"Blank Slate" as written by and Aaron B. Dessner Scott D. Devendorf....
I was home entertaining guests
When I fell off the chair and cracked open my head
Bees flew out and they flew up their skirts
'Cause they wanted to travel the world

I was home entertaining guests
When I fell off the chair and cracked open my head
Bees flew out and they flew up their skirts
'Cause they wanted to travel the world

But I keep it upstairs
Keep it upstairs for the grand finale
I keep it upstairs

Gonna be a blank slate
Gonna wear a white cape
But I keep it upstairs

Gonna jump out of a cake
With my heart on a string
Keep it upstairs, keep it upstairs, keep it upstairs

I go out looking in parked cars
For somebody famous to kidnap and love
Beat off the army with a tennis racket

I go out looking in parked cars
For somebody famous to kidnap and love
Beat off the army with a tennis racket
That's my whole plan

But I keep it upstairs
Keep it upstairs for the grand finale
I keep it upstairs

Gonna be a blank slate
Gonna wear a white cape
But I keep it upstairs

Gonna tackle young girls
Off their beautiful bikes
But I keep it upstairs, keep it upstairs, keep it upstairs

Oh no, I thought I'd be by now
My head is a buzzing three-star hotel
Oh no, oh no, no, no, no no, no

But I keep it upstairs
Keep it upstairs for the grand finale
I keep it upstairs

Gonna be a blank slate
Gonna wear a white cape
But I keep it upstairs

Gonna jump out of a cake
With my heart on a string
Keep it upstairs, keep it upstairs, keep it upstairs

Oh no, I thought I'd be by now
My head is a buzzing three-star hotel
Oh no, oh no, no, no, no no, no, no, no

Oh no, I thought I'd be by now
My head is a buzzing three-star hotel
Oh no, oh no, no, no, no no, no, no, no



Lyrics submitted by kirbsta

"Blank Slate" as written by Matthew D. Berninger Aaron B. Dessner

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Blank Slate song meanings
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13 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentI think this song is a reference to holding back on impulses that we have on an every day basis. "Gonna tackle young girls off their beautiful bikes" (might not be an everyday impulse, but the idea is stated bluntly) "Gonna keep it upstairs" meaning that your not actually gonna act, but letting it only go as far as your thoughts. "My head is a buzzing three star hotel" might mean that these thoughts are being housed like random people in a hotel...
    dplafcan25on July 04, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentAye, I agree. The first part of the song could be about repressing sexual urges while the line "beat off the army with a tennis racket could be about how he represses his anger, "keeping it upstairs." He has so much built-up anger could beat a whole army.

    As for "for somebody famous to kidnap and love", when you're an emotionally repressed person, it can be hard to connect with people, so this person is trying to force it in ridiculous ways.

    "tackle young girls off their beautiful bikes" could be a comibnation of repressed sexual, angry feelings and once again the hard time he has connecting with people

    "three-star hotel" his mind is a bit of dirty mess

    I could be off about some things, but man do I love Matt's lyrics
    glitcHeadon September 02, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI also think the line in the first verse is
    "Bees flew out and they flew up their skirts"
    Once he's fallen from his chair, he looks up someone's skirt.
    Matt Berninger can have a stunningly gorgeous, dirty mind sometimes.
    dplafcan is right on. He has all this astounding impulses that he stifles. Most of them are appalling, nevertheless when he meditates on tackling young girls off their beautiful bikes, we stand up and cheer.
    GentleDogson October 14, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe first line is actually "I was home entertaining guests". The National do such quality B-sides and this is no exception, even though it's just a blatant rehash of Keep It Upstairs from the Abel EP.
    Mozart_Faceon July 17, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Beat off the army with a tennis racket"
    has my vote for best visual ever
    katiezon May 20, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Bees flew out and they flew up their skirts 'cause they wanted to travel the world"

    Absolutely fing brillant imagery! He's thinking about sex, and traveling the world...thats the thought that feel out when he cracked open his head. Amazing metaphor. He's entertaining guests, probably in a bland and boring relationship.

    This song is about holding in your thoughts and feelings until you go crazy.

    The grand finale is the moment where they all come to fruition. Then he can do and say what he wants. That's true freedom. A fresh start, or blank slate.
    Prieckdaddyon June 04, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe modern man lives under two sets of rules...both he respects: those biological urges that make him feel like a pervert but come wholly naturally and those of the modern age.

    IN some ways it makes men into raving lunatics trying to balance both sexual urges and the ability to become mature emotional beings.

    Men always think they'll have this precarious balance figured out by middle age. It's one of the perks to getting older and wiser, we think when we're young. But we find out when we get older that things stay complicated. We still feel dirty in some ways and still inadequate in displaying our feelings.

    We all hope there's this one crowing moment where we can show off this grand duality and maturity.



    Bs115303on July 07, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe lyrics seem more puzzling than the usual National song. Oh well, still super-duper awesome.
    blackled222on June 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNow it's fixed. Thanks for the heads-up, Mozart Face.
    kirbstaon September 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe first time he definitely says:

    "Gonna jump out of a cake with my heart on a string"


    but the second time it sounds a lot more like:

    "Gonna jump out of a cake with my hard-on and sing"
    Whit0685on June 27, 2009   Link

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