"American Mary" as written by and Matthew Berninger Aaron Dessner....
Give my jewels to the army, my silverware and jeans
Give my love to your family, tell them anything
Give yourself to anyone, give yourself away
Don't be a nightingale for anyone's space to fill

If I could, I'd be your star again
Fall across your falling sky

It takes a lot of little rain to make you feel like nothing
Anything, anything you care to do, do to me
For everything I did for you, nothing
I didn't try to take your love away
I just never knew I had it

There is nothing you can say to ever make me want you
American
There is nothing you can say to ever make me leave you
American
American Mary

If you kiss me, kiss me with your silver eyes
Don't look at me like someone you don't recognize
I didn't try to do this
Your arms around my shoulder blades are useless

There is nothing you can say to ever make me want you
American
There is nothing you can say to ever make me leave you
American
American Mary


Lyrics submitted by adva

"American Mary" as written by Matthew Berninger Aaron Dessner

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American Mary song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentSilver Eyes - attractive, memmorable but also cold

    To me it's another National song about separation, breaking up - love gone dry and feelings for her with too many layers of good and bad. it turns love from an innocent exciting fling into a charged relationship - so the chorus is about indifference.
    Still unsure about the meaning of the title.
    Shimion August 29, 2008   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI agree with Shimi. I think this song is about a relationship that has ended and the protagonist is addressing his former lover. To me it seems that the lover did certain things in the relationship that over time cause the protagonist to lose his feelings for her. I think the line "i didn't try to take your love away
    i just never knew i had it..." Suggests that at one point he was very fond of her but felt that she did not care for him based on how he was treated. Now sometime later, he has collected himself and decided that this relationship is not right and loses his love for this person. It is at this point where the woman realizes that she has lost him and she wants him back. But it is too late and there is nothing she can do to change it because he has made his decision. Throughout the song there is an emphasis on the breakup not being out of spite of revenge but that it is the right thing to do and that if he was able to fall back in love, he would. But he can't.
    jookyswedeon June 01, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love the line "If you kiss me, kiss me with your silver eyes." If only I knew what that meant..... Shouldn't more people know this song, since it is the URL of their website???
    lukewagoneeron July 08, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think this is the best song they've ever written. i can't believe there are no more comments than this! the lyrics and music are both fantastic... "don't look at me like someone you don't recognize... i didn't try to do this."
    Shelbzzon June 21, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI always thought this was literally about America. The lines, "There is nothing you can say to ever make me want you," and "There is nothing you can say to ever make me leave you," are very similar to what I feel for America. Also the line, "Don't look at me like someone you don't recognize," is that feeling of frustration when you believe America's let you down or treating you like you're not a citizen. And one more: "Anything, anything you can do, do to me for everything I did for you - nothing." I complain about living in the U.S.A. but I never do anything to help or make it better.
    Aquarius121on August 19, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song, but it's so cryptic. I can't say I can discern what any of it means. I mean, there are pieces that make sense, but they seem to make sense by themselves and not fit into a general flowing theme.

    Also, I don't get the impression most fans own the stuff all the way back to the self-titled album like "us" :)
    lnknprky2kon June 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti dunno, but i love it.
    ireallylikebagelson June 08, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGood stuff
    James Deanon October 28, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm pretty sure it's "to ever make me 'need' you" not "leave."
    bearsaladon June 20, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationKiss me with your silver eyes? A metaphor for money. The dollar is what holds the singer to America. All he's looking for is financial attachment. The rest is a manifestation of the songwriter's disillusionment with America. He's discoursing with the country of his birth. I don't know. Sounds like he's spent a lot of time on shore leave and is jumping between soldiers and prostitutes.
    SavageHenryon March 02, 2014   Link

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