubt: 'Mr. Mastodon Farm ... cuts swatches out of all materials.' Mr. Mastodon Farm is literally taking slices of material from life and 'growing' huge mastodons out of them. The struggle the narrator faces is with himself, and McCrea pokes fun not-so-subtly at the bondage.

    Source: 2nd comment, leesepea.blogspot.com/2006/05/…
    Pandoruson March 10, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOkay, since you insisited:

    This song just describes how this dude lives in an apartment, where he can watch the birds "fall from the window ledge" through his window. Because he is on a high floor, he does not see the birds actually fly, unless he goes up to the window and looks down.
    Thus, it appears, from his point of view, that the birds are commiting suicide, and just falling to their deaths.

    The speaker in the song views the birds as a metaphor for his own life... or something. It might also be that the tradition of watching the birds has become so entrenched in his daily routine, he is afraid that if he doesn't continue to do it, his life could fall out of order.
    J.J.on October 13, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMy friend and I were talking about this song one day and thought that it could posibly be about old rock stars and addict rehab centers. Mr. being a more formal presentation that is given to the famous, Mastadon being a type of dinosaur, which is what you might call an old person, and farm being a place where a group of them resort to. Cuts swatches from all material could mean that they take people from all places. When it is refered as the ledge above mine, may be how our society percieves rockers as above normal people and we are then compelled to watch their progress after that to make sure that theywill flap their wings at the last second.
    bighairycoconutson November 04, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe way I interpret it:

    The singer sees birds falling from the ledge, past his window. He only sees if the birds fly or die if he gets up and goes to the window.

    He sees their flight as a metaphor for his life and so he feels he has to see their flight to reassure himself that they (and metaphorically himself) rise from their fall to a new greatness.


    For the chorus it gets a little fuzzy but this is what I got:

    WTF would you do with a Mastodon farm? Exactly. You have no idea, but this guy, Mr. mastodon farm, figured he'd make some swatches out of 'em. He made what he could out of what seemed like a bad situation and in the end came out on top with something better than he had before.

    Yes that requires some imagination but what Cake song doesn't? Besides, it fits, and I like it.
    DidYouEnjoyTheCake?on June 12, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA song about a guy who reads way too much into life, and is entirely dependent on this "construct in his mind" to show him that things will turn out okay for him in the end. He is searching for optimism that may or may not exist, but he's basing his belief in this bright and shiny world on nonsense. There is no way that the singer is referring to himself or any other band member.... You can tell that by the way he disseminates "Mr. Mastadon Farm"'s method of thought. The singer/writer clearly holds a great distaste for Mr. Mastadon Farm, based on the fact that he is dependent on external stimuli to push him on rather than turning inward and getting some self-respect.

    Some people caught on to "mastadon" but missed the farm part... He is manufacturing these things, he "cuts swatches" from every thing that he sees, then stretches the fabric out to represent something it does not truly represent. I can occasionally be a bit of a Mr. Mastadon Farm myself, but never so dependent as he. I think when you listen to a Cake song it's important to note that they never seem to say anything "randomly", there are no "filler" lines, just music. Which I LIKE! IDK too much about them, just really getting into them, but I kindof have a feeling the singer is an existentialist... just an inkling. I'm Christian but I like his spirit.
    Gamberroon December 28, 2010   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningWow. A thread that goes back some nine years. And I replying to it... oh, well. So, my take on the song is very different...

    I think Cake it taking a swipe at people who call themselves songwriters, but can't come up with something original and resort to "sampling" older songs. Sampling is a word and "artists" use when they don't want to be called plagiarizers. Back when this song was written, sampling was becoming quite a fad, especially in pop and rap.

    Mr. Mastodon Farm is the plagiarizer... I mean "song writer" who finds an "old" song that he (or she) "samples" and makes part of the "new" song. So, Mr. Mastodon Farm is "cutting swatches" out of all (of the old) material that's out there.

    So what does this have to do with birds falling by my window? Well, using the "industry's" term, when a new song or album is released, it "drops". So here we have, figuratively, the writer of the original song, watching a new song drop, like stones, or small loaves of bread. And it annoys the heck out of him that some mindless-drivel-pop-music-songwriter has sampled his (or someone else's) song hoping to make money off of it - hence his contempt for Mr. Mastodon Farm. But, being a songwriter, he has to know if the song makes it, or takes flight. So he is compelled to keep an eye on it - to see if it makes that curve to a "horizontal flight". And, knowing that the song is actually his creation, he will feel like a failure unless this song also makes it, thereby, vindicating him and his writing.
    ChiefWaldoon March 03, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHow can no one comment about the BEST CAKE SONG EVER?

    bah.
    mastodonon September 07, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm gonna say that the song is about this...

    So from where you are it looks like the birds are just plumetting to their deaths--like your life is totally crashing and burning...your just falling straight down like a stone. But if you would just change your perspective on the situation by getting up and walking across the room, you'd see that the birds always manage to flap their wings just before hitting bottom, and they make it back to stable flight--in other words, that just as it looks like you're gonna hit bottom and that there's no escape, you get back on track and get your shit together...then you can return to your stable flight through life.

    Once you change your perspective--get up and walk across the room--you'll see that everything's gonna be OK in the end.

    And as for the chorus...haha, yeah...acid?
    yocko42on October 17, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe main lyric is straightforward. It's the chorus that leaves you scratching your head. The Mastodon is a now extinct relative of the elephant; hmm how does that relate to a skyrise apartment & cutting swatches from material? I'm not sure even John has an answer for that one.
    JustJulieon October 28, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's still one of my favorite songs on that album; in spite of the cunfusing chorus.
    JustJulieon October 28, 2004   Link

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