"they cannot let it expand" as written by Eric Pulido, Paul Alexander, Eric Nichelson, Tim Smith and Mckenzie Smith....
They cannot let it expand.
They cannot let it expand.
They cannot let it expand.
They cannot let it.

They cannot let it expand.
They cannot let it expand.
They cannot let it expand.
They cannot let it.

They cannot let it expand.
They cannot let it expand.
They cannot let it expand.
They cannot let it.

They cannot let it expand.
They cannot let it expand.
They cannot let it expand.
They cannot let it expand.

It's pretty in here.
It's pretty in here.
It's pretty in here.


Lyrics submitted by styrofoambootsx9

"They Cannot Let It Expand" as written by Eric Pulido Eric Nichelson

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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they cannot let it expand song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentTo me it means, "They can't see the bigger picture of things".

    A lot of Midlake songs I've listened to seem to revolve around not thinking on one level/focusing too deeply on any one given thing.

    I don't know if the song refers to expanding consciousness or expending your perspective.

    The last lyric is kinda like a resignation, either by the singer himself or the rest of the world. "Its pretty in here" b/c its what we're used to. It's safer here than it is to explore.
    RTBRAND1on June 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI think this song is a criticism about the destruction of natural habitats that humans have for long been very prolific at.

    The last phrase is clearly a resignation and acceptance that he can do nothing about it, that he feels completely powerless to oppose the much larger forces that govern those changes that he views unfit.
    CVZelleron September 12, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis is by far the most ambiguous song on the album due to its simplicity. My theory is that the song is about balloons in the context of the later tracks Balloon Maker and He Tried To Escape. The "they" who can not let it expand would be the monocle men (the controlling government referenced throughout the album). In their desire to limit all thoughts, work, and most importantly escape, they decide to outlaw balloons - not letting them expand. Several other tracks on the album use "they" in an equally ambiguous way, though they all seem to point towards the monocle men. In Kingfish Pies, "'they' turn up the machines", and who else would be controlling manufacturing in this world? In Anabel, "'they' made a dragon stage" as part of an elaborate parade directly linked with the monocle men in Some Of Them Were Superstitious. In their all-controlling way, it seems only fitting that the "they" referenced in this song are the monocle men not letting anything happen outside of their plans and power. The switch at the end from 3rd person to 1st (implied) and the distinct change in vocals indicates that "It's pretty in here" is being spoken by someone entirely different than "they". Because this comes at the end of this song, which leads into "Balloon Maker", I don't think it's a stretch to say that the speaker is either the Balloon Maker himself, or more likely the speaker of that song as well. In either case "it's pretty in here" would be referring to inside the hot air balloon. The lyrics "come out to see the sun" from Balloon Maker back the idea that "in here" is in the balloon, and the view of the sun is "pretty". The other theories that I've read here don't play into the overall theme of the album very well, and it is very much a concept album, so I'd find it strange for this song to be so set apart.
    Razamatazzon April 11, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is likely about an unwanted, untimely erection coming from the perspective of someone with multiple personality disorder. Yep. That's gotta be it.
    Pooeron June 28, 2015   Link
  • -1
    General CommentI wonder what would happen if it expanded.
    amestheamazingon October 01, 2005   Link
  • -1
    General CommentGreat song, I wish I knew exactly what this song was talking about, I mean "it" could be anything. I get the feeling that there is a story behind the lyrics that only Midlake knows about.
    stereo fanon August 23, 2006   Link

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