I see a Mansard roof through the trees
I see a salty message written in the eaves
The ground beneath my feet
The hot garbage and concrete
And now the tops of buildings
I can see them too

I see a Mansard roof through the trees
I see a salty message written in the eaves
The ground beneath my feet
The hot garbage and concrete
And now the tops of buildings
I can see them too

The Argentines collapse in defeat
The admiralty surveys the remnants of the fleet
The ground beneath their feet
Is a nautically-mapped sheet
As thin as paper
While it slips away from view


Lyrics submitted by Maxxpower

Mansard Roof song meanings
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  • +8
    General CommentA Mansard roof is an architectural style that was created in France in the late 17th century. It features slopes on each of the four sides of the roof. The lower slope is steeper than the upper slope.

    Mansard roofs were considered especially practical because they allowed usable living quarters to be placed in the attic. For this reason, older buildings were often remodeled with mansard roofs.

    A revival of the mansard roof occurred in the 1850s, when Paris was rebuilt by Napoleon III. The style became associated with this era, and the term Second Empire is often used to describe any building with a mansard roof.


    In the United States, Second Empire -- or Mansard -- was a Victorian style, popular from the 1860s through the 1880s.


    From this informaton, I think we can make some assumptions:

    1) The narrator is familiar with the terminology for obscure architectural styles.
    2)He is entering an area where building are old, and possibly were built or remodeled to accomodate as many people as possible. This would describe many urban neghborhoods. The "salty message" wrtten in the eaves, could refer to tagging or some kind of profane grafitti, further adding to the sense of urban decay, also underscored by the references to hot garbage and concrete.
    3) The "second empire" motif is a fruitful one if examined through the lense of British colonialism. Naval conflict over the Falklands occured in 1914 and again in 1982 between the British and Argentina. In the former battle Admiral Spee, fresh off hs victory in Chilean waters, was taken unawares. Unknown to Admiral Spee as he headed for the Falklands, a British squadron, including two modern battle cruisers, HMS Invincible and HMS Inflexible, were at that same time re-coaling at Stanley in the Falklands. They had been sent by the First Sea Lord, Admiral Lord Fisher, to avenge the British defeat at Coronel. The British battle cruisers mounted eight 12-inch (305 mm) guns apiece, whereas Spee's SMS Scharnhorst and SMS Gneisenau each had eight 8.2-inch (208 mm) guns. Additionally, the battle cruisers could make 25½ knots against Spee's 22½ knots. Thus the British battle cruisers could outrun their opponents and significantly outgun them. Invincible and Inflexible were accompanied at Stanley by five other cruisers, under the command of Vice Admiral Sturdee. These were the armoured cruisers HMS Carnarvon, HMS Cornwall and HMS Kent; and the two light cruisers, HMS Bristol and HMS Glasgow. An obsolete pre-dreadnought battleship, HMS Canopus, had also been grounded at Stanley to give a stable gunnery platform and act as a make-shift fortress for their defence of this area.

    In the later conflict , Britain was initially taken by surprise by the Argentine attack on the South Atlantic islands, despite repeated warnings by Royal Navy captain Nicholas Barker and others. Barker believed that the intention expressed in Defence Secretary John Nott's 1981 review to withdraw his ship HMS Endurance, Britain's only naval presence in the South Atlantic, sent a signal to the Argentinians that Britain was unwilling, and would soon be unable, to defend her territories and subjects in the Falklands.


    This song is about how fucked everything is.
    in_vinyl_veritason March 10, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI don't think elgrondy meant to say funny as in humorous, but funny as in ironic.
    becka217on January 21, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThe lyric : "we are garbage and concrete" is wrong.

    The album lyrics say its: "The Hot Garbage and Concrete"
    LesZenon February 18, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General CommentWell...I think it's easy to draw personal opinion from all song lyrics. The best songs relate to multiple people in different ways. I will say though, the fact that he chose to say "Argentines" would have to imply that he's actually speaking about something having to do with Argentina. It's just such a random thing to say, and to then obviously begin poetically speaking about the Faulkland Island war makes it undeniable.
    Keep in mind that the Argentine Capitol (Casa Rosada) building has 4 Mansard Roofs. It is the most famous building in Argentina.
    piebald80on July 09, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentOne of the features of a Mansard Roof is that it normally can't been seen from the ground due to the 2 different angles of the sloped sides, so maybe seeing a Mansard Roof through the trees is about looking at things from a different perspective and seeing something that you missed before. The Falkland's war between Argentina and the UK was actually only a conflict that was very quickly won by the English, this conflict would have happened while the members of Vampire weekend were very young and maybe in adulthood they see the British fighting for islands in the south Atlantic as being less justified. The Falkland Islands on first glance seem to be irrelevant as a colony BUT on closer inspection of the strategic advantage and oil reserves in the area then you start to see why Margret Thatcher (Former English Primeminister) took such a strong stance on this and "sent in the boys" to defend a group of islands covered in sheep.

    Hot garbage could also refer to the shelling of large attack ships like the Belgrano, one of the main injuries during the Falkland war was burn victims that had been on ships as they were blown up and set on fire. A salty message could be something to do with the sinking of ships into the salty sea.
    KINGSon November 04, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentbentuthill - that's a genius analysis regarding McDonalds - they have mansard roofs, and the their "salty" signs do hang in their eaves. Plus they obviously are surrounded by garbage and concrete.

    I guess the lines "The ground beneath their feet
    Is a nautically-mapped sheet
    As thin as paper
    While it slips away from view "
    could refer to how a country (Argentina) can mark a territory as theirs on a map, and invade it, but it can be as quickly taken away - their stranglehold on the territory was as thin as the paper the map is written on.
    staticmeltdownon August 25, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThe last verse is about The Falklands War in the 80s. It was Britain's last real war over a colony. Firstly it points out how the Argentines had no chance against the British Fleet but the British's victory is meaningless as their once great hold over a large portion of the earth through their empire is slipping away.

    As for the rest of the song, I'm not so sure. I think that "a salty message written in the eaves" is like a pre-emption of the Falklands war. Over the course of the song the narrator gets higher (in terms of position or drug use I'm not sure), shown by "and now the tops of buildings I can see them too" and by the end they are so high that the ground looks like it does on a map.

    By the way, the british were justified in keeping the Falklands islands as the inhabitants have voted many times that they want to stay British.
    jonesyboy9on August 08, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think its celebrating the way we treat our enviroment, garbage and concrete, and now he can see the tops of buildings (becuase we cut down trees), its funny becuase the song is so happy but he is talking about distructive things
    elgrondy31on November 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhenever he says "The ground beneath my feet, we are garbage and concrete," I can't help but think of "Concrete and Clay" by Unit 4+2 when they say "The sidewalks and the street, the concrete and the clay beneath my feet begin to crumble."

    ...but I have a feeling there isn't any sort of connection between the two
    landofsubmarineson January 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song has two meanings to me on which I can't decide.

    The first of which being figurative:
    they emphasize how our concerns shift constantly, one minute we're extremely concerned about the way we treat our environment, but the next we're concerned about those victimized by war and poverty.

    The next meaning would be literal:

    Someone goes to Argentina for vacation or something and describes the ride entering a coastal city, but paradise turns to distopia as Argentina loses in war against the UK. Suddenly,the tourist/visitor/whatever sees that the destruction ruined their vacation and that upon going home, they realize that to them Argentina has become a colored shape on their map and they forget about it quickly.
    Slyguy056on January 28, 2008   Link

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