Well now first of all
We became what we always had feared
Every engine faults
All their oils on fire appeared
They finally broke through
And on your shoulder
This weight has been placed upon you
And everything we ever were

Now I'm keeping still
In someone's bright carnival ride
All the crowd just cheers
As the bolts break and metal collides
Spiraling through
And flying up all over the hills
And now everything's broken in two
And everything we ever were

But now most of all
I am holding you under my skin
Watch these buildings fall
Watch as each weak resistance caves in
All over you all over
And now finally fading from view
Is everything we ever were
Now


Lyrics submitted by backstab, edited by therydog10

Ferris Wheel on Fire song meanings
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13 Comments

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  • +2
    General Commentto me i get the feeling it's about leaving someone for another and then the relationship with the new person is failing and doesn't feel right and as it's getting worse memories of the original lover are coming back
    tajtonicon June 01, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this is a song about two people who had been close friends and were debating a relationship in fear that it would end in heartbreak and ruin their friendship. Eventually they got together and from there, like they predicted, everything spiraled out of control, hence the fact that the ferris wheel breaks free from its frame and "everything's broken in two."
    scout10064on January 21, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI heard somewhere this is based on a dream Jeff Magnum had. It was tried in the studio but he didn't like how it came out. Great exaple (via the live versions) of how Jeff can turn a quiet serene scene into utter chaos, and this is his most chaotic song. The moog synth, feedback, imagery of a burning ferris wheel slicing the town in half. One of Neutral milk hotel's best.
    Lu Stubbson March 20, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree. A fun version was one in San Francisco where Jeff sings along to the melody at the end, moments after the most manic instrumental segment. You can watch it here: the-collective.net/~sashwap/nmhvideo/…
    Cynothoglyson July 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree. A fun version was one in San Francisco where Jeff sings along to the melody at the end, moments after the most manic instrumental segment. You can watch it here: the-collective.net/~sashwap/nmhvideo/…
    Cynothoglyson July 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe instrumental section after the second verse has to be one of my favourite bits of NMH stuff...
    Stormxon November 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFrom the interview mentioned before :

    How much of an influence are the sounds of the circus?

    I'm very influenced by the circus. And by my dreams. In a lot of dreams I have, I'm in the circus. I'll dream there's a Ferris wheel in flames, and I'm walking through the crowd.
    KingJelleon December 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love this song. you can definitely get the feeling of this ferris wheel catching on fire and then i guess, rolling through a city. creepy. such a good nmh song and very different to the usual.
    camkid2on July 21, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with Cynothoglys, that version of the song is my favorite one. Jeff's vocals in this one are so moving, and he really does a great job. NMH are greatly missed.
    twoXhededXboyon December 30, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell, I looked up on a dream interpretation site and it says:
    "To see or ride on a Ferris wheel in your dream, suggests that you are going around in circles. You are headed nowhere. Alternatively, it is symbolic of wholeness and the circle of life. Life is full of ups and downs."
    Fire has lots of meanings, but there's one for seeing things burning.
    "To see something burning, indicates that you are experiencing some intense emotions and/or passionate sexual feelings. There is some situation or issue that you can no longer avoid and ignore. Alternatively, it may suggests that you need to take time off for yourself and relax."

    The last lines on the first paragraph shows guilty, the weight of the ferris wheel on the shoulders. Maybe it is guilty for these intense emotions or passionate sexual feelings, they showing up and breaking the ferris wheel. The "and everything we ever learned" line matches with the meaning of wholeness.

    The second paragraph shows that he's standing stow watching everyone run away from the wheel, and the wheel destroying everything. He sees that those emotions that caughted the wheel on fire are harming people, turning everything into a wreck.

    In the third paragraph, "I am holding you under my skin" could refer to these emotions, but it wouldn't make much sense, I think.

    Please, comment my interpretation! This song is awesome.
    anabitvidon August 15, 2008   Link

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