You read a lot into it
I never even flipped right through it
So what'cha going to do with
All this stuff that's scribbled to it
You say, "There's nothing new"
And, oh my god, that might be true
But what'cha think you're going to do
That's worthwhile when there's nothing new
Oh my god, I can't see
But it takes half as much as it used to for me
Oh my god, I can't see
But it means half as much as it used to to me
You read a lot into it
Oh my god, that might be true
And what'cha think you're going to do
With yourself when there's nothing for you
Oh my god, I can see
That it takes half as much as it used to for me
You say, "There's nothing new"
And, oh my god, that might be true
But what'cha think you're going to do
That's worthwhile when there's nothing new
You read a lot into it
I never even flipped right through it
So what'cha going to do with
All this stuff that's scribbled to you
Oh my god, I can see
That it means half as much as it used to for me
You read a lot into
What's spoken word and spoke anew
Because that's what'cha think you're going to do
When second-hand's got second-hand dues
Oh my god, I can't eat
And it means half as much as it used to to me
You say, "There's nothing new"
And, oh my god, that might be true
So what'cha think you're going to do
With yourself when there's nothing new for you
Oh my god, I can see
That it takes half as much as it used to for me


Lyrics submitted by fallacies

Nothing New song meanings
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21 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentThis song is pretty difficult to interpret, but I think it all boils down to the abuse that Brock suffered as child. Let me explain.

    "i never even flipped right through it
    so what'cha gonna do with
    all this stuff thats scribbled to it
    you say "theres nothin new"
    and oh my god that might be true
    but what'cha think youre gonna do"

    Lets break this down line by line, as I think this is pretty much the core of the song as it is repeated constantly. I believe the scribbling was in reference to all of those drawings that kids do as a child, and his mother constantly insulting him for it. He would go home every night from school, and bring his mom a stack of artwork. Later, he'd ask her what she thought, and she'd reply "I never flipped through it." See? In response to that dialogue, Brock would ask "Whachha gonna do with it mom? With all this stuff scribbled to it?" (you can also see the infantile dialogue being used). His mom, obviously annoyed because he KEEPS bringing her loads of artwork would reply "There's nothing new!" Brock thought to himself about the unoriginality of his work, and realized with horror, nightly, that his bored expressionism replicated with pens, crayons, and pencils upon paper was redundant. Nonchalantly, and with the curiosity only children can render, he of course has to reply with "But yeah, whaccha think you're going to do with it?"

    I think this constant negative and abusive dialogue probably pushed him to create new original art. It might even be responsible for him branching into the music industry to create new masterpieces to present to his mother. I'm glad she was so harsh on him, look at where modest mouse is now!
    underabuseon November 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about nothing. Nothing is the lack of anything. A void of matter. However, nothing does have the component of time. In other words, when you go to look, there is nothing there. Looking for nothing involves "when", as in:

    "Hey, get me a beer"

    "There aren't any left, there is nothing in the fridge"

    "Really? WHEN did you look"

    "About an hour ago...leave me alone, I am looking at catalogs...Do you think we should get your Dad a Garden Weasel for Christmas?"

    "You should look again, I just came from the store, there should be some there now"

    "I just looked again, there is nothing there....maybe it should be a subscription to People magazine, he is kind of metro and might like to look at all the dresses from the Oscars"

    As you can see from the above example, looking for nothing involves time. Each time you look for "nothing" you will find a "new" nothing. This song is about how "nothing" is always new because the time dimension has changed and therefore the "nothing" that was there before has changed and is now "new".

    Modest Mouse, up until the time they sold out, were deeply into quantum mechanics, general relativity, and string theory and this song reflects their interests.
    simpgon November 24, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhile I agree that modest mouse was heavily into quantuam mechanics before they sold out, I don't think that this song was particularly about it. I think that perhaps, since brock read a lot about string theory as a youngster, that it might have influenced his art significantly. Specifically, when you listen to most of their songs, you can sense the 7-dimensionality aspect of the music. They are not simply songs, but representatives of our strangely formed universe that stretches towards oblivion in more dimensions than we can possibly conceive. However, while the music is composed of well-formed strings being played on strings (and drums), the lyrics I believe are composed of a more elementary nature, and are addressing the response of his mother to his more simplistic art as a child. Modest mouse might name a song about relativity "nothing", but the addition of the "new" sort of pokes a hole in your thought process. Since nothing is simply nothing, one can not discover new nothing. New nothings are the same as old nothings, and are composed of the exact same substance as the old nothings. Even if you found new nothings, they would not be new because they always existed, just like the old nothings. Since modest mouse understands this so well, they would not have intentionally led the listener astray by adding the "new" to their title.

    I think that you are wrong, as well snmmm, not only about your interpretation but of your extrapolation. Since modest mouse are extremely intelligent and well-read, they would know that the bible has in fact changed as the years have gone by. Its original enscription is the subject of controversy in its hebrew language, and different parts of the bible have some arguments over them there. Once it is interpreted, especially into english, many of the meanings have changed dramatically. That is why there are so many translations, and the translations change once in awhile. I remember in an interview that brock said none of them were jewish and don't know hebrew, so they would be used to the translations such as the "king james" or "new living". Your interpretation is very jungian in nature, and a little off the wall. I think you have juped off the ship of reality into the sea of jupian jismo's jiant jail.
    underabuseon November 29, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyou can download this song here:
    modestmouselive.zeromethos.com/
    willlliwon December 23, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Isaac Brock came up with the name "Modest Mouse" when he read the Virginia Woolf novel The Mark On the Wall in which the author described the working middle class as "modest, mouse-coloured people."
    - from wikipedia
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    go there if you don't believe me
    to underabuse: it's really annoying whe\n people say that modest mouse sold out because Good News is amazing and if float on wasn;t such a big song you would be saying how great their new cd is.
    willlliwon December 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthank you williw you said what I wanted to say to snmnmnmn. I think this song is about school and being a little kid. when he says "It means half as much as it used to for me" makes me think of christmas and all holidays. they all used to be so special now they come and go. I just heard this song for the first time today.
    mcscumbagon January 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentbut modest mouse totally did sell out. they completly changed their style to get popular. the new cd is good but its not modest mouse. and its "modest, mouse-like" not colored.
    mcscumbagon January 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentits totally not their style at on, but instead of saying they sold out for good news it would be more accurate to say they sold out on the moon and antarctica, they were on epic when they released that

    me, i dont give a shit if they "sold out" or anything like that, their new music is different than their older stuff yeah... but is 'long drive' the same as 'lone crowded west'? NO! they went from sort of spacey rock to post-grunge rock

    modest mouse kick ass any way you look at it, i dont care if their new cd is made-for-radio(it sort of is), lets let some of the teeny boppers listen to some awesome music eh?
    cheesenuggetton April 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentok i think we have different definitions of selling out. what is yours?
    willlliwon February 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhat this song means to me? opinions are a waste of time so dont believe in mine or anyone elses. besides i dont see any i have that i dont make up like a play. it also means to me, what in the fudge am i supposed to do with this "life" which is nothing but images, sound, feelings and the like which are always being born and dying and are mirage like.
    allthereison February 22, 2007   Link

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