The reception's gotten fuzzy
The delicate balance has shifted
Put on your gloves and black pumps
Let's pretend the fog has lifted
Now you see me, now you don't
Now you say you love me
Pretty soon you won't
If we get our full three score and ten
We won't pass this way again
So kiss me with your mouth open
Turn the tires toward the street
And stay sweet

All the chickens come on home to roost
Plump bodies blotting out the sky
You know it breaks my heart in half, in half
When I see them trying to see them fly
'Cuz you just can't do things your body wasn't meant to
Hike up your fishnets, I know you
If we live to see the other side of this
I will remember your kiss
So do it with your mouth open
And take your foot off of the brake
For Christ's sake!


Lyrics submitted by smallwonderrobot

Dilaudid song meanings
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36 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentWell I saw them live and John said that it was about an ex-girlfriend he had, when the love just fills you to the brim and then there's nothing all of a sudden.
    posta9213on May 24, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song reminds me of a part from Twelfth Night.


    "What is love? ’tis not hereafter;
    Present mirth hath present laughter;
    What’s to come is still unsure:
    In delay there lies no plenty;
    Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty,
    Youth’s a stuff will not endure."

    I love this song.
    PiGGmalionon May 03, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI had my own interpretations of some lyrics.

    "The reception's gotten fuzzy
    The delicate balance is shifted"

    To me this almost seems political or directed towards the state of the world. The reception of government is increasingly negative in recent years.

    "If we get our full 3 score and 10,
    We wont pass this way again"

    I related this to the bible verse, Psalms 90
    "The length of our days is seventy years– (3 score and 10)
    or eighty, if we have the strength;
    yet their span is but trouble and sorrow,
    for they quickly pass, and we fly away."

    What solidified that idea was the lines

    "You know it breaks my heart in half, in half,
    when I see them trying to fly,
    cause you just can't do.
    Things your body wasn't meant to"

    Very awesome song.
    MulberryMan99on November 25, 2009   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning“‘Dilaudid’ is an interesting studio story of the type that I think most people don’t talk out of school and tell. ‘Dilaudid,’ we play it as a trio sometimes, I play it solo a lot, but it was supposed to be rock trio with strings. But the vocal and guitar were recorded live and they weren’t any good because, um... because ‘The Sunset Tree’ was a hard record to make. And I know this is a poor way of describing one’s choices, but I had to drink a fair bit while I was making that record, in the studio, to sort of get loose here and there. And so, consequently, by the end of the evening sometimes, you couldn’t get a good vocal take out of me.”

    soundcheck.wnyc.org/2012/sep/19/mountain-goats-john-darnielle-solo-studio/
    embassyrowon December 18, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDilaudid is a prescription opiate, very potent, similar to heroin. I know, my ex-roommate was addicted.
    I think that the author, in this song, talks about an addicted couple.
    So here's how I percieve the lyrics:

    The reception's gotten fuzzy
    The delicate balance has shifted

    These two lines are very similar to the effect of Dilaudid, it's as if there was a thin film over everthing, that makes reality unclear. Things are "off" it's hard to describe but the authoir did a great job at describing the feeling. It also may be an allegory describing the way you will often do things that you would never do when you are am addict.

    Put on your gloves and black pumps
    Let's pretend the fog has lifted

    At this point in the song, it's not quite clear what the gloves and pumps mean. I think that it is made clearer later that the girl in the couple is selling her body, this could then be seen as the man telling her to dress up and act sober so she can get a client.

    Now you say you love me
    Pretty soon you won't

    I think that the couple is acutely aware that they are only staying together because of their addiction and that they won't stay together without the drugs.

    If we get our full three score and ten
    We won't pass this way again

    Three scores and ten is 70, I think this means that if she gets at least 70$ from her client, they won't have to sell her again just yet because they'll have enough to score enough pills to last them a short while.

    So kiss me with your mouth open
    Turn the tires toward the street
    And stay sweet

    She kisses him one last time before she walks towars her spot/corner. And he tells her to stay sweet to attract a client.

    All the chickens come on home to roost
    Plump bodies blotting out the sky

    Chickens coming home to roost is usually an idiom meaning that the problems have resurfaced and always eventually follow you. I think that the allusion to plump bodies means that their problems are very big ones.

    You know it breaks my heart in half, in half
    When I see them trying to see them fly
    'Cuz you just can't do things your body wasn't meant to

    Deep down, the man knows that the drugs are hurting them. Their bodies are becoming broken from the drug abuse. It hurts him to see them so, perhaps that it hurts him more to see her (the girl) suffer.

    Hike up your fishnets, I know you
    If we live to see the other side of this
    I will remember your kiss

    This, again, could be a refference to her prostitution, but also he seems to be telling her to roll up her sleeve to inject her. This would make sense since dilaudid is often injected but also the next two lines seem to be talking about the very real possibility of overdose.

    So do it with your mouth open
    And take your foot off of the brake
    For Christ's sake!

    I'm not sure about the last few lines. I like the fact that the singer (because he was drunk during the recording) seems to get progressively more frustrated with the verses and almost screams the last line.

    Love the song, but it's definitely not a happy one.
    dez1000074on May 08, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love the desperation in Darnielle's voice as he sings this, espcially the last seven lines. It has such a sentiment of something... ending, something that can't be forgotten.
    Angstronauton October 09, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song frightens me a bit,it's alot like my childhood.
    death_list5on April 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThere's a live version I've got where he ramps up the "desperation" in his voice even more. Practically screams the last few lines. Fantastic.

    This was the song that got me into TMG.
    Alagemoon July 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt is a wonderful song. I love the TMG lyrics so much.. The expression really makes this song.. and his voice, i dont think anyone else could pull it off quite like he does.

    The idea that its about living once, getting out there, giving it a go... "And take your foot off of the brake" ... its a great message. if you can do it, do it - The idea about the chickens, maybe hes saying that theres lots of things you cant possibly do - "'Cuz you just can't do things your body wasn't meant to" so you should make the most of the things you can do.

    oh, and Your childhood death_list5 ? thats in interesting thought.. why is it like your childhood?
    my-apple-your-eyeon August 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyeah definitely a song about living life to its fullest the first time around, "and take your foot off the brake" is a great lyric.

    earlier in the first verse, he says -
    If we get our full three score and ten
    We won't pass this way again

    i think meaning that even if you live a normal life expectancy of 70 years (three score and ten = 70), you'll still only be able to live the present moment once so don't waste it.
    k124on August 08, 2006   Link

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