"No Joy in Mudville" as written by Nicholas Harmer, Christopher Walla and Benjamin Gibbard....
Last night I dreamt that I was you
I was dressed all in black with dark glasses and attitude
Such a pose I could simply not hold
Through days in a northern town that I had once called a home
And your studies of fringe New York Streets
I was reading the pavement in every word you would speak
To a brownstone up three flights of stairs and it's on

Buying drinks for the poets upstate
The southern corruption tows you down the interstate
And they all said that you were the king
Of a gloomy disruption that surfaced when you would sing
And this town simply cannot begin to compete
So I'm packing my Bullets and Silvertones and heading east
To a brownstone up three flights of stairs and it's on, on, on, on, it's

I could have had my way, this year would bridge '66 again

Trust fund hipsters were casing the room
Chock-full of amphetamines
The overturned kick drum boom
Set the pace with incomparable cool
And if the tempo was lousy it was lost on all but you
And your studies of fringe New York Streets
I was reading the pavement in every word you would speak
To a brownstone up three flights of stairs and it's on, on, on, on, it's

If I could have had my way, this year would bridge '66 again

If I could have had my way, this year would bridge '66 again


Lyrics submitted by kozmik, edited by Tomlune44

"No Joy in Mudville" as written by Christopher Walla Benjamin Gibbard

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

No Joy in Mudville song meanings
Add your thoughts

20 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +4
    My InterpretationI never understand why people make prefatory statements like “clearly this means,” when they refer to a song’s meaning. Forums like this contribute to the ongoing discussion of what a song means to the individual listener, and what it may have meant to the author.

    The song has ties to Lou Reed’s musical career, and most certainly deals with Ben’s contemplating that career (not to mention Lou’s life) if we base our analysis on explicit allusion. But the track also falls on an album that deals with love and loss in some form, as cliché as it may sound. No Joy in Mudville seems to be a final ode, at least to the person with whom Ben is struggling to reconcile, that things are not (and will not be) the same without her/him. With or without the influence of The Velvet Underground, this song is a perfect homage to the emptiness that follows a friend’s, or a lover’s, moving away.

    Personally, this song speaks to me as the voice of my best friend, whom I’ll call “T”. When I moved to New York, I left behind the small town where I spent my late teens and early twenties–and developed some of the best friends I’ll ever have. T told me once that my anthem was Mudville because, coming from a military family, I must have left a lot of people feeling the sting of loss (like him). And one night when I was visiting home he explained over a few drinks. He said it was like a piece of him is missing, and it went with me to New York. He said he could see himself singing in that song. Then, living in a hipster neighborhood in Brooklyn, I started identifying with parts of that song as well–and was comforted by the notion that someday T would find his way up at least two flights of stairs, in my brownstone apartment.

    This is not a “clearly” point of view, clearly. I just want to suggest that song meanings are mutable things, and that although original intent is interesting contemplate–the critic who uses original intent doesn’t have a monopoly on interpretation.
    baultmanon January 21, 2010   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain