You went looking for shelter
In all the wrong spaces
You grew gluttonous and famous with faces
Nameless and blank
Superstitiously you name them
St. Christopher and Johanna
St. Christopher and Johanna
St. Christopher and Johanna

Overcome with the holiday spirit
Mark says the herald angels won't hear it
And remember the wolves that you run with are wolves
Don't forget

They exist to give you something to regret, I'll beat them to it
With something sadder than that brass portrait
That shines through your morning din
With something sadder than that brass portrait
That shines through your morning din

I'll give you something to be sad about
Hey, the picture really captures your mouth
Poised to say:
It's your turn to go down now, it's your turn to go down now
It's your turn to go down now, it's your turn to go down now
In the spirit of giving in

Cloud prayer Mary come on (repeated)
All I wanted was an answer to the secret
Ground floor Mary come on
Outboard Mary come on
All I wanted was an answer to
Your money or your life?
Your money or your life?
I was sick of America and her screaming decay
I was in a band we were singing, "Hooray," quite often
But your momma was poor, your daddy was poor
What are you going to do?
Your mother was poor, your father was poor
What are you going to do about it?
Glad prayer Mary come on


Lyrics submitted by bugoff

The Spirit of Giving song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentIt is "cloud prayer," not "glad prayer" (listen closely and you'll hear the sharp K sound at the beginning as well as the ow, not ad, sound; also, "ground" and "outboard" are vowel-rhymes with "cloud" but not with "glad"), and Malmo is right, it's an intentional reference to the A.C. Newman song ("The Cloud Prayer," off "The Slow Wonder"); this song also quotes a few sounds from the Newman song.

    Dan Bejar constantly refers to/quotes his own lyrics (and the habit rubs off on Spencer Krug in his new one-off band Swan Lake, where Krug quotes himself in "All Fires"), and mentions Carl in "Myriad Harbour." They're like furbies, put 'em together and they just talk up a storm to each other and make up their own little language. Clever brilliant furry things.
    modustollenson September 30, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI thought it was Marx and not Mark. I thought it made sense seeing the song seems to be about materialism (and I guess you could easily relate that to capitalism and then it makes sense to bring in Marx to critique).

    I think it`s about capitalism and essentially it turning on the elites (possibly related to the market crash that was shortly after this song was released). I know it's looking a little far into it but it's how I take it.

    In this sense I love the line "remember the wolves that you run with are wolves" because a materialistic and capitalist society is very dog eat dog, everyone works in their best interest.
    penny-laneon March 01, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI don't know why, but this song seems sad to me. I cried the first time I heard it, and I'm not sure why.
    hecatetriviaon November 06, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is so amazing. One of my favorite NP songs.
    I also think its cloud prayer. It certainly sounds like it.
    realfreakaynaughtyon May 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is so freaking amazing. My favorite band. Dan Bejar is such a genius.
    realfreakaynaughtyon May 24, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about materialism and the problems that come with it. I love how they satire the holiday phrase "the sprit of giving" and instead say "the spirit of giving in". They mean that Americans give into conformity or materialism. I love the line "I was sick of America and her screaming decay."
    marilynwon January 08, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is fucking brilliant. I love how it's sung, it sounds sarcastic. There seem to be some religious references I don't understand. Think of the fourth stanza, is it really the spirit of giving if it's something you owe? I love the lines "Overcome with the holiday spirit, Mark says the herald angels won't hear it" and most lol.

    wtf is a din? like dinner? sure it's not den?
    DJgifon July 05, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI agree with most of what's been said above, particularly about consumerism, but I think it's specifically about Christmas. There are some obvious references like the herald angels and the song's title. "Cloud prayer Mary" and the sad "brass portrait" are religious icons - a Madonna statue and a crucifix, or something similar. The "morning din" is the sound of everyone opening presents.

    "Your money or your life" seems to sum up what he thinks of Christmas, that it's a manifestation of "screaming decay".

    I love the line:
    > I was in a band we were singing, "Hooray," quite often

    Also enjoy the parentlike way he says "I'll give you something to be sad about" as if he's about to give consumerism a smack.

    Is he pissed off that Christianity has been marred by what Christmas has become?

    Anyhow, great song, and I love the repetition of "Cloud prayer Mary come on" at the end (I really just came here to find out what they were chanting).
    chrisrazoron October 17, 2010   Link

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