get out your measuring cups and we'll play a new game
come to the front of the class and we'll measure your brain
we'll give you a complex, and we'll give it a name

get out your measuring cups and we'll play a new game
can't have the cream when the crop and the cream are the same
liquid or gas no more than the glass will contain

when you talk about the hand of glory
a tale that's rather grim and gory
is it just another children's story that's been de-clawed?
when the tales of brothers Grimm and Gorey have been outlawed

i think they're gonna make you start over
you don't wanna start over
put your backpack on your shoulder
be the good little soldier
take your places now, cause we're all predisposed

measuring cups, play a new game
front of the class, measure your brain
give you a complex and we'll give it a name

when you talk about the hand of glory
a tale that's rather grim and gory
is it just another children's story that's been de-clawed?
when the tales of brothers Grimm and Gorey have been outlawed

so put your backpack on your shoulder
be the good little soldier
it's no different when you're older
you're predisposed
that's all for questions
now, the case is closed


Lyrics submitted by hemptimes

Measuring Cups song meanings
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25 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentI think this song is about conformity in our society and, more specifically schools. It reminds me of mindless periods of just book work and taking standardized tests.
    The song is stressing that so many people go through life without really even living because, starting from a young age, they've been molded into the cast of what a successful human being should be.
    panda6027bearon May 15, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI took it as a criticism of school/school psychologist types/society for being so damned quick to label kids as attention deficit (for example. This coincides with the 'we'll trade butterfly knives for Adderal line in Tables and Chairs)...I think he's saying that giving them complexes and predisposing children to being hopeless, since they will supposedly never achieve past what has been predetermined for them is not a particularly productive practice.

    Just let the kids be kids, yo.
    themunkelon May 19, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI like themunkel's idea.
    I think what Andrew Bird means by measuring cups and measuring your brain is judging and comparing people, namely children, to each other. Saying that there's something wrong with anybody who is a little different.
    "come to the front of the class and we'll measure your brain" brings me back to middle school and the embarassment of being brought to the front and taken out of class by the guidance counselor.
    I also like mazetti's idea about limitations. You don't have to be the best, and just because you're not as good as someone else doesn't mean you should have to change to be more like them.
    bobwronskion May 29, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentOk, I just watched a interview-thing I got from a link on his website (here it is if you want to see it but don't want to look for it- vpro.nl/programma/ram/afleveringen/20701254/ The site's in dutch, but the interview is in English- the link to the video is on the right side of the screen, and I think Andrew comes in at around 18:00 minutes in)
    The video gives a lot of insight into what he put into this song. He described experiencing a sort of hierarchy and false labeling in school. He talked about the institution and that sort of thing as a sort of recurring theme in his music. I think that definitely is present in this song.

    The song really is beautiful. Having this sort of insight as to what it's about makes it a lot more meaningful to me, and also makes me respect the song (and the artist) a lot more.
    bobwronskion July 12, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIt all starts when you're young and in school. After all isn't school just another (or the primary) institution to socialize you into becoming a functioning person in society? What comes now isn't so different from what comes later.
    De-clawing fairytales - yeah the orginal version is kind of gruesome but protecting kids from everything is impossible and at best leaves them with this weird, sheltered life.
    Anyway I agree with what's been said about the critique of schools and institutions, it's such a fantastic song. (P.S. Good interview!)
    artbloton August 04, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentReady for a weird concept? Ever since I first heard this song, it reminded me of The Incredibles. Now, hear me out:
    In particular, it reminds me of Mr. Incredible's rant against his son's graduation ceremony from the 4th grade to the 5th grade, how "they keep finding new ways to celebrate mediocrity, but if someone truly exceptional comes along...". And, of course, the whole movie's theme that, if everyone is special, no one is.
    That's what I get out of this song. If you try to fit everybody into this nice little box so that nobody ever gets their feelings hurt, then it's inevitable that more than a few people will get metaphorically squashed.
    And the kicker? The director of the Incredibles? Brad BIRD. COINCIDENCE?!
    Yeah, probably.
    NowWhaton October 04, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIt's about this very, very false and damaging idea that has consumed American education (can't speak for the rest of the world) that you can QUANTIFY someone's intelligence, like in a measuring cup, and that grades in school are an accurate ledger for success and intelligence.

    It's one song that really resonates with me personally, as someone who is a very poor student, and as someone who, regardless, values his own intelligence.

    Oh and the melody is great, too.
    mr.sozeon June 02, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentSigh... I used to think the ending lyrics were

    It's different when your older
    your penis grows
    that's all for questions
    now, testicles.

    I'm so happy they aren't.
    schmuckoftheirishon May 28, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentRelapser....what he's saying about the stories is that we've cloistered our kids. We think they are fragile, society has painted them that way and now even these stories have been stripped down. Stories for children these days are also rather tame if you look at the trend, and people refrain from telling their children anything that might scare them, as a consequence, this also means they don't experience it. This last part might be a leap, but after reading your thoughts on it I think also it is about the development of imagination. Kids aren't encouraged to develop their imaginations or engage them in an unbounded way...or even at all sometimes.
    fuzzyweaponon July 06, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis is a concept album about life and this song is about growing up and trying to understand your place in society
    j.enslowon August 22, 2006   Link

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