"Rumors" as written by and Josh / Ritter....
Serenade me with rocks, love
No lullabies through the locks love
I locked myself in with the band
But the music's never loud enough

Decibels in the belfry
Hey what the hell if it helps me
I put a whip to the kick drum
But the music's never loud enough

So you're gonna have to show me
How that dance is done
The one where somebody leaves someone

My orchestra is gigantic
This thing could sink the Titanic
And the string section's screaming
Like horses in a barn burning up

He plays pianos with fistfuls
Of broken Belvedere crystal
And he's trying to forget you
But the music's never loud enough

So you're gonna have to show me
How that dance is done
The one where somebody leaves someone

He's impaling the front row
Fighting fires with arrows
And he'll act like he forgot you
But the music's never loud enough

So you're gonna have to show me
How that dance is done
The one where somebody leaves someone


Lyrics submitted by JonathanBC

"Rumors" as written by Josh Ritter

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, DUCHAMP, INC

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Rumors song meanings
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  • +3
    My InterpretationSerenade me with rocks, love

    serenades are typically sweet and soft, but the narrator would rather have rocks-- rocks symbolizing the truth, maybe, or being stoned to death

    No lullabies through the locks, love

    lullabies are sung sweetly and softly, like a mother crooning to her child, but again, the narrator is shutting 'love' out (could also be a reference to locks of hair, as when holding someone smaller close)

    I locked myself in with the band

    again, shutting everything else out

    But the music's never loud enough

    he can't drown out the truth, or/and he can't get the beat to the dance (turning the volume up so people can feel the beat is done for dancing, especially difficult dances)



    Decibels in the belfry

    reference to 'bats in the belfry' ( phrases.org.uk/meanings/… ) and of course 'decibels' is a term for how loud something is—being able to hear something from the top of a church tower

    Hey what the hell if it helps me

    i'd go crazy if it would help

    I put a whip to the kick drum

    i'd rather destroy the implements of music than have to continue on like this

    But the music's never loud enough

    see above


    Chorus: So you're gonna have to show me

    the narrator is admitting he can't do this on his own

    How that dance is done

    dances are typically performed with partners, but...

    The one where somebody leaves someone

    this particular 'dance' is supposed to be done alone, and the narrator doesn't understand it or know it well enough to perform it



    My orchestra is gigantic

    the larger the orchestra, the more difficult it is for them to play together and/or play quietly

    This thing could sink the Titanic

    iceberg/Titanic reference: Titanic was referred to as unsinkable until something unexpected happened (the iceberg) and then the structure of the Titanic contributed to its own downfall

    this line could be referencing the size of the orchestra, and probably is, but it could also have a double-meaning, which seems likely: the impact of the relationship's ending was something unexpected, cold, and quite possibly abetted by the structure of the individuals

    in addition, the relationship ending is compared to a large scale tragedy

    And the string section's screaming

    a la Psycho, where just the soundtrack is enough to explain that something awful has happened

    Like horses in a barn burning up

    the listeners don't really need this horrific image, but it adds to the tragedy: a horse's scream is gutteral and very, very sad

    He plays pianos with fistfuls

    at this point in time, the narrator shifts to third person—possibly trying to distance himself, or a sign that the narrator has shifted because the original narrator is incapable of describing these events

    Of broken Belvedere crystal

    Belvedere is a pattern used in antique dinnerware, generally heirlooms which can be emotionally significant—the narrator's implying that this ending is worse than destroying a precious heirloom, or at least equivalent

    the two lines taken together seem to show that 'he' is so distraught that even though the crystal would be cutting his hands, and you can't play piano properly with fists (dissonant chords, not really musical), it doesn't matter because all that 'he' wants is to play loud enough to forget what happened or at least stop thinking about it, which is exactly what the next two lines indicate:

    And he's trying to forget you
    But the music's never loud enough


    [chorus]

    He's impaling the front row

    the sound is so dramatic that it's traumatic

    Fighting fires with arrows

    fire—desire? love? or tragedy?
    arrows—Cupid's arrow? or murder weapon?

    the ambiguity in this line is what's most prominent: you can't fight literal fires with arrows, so what is he trying to destroy?

    And he'll act like he forgot you

    'he' will act like it, which obviously means it isn't true—people don't have to pretend that they feel something if it's the truth

    But the music's never loud enough

    'he' can't forget, all of his old coping mechanisms aren't working

    [chorus]
    saveyoursanityon June 28, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe line about the Belvedere crystals is great because it brings to mind a few things, some of which you've mentioned above-

    1) Broken crystals are going to be cutting up his hands, so he's bleeding all over the piano

    2) If he has fistfuls of them, he can't do more than pound at the piano with closed hands, so he's just raising a ruckus to drown out his memories

    3) Crystal glass makes me think of wine or liquor, so it could be a metaphor for drinking away the pain- or saying that drinking the pain away or playing the pain away via music are related

    Man... Ritter is amazing. One line and he can conjure up all that.
    twinextralongon September 02, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFun fun song!
    Sounds like the music's never loud enough to drive away the memory of someone (a girl, I assume), no matter how hard you try to fight back by playing it loud.
    Any ideas about the meaning of the title?
    bee_6on August 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think there are three characters in the song. I, the narrator, he, the singer or band member, and you, the person being sung to. Notice how the first verses are in the first person narrative? Serenade me with rocks. I put a whip to the kick drum. My orchestra.

    Then the last two verses are the opposite style. He plays piano with fistfuls. And the even better example, he's impaling the front row, fighting fire with arrows. It's like the polar opposite. Instead of rock music, this guy is fighting that fire. The arrows are probably cupid's arrows, implying a love ballad.

    So I don't think it's a bad guess, to say he's trying to escape memories with music, just that it doesn't account for the different uses of I and he. Somebody is reading into it way too much. Probably myself.

    By the way, does anybody have a better idea for the line currently "Of broken Belvedere crystal?" I couldn't really come up with anything better. Does that even make any sense? Maybe "velvet and crystal?" Tell me what you think and I'll change it if need be.
    JonathanBCon August 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt is Belvedere Crystal, JonathanBC. I have the sleeve with the lyrics printed on it.
    gelosiaon August 20, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIm still working on the whole meaning...but to build on the Belvedere crystal part of the song:

    I think it could either be

    1. Broken pieces of a Belvedere crystal chandelier or set of dinnerware that shattered during a fight with the said woman.

    2. The "he" playing the Piano has been drinking Belvedere vodka to try to get the memory out of his mind

    Both of those are likely not accurate, but hopefully the thought will get somebody on the right track...
    tag2010on August 30, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentActually, I think # 2 is pretty accurate... Belvedere is a pattern that was commonly used on antique crystal and clay dinnerware. I think Josh is referring to the "he" grasping on to his memories of the woman by keeping the handfuls of broken belvedere crystal in his hand while he plays(not literally of course). I think this could be a symbol that "he" is having an internal conflict with himself in his quest to forget about the woman. I also believe "I" and "he" are the same person. Josh is telling a story about himself, and the singing about it. Thus, the first and third person. The line "I want my song but it leaves someone" backs up both of these points in a way. He is saying he wants his song to help him forget her, but at the same time he can't help but holding on to that memory. This line also blends the "I" and "he" because he is calling himself the author and performer of the song in his story. Also, that line is apart of the chorus, which means it is sung in both versus of the song, adding a further hint at synthesizing the "two" characters which appear in different versus.

    Im done. Anybody want to prove me right or wrong? I'd appreciate it, because my brain is about to explode.
    tag2010on August 30, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentActually, I think # 2 is pretty accurate... Belvedere is a pattern that was commonly used on antique crystal and clay dinnerware. I think Josh is referring to the "he" grasping on to his memories of the woman by keeping the handfuls of broken belvedere crystal in his hand while he plays(not literally of course). I think this could be a symbol that "he" is having an internal conflict with himself in his quest to forget about the woman. I also believe "I" and "he" are the same person. Josh is telling a story about himself, and the singing about it. Thus, the first and third person. The line "I want my song but it leaves someone" backs up both of these points in a way. He is saying he wants his song to help him forget her, but at the same time he can't help but holding on to that memory. This line also blends the "I" and "he" because he is calling himself the author and performer of the song in his story. Also, that line is apart of the chorus, which means it is sung in both versus of the song, adding a further hint at synthesizing the "two" characters which appear in different versus.

    Im done. Anybody want to prove me right or wrong? I'd appreciate it, because my brain is about to explode.
    tag2010on August 30, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentActually, I think # 2 is pretty accurate... Belvedere is a pattern that was commonly used on antique crystal and clay dinnerware. I think Josh is referring to the "he" grasping on to his memories of the woman by keeping the handfuls of broken belvedere crystal in his hand while he plays(not literally of course). I think this could be a symbol that "he" is having an internal conflict with himself in his quest to forget about the woman. I also believe "I" and "he" are the same person. Josh is telling a story about himself, and the singing about it. Thus, the first and third person. The line "I want my song but it leaves someone" backs up both of these points in a way. He is saying he wants his song to help him forget her, but at the same time he can't help but holding on to that memory. This line also blends the "I" and "he" because he is calling himself the author and performer of the song in his story. Also, that line is apart of the chorus, which means it is sung in both versus of the song, adding a further hint at synthesizing the "two" characters which appear in different versus.

    Im done. Anybody want to prove me right or wrong? I'd appreciate it, because my brain is about to explode.
    tag2010on August 30, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentActually, I think # 2 is pretty accurate... Belvedere is a pattern that was commonly used on antique crystal and clay dinnerware. I think Josh is referring to the "he" grasping on to his memories of the woman by keeping the handfuls of broken belvedere crystal in his hand while he plays(not literally of course). I think this could be a symbol that "he" is having an internal conflict with himself in his quest to forget about the woman. I also believe "I" and "he" are the same person. Josh is telling a story about himself, and the singing about it. Thus, the first and third person. The line "I want my song but it leaves someone" backs up both of these points in a way. He is saying he wants his song to help him forget her, but at the same time he can't help but holding on to that memory. This line also blends the "I" and "he" because he is calling himself the author and performer of the song in his story. Also, that line is apart of the chorus, which means it is sung in both versus of the song, adding a further hint at synthesizing the "two" characters which appear in different versus.

    Im done. Anybody want to prove me right or wrong? I'd appreciate it, because my brain is about to explode.
    tag2010on August 30, 2007   Link

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