"Classic Cars" as written by and Conor Oberst....
She was a real royal lady, true patron of the arts
She said the best country singers die in the back of classic cars
So if I ever got too hungry for a suitcase or guitar
To think of them all alone in the dark
So I laid some nights beside her in a bed made for a queen
She said I kissed her different, that all the men her age were mean
Gave me anything I wanted, oh, the generosity
I took all that I could, it was free
Now the sky is a torn up denim and the clouds are just splattered paint
It?s a room I?m renovating, it?s a name I got to change
If I get out of California I?m going back to my home state
To tell them all that I made a mistake

And I keep looking for that blindfold faith
Lighting candles to a cynical saint
Who wants the last laugh at the fly trapped in the windowsill tape
You can go right out of your mind trying to escape
From the panicked paradox of day to day
If you can?t understand something then it?s best to be afraid

The whole world, it loves you if you are a chic chameleon
Intersecting circles she could hang with anyone
But when conducting business she would lie about where she?s from
Saying, "Life is how it is, not how it was"
I learned to listen, felt like I was back at school
She?d talk forever about the phases of the moon
Saying, "Everything is a cycle, you?ve got to let it come to you
And when it does, you will know what to do"
Without even knowing I guess I took her advice
Painted her front door, it seemed a suitable goodbye
It?s not that often but I think of her sometimes
Just something quaint, a couple ships in the night

And they keep moving at a glacial pace
Turning circles in a memory maze
I made a new cast of the death mask that is going to cover my face
I had to change the combination to the safe
Hide it all behind a wall, let people wait
And never trust a heart that is so bent it can?t break


Lyrics submitted by light_pollution

"Classic Cars" as written by Conor Oberst

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Classic Cars song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentNo idea if this song is about Winnona Ryder, but it's not about a "girlfriend," it's about a patron. The lyrics reflect an older woman, offering to take in and support a talented artist in exchange for his companionship ("a real royal lady, a real patron of the arts...all the men her age were mean...gave me anything I wanted"). She had a jaded view on life, but he maintained the love affair ("lighting candles to the cynical saint"). While she was wealthy enough to be a patron, she wasn't really a part of the in crowd, or perhaps was only in because of her connection to an ex- or deceased husband ("she would lie about where she's from...life is how it is not how it was"). Also, although she was more wordly than the singer, she was a bit flaky in her knowledge, and the lyric is a bit sarcastic about that ("I learned to listen, felt like I was back at school, she'd talk forever about the phases of the moon...without even knowing I guess I took her advice"). Even still, he has fond, but somewhat dark memories of her ("it's not that often, but I think of her sometimes, just somethign quaint, a couple ships in the night").
    sunshipballoonson July 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is one of my favorite songs off of hte new album
    mixedtapeon March 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"If I get out of California I’m going back to my home state
    To tell them all that I made a mistake"

    i think this is like.. if he gets to famous that he's living in california with all the celebrities who are so fake, then he won't have achieved what he wanted to.
    he would have made a mistake, which i agree with.
    lovenothing__on March 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment^ I agree, but I think that the entire song in itself is about him learning from a woman he was with. Even though she was fake ("she would lie about where she's from"), and lived "life how it is not how it was" he still learned a lot from her. ("I learned to listen, felt like I was back in high school")

    I think it's about no matter where you are in life and what you think is going on, you can always learn from anyone else, however unlikely that may be.

    The only part that get's me is the end, I can't figure out where the last line fits in, even tho its a great piece of advice. Maybe that's what she taught him? Idk enough guesswork for me.
    Silon March 30, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhen he says "Everything is a cycle, you've got to let it come to you, and when it does you will know what to do. Without even knowing, I guess I took her advice..." That's what he learned from her. She lied about where she was from, all the men her age were mean - she had been hurt in the past, and in turn gave him the advice, and probably the same advice he will give "Don't trust a heart that's so bent it can't break."
    tiki_12on March 31, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIsn't this the song he said was about being with an older woman? He says he never was with an older woman, but he did have an older friend Rose who he says taught him what it meant to part of the world and that's probably who this song is about.
    willkon March 31, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think its about learning from someone that is not perfect and not the smartest (this is why he sorta critizes her for not telling the truth ect.) and in return he has a different take on his inpending death, and a better view on how to live his life.
    ohiooo88on April 02, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't think "living life how it is not how it was" is a bad thing.
    All that says to me is that you should not live in the past.
    So it doesn't really matter where you come from, what's here and now that is important.
    geeveecatulluson April 03, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthat last line is fantastic. probably my favorite song off the new album.
    sidelineson April 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentshit, this song is really amazingly written. it kind of reminds me of "take it easy (love nothing)" just because, i guess, i always thought that was an older woman too. i don't remember if he says that in the lyrics, but i got that from it, and this seems like this is too - "She said I kissed her different, that all the men her age were mean"
    daystoforgeton April 04, 2007   Link

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