"Gospel" as written by and Matthew D. Berninger Aaron B. Dessner....
One, two, three, four

I got two armfuls of magazines for you, I'll bring 'em over
So hang your holiday rainbow lights in the garden
Hang your holiday rainbow lights in the garden
And I'll, I'll bring a nice icy drink to you

Let me come over, I can waste your time, I'm bored
Invite me to the war, every night of the summer
And we'll play G.I. blood, G.I. blood
We'll stand by the pool, we'll throw out our golden arms

Darlin', can you tie my string?
Killers are callin' on me
My angel face is fallin', feathers are fallin' on my feet
Darlin', can you tie my string?
Killers are callin' on me

Stay near your, stay near your television, set it up outside
And hang your holiday rainbow lights in the garden
Hang your holiday rainbow lights in the garden
And I'll, I'll bring a nice icy drink to you

Let me come over, I can waste your time, I'm bored
Invite me to the war, every night of the summer
And we'll play G.I. blood, G.I. blood
We'll stand by the pool, we'll through out our golden arms

Darlin', can you tie my string?
Killers are callin' on me
My angel face is fallin', feathers are fallin' on my feet
My angel face is fallin', feathers are fallin' on my feet

Darlin', can you tie my string?
Killers are callin' on me
Darlin', can you tie my string?
Killers are callin' on me


Lyrics submitted by lampada, edited by Blackhole8, JudasDenied

"Gospel" as written by Matthew Donald Berninger Bryce David Dessner

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Gospel song meanings
Add your thoughts

34 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +8
    General CommentOops, I didn't mean to post that in reply to that post. Sorry.

    ---

    I was bored and decided to come here and see what people thought of this song.

    Wow, I don't agree with anybody here; but then again, the meaning I derived from this song comes mostly from a few key lyrics and kind of disregards the others or doesn't fully explain them. To me, this is one of the most heartbreaking songs I've ever heard. I don't claim to be right; I just want to explain why this song is so powerful to _me_. Basically, the following lines are the important ones:

    I've got two armfuls of magazines for you
    I'll bring 'em over
    So hang your holiday rainbow lights in the garden
    Hang your holiday rainbow lights in the garden then I'll
    I'll bring a nice icy drink to you
    Let me come over I can waste your time I'm bored
    Invite me to the war every night of the summer

    As with most of the other songs on Boxer, I came to imagine all the "yous" and "hers" to be an object of affection for the narrator. That's probably why I kept coming back to Boxer, and particularly this song.

    Simply put, I think of the above lines as the narrator deeply loving someone but the other not loving him back. He wants nothing more than to "come over" and be with her.

    I think of the holiday lights as the narrator's way of fantasizing about this person. If you're like me, your memories of Christmases always seem to have a quality of otherworldliness to them. The "holiday rainbow lights" represent a kind of otherworldly place, a place where everything is ok and there is no reason to be sad. Like memories of an especially good Christmas. In this fantasy, he's walking across the dimly-lit garden to his loved one and bringing her an iced drink, and they sit down together and lean on each other the way couples do.

    The fact that he says "Let me come over I can waste your time I'm bored" after already saying that he would come over ("I'll bring 'em over") shows that he is not invited. And the way the lines are repeated without any real resolution to them, and the fact that the narrator continues to ask something of her ("Darling can you tie my string") without resolution shows that he doesn't get to see her. He wants nothing more than to be with her, but he isn't.

    When he sings "let me come over I can waste your time I'm bored" the language sounds kind of playful, and it sounds kind of like he's trying to smile, like the idea of seeing her still fills him with such joy, but he is sad because he kind of already knows he's not going over since it's his second (or third) time asking.

    I just think the whole sound of the song and the lyrics are all really, really sad. I spent many nights alone listening to this song (and album) wishing I was with a certain someone.
    mylifesuckson May 10, 2009   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThematically, Boxer deals a lot with people fighting for their youth and hiding from reality - a Euphoric Disconnection.

    This song shows to me a longing for the simpler days and boredom of youth when you went over to your friends'/girlfriends' house 'every night of summer'. The final lines suggest a realisation of the singers growing age. "his angel face is falling" - perhaps his looks are going. I don't know about string tying, seems to be a pretty common motif in the national songs.
    Desmoulinson October 28, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General CommentWith The National you get out whatever you want. In my opinion Gospel ties the strings of Boxer. It certainly isn't the most noticeable of tracks, some of the others will probably get repeated over and over on your itunes, but Gospel is a treasure.

    Obviously there are a selection of themes within Boxer: relationships, responsibility, western culture, modernity/post-modernity, appearance/reality. Berninger's monologue wrestles through the internal questions, anxieties and emotions the band’s character feels attempting to make sense of our Western normatives and behaviours. As we saunter along the album's route we realise that, assuming you are of a similar inclination to Berninger, we are fated to pretend (to steal from MGMT). To be truly free spirited is impossible. Perhaps to some the recent war on terror is a good metaphor for these struggles. Whilst my psyche prefers to look at The National's songs from an individual perspective, one cannot help but dock one's cap to the world policing, empire building themes. After all without every individual performing actions in a certain way, we would have no geopolitics.

    Anyway I divulge. Gospel, like Slow Show and Apartment Story is clearly about love. Unabashed love. Whether we like it or not, the comfort of a partner we carry with us through life's charade appears to be, for Berninger, the most pure and wonderful tonic. It is such a beautiful song it makes by senses soar, almost bringing tears. The 'magazines' line lets us in to how well meaning the character wants to be. A simple action without the pomp and circumstance of so many of the image laden performances the youth are supposed to pull off with merry gusto these days. In my experience tonnes of magazines are usually brought to someone who is ill, cause they aren’t up for doing much else.

    So perhaps we have love as the healer in Gospel, rather like the actions of the main protagonist in the book from which the song title is taken. The angel wings malting, the killers calling, for me again, are the demons and destructive influences of adulthood and ego, coming from within ourselves and from others. With someone to rely on these mental wounds can he healed, we can feel better and more free. Berninger clearly longs for a return to childlike playful humanity, and Gospel aims to take us there, holiday rainbow lights and all.
    WildeBoyon June 06, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song really reminds me of where I live. It's a typical suburbia, full of trophy wives and rampant right-wing Christianity. This song specifically reminds me of how the people in my community act relating to the war, if it can be called that. They support it, as long as it doesn't affect them. In this song, the speaker seems to be experiencing the same feeling of suburban disregard-- he is hanging holiday rainbow lights, he wants to come over because he's bored, and they are playing GI blood. But this is about to change, and it is about to directly affect him. He is being called up to service, the killers (meaning the US military) are calling on him, and I think the gravity of the situation is finally hitting him, and he is getting scared, and asking his darling to help him prepare, ie tying his string. I might have completely missed the mark here, but this is what the song means to me.
    cmgonemadon June 24, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentA couple of thoughts to add to the discussion. I think the song is generally a love story lyrically portrayed as a war.

    I take it that "the magazines" are not printed magazines but rather gun/weapon magazines. In terms of the metaphor I take it as a picture of the ammunition that he's been stockpiling to add to his arsenal for the war/argument they are engaged in.

    Also I believe the line is neither "golden arms" or "gold medals" but rather "good news." This would make sense of the title of the song since "Gospel = Good News" and it sounds to me like what he is saying. They stand by the pool and throw out their good news. They're giving up any hope that this relationship can end well.
    jdfickon November 18, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI had always thought he was saying "and we'll play G.I. Blues" as in the Elvis Presley movie, and album/song of the same name. "G.I. Blues" is basically about how Elvis, playing, of course, a singer stuck with the US army in Germany, just wants to go back to America and sing. It's worth noting that Presley's character, like Presley, was stationed in "peace-time" Germany in the late 50's and was, therefore, not in much "real" danger.

    I had thought the narrator of the song was saying he wanted to play "G.I. Blues," as in play the movie, the album, or the song... or maybe that he wants to play at the action that takes place in the movie, where the narrator, as a "fighter" with no one to "fight" would rather be a "singer" and pursue a girl instead.

    The rest of the song seems to support that the narrator is trying to get away from the "fight" and that he just wants to spend time with his girl in a summer garden with magazines, lights, and icy drinks. The "can you tie my string" line seems to be him asking her to keep him safe... like tying a little kid's shoe string. Making it safe and secure. She needs to do this because the "killers" are calling on him to bring him back to the fight.... which would make him less "angelic"... less innocent.

    In the context of the album this seems to indicate that the narrator might act like a fighter or a "boxer," but that in reality he's just looking for a sanctuary to spend time with the woman he loves. This reading depends a lot on the line actually being "G.I. Blues," so if it's not, then I guess this is all just a rather larger coincidence.
    cold cruiseron June 08, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI really couldn't say what this song means as a whole, but there are a few different phrases that resonate with me.
    If I had to guess, I would say there are several lines that seem to connect to the opening song, "Fake Empire." The way Matt Berninger describes christmas lights as "holiday rainbow lights" reveals the beloved holiday tradition of america (the fake empire) as something hollow.

    One last thing I noticed is that Gospel not only closes Boxer nicely, it draws reference to the previous album, Alligator, with the line, "feathers are falling on my feet"
    (from the song Karen).
    Myswordhandon June 22, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI can totally understand your view mounty, mostly because we live in the same neighborhood in suburbia. For all I know, that could be precisely what Matt intended by this song, but what I do know is that with The National it doesn't matter if you "miss the mark," the lyrics probably mean something different for every listener. From reading interviews of Matt, I know that he commonly takes the approach of grapeshotting image-laden phrases in his lyrics. He made this comment in reference to Fake Empire specifically, but I think it applies to all of his lyrics. This method is particularly well-suited for my idea of individual interpretation because the images that come into your head from the lyrics are (for me at least) all things that you yourself have personally experienced. Whatever it means to you (the listener), Gospel is a beautiful, simple closing song which I think summarizes the entire concept of Boxer: The National can play softly and cut just as deep.
    Myswordhandon August 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the line is "We'll throw out our gold medals"
    starmandon August 22, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI guess you're right, starmand. Thanks.
    lampadaon September 05, 2007   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain