Although everyone seems eager to figure Morph the Cat to be a metaphor or a literary figure, all the lyrics fit in a frame around a cat person who lets his cat, Morph, out in...
High above Manhattan town
What floats and has a shape like that
Fans like us who watch the skies
We know it's Morph the Cat

Gliding like a big blue cloud
From Tomkins Square to Upper Broadway
Beyond the park to Sugar Hill
Stops a minute for a latte

He oozes down the heating duct
Swims like seaweed down the hall
He briefly digs your wiggy pad
And seeps out through the wall

It's kind of like an arctic mindbath
Cool and sweet and slightly rough
Liquid light on New York City
Like Christmas without the chintzy stuff

What exactly does he want
This Rabelasian puff of smoke
To make you feel all warm and cozy
Like you heard a good joke

Like you heard an Arlen tune
Or bought yourself a crazy hat
Like you had a Mango Cooler
Ooh. Morph the Cat

He's all the talk in shops and schoolyards
Sutton Place - The Automat
Players playin' in da Bronx
Respect to Morph the Cat

It's kind of like an arctic mindbath
Cool and sweet and slightly rough
LIquid light on New York City
Like Christmas without the chintzy stuff

So rich is his charisma
You can almost hear it sing
He skims the rools
And bells begin to ring

Chinese cashiers can feel it now
Grand old gals at evening mass
Young racketeers
And teenage models
Laughing on the grass

Blessed Yankees have an ally
When this feline comes to bat
Bringing joy to old Manhattan
All watch the skies for Morph the Cat


Lyrics submitted by Arbiter

Morph the Cat song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentWhen I first heard Morph the Cat, I thought it was about how one can open their window in the city and hear various bits of music and noise that while different, manage to "morph" into a whole. The song takes us on a trip through various parts of Manhattan, each of which adds their sound. While 'slightly rough', the end result is still 'cool and sweet' and brings joy because it's a mix of peoples and cultures.

    However, I've read some reviews that suggest a darker meaning. Morph could be Morpheus, god of dreams, who is lulling the city into a numb state. Fagen has mentioned constant brain washing from sources like politics and TV being key factors.
    Fagen's mother suffered from Alzheimers (an arctic mindbath) She was also a child singer from the Catskills known for doing Arlen tunes. She meet her husband while working in a hatter's office.
    Rabelasian is a reference to Francois Rabelais, a 16th century satirist. Apparently Morph can be entertaining, but packs a puch.
    So, Morph the Cat-- a joy bringing being made of the mix of different sounds and peoples into a harmonius whole...or sinister brain-washer?
    Arbiteron April 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Morph the Cat" has political overtones. Think about it. Fagen is a NYC'er, who was hit hard by 9/11. But he's far from a Bush fan. I read somewhere that originally Morph was a good guy, a guy who creeps into NYC and helps them to be able to forget 9/11, to forget terror and agony and death, for a while. But when Fagen was writing this, Morph automatically took on a sinister edge--becoming, as Arbiter suggests, a brain-washer.

    To me, "Morph" is a sinister little song about escapism, brainwashing, etc. I think it also takes a bit of a parody on the idea of "the Rapture."

    :>)
    WritingIsMyReligionon August 31, 2006   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationIt's just impressionistic - Fagen is playing a part, as he often does - in this case, a jaded urbanite is considering the moods and mad ideas of his fellow citizens, who he feels believe in something higher than them - an indefinable something, maybe a god, maybe an alien visitor - or maybe just a special new designer drug (more than a hint of the latter) - Morph is welcome amongst the Chinese, amongst hookers, in schools and shops - we won't know who he is, but Fagen is praising his arrival.
    JamesWBon October 31, 2012   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningAll of Donald Fagan's solo works are concept albums. "Morph the Cat" is no exception. In an interview Fagen described the album as being "about the death of culture, the death of politics, the beginning of the end of my life." as well as "New Yorkers dealing with aftershocks" of 9/11.
    Morph the Cat is perceived contradictorily as both positive and negative because as Fagen put it:
    "the cat is narcotizing the citizens. I observe it in people, this mind-death, these layers of brain-washing that's gone on for so many years. It's in the techniques of political machines, the unbelievable stupidity on television."
    In part the" narcotizing" of the cat seems conceptually similar to The Rocky Horror Picture Show tune "Rose Tint My World," a reference to the expression defining how one distortedly wants to see only a desired perception of the good and refusing to see a harsh reality as demonstrated by the lyric:
    "Rose tints my world and keeps me safe from my trouble and pain"
    As such, the cat seems to be called "Morph" due to its ubiquitous influence of distorting reality and creating delusions. i.e. "morphing" reality.
    Azr4elon January 21, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFagan has identified himself as a jazz man from way back, and I might be grabbing for the lowest hanging fruit, but the song seems to be telling all the ways marijuana can effect a person.

    "This Rabelasian puff of smoke
    To make you feel all warm and cozy
    Like you heard a good joke

    Like you heard an Arlen tune
    Or bought yourself a crazy hat
    Like you had a Mango Cooler"

    It seems pretty cut and dried to me, but I may be seeing things a little to literally.
    zapgunneron March 21, 2016   Link

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