'36 Hudson in the garage,
all sorts of junk in the unattached spare room.
Dishes in the kitchen sink,
new straw for the old broom,
friends who don't have a clue,
well meaning teachers ...

but down in your arms, in your arms,
I am a wild creature.

Floor two-foot-high with newspapers,
white carpet thick with cat hair,
half-eaten gallons of ice cream in the freezer,
fresh fuel for the sodium flares ...

I write down good reasons to freeze to death
in my spiral-ring notebook.

But in the long tresses of your hair,
I am a babbling brook.


Lyrics submitted by Javan, edited by ZachJPayne

Broom People song meanings
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25 Comments

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  • +7
    General CommentI...definitely didn't think he said "I am a battling frog". THAT WOULD BE SILLY
    cellopantson January 15, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI tend to listen to this song mostly in the winter, and it absolutely tears my insides to shreds every time. The comparison of the dreary day-to-day routines & loneliness with the freedom & happiness that comes with finding someone you can share memories with is beautiful.
    kellymprestonon January 18, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLast night at the show in Boston, John explained that this was a song about the kid who gets beat up by the jocks in high school. But then he finds a girl and falls in love and now he can laugh in the jock's faces because he has someone and they don't (and he's getting laid three times a day).
    Laura424on September 27, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti love these lines
    "But down in your arms, in your arms
    I am a wild creature."

    because i can just imagine this kid going through his mundane shitty life, quite and reserved, and then with this person he's just alive and free. i can relate.
    invertedcompasson June 23, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think that the 'wild creature' line is both an expression of his freedom while he's with the girl, and a retaliation against his stepfather's violent oppression. Kind of like saying 'You've pinned me down, I've got back up, and now I've got you, and SHE'S got whatever's left of me to get.'
    Blithiumon October 15, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThere's something about Mountain Goats lyrics that make you want to scrawl them all over your bedroom walls in felt-tip marker.

    Anyway, like everybody else I think this song is about how you can be so normal and your life can be so inseperably mundane from everybody else's, but if you find someone really special, when your with them your life, your being, everything about you can transcend to a higher, wilder meaning. You become something like an elemental force, apart of nature (babbling brook, wild creature)
    Czarolineon January 24, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI write down good reasons to freeze to death
    In my spiral-ring notebook
    But in the long tresses of your hair
    I am a babbling brook

    This verse makes the song explicit for me. Seen in the greater context of The Sunset Tree as an album, we see that John's relationship with this girl was the only thing that kept him sane through his teen years. She is referenced in a number of songs, and you can easily see the shape of his relationship with her, but this verse is the most important.

    You see, John has never disclosed to anyone about his abuse and been taken seriously. He's turned inward, away from his anger and sadness, and 'frozen' himself to keep it bottled up within. But when he meets Cathy he finds a kindred spirit and can finally talk about his feelings - he becomes a babbling brook when in the long tresses of her hair.

    Here's where she appears in other songs...

    "This Year"
    and then Cathy showed up
    and we hung out
    trading swigs from a bottle
    all bitter and clean
    locking eyes
    holding hands
    twin high maintenance machines

    Cathy and John both had been abused or at least had a terrible home life, hence the "twin high maintenance machines"

    "Dance Music"
    okay so i'm seventeen years old
    you're the last best thing i got going
    but then the special secret sickness
    starts to eat through you
    what am i supposed to do?
    no way of knowing
    so i follow you down your twisting alleyways
    find a few cul-de-sacs of my own
    there's only one place this road ever ends up
    and i don't wanna die alone

    He follows Cathy though she is as damaged as he is, and finds out more about his own situation. But he knows the relationship is doomed (also, see Dinu Lipatti's Bones, which is entirely about their relationship)

    "Lion's Teeth"

    I am dreaming of you

    He's thinking of Cathy. That's why this lyric only makes sense in the greater context of the album.

    Also, one of the greatest albums of all time. Just sayin'.
    TerminalHopeon October 08, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Friends who don't have a clue
    Well meaning teachers
    But down in your arms, in your arms
    I am a wild creature."

    That throws the whole song into context. Some of my favorite lyrics.
    Coowon October 13, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti enjoy this song quite a bit. cool lyrics.
    aereogrammeon December 29, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti enjoy this song quite a bit. cool lyrics.
    aereogrammeon December 29, 2005   Link

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