"You Are My Face" as written by and Jeff Tweedy Nels Courtney Cline....
I remember my mother's
Sister's husband's brother
Working in the goldmine full time
Filling in for sunshine

Filing into tight lines, ordinary beehives
The door screams, "I hate you, hate you hanging 'round my blue jeans."

Why is there no breeze?
No currency of leaves?
No current through the water while
No feelings I can see

I trust no emotion
I believe in locomotion
That turn to rust as we discuss
Though I must have let you down too many times
In the dirt and the dust

I have no idea how this happens
All of my maps have been overwrote
Happenstance has changed my plans
So many times my heart has been outgrown
Now everybody's feeling all alone
Can't tell you who I am
When everybody's feeling all alone
Can't tell you who I am

I am looking forward
Towards the shadows, chasing bones
Our face is stitched in sewing
Our houses hemmed into homes

Trying to be thankful
Our stories fit into phones
Our voices lift so easily
A gift given accidentally
When we're not sure we're not alone


Lyrics submitted by Sweet Doo

"You Are My Face" as written by Nels Courtney Cline Jeff Tweedy

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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  • +6
    General CommentFirst off, it is greatest song i have ever heard by wilco and its the lyrics that make it amazing for me, but the music pulls the emotion out of the 'almost' cautionary tale. Everyone may take a different perspective or meaning from the song depending on what they are going through but i feel i have analyzed the 'big picture'. If you read this, bare with me because its deep but this song shares a very intellectual, philosophical, and existential meaning.

    It tells the story of a person who has become so numb from the monotony of the in's and out's of everyday life and also the internal struggle that comes with failed relationships, but the song finishes with a new realization or enlightenment where the same person who is now older can look back and see that their seemingly troubled experiences was all part of the journey of life, and its that journey that makes life amazing.


    My interpretation of the metaphoric lyrics:

    "I remember my mother's sister's husband's brother"
    A person who is familiar but distant to mean that it could represent anyone and everyone in this world, as we are all connected.

    "Working in the goldmines fulltime..."
    The idea of someone living to work rather than working to live and 'goldmine' as the pursuit of money,fame,etc(things that are really meaningless in a temporary world) for happiness.

    "tight lines, ordinary beehives"
    Repetition through a cyclical program, whether it be work, school, drug abuse, etc

    "The door screams I hate you..hanging around my blue jeans"
    This lyric is awesome as it again refers to too much work where the 'front door of his house" is personified with jealously, talking to that person who is walking out everyday for more work in 'blue jeans', a typical representation of blue-collared work attire.

    "Why is there no breeze...leaves...current through the water while no feelings i can see."
    Describing the numbing effect brought on by a stale, mundane life and not being able to appreciate the world and whatever is happening around them.

    "I trust no emotion, I believe in locomotion that turns to rust as we discuss"
    Again, numbness from adaptation of routine living but the 'rust' as we discuss' is foreshadowing the rest of the story to come, and explaining how monotonous living can eventually destruct, fall apart, and ultimately fail that person who may in turn change for better or in a cautionary tale, worse

    "Though I must have let you down too many times..."
    Becoming familiar and maybe even comfortable with mistakes made

    "I have no idea how this happens...maps...heart has been outgrown"
    As the music changes and hits this is where there is a climax, the point of realization that their 'maps overwrote' are plans/dreams that have changed or however they have been living has not been working out and through unanticipated experiences has taken its toll on the heart/soul.

    "everybody's feeling all alone, can't tell you who i am ...how can i tell you who i am?"
    The toll taken has deadened feelings and the ability or drive of sharing who they really are with those who they love because they feel everyone is experiencing it too and won't listen or understand.

    "I am looking forward towards the shadows chasing bones"
    A change back to the first melody as the person is now older and has matured, enlightened from their past. and now sees the beauty of life's journey all they way til death, where shadows chasing bones is every single person living.

    "Our faces stitched and sewn, our houses hemmed into homes"
    Time heals all wounds, if not understanding, accepting your past, experiences, hardships and being able to learn from them. 'Houses' as almost saying they were single or alone and now 'homes' as having a family of their own, close loved ones, or a comfortable place in the world.

    "Trying to be thankful, our stories fit into phones"
    Everyday still has its own challenges but now taken all in stride, knowing its part of the journey, 'stories..phones' as the ability to now comfortably express emotions, talk about the past or current issues without feeling alone and misunderstood.

    "Our voices lift so easily, a gift given accidentally, when we're not sure we're not alone"
    My favorite line and possibly a note to those going through or stuck in a similar situation: 'Voices lift so easily' as the bridge of the song. When life is looking bad and you are thinking that you may be all alone, in those times it is difficult to see but important to understand that we in human nature are quick to assume the worst, blame those around us or even ourselves, but by doing this we learn how to correct or cope with these issues, overcoming and learning from them and building up ourselves into better individuals. A gift, a part of our human nature that helps us realize what truth may lie beneath.

    I love the irony of the repetitive melody that starts the song, changes, and then finishes with same tune, a depiction of that even though you may have been younger, had some enlightenment, and matured, you are still on the exact same journey. Finally, the truth is that there is a tomorrow, everyday a new beginning, don't dwell on your past or problems, life is too short. As the song goes, you may wake up one day and realize that experiences or problems of the past are nothing more than the past, and have shaped and made you the person you are today. It's that amazing journey that should be appreciated and not taken for granted. That is what makes life so amazing and looking forward to another day as a blessing.
    johny4304on April 08, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGod, when that "i have no idea" part kicks in it is absolutely brilliant. The whole song is great but that one part Tweedy's voice is unreal.
    kierstenmhon March 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe song becomes absolutely amazing once you hit "i have no idea"...i agree.

    wilco is love.
    natnazeon March 21, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe harmonies in this song are something else! I still don't know what I compeletely think about it, but I love it thats for sure
    lukewagoneeron April 09, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThat turn to rust as we discuss
    though I must have let you down too many times
    in the dirt and the dust

    i thought was

    "i've tured to ruse as we've discussed
    thought i must have let you down too many times.." etc

    maybe i'm wrong? but thats how i hear it
    natnazeon April 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentrust not ruse

    i can't type
    natnazeon April 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm trying really hard to figure out the opening lyrics, so here's what I've got so far.

    I don't really know the opening stanza, part of me wants to dismiss it as straight-forward with the introduction of a character and then the way he "filled in for sunshine", or brought back "gold" to replace happiness. That's a sketchy idea.

    The next line, "filling into tight lines, ordinary beehives" is about urban, possibly suburban, life. Tight lines of roads, beehives the way the city forms a comb of bustling life.

    "The door screams I hate you"... at first I didn't know what to think, but it occured to me that the narrator is hearing voices through the door of his parents arguing. As for the 'hanging round my bluejeans'... several thoughts, none of which I am certain. It could be sexual, since underneath bluejeans are... well... essentials. Or maybe something with workplace, since bluejeans used to be the typical work attire before they came into style. Either way, the narrator seems to be going through some stress.

    The character, 'mother's sister's husband's brother' could refer to a man the narrator's mother is having an affair with--kind of like we often call them 'uncle' (and by the description he would be an uncle-in-law)

    'Why is there no breeze? No currency of leaves?' I think this whole stanza is talking about how there's no dynamics in his life, no chance, no 'feeling i can see'.

    Next is more obvious, 'I trust no emotion, I beleive in locomotion' could mean he doesn't beleive in love, and he's ready to leave at any moment. Or maybe by 'believing' in locomotion he's saying that his way of handling problems, 'emotions', is by taking off. He's deteriorating, turning to rust, as he's tried to explain, but it's too late. He's let someone down too many times.

    The next line appears to be about something, possibly an end to a relationship, messing everything up. 'Maps', or plans, have been 'overwrote' (possible overthrown?). Maps could also refer to how he sees things, his perception of where things are in his life, and suddenly that changes. Happenstance changes his plans, and his heart is 'ungrown', possibly synonymous for broken. I'm not sure what 'When everybody's feeling all alone, I can't tell you who I am' means. I think it might represent his identity being reliant on someone else's love, being part of a relationship, but I'm not sure.

    Then back to the quiet guitar, 'I am looking forward toward the shadows chasing bones' could be refering to death, possibly even longing for it. The next lyric, 'our face is stiched in sewing,' I think refers to their child. Two faces sitched together to make one (You Are My Face), and that child is what 'hems' the house into a 'home'.

    But the couple seems to have broken apart, since their 'stories fit into phones', seeming to me as them relaying from a distance because they arn't together (possibly father-son trying to keep up a relationship). 'Our voices lift so easily' is referring to fighting between the narrator and the woman, which is 'a gift given accidentally when we're not sure we're not alone'--the child is overhearing the arguments.

    Anyway, that's my interpretation right now. I'd love to hear other's thoughts. These lyrics are really good and remind me a lot of 'She's A Jar' for some reason.
    loldoctoron April 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about Jeff being a father. The title makes sense - his sons look just like him. "the doors screams I hate you" goes along also and then the part about "I've let you down too many times...." Could refer to the pre-rehab days when I doubt Jeff was as intuned with his family and sons.
    That interpretation just makes the most sense to me.
    1212on April 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is easily my favorite song on the new record. these are some of the best lyrics of any song Jeff Tweedy has written.
    tjancijron May 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAfter thinking more about it, I think 'shadows chasing bones' is the ultrasound of a child, and how it changes the narrator's life. I think that makes sense, since the whole song is about how easily stuff can change, and it seems to be in an urban relational setting. Just some more stuff to think about, I love this song. By far my favorite Wilco album, and I love them all.
    loldoctoron June 13, 2007   Link

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