"Sweet Payne" as written by and Craig Finn Tad Jason Kubler....
Payne avenue lives up to its name some nights it's painful and strange.
The whole city seemed sane in the day. but some nights it seems distressed and deranged.
The east side is where we met with those guys that said they'd get us high but that changed.
Now they're down in the basement. They're bashing out his brains.
Kids are getting cut up with the motorcycle chains.

St. Paul had it all when we called. They were maxing out on medicine.
A shaved head. The blood on the bed.
Those guys you'd recognize. They had the same tattoos as Gideon.
Strong stuff and she had more than enough.
She was slumping over smiling and sailing off with cherubim.
The cityscape skins are kinda kicking it again.
They're gonna show these kids some discipline.

Gideon's been living up in Bay City, Michigan.
He's been working at the Michelin.
He got messed up with some messed up magicians.
We got so high some nights Michigan looked just like a mitten some nights we got fried.
Strung out on residuals and visuals and laser shows.
Reach into the speaker and try to hold on to the quarter notes.

I always dream about a unified scene.
There's James King and King James and James Dean.
At a table in the corner of my unified scene.
They want a double order of love and respect.
They said they just got back from up in hostile, Massachusetts.
Girl I've seen your friend. she looks nothing like Jada Pinkett.
I think you got something in those cigarettes.

Gideon was living up in south Minneapolis.
He was the cowboy on the crosstown bus.
All the little Phillies at the Yukon Club are gunning for the gold rush.
We got tangled in electrical fences. we got wrapped up in the Indian fringes.
All the little Phillies at the Yukon Club are gunning for the gold rush.
They just can't get enough.


Lyrics submitted by stellaluna1125

"Sweet Payne" as written by Tad Jason Kubler Craig Finn

Lyrics © RESERVOIR MEDIA MANAGEMENT INC

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Sweet Payne song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentSt. Paul is an apostle in the New Testamenant that philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche called the Anti-Christ and Thomas Jefferson called him a biblical corrupter, but it is also a city in Michigan and the state capital of Minnesota, the origin of the band,

    Cherubim may be refering to the order of angel who gives the gift of knowledge (old testament),

    residuals could mean the remainders of drugs, like cleaning the resin out of the bowl and smoking it.

    skins of course refer to skinheads (neo-nazis),

    gideon means "destroyer" or "mighty warrior" and appears in the Book of Judges in the Bible and the Epistle to the Hebrews, which was said to have been written by St. Paul, he is seen to rescue Israel by turning everyone to stop worshipping false idols,

    James King was a Scottish soldier who supported King Charles I in the English civil war, and King James suceeded Charles I.

    Whoa...I think this guy is a history/catholicism major or something. This song reminds me of meeting sketchy characters and my drugged out nights in my late high school and early college years.
    Shep420on July 10, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commenthere is what craig finn (the lead singer of the hold steady) said about this song:

    "Payne Ave. is in the East Side of St. Paul. My thought is that it always looks like a nice family area during the day, but it tends to seem a little sinister at night. While I was growing up, it was reportedly a hotbed of activity for racist skinheads. The Payne Reliever was a bar on Payne Ave. that had live metal bands on one side and strippers on the other. I actually have never been there, but a friend told me about it. I don't know if it's still around.... This song has my favorite line on the record: "When Gideon was living in South Minneapolis, he was the Cowboy on the crosstown bus." There are these weird cowboy dudes on Lake St. and Franklin Ave. in Minneapolis. They are like drifters. Maybe homeless or maybe not. Definitely drinkers though. I don't see them that often, but I usually do if I ride the Lake St. bus. Ironically, some of the bars on Lake St. have a Western motif: the Round Up Saloon, the Yukon club, etc. One dude got on the bus and lifted up his hat and nodded to my wife, "Hello there, little philly." I always marvel. People who live in the Twin Cities tend to apologize and think it's boring but I think it's the most inspiring place I have ever been."
    somelyricson February 10, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI totally think this song ties together all the ends of the Holly/Charlemagne/Gideon story...

    Firstly, I've always entertained the idea that Holly and Gideon got together. Obviously, the narrator in 'Cattle and the Creeping Things' mentions this, and I also think references are made to it in other songs even if they're not mentioned by name.

    I also pretty much thought that Charlemagne was killed, probably by a gang that he owed money or drugs to... especially after a line in one song (can't remember which right now) about him having to flush 7 grand's worth of drugs down a toilet during a police raid.

    "the east side is where we met with those guys that said they'd get us high but that changed. now they're down in the basement. they're bashing out his brains." This part pretty much seems to support this theory. I've heard it said before that Gideon has some pretty solid gang ties so maybe he sold Charlemagne out under the illusion that they were going to get drugs off them. This is pretty much supported by the fact that these guys have the same tattoos as Gideon.

    "strong stuff and she had more than enough. she was slumping over smiling and sailing off with cherubim." I think it's pretty possible that they drugged Holly while they were killing Charlemagne. a) to make sure she kept quiet and b) because, if Gideon has some serious feelings for her, he wouldn't want her to know he was involved in that sort of thing.




    This all ties in with Killer Parties. I get the feeling that song's told from Gideon's point of view... that HE'S telling Holly to "be polite and say something vague" if anyone asks about Charlemagne. Holly follows his advice in Don't Le Me Explode, but by Crucifixion Cruise, is feeling terribe about the whole thing, and probably having flashbacks, hence her confession in the church. This then leads directly into How a Ressurrection Really Feels, where the good Catholic girl inside her is ressurrected...
    letslightningon September 15, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree for the most part... but I think holly has a larger part in Charlemagne's demise.
    From "Curves and Nerves":

    charlemagne in a shallow grave. with a nazareth tape. and a vodka ice and gatorade. he didn't fit the plans she made. these hoodrat chicks are like razor blades. they're pretty cheap but they'll cut you deep.
    Timmahon December 04, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is definitely about Gideon and how his gang activity got him in trouble, and how he works odd jobs around the country. In response to the earlier poster, I'm not sure that Holly and Gideon were together.

    I think Charlemagne and Holly were together at one point, considering the line "do you want me to tell it like boy meets girl and the rest is history? or do you want it like a murder mystery?" (from Charlemagne in Sweatpants).

    Then the relationship went bad....
    "while he was down in lowertown. she was feeling out the 530 folk mass. and the night that she got born again. he was getting with her little hoodrat friend."

    We also know "Holly was a hoodrat". So its safe to assume that Charlemagne hooked up with one of Holly's friends while she was at church.

    The breakup is also referred to in Curves and Nerves, as posted above: " he didn't fit the plans she made. these hoodrat chicks are like razor blades. they're pretty cheap but they'll cut you deep."

    I disagree that Charlemagne is dead. The shallow grave line is a metaphor. The "say something vague" line refers to him in jail, because he was "another lover lost, to the restaurant raids." In other words, a drug bust.

    Plus, on "First Night", we get an update on all the characters. Holly is in the hospital, "Charlemagne pulls street corner scams", and Gideon is still a drug addict, because he has a "pipe made from a Pringle's can".
    st5801on March 12, 2008   Link

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