I take a breath
And pull the air in until there's nothing left
I'm feeling green
Like teenage lovers between the sheets

Ba ba ba ba . . .

Knuckles clenched to white
As the landing gear retract for flight
My head's a balloon
Inflating with the altitude

Ba ba ba ba . . .

I watch the patchwork farms
Slow fade into the ocean's arms
And from here they can't see me stare
The stale taste of recycled air

I watch the patchwork farms
Slow fade into the ocean's arms
Calm down, release your cares
The stale taste of recycled air


Lyrics submitted by rjbucs28

Recycled Air song meanings
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70 Comments

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  • +4
    General Commentduh. green like teenage lovers between the sheets = inexperienced, not sick. he isn't talking about actually flying, he's comparing the sensation of take-off to the beginning of a relationship, "recycled air" = emotions he has felt before, in other relationships. what he is feeling in this new relationship is exciting and scary and in order to keep himself calm, possibly to avoid being hurt, he's telling himself that it's nothing new, just the recycling of past experiences - stale air
    HollyHox06on April 21, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is about reading the Internet when you are stoned.

    Think about it.
    tps12on March 11, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me this song is about masturbating. I know it may seem gross but it makes perfect sense to me.

    "I'm feeling green like teenage lovers between
    the sheets" - He is envious of the teens having sex

    "knuckles clenched to white" - he is squeezing himself

    "as the landing gear retracts for flight" - his balls are coming up and not hanging loose anymore

    "my head's a balloon inflating with the
    altitude" - The head of his penis is getting larger as its growing

    This is kind of gross, but its what I first thought when I heard the song
    MurRulon April 04, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAt first I wanted to make fun of all of you. And then I actually started laughing at some of these posts.

    Most of you are stupidly over interpreting this song. He describes perfectly; taking off on an airplane. You don't have to read between the lines to figure that out.

    This song has limitless possibilities if you're going to read into it so stupidly. It's possible he was thinking of something else when he wrote this song, but you guys sure as hell aren't going to know what it is.

    The lyrics are so literal and not even remotely suggestive.

    I'm sick of all of you people trying to make every freakin' song you've ever heard into some piece of crap relationship song. This song has NOTHING to do with a relationship and YET YOU TRY SO HARD FOR IT TO BE ABOUT ONE.
    Age5ixRaceron May 11, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"I take a breath, and pull the air in until there's nothing left."
    A reaction of being nervous. Pretty typical in certain situations.

    "I'm feeling green like teenage lovers between the sheets."
    First off, beautiful analogy. One of my favorite parts of the entire song. At first, this segment of the lyrics sound like maybe he's feeling ill, but then it twists into a indication of feeling new, adolescent.

    "Knuckles clenched to white as the landing gear retract for flight. My heads a balloon, inflating with the altitude."
    He's holding tight to something because flight makes him uneasy. As for the balloon part, if you've ever been on a plane, you know what that feels like when you take off.

    "I watch the patchwork farms slow fade into the ocean's arms."
    He's looking out the window at the scenery. The ground really does look like patchwork. Once again, a beautiful metaphor.

    "And from here you can't see me stare. The stale taste of recycled air."
    He's obviously far above to where nobody can see him looking down. In the cabin of a plane, the air truly is recycled. That's why nobody on a plane wants anybody that has any sort of illness flying with them. It's just disgusting. :D

    Thanks for letting reading what I think.
    ambivalenton April 28, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentCan't Ben Gibbard just write a song about an airplane?? Haha, sheesh!
    MeaghanS1on December 06, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song was purely meant to evoke feelings similar to those one would feel while riding on an airplane. It has great imagery and the melody is very therapeutic. It's a truely beautiful song for that alone, it doesn't need to be made into more than what it is! I can understand having your own opinions on this song but I don't like when people who are INTERPRETING a song try to pass their INTERPRETATIONS off as facts! No offense to anyone who isn't HOLLYHOAX and far from famous.
    MeaghanS1on December 06, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think he wrote this song from a seat on an airplane. It sounds to me like he's talking about looking down on earth. He's "feeling green"... feeling sick. He's tasting recycled air which is exactly how the air in airplanes is.
    Title_Trackon June 23, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyes it is about what you see when lookign out a plane window. good song
    Staywhatyouareon June 26, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love the way Ben Gibbard brings something as mundane as flying to life and makes it sound almost romantic. le sigh.
    tine17on April 10, 2004   Link

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