How can I look through
Their senseless side?
As much as I'd like to
All is not right - and it shows
All around you
Under the tree - a seed
Come in closer
There is a sign
Shaped in the mind

Pick up - for God's sake
When we call you back to the lake

How can I tell you
All that is wrong
Nothing invites you
Can't get along - with you now
And I try to
There is a page
It's still unwritten
Why can't you find
Time in your schedule
To pick up...

Oh, pick up for God's sake
When we call you back to the lake

Make no mistake
We will call you back to the lake


Lyrics submitted by CrookedRain

Back To The Lake song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • +2
    General Commentokay - this is certainly not the meaning that bob had in mind when he wrote the song - but this is what i always think of when i hear this song:

    once i read a book about borneo (into the heart of borneo?) and the author was giving a light hearted account of the native people's beliefs about the afterlife. i can't recall; and can't find the book right now - but it involved people, after death, being deposited in various lakes.

    also, the bible tells about the "lake of fire" (ie. hell) which of course was the subject of a famous meat puppets song (covered by nirvana on thier excellent unplugged album). so naturally when i hear *back to the lake* i think about the various afterlife myths, or . . . uh . . . theories.

    back to the lake = death

    but then again one time i was running a marathon (in the redwoods) and i had my play list on my ipod set up so i'd hear this song right at the end of the marathon . . . meaning i was finished. (we live right near a lake - so it meant coming home.)

    anyway - like i said - these ramblings have nothing to do w bob's original intentions (which are rarely very clear so i might as well add my own personal view, right?)
    moikon February 04, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentamazing piece of music. probably about about some sort of relationship that has gone astray for one reason or another, makes no sense, but they're looking to draw them back to where they were before because they feel as though they still have unfinished business.

    How can I tell you
    All that is wrong
    Nothing invites you
    Can't get along - with you now
    And I try to
    There is a page
    It's still unwritten
    Why can't you find
    Time in your schedule
    To pick up...
    Searchin4AnimalChinon October 17, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti don't really know what the lyrics mean. The music is really fantastic. Why wasn't this a hit?
    pumkinhedon March 14, 2005   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningNow, just because Bob's lyrics are overly cryptic or esoteric, doesn't mean their just nonsense. The guys written thousands of songs, he's got a muse. The twisted, perverted narratives give the band their quirk.
    The clues are here for a kind of sequel to A Salty Salute. Perhaps this is the same "lake."

    "The bus will get you there yet
    To carry us to the lake
    The club is open."

    Here it seems like a more personal call, to one individual who has fallen out with Bob and his drinking buddies. It could be a girl or just a friend that Bob pissed off in his drunkenness.
    GentleDogson October 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIsn't it just about going out in the evenings?
    morgandanielson September 17, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIsn't it just about going out in the evenings?
    morgandanielson September 17, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIsn't it just about going out in the evenings?
    morgandanielson September 17, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentokay - i was just watching the extraordainarily well edited dvd GUIDED BY VOICES - THE ELECTRIFYING CONCLUSION and right before bob started this song: "back to the lake with you kids . . . what lake? the great lake!"

    so what does that mean? back to ohio, i guess (lake erie).
    moikon February 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song is about King Arthur's sword Excalibur .

    The legend says the Lady of the Lake will emerge with the sword when Brittan again is in dire need of a true king.

    That is why the lyric says there is a page still unwritten....
    vid1900on December 29, 2013   Link
  • -1
    General CommentThis song has the same meaning most of Bob's other songs have, namely, none at all, for the most part.
    SullivanSmithon July 19, 2007   Link

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