"I Came as a Rat (Long Walk Off a Short Dock)" as written by and Brock/judy/green....
Well I ain't sure but I've been told
He's baking cakes inside our souls
Stayed awake, took a nap
Got myself my bottles back
I'm breaking down out on the street
Walkin' round my own bare feet
I do not need you to tell me
That I'm not a cat

I caught a rat, we caught some air
He's never gonna cut his hair
He takes more time to make a fake
We now swam down in the lake

And wash the dirt off our intentions
Paddle on with our bad inventions
I came as ice, I came as a whore
I came as advice that came too sure
I came as gold, I came as crap

I came too clean, and I came as a rat
It takes a long time, but God dies too
But not before he'll stick it to you
I don't know but I've been told
You'll never die and you never grow old

I came as a call, I came as flat
I came too soon so I came back
I came as flowers, I came as nice
I came as dirt, and I came as a surprise

It takes a long time, but God dies too
But not before he'll stick it to you
I don't know but I've been told
You'll never die and you never grow old


Lyrics submitted by PLANES, edited by sheionizes

"I Came As a Rat" as written by Isaac Brock Eric Judy

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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I Came as a Rat (Long Walk Off a Short Dock) song meanings
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111 Comments

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  • +13
    General CommentIsaac explains it best in the song Here It Comes with the lyric "Make a point to make no sense"
    A lot of Modest Mouse songs follow the same format. Each line makes perfect sense unto itself. Like an individual thought. Weaving these scattered thoughts into a song is sheer genius. Thats how you get hooked. All the songs have good tunes. The way isaac breaks his words up it's hard understand what he is really saying. So you listen to a song a hundred times to try to figure it out. Once you figure out the words you try to figure out what they mean. So you start singing them to yourself at home, at school, work, even in the shower. By then it's to late you are addicted. People see you walking aroud with a confused look of concentration on you face, mumbling incoherantly to youself. All on the sudden you are the crazy guy. You try to explain and make even less sense. "Freeze your blood and stab it into me" sounds kinda crazy out of context. Nevermind maybe thats just me.
    Zeplinnon May 05, 2004   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI just wanted to tell..trailertrash that he is half right in that interview isaac said he writes songs for meaning but he doenst tell people what htey mean so that they can think whatever they want. but really the songs do have meaning. dont take it as a dis or insult or anythign i just wanted to get the point across thanks.
    McaringIscreepyM4on June 09, 2003   Link
  • +4
    General CommentIf anyone is familiar with the song "Crippled Inside" by john lennon I'd like there opinion on a possible reference made to that song in "I Came as a Rat".

    In Cripple Inside Lennon says:
    "You know that a cat has nine lives
    But you've only got one
    And a dog's life ain't fun.
    So momma take a look outside"

    the possible reference Isaac makes is:
    "I do not need you to tell me that I'm not a cat"

    I know It would be a pretty obscure reference if that is in fact what is is.
    Its apparant what The correlation would be between the line. But on top of that I believe the way isaac delivers the line makes it feel very much like a sarcastic retort to the very obvious but poignant statment lennon makes.

    Just an interesting idea I wanted to throw out there.
    And for anyone who isnt familar with the lennon song, treat yourself and look it up.
    ImagiKnighton January 11, 2014   Link
  • +3
    General CommentIt seems to be that, on a whole, most Modest Mouse songs are just like a presentation of facts, or universal truths, or events that everyone experiences and the emotional connotations are free for everyone to interpret. Like, Isaac's just giving us the picture and telling us that it means whatever he wants it to mean.
    I Am Not Amusedon April 01, 2003   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI used to think that m.m.'s lyrics made no sence but it's all so clear to me now.
    Bunnyon June 07, 2003   Link
  • +3
    General CommentFor many people this song is about reincarnation. According to my experience with MM, however, many of Issac Brock's songs are about life, death, and what lays beyond. He also seems to have a very existentialist view of the world and of life (though paradoxically agnostic), so I would doubt that he would believe in reincarnation. What he is describing is how how he actually came into the world. To call them contradictions (such as "I came as gold, I came as crap") would be wrong. Instead, he is showing the possible states that every human being can take on while also exploring the duality of man.

    Next, Modest Mouse is a band of lite motifs (techniques that show up again and again, such as the bending of guitar notes). One of them is the line "I don't know, but I've been told, you'll never die if you never grow old." In order to understand the line, you have to move away from the idea that dying and growing old are physical concepts. Instead, think of growing old as ceasing to live life to the fullest and giving up on trying to be remembered. Think of not dying as "being gone but living on." Now when we look at the line it makes sense with the rest of the song. You come into the world with endless possibilities for both utter success and utter failure, but always in shades of gray. And you have to accept that even if God himself is going to die someday, you're going to die first. But if you want live on in memories and books and stories, you have to keep living until the day you die. You'll never die if you never grow old.
    TheNEWSandBOHEMIAon August 21, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI love the Uh-Oh... lol it's so catchy... "Uh-oh uh-oh uh uh uh uh-oh uh-ohohohohoh
    Dragon1629on November 10, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentOk....I skimmed through all the comments and I can't believe no one has mentioned this. I think the rat is referring to the rat race.
    Indie_Queenon September 19, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThese are couplets. So each two lines only make sense together, but still keep to the theme. I haven’t got a clue so far what it’s about. I’ll try and break it down. Let me attempt this.

    “Well, I ain't sure, but I been told
    He's baking cakes inside our souls”

    Rumour.
    Warm souls. Pleasant people/person.


    “Stayed awake, took a nap
    Got myself my bottles back”

    Tired. Then recharged, fresh.
    Got his sanity back. Got his mind back together. His thoughts are collected.

    “I'm breaking them out on the street
    Walking around in my bare feet”

    He’s going to back to his old state. He’s doing it on purpose.
    Walking around as himself, and nothing more. In his bare feet, it just him and the earth he walks on.

    “I do not need you to tell me that I am not a cat”
    You don’t need to tell him that he’s something he’s not. You don’t need to tell him who he is.

    “I caught a ride, we caught some air
    He's never going to cut his hair”

    “I” caught a ride, “we” caught some air. He caught a ride to meet with someone. To refresh.
    He’s never going to cut his hair because he is comfortable with who he is and doesn’t need people to tell him what/who to be.

    “It takes more time to make a fake
    We night-swam down in the lake
    Washed the dirt off our intentions
    Prattle on about bad inventions”

    It takes more effort to be someone you’re not.
    Night, dark, no one can see you. There’s no need to be someone you’re not.
    Cleaning your bad intentions to something good. You don’t mean to be someone you’re not.
    Prattle about common topics that normal people talk about. Back to normal.

    “I came as ice, I came as a whore
    I came as advice that came too short
    I came as gold, I came as crap
    I came clean and I came as a rat”

    Came cold, but came used.
    He came as helpful, but it wasn’t enough. He wasn’t enough.
    He came as something everyone loved, but he was something everyone hated.
    He came out with the truth to reveal he was a dirty sneaky person. A rat.


    “It takes a long time, but God dies too
    But not before he'll stick it to you
    Well, I don't know, but I been told
    You never die and you never grow old”

    It takes a long time but eventually even the great and almighty meets their ends. But until then he will always be known as great and almighty — always better than you.
    The last two lines could mean a number of things. Perhaps he’s talking about god. How he’ll never die and he’ll never grow old. But it’s a rumour, for he has no real evidence nor does anyone else. The “you” implies he is talking to you. He’s talking to the audience. Throughout the song he talks about himself. These are the lessons he has learnt. And it’s a lesson to you.




    I haven't a clue what to make of that. Maybe it might clear a few things up.
    businessiswaron March 19, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is about reincarnation and how god plays a role in our lives. and SARCASM of course! issac brock sure uses lots of that! lol
    drippyxERRxon April 20, 2012   Link

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