Pray for content
Settle for free rent
The tenements recall Rome

High five
Look up, look alive
As the scions of history
Guess another mystery wrong

Recite your lines
And I'll quote scriptures
Everything was fine
Until membership lost its privileges

Everyone in town
Wanted to be around you
This went on for a while
Until they finally found you

Ever so careful
On the strip
We cruise
Crippled in
Someone else's shoes
Who knew?
Mind you
I never had to stand in line
You did
For the ballad of a comeback kid

Watch your step
As you step down
From the podium
Returned from the war
To a hero's welcome
What's more
You just had to win

Blazing new trails
Waving goodbye
To the audience
Held captive
The crowd was inactive
It made such perfect sense

But you won't
Kelly says she could have
Like a bat out of hell
Time has come for you


Lyrics submitted by Statbucksbabe28

Ballad of a Comeback Kid song meanings
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12 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI disagree, because they are Canadian. But I could be wronge. More on this later.
    lepidoptera3on May 06, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAs my screen name implies...
    This is one of my favourite np songs. Along with The Bleeding Heart Show.
    comebackkid_on October 13, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy guess is that this song is about Bill Clinton. When he was running for president in 1992 he was under attack for avoiding the draft and marital infidelity. He made a moving speech in New Hampshire before the primary and the press called him "the comeback kid" after he finished second and eventually won the election.

    "settle for free rent
    the tenements recall Rome"

    These lines are about the white house because the president lives there for free, and the architecture of the white house has a roman style.

    I’m guessing that the second and third to last stanzas are about Clinton’s “farewell tour” speeches before leaving the white house.

    “like a bat out of hell
    time has come for you”

    This suggests that after Clinton serves his eight year tenure, he has to leave office. Time has come for him.
    unliton July 05, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhy can't people write lyrics about people from another country? Neil Young is a Canadian who lives in the USA and wrote a lot of songs about the USA (eg Southern Man, Alabama, Ohio, Rockin' In The Free Worlds).

    The New Pornographers spend a lot of time touring in the USA. Neko isn't Canadian.
    elwyn5150on July 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI didn't mean that Canadians couldn't write songs about the US, I just didn't see why a Canadian would care about an American politician.

    Anyway, I think this song might be about high school and trying to fit in, pretending, and being a little fake. "recite your lines and i'll quote scriptures".

    The chorus to me sounds like it's about trying to look cool, but being uncomfortable in the situation. The idea of being "crippled in someone else's shoes" sounds to me like pretending to be someone you're not.

    "watch your step as you step down from the podium returned from the war to a hero's welcome what's more you just had to win" sounds like a sports superstar to me.

    "blazing new trails waving goodbye to the audience held captive the crowd was inactive it made such perfect sense" sounds like a graduation and having to sit through speeches that you don't care about.
    Everyone else's awards and plans don't matter to you, just like yours don't matter to anyone else.

    I think that's it. Anyone else?
    lepidoptera3on July 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI would never have guessed it but i agree with the clinton thing.
    mr.pharmaciston September 17, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's definitely about a politician, but I can't pin down which one. I know enough about Clinton for this not to really seem to fit him. To me. However, Canadians can and will absolutely write songs about American Presidents. Just listen to "He Lied About Death," by The Stars - posibly the angriest song ever written about Dubya.
    Navelgazer33on May 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA song about Bush coming from any country wouldn't surprise me, however Clinton seems kind of irrelevent.
    lepidoptera3on October 13, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFormer Sen. Rick Santorum was also known as "the comeback kid." This was released in 2003, when Santorum was halfway through his second term in the Senate. He had a history of defeating incumbent Democrats, but was defeated in the 2006 election. I don't know whether it's about Santorum, Clinton or high school, but Santorum would be more relevant than Clinton. The New Pornographers are too cryptic in this song to really analyze, I think.
    airwolf queenon January 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is the best New Pornographers song IMO.

    Bejar is one hell of a songwriter.
    RaygunShaunon August 08, 2011   Link

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