"Dakota" as written by and Jack Antonoff....
Please remember the nights that we spent
In the city where you lay, we were young and nearly famous
But lightning strikes, buildings fall, and everything did change

Come on, Dakota
Tell me you don't wish I was still the same

I know a man dressed as a woman, heels, curly wig and nails
Fell for a boy who sold him powder and pills
And the younger boy with the older man, he made it all wrong

And in Dakota
These awful things burn away with the sun
Yes, in Dakota
These awful things are gone with morning sun

There was a boy who sang his song just different
So they stabbed him in the arms
Blood washed down him like a faucet
He cried for help and no one came, he died in the rain

And in Dakota
One day he will wake up unchanged
Yes, in Dakota
One day you will wake up unchained

Please remember the nights we spent alone
In the city where you lay, we are young and nearly famous
But thunder cracks and buildings burn, everything will change

Come on, Dakota
I know we can always be the same
And in Dakota
I know we can always be the same

Yes, in Dakota
It's okay to feel a little strange



Lyrics submitted by taylorsaurus rex

"Dakota" as written by Jack Antonoff

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Dakota song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentYeah, anna, I kinda thought the same thing. But more specifically, it really reminded the of the whole Matthew Shepard incident. I'm not sure if it's what he has in mind, and there are some things that don't seem to match up with that, but the way it reminds me off it is really eerie.

    It's a really good song, nonetheless.
    Desiderata03on April 05, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI think the lyrics start to make more sense when you replace "Dakota" with "Los Angeles" or Hollywood. The stories of drug-using cross dressers and heroin addicts fit perfectly with the LA scene (".... they stabbed him in the arms....he cried for help, and no one came, he died in the rain" .... "rain" is often a part of references to heroin in many songs).

    If you look back to songwriter Jack Antonoff (guitar/vocals for Steel Train) and some songs on previous albums discuss him going to visit former girlfriend Scarlett Johansson out west, probably during the first few years of her "big break". These visits might be described by the lyrics at the beginning and end of the song "please remember the nights we spent alone in the city where you lay. We were young and nearly famous."

    If my guess is correct I still think it's cool that they used "Dakota" instead of "LA" or "Los Angeles" in the lyrics, it gives it a more blue-collar rock vibe and the lyrics just seem to fit. I think it perfectly describes LA in the last lines of the song "In Dakota, it's okay to feel a little strange".

    My interpretation is the song is generally about dealing with the weird fame-obsessed LA scene and coming out the other side still being yourself with your sole intact, while having lots of stories to tell about the messed up stuff you saw along the way. I also think that you could sub other large metropolitan areas with art/music/movie scenes in to this and use the same interpretation, like New York or Seattle.
    hitrepeaton July 06, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Commentghaaaa, this song is so good, i can't believe no one has commented on it yet!! a lot of the new songs are really incredible.
    invertedcompasson November 13, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think this song was also on the cd prior to the new one.
    YeahsodoIon December 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think this song was also on the cd prior to the new one.
    YeahsodoIon December 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is kind of eerie to me, the words and the music and just the general tone. It took me a while to get into, but now I really enjoy it. It seems to me to be a song about not forgetting who you are and where you've come from. It may be hard at times, like for "the boy who sang his song just different", but if you fake who you are, it'll never pay off. But in the end, it does,
    "Yes in Dakota it's ok to feel a little strange" as in, it's ok to be different from other people.
    taylorsaurus rexon March 25, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt has taken me a while to actually soak in the lyrics, but I'm pretty certain this is about a bisexual or homosexual fellow...who is killed because of it. "sings a song just different", "stabbed him in the arms, blood washed down him"...he cried out, no one came. Plus the whole "knew a man dressed as a woman". I could be way off, but my understanding is a really sad story about the nature of life and people not accepting someone else's differences...whether is be lifestyle or not.
    anna1527on March 26, 2008   Link

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