"Impossible Germany" as written by and Glenn Kotche Mikael Jorgensen....
Impossible Germany
Unlikely Japan
Wherever you go
Wherever you land

I'll say what this means to me
I'll do what I can
Impossible Germany
Unlikely Japan

Fundamental problem
All need to face
This is important
But I know you're not listening
No, I know you're not listening

This was still new to me
I wouldn't understand
Impossible Germany
Unlikely Japan

This is what love is for
To be out of place
Gorgeous and alone
Face to face

With no larger problems
That need to be erased
Nothing more important
Than to know someone's listening
Now, I know you'll be listening


Lyrics submitted by Grendelbomb

"Impossible Germany" as written by Glenn Kotche Mikael Jorgensen

Lyrics © BUGHOUSE (DIGITAL/SONGFILE OBO THESE FOUR SONGS , BMG PLATINUM SONGS OBO WORDS AMPERSAND MUSIC , BUG MUSIC (DIGITAL ONLY) OBO POEYFARRE MUSIC , BUG MUSIC OBO PEAR BLOSSOM MUSIC , BUGHOUSE MUSIC OBO NEBSONIC MUSIC , BUGHOUSE MUSIC OBO JORGENSTORMUSIC

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Impossible Germany song meanings
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30 Comments

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  • +4
    General Commentstanding next to a friend (my gemany) the other night, listening to wilco play this song live, the message of the song that i get kept coming home. listened to the song for months, hearing of a struggle between two people, trying to communicate, always separated -- like Germany and Japan, two countries so foreign to each other but together for a period. this notion of "i'm trying to tell you but you're not listening or can't hear me" is to me about a person who's very close and yet unreachable. that reaching out, trying to help the other who misses that "this is what love is for/to be out of place", is in vain, the other can't hear. at the end, i hear that other person turning, listening. it's hope that i hear. i think the two guitars at the end are sort of the extension of the lyric, that enough was said about the struggle, the emotion of two guitars is that push past words, just expression.
    delendaon May 13, 2008   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI think this is about straight up unrequited love.

    "Impossible Germany
    Unlikely Japan
    Wherever you go
    Wherever you land"

    He is pining for someone who he doesn't know very well. I think she flits in and out of his life. He is wondering where she is headed, figuratively and literally speaking.

    "I'll say what this means to me
    I'll do what I can
    Impossible Germany
    Unlikely Japan"

    He is determined to be honest about his feelings and telling her is as much as he can do to try to control the situation and he is hoping she will reciprocate those feelings.

    "(The) fundamental problem
    (We) all need to face
    This is important
    But I know you're not listening
    No I know you're not listening"

    He is frustated because she is ignoring or disregarding his confession. It is seemingly meaningless to her.

    "(If) this was still new to me
    I wouldn't understand
    Impossible Germany
    Unlikely Japan"

    Either he has been through this before with other people or this is just the latest in a series of pleas to her.

    "This is what love is for
    To be out of place
    Gorgeous and alone
    Face to face"

    They may be individuals who don't fit in and he relates to her in that way. If she would just give him a chance, she would see that they were meant to be.

    "With no larger problems
    That need to be erased
    Nothing more important
    Than to know someone's listening
    Now I know you'll be listening"

    He longs for a new start with this girl. It is fresh and free of problems and fights-nothing to apologize for (yet). It's his dream scenario that she will hear him and want to be with him too.
    ladybug2009on June 09, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentGermany and Japan were allies during WWII. It is a metaphor for two lovers. The "impossible" and "unlikely" show the defunct nature of the two parties involved. Obviously, there is a problem in the relationship and it's not being solved because the other person isnt listening.

    The problem disappears when they realize that love is "to be out of place." After that, the "Impossible Germany, Unlikely Japan" line disappears and the narrator knows that the other is now listening.
    dirtyp28on May 17, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love, love the dueling guitars at the end of this song.
    UnionThugon June 27, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"It is hinting around where you start to see where it ceases to be impossible when you think about what a country or a place can become. And when does it stop being something unbelieveable and something you can act upon to try and change when you realize that there's something inside of yourself you need to fix. Basically, when do you wake up from denial?"


    Its about a nation drifting towards the same situations in Japan and Germany in the second world war. There is nothing bad in the German or Japanese psyche that would make them more likely to instigate this. A warning that nothing is impossible and we should always question the power that people and counties adopt and accept as rightfully theirs. If it can happen to countries a unlikely as these, what chance do other countries have. Its asking you to wake up and change before its too late. The fact that Jeff writes it as a love song to his country makes it all the more poignant. A devastatingly intelligent song.
    koanon November 26, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentImpossible Germany. Unlikely Japan. Maybe Korea? Thoughts of a Frenchman buying a new car.
    palatin8on July 28, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti asked for the lyrics to be revised since Grendelbomb based them off the early version played live during the kicking television tour... now they are in line with the album
    mavs41on March 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe solo. =o its really good. its a very wilco-y song, one of my favorites from the new album.
    armsaimedatthe_sunon May 22, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI enjoy the guitars in the second half as well.

    When I first listened to this song as a bootleg, I interpreted it as the band expressing their surprise over how successful they've become. They started off small, and now they're touring in places such as Germany and Japan, something that seems "impossible," or at least "unlikely."

    I think dirtyp28 has the right idea, though. It hadn't occurred to me that the countries shared a strange past.
    lostrockon May 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI hadnt really payed much attention to the "unlikely japan" part, but now that I've taken a look at the lyrics- the intro is made even more beautiful and reminds me of the footage from "lost in translation." It makes sense now- a communication barrier from two distinctly different culture.s right on the nose dirtyp28.
    cocoonladyon May 29, 2007   Link

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