"Drug Test" as written by and Ira David Kaplan....
You may have left your mistake with breakfast
Watching the sun go down
I've been lying awake till dawn now
I'm not ready to face that
I'm not ready to face that thing today

I wish I was high
Brighter than nothing
Smarter than nobody
I've wasted away

I think of the things that matter
And I think of the things that don't
Whatever it is no matter
I hate feeling the way i feel
I hate feeeling the way I eel today

I wish I was high
Brighter than nothing
Smarter than nobody
I've wasted away

I see myself with headphones on
I'm listening to Wake of the Flood (?) (2x)
now I'm high

I wish I was high
Brighter than nothing
Smarter than nobody
I've wasted away
I wish I was high
Brighter than nothing
Smarter than nobody
I've wasted away


Lyrics submitted by maggotbrain

Drug Test song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentYep, should be "leftover steak" & "Wake of the Flood". The latter is a bit out-of-character for Ira Kaplan, a fanatical record collector whose tastes run much more toward the obscure than the Dead -- check out Yo La Tengo's choice of covers on their Fakebook album to get an idea of their eclecticism. (OTOH he name-checks the band America and several of their song titles--in "Lewis" from New Wave Hot Dogs--but this seems to be more about the title "character's" musical tastes than Ira's.)

    I think the chorus goes, "I wish I was high/Frightened of nothing/Smarter than nobody"... (Minor difference.)

    One of the best things about this song is the ambiguous title. I'll say no more, as I feel that to over-interpret it would be to ruin it...

    I spoke with Georgia once (the drummer, a shy but increasingly confident singer, and Ira's wife). She was selling T-shirts before Yo La Tengo hit the stage...i.e. while the opening act was playing. They seem like wonderfully unpretentious, very intelligent people.

    Unfortunately, I didn't ask Georgia about her family's animation, because I wasn't yet hip to it. Her sister Emily and her mother Faith are among the best fine-art animators in America. Georgia contributes quite a bit, usually painting backgrounds (the cover of Fakebook could easily have been one). YLT have done soundtracks for at least one of the films.

    Check out the DVDs The Hubley Collection Vols. 1 and 2, if you're interested. Georgia (as a little girl) is a character in a couple of them, most notably the Oscar-nominated "Windy Day". Their parents must have allowed the girls to ad-lib, as the dialogue is much too truly childlike (without being precious) for it to have been written down.

    Are Ira and Georgia married, or have they just been together a long time? I don't know...
    foreverdroneon September 15, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSong is clearly about a guy who has to take a drug test, probably for work, and isn't happy about it. He might be worried that he's not going to pass it ("I'm not ready to face that..."). Regardless, there's nothing more that he wants to do than smoke a bowl and listen to a Dead album on his headphones, but he can't today.

    It's not out of character for Ira to reference the Grateful Dead. They've covered the Dead before, and Ira namechecks them often at live shows. A few years ago at a show I was at he talked at length about how excited he was that he scored Greyfolded (a weird out of print Dead album) at the local record store. McNew recently did a concert with Bill Frisell consisting of only Dead songs. Clearly they're fans of the Dead, although the reference in this song is perhaps a bit tongue-in-cheek (as many of Ira's early lyrics were).
    spaceotteron December 05, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Commentaaaah... luv this song! beautiful lyrics and smooth guitar-noise
    candysayson May 15, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDon't forget that rumbling bass!
    elwyn5150on July 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWow, this makes me wish I was high too. :(. Awesome song though. I like how it feels so honest and down to Earth. I can relate. Yo La Tengo rules!
    maxis308on May 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBeautiful song
    taffurs888on October 18, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJust a couple notes:

    I think the first line is "Ate a leftover steak for breakfast."

    And it's "Wave of the Flood" (it's a song by the Grateful Dead.)
    coconutcrispyon February 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think "Wake of the Flood" is correct -- it's both an album and a song by the Dead.
    sean mcseanon July 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyeah, this song's a downer. but then again life's a downer altogether.
    mattgeeon March 12, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenta downer? i don't see it that way. on the surface, it would seem to be a bummer, this accurate evocation of the feeling we've all had: "everything sucks today...might as well get myself fucked up." but all this is redeemed by its hilarity (especially the title)
    mandcon April 28, 2008   Link

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