When I was baby, I looked like a pig
My nose a snout and my ears were too big
My mother would poke at the hole
At the back of my head where my brain was exposed
I didn't know it then but never again
Would recapture those wonderful days

When I was a baby, I fell down a well
I landed deep down in the furnace of hell
The devil would rock me to sleep
With stories of cities of ivory and gold
It took a long, long time before I could
Escape from that terrible hole

When I was a baby, I lived in a crib
I crawled on floors and ate with a bib
But then I was taken away
And was sold to the circus for trinkets and beads
Now I lie awake at night and dream about
What I would do if I was ever set free

Lyrics submitted by Anderson_Council, edited by Mellow_Harsher

When I Was a Baby (The Donner Party cover) song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentFor some reason, I think this song's about the foster care system. Like when she was at baby she was mistreated by her mother ("My mother would poke at the hole at the back of my head where my brain was exposed"), but those were still her best childhood memories, because then she talks about falling into hell and having the devil as her new caretaker. The funny thing is that the devil caretaker "rocks her to sleep" and sings songs, but she still feels like she's in hell.
    The next part is a rehash of the foster care thing, I think... she was neglected by her original caretaker, and then she was taken away and put in a "circus for trinkets and beads", which I think might mean foster care for unwanted children. She can't be free from it, and for whatever reason she doesn't like it (maybe it's sort of wild or an usual, being described as a "circus") so she remembers her mother's problems happily. That's what I got out of it anyway.
    maeghanon February 01, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAhhh, would love it if they played this song live sometime.
    Hmm, meaning. I don't really know. Perhaps its self explanatory. Neglected children?
    edwarticaon January 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe decemberists covered this one time...but the np version is a cover also, right? who sings this?
    fursoftasfuron July 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is a donner party song. donner party being a band that sam coomes(of quasi) was in during the late 80's. really good stuff.
    salmonjaneton September 20, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNo way! This is one of Sam's songs! I had no idea.
    Ok, it would of been totally cool if they had played this at the Portland show (while touring with Belle and Sebastian) because Sam Coomes and Janet Weiss were hanging out backstage.
    edwarticaon November 12, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOh, also, I forgot to mention: the description of a pig baby definitely conjures up Alice in Wonderland.
    maeghanon February 01, 2008   Link

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