"flight 180" as written by Justin Rice and Christian Rudder....
It's like you took the giant Christmas tree
At rockafella center and
You spread it paper thin
But you were careful not to break a bulb
And then you mirrored it a million fold
To shine
And shine
And shine along

And there's a tap on my knee
Bring up your seat back please, she says
But I know she means
If you feel like dancing
Dance with me

Some of the lights below
Shine directly on the people I know
Their lives take such strange shapes
But how together they appear from above
I guess that could be love
My friends
My friends
I'm coming home

And then the captain speaks
It's clear and 44 degrees
But I know he means
If you feel like dancing
Dance with me

But I been out past the lights
Where the jagged black begins
I let my heels sink in the sand
And the ocean sucked it's teeth
And the cold cuts through my feet
And stretched out on and on and on

How disconnected I can feel on the ground
It's like I'm shining all alone
And I don't wanna be
So
Before I go to bed tonight
I'll signal up to the passing flight
Hit the lights
The lights
The lights
The lights

And now the man in the middle seat
Recites the times tables audibly
But I know he means
If you feel like dancing
Dance with me
If you feel like dancing
Dance with me

And now the man in the middle seat
Recites the times tables audibly
But I know he means
If you feel like dancing
Dance with me
If you feel like dancing
Dance with me


Lyrics submitted by vivi chang

"Flight 180" as written by Justin Rice Christian Rudder

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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flight 180 song meanings
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13 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentAnybody heard of the poem "Multiplication Table" by Robert Penn Warren? It seems to be the inspiration for the song, especially verses I, III, and IV.

    "If the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center were
    A billion times bigger, and you laid it
    Flat down in the dark, and
    With a steam roller waist-high to God and heavy as
    The Rocky Mountains, flattened it out this as paper, but
    Never broke a single damned colored light bulb, and they were all
    Blazing in the dark, that would be the way it is, but

    Beyond the lights it is dark, and one night in winter, I
    Stood at the end of a pier at Coney Island, while
    The empty darkness howled like a dog, but no wind, and far down
    The boardwalk what must have been a cop's flashlight
    Juggled fitfully over what must have been locked stoor-fronts, then,
    Of a sudden, went out. The stars were small and white, and I heard
    The sea secretly sucking the piles of the pier with a sound like
    And old woman sucking her teeth in the dark before she sleeps.

    The nose of the DC-8 dips, and at this point
    The man sitting beside me begins, quite audibly, to recite
    The multiplication table.

    Far below,
    Individual lights can be seen throbbing like nerve ends.
    I have friends down there, and their lives have strange shapes.
    Like eggs splattered on the kitchen floor. Their lives shine
    Like oil-slicks on dark water. I love them, I think.

    In a room, somewhere, a telephone keeps ringing."
    mandyintheskyon December 30, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentahh this is beautiful.
    megisme123on September 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit makes me feel like hes really lonely, or something. what do you guys think it means?
    megisme123on September 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song sounds like of course the plane ride home after being so far away maybe on tour. Ready to stand still for a moment. The first four verses are are the plane and then it goes to where he has been and describing what it felt like.

    He is discribing what it feels like to be rushed and to be away from home and how we are all lonely and we put on masks to hide be hind. The stourtist says one think,but she means another. The same for the captain, and the man in the middle, "but i know he means if you feel like dancing dance with me" touch me i am human i am not a statue. In the title "180" that is the reference to a complete turn around. Maybe this means that he had time to reflect and there are some things he wants to change, or he finaly sees the lights where his friends are and know it will be different soon.
    jermsteadon November 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti really don't know the underlying meaning of this song, but it means a lot to me because i fly all the time, and the number 44 happens to be some sign of hope for me, and i have memories connected to that number while visiting rockefeller center. just the feeling of the song is great.
    bumberrshooton January 05, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit's about how we might go through the mundane motions, but underneath whatever we do or say, we just want to be loved (find someone to dance with)... i love to listen to it when i'm feeling lonely.
    underratedon April 02, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI believe this song records the euphoric feelings you get when you fly at night and the passengers and employees that think they are what they do.

    Metaphors like arial views of urban lights as an unrolled Christmas tree, and the jagged black that is the oceans at night viewed from his window seat are images I usually feel alone in enjoying.

    Im not sure if its the extra oxygen, but I love to fly and for the reasons I feel I share with the song's writer.
    josephjameson March 20, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about still feeling connected with the world,

    The narrator has had times when he feels lonely, but this flight is bringing him back in connection with civilization.

    The mundane interactions with the flight attendant, pilot, guy in the middle seat....are all he needs to see that he belongs in this world and that he does in fact have friends. His is able to relate his feeling of belonging among the people of the plane to the entire world as he realizes that the world is really just tons of mundane interactions like this over and over. The lights he sees below the plane remind him of this. All of the lights below are more or less the same, therefore no one should feel out of place.

    The stanza I really love is the third one. He refers to people he actually knows, that possibly may have caused his loneliness, and realizes that they all have to go through life too (the light shines on everyone the same). Reminds me of John Donne's For Whom the Bell Tolls. The fact that everyone can relate to eachother is what the speaker considers love, and declares he wants to be a more positive part of the world ("I'm coming home")

    Unbelievable song.
    Quadrophenicon May 12, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love how Bishop Allen can take a simple, overlooked situation and turns it into poetry
    cottonswampon July 08, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationLovely poetry.

    Is it a coincidence that the song about flying home follows Chinatown Bus, about his experiences travelling abroad?

    My guess is that he is so happy to be returning home that it doesn't matter what anyone says to him, he feels so joyful that he wants to dance with them.
    Phonophobeon August 03, 2009   Link

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