I met Ferdinand de Saussure on a night like this
On love, he said, I'm not so sure I even know what it is
No understanding, no closure, it is a nemesis
You can't use a bulldozer to study orchids, he said so

We don't know anything
You don't know anything
I don't know anything
About love

And we are nothing
You are nothing
I am nothing
Without love

I'm just a great composer and not a violent man
But I lost my composure and I shot Ferdinand
Crying, it's well and kosher to say you don't understand
But this is for Holland Dozier Holland, his last words were

We don't know anything
You don't know anything
I don't know anything
About love

But we are nothing
You are nothing
I am nothing
Without love

His fading words were

We don't know anything
You don't know anything
I don't know anything
About love

But we are nothing
You are nothing
I am nothing
Without love


Lyrics submitted by bootu

The Death of Ferdinand de Saussure song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentFerdinand de Saussure was the father of modern linguistics. My best guess as to why he's referred to here is his idea of "the arbitrariness of the sign" -- the link between a word and the concept it signifies is arbitrary and relational. That is, it exists not on its own terms but as part of a complex and varied system: "in language there are only differences, and no positive terms." So a word like 'love' -- or, for that matter, 'game' or 'bird' -- simply can't have a universal meaning by itself. No understanding, no closure.

    Holland-Dozier-Holland were the great songwriting team behind tons of Motown hits (You Can't Hurry Love, Stop in the Name of Love) that spent little time wondering whether 'love' had meaning and more time wondering why it hurt so bad.
    fougasseon December 27, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt sounds like the two men talking in this song are struggling to deal with the reality and the magnitude of love. The speaker, the unnamed 'great composer', grew up on pop music much like the kind that Holland-Dozier-Holland would have written for the Pretenders and the like, can't handle the concept that love isn't as trite and simple as music has brought him to believe. This is what leads him to kill Mr. Saussure, the great philosopher.

    It's a narrative of the disillusionment that pop culture creates about what love really is, the way it cheapens and skews the ambiguous concept of love in modern society. Even pop music cannot simply love for it's beautiful complexity.
    mopo976on August 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe handclaps!
    downhillraceron February 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPedantic note: that should be "Holland Dozier Holland", a reference to the Motown Records songwriting team.
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    karinleeon February 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentdownhillracer, this one is for you:

    I'm just a great composer clap clap clap clap!!!

    and the oscar for: best claps ever goes to.........
    puajon July 18, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe sound is reminiscent of The Cars's song "Let's Go". It must be the violin and the hand claps.
    hidispenseron August 02, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"So we don't know anything
    You don't know anything
    I don't know anything
    about love
    But we are nothing
    You are nothing
    I am nothing
    Without love"

    So fucking true. I love it.
    renirambuson July 26, 2009   Link

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