Baby love me now that you are born
Oh! Baby!

Baby in your cradle look at me
Baby speak in rhythms now you're three
Ride your German Shepherd 'till you're five
Baby think the TV is alive
Baby spend the night out you're thirteen
Bending for a wish your candles leaned
Baby bang erasers and wash the board,
Think just yesterday you wore a sword
Watch your new years evening wash away
You're on the floor, can you hear me troubadour?

Alvin row tangled in your broken kite
It's hard to be Ben Franklin but,
Try staying against the light
Old clapper you can step inside
Accustomed to the rust your silver child
Alvin Row, we're glad to see that you can't fake it
White corn grow on every side
But you can't take it, the yellow wardrobes suits you fine
Alvin all these visions smile
Let them do your makeup I know

Alvin Row, half of them are on your side
The other figments all are being completely unselfish
And all behind the right man here
My mind is not unkind it's just not open
Alvin Row, I watched the mime cryin' his winches
Brown black bag, we'll let you be until you'll fade
Now fade, now fade,
Now fade, now.......
Tired of reaching for the lampshade
Baby reading, baby love me
Ruuuuuuuun! Ruuuuuuuuun!
Ruuuuuuuun! Ruuuuuuuuun!
Ruuuuuuuun! Ruuuuuuuuun!
Ruuuuuuuun! Ruuuuuuuuun!

I told the baker's daughter that I didn't want the water
She only likes it when I beg, so I expect she's waiting
I told the baker's daughter that I didn't want their water
She only likes it when I beg, so I expect she's waiting
Row, Alvin Row, Alvin Row, Alvin Row, Row Alvin

I remember the day that I walked away from this empty flight
Cause the demons are really the ones when there's nothing on
Would slip by when I'm silent I have to let so many people down
But the bell from the ice cream man comes to save the day

The winter comes we do not wander, I belong
The chocolate shakes, the sun awakes, I play ping pong
The autumn clouds distort and crowd the petal lawn
I pulled the glass it dripped too fast for second dawn

Since we passed through the maze as we unlock the stage of my other ride
I remember the shining, the spot on the day she played
Though I never knew Moses I know many noses with thoughts like me
Take a drive to the Jacksonville pharmacy and pretend

But a new apartment and a heart don't make me old
This is spinal rage and lit a page and I've been told
But I'm walking on a wire with eight other eyes
Be sure to play the best of you eight other sides

I'll stay shy, you stay shy
Dear Alvin
I'll say bye, you say bye
Dear Alvin
I'll say go, you say go
Dear Alvin
I'll sing Row, you sing Row
Dear Alvin
I'll stay shy, you stay shy
Dear Alvin
I'll say bye, you say bye
Dear Alvin
I'll say go, you say go
Dear Alvin
I'll sing Row, you sing Row
Dear Alvin
I'll say go, you say go
Dear Alvin



Lyrics submitted by couldBanyone

Alvin Row song meanings
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25 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentAs for interpretation:

    There's too much lyrical content to reference here, so I'll give you a general idea. I believe it is about a man who has visions of his baby being born. The baby is Alvin Row. He imagines the baby growing up and eventually dying (fading). He wonders if the visions are real.

    Now here's the tricky part.. is the baby real? He talks about "baby bleeding" (bloody from birth) followed by the screaming that would definitely relate to birth... or is it mourning? Reaching for the lampshade could signify the father is kept up by visions of his baby dying (bleeding). I can't say which one is correct... but if the baby really is born then the ending is the father finally saying goodbye to his Alvin. Eventually he will "sing Row, dear Alvin" or in other words, he will sing the song "Alvin Row" about it.

    Now the section starting with "I remember the day..." is a very hard section to digests because a) the lyrics are very strange and hard to decipher and b) it doesn't seem to fit with the story. Perhaps the father is remembering his own childhood (chocolate shakes, ice cream man's bell). The rest is too cryptic for me, not to mention I could have the lyrics all wrong. Either way I think I should at least give my impression. Maybe a better understanding will be presented later.
    couldBanyoneon November 01, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwell i've always related this song to a relationship i had, how i got her to come out of her shell, and we were happy for awhile, and she just took all the good bits away, and plodded away off to college in boston. and now she won't even talk to me. fuck.
    GhostTigeron April 10, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSo good I named my band after it!

    As for the lyrics, I think maybe some of you are trying to take these lyrics a little too literally? Avey's early lyrics were always very metaphorical and it takes a lot before they even come together to one meaning. Hell, his lyrics up until quite recently have been very abstract- look at his songs on Sung Tongs and a lot of them are even stranger than this.

    I mean, we don't have Avey on here so none of us really know what it's about, but here's some ideas I've come up with about the song:

    -for one, I really don't think Alvin Row is literally about a baby. It makes a lot of the lyrics about being old and dying a little difficult. I think if Alvin even is a character- which might be a stretch itself- then Avey is maybe trying to describe a person's entire life through the medium of them being a baby.

    -secondly, the song doesn't even cover one lifetime. The references are often ancient or historical (just yesterday you wore a sword, it's hard to be Ben Franklin). Considering a lot of these are in the past, then we could consider that he's using the past in a very exaggerated way. If that's true, then Alvin isn't even a person- he could be a nation or empire, which would make the personal references like "new year's evening" interesting- in that case he's either describing a nation in terms of personal landmarks or a person in terms of national ones.

    -thirdly, I don't think Alvin is even the same character throughout the story. Sometimes he seems like the narrater's son (baby in your cradle, look at me), next the narrater's lover (baby love me), next a friend, next a lost one (I remember the day that I walked away). I think these ambiguities really emphasise that fact that Alvin represents something rather than actually exists as any person in the song.

    So overall, the song doesn't really adhere to any strict plot or timeline: Alvin isn't one age, he doesn't exist in any one lifetime, and he doesn't even exist as one person. Which I suppose means that Alvin represents some kind of influence, or factor, in Avey's life- or anyone's, really.

    I couldn't possibly guess what that is, but although it seems a cop-out to say "it's drugs!", this song was written right at the time Avey was on a cocktail of different drugs and some of the lyrics seem to fit that interpretation (Watch your new years evening wash away/alvin all these visions are mine/they are figments of your mind/I remember I watched a man crying his weird chant/she only likes it when i beg so i expect she's waiting/words slip by when i'm silent i have to let so many people down) which imply a combination of hallucinogenics, addiction and guilt.

    But at the same time, all the ancient references seem to point towards Alvin being something far more ancient and long-standing, which complicates things a bit. Maybe Alvin represents the Muses, which were both known to create hallucinations and inspire, and were certainly ancient. Well, it's an idea, at least.

    What do you guys think?
    Appers66on April 02, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI think that this song is the perfect culmination of everything that Spirit is about. The whole album deals with the themes that are found in this song, such as childhood and growing up, and both have a dark undercurrent. It seems to be about the expectations that parents have on their children "Baby love me now that you are born" and how the relationship changes as time goes by and aging happens. Eventually the child needs to escape the shadow of it's parents like any adolescent in order to mature and learn to stand on it's own two feet. It seems like the lyrics "ruuuuuuuuuuunnnnnn!" and "Row, Alvin Row, Alvin Row, Alvin Row, Row Alvin" (it sounds like Alvin's last name has now become a verb) are almost shouts of advice from the Avey to Alvin. And the end seems to be reflection on and nostalgia for the much simpler life that childhood provided. At least that's my take.
    TieMeUpUntieMeon August 27, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song makes me feel such a mix of emotions. Excitement, wonder, sadness, nostalgia, hope, anxiety. It makes me want to cry. The lyrics seem to be too abstract to be about a simple plot. Alvin probably represents some amorphous "thing", like childhood, or innocence, and the song shows what happens as that gets fades away and gives way to maturity and the "real world", and the the longing to go back to the stage of innocence and childhood with lyrics such as "ice cream man come to save the day". I don't think the speaker is old enough to be dying, I think it's just his childhood that's dying. He's trying to get past it and grow up, but it's so difficult to just let go of the times when you were young and carefree--no thoughts of wars, politics, cheating, beating, robbery, murder, disease, etc. Just happiness.

    We may never know the real meaning, but that's what the song makes me feel, and it's incredibly powerful. Amazing song.
    PairOFishon July 16, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt was bothering me that this song, one of my all time favorite AC songs, was not on the lyrics list.

    I understand there are a bunch of holes and a lot of the lyrics are just what I'm hearing from repeated listens on high volume (and perhaps an active imagination).

    If anyone has more insight into the lyrical content, let me know and I'll correct.

    Thanks!
    couldBanyoneon October 31, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyesss i've been working on these lyrics on my other computer. i'll post when i get back home.
    emergeon November 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentok here is what i transcribed so far:


    baby love me now that you are born
    "oh, a baby!"

    baby in your cradle look at me
    baby speaking rhythms now you're free
    ride your german shepard till you're five
    baby think the tv is alive
    baby spend the night out you're thirteen
    bending for a wish your candles leave
    baby bang erasers and wash the board
    think just yesterday you wore a sword
    watch your new years evening wash away
    you're on the floor
    can you hear me troubadour?

    alvin row
    tangled in your broken kite
    it's hard to be ben franklin but
    (?)
    accustomed to the rest you're still the child

    i'll never recollect to see
    that you can't fake it
    white (?) in every size
    but you can't take the gifts
    but your wardrobe suits you fine
    alvin all these visions of mine
    let them do your make up, i know

    alvin row
    half of them are on your side
    they are the figments of
    (?)
    my mind is not unkind it's just not open

    i remember i watched a man crying his weird chant
    run back there, we'll let you be
    until you're famous

    tired of reaching for the lampshade
    baby reading
    baby love me
    ahh!

    i told the baker's daughter
    that i didn't want their water
    she only likes it when i pray
    so i expect she's waiting
    i told the baker's daughter
    that i didn't want their water
    she only likes it when i beg
    so i expect she's waiting on
    alvin row
    alvin row
    alvin row
    oh alvin...

    i remember the day that i walked away from the city's edge
    cars are demons and radio runs when there's nothing on
    words slip by when i'm silent i have to let so many people down
    but the bell from the ice cream man comes to save the day
    winter comes, we do no wrong, and i dream of
    the chocolate shakes, the sun awakes, the painting of
    the autumn clouds distort and cry to (?)
    up pull the glass, a trip too fast for (?)

    so slip past through the maze as we hop up on the stage of the (?)
    i remember the shining, the spotlight, the day she played
    though i never knew (?) except nobody knows this part's like mine
    take a drive to the jackson performance to see and pretend
    well a new apartment and a heart don't make me old
    despite a rage i am a page and i've been torn
    well i'm walking on a rail with eight other eyes
    so be sure and pick the best of you eight other sides

    when i stay shy, you stay shy, dear alvin
    when i say bye, you say bye, dear alvin
    when i say go, you say go, dear alvin
    when i say no, you say no, dear alvin

    well that's funny, my voice didn't come back to me
    i'll try it again
    hello? hello?
    oh my goodness, now my singing voice is gone!
    emergeon December 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentbased on the lyrics i posted (which are only partially correct):

    the beginning is about alvin row growing up, trying to become successful but failing. someone is trying to tell him not to give up and waste away, he still has a chance.
    emergeon December 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is absolutely amazing. Where did Animal Collective drift off and stop doing tribal songs? (I admit, some of them are very good, and all of them are creative, just not as satisfying.)

    When the storming piano comes in after "Love me!" I get chills... this is an extremely epic song. The synth is done perfectly to add to this unusual poppy treatment from Animal Collective.
    heyheyhey111on March 22, 2007   Link

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