"Virginia Reel Around the Fountain" as written by and Doug Martsch....
You told yourself something funny the other day
You said you can't make you laugh.

How can that be in your solid state?
How can that be in your solid state?

Don't say no, just say you don't know.

How can that be in your solid state?
As you make it unreal
I'm reeling around the fountain
I'm reeling around the fountain.

I still confide in you almost every day
Even though you're not around.

How can that be in your solid state?
How can that be in your solid state?

Don't say no, just say you don't know.

Lyrics submitted by HAKEEM503

"Virginia Reel Around the Fountain" as written by Doug Martsch

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Virginia Reel Around the Fountain song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentThis is one of my favorite Built to Spill songs and is also my very favorite Halo Benders song (I generally prefer BTS over the Halo Benders, but both creative collaborations offer us some very fine music.

    The song's title is intriguing. It's clearly a reference to the song by the Smiths "Reel Around the Fountain," a song that was in turn full of references to the play "A Taste of Honey" by Shelagh Delaney. The reference might have more to do with the inspiration some members of Built to Spill (at least Doug Martsch) took from the Smiths' guitarist Johnny Marr (who, by the way, likes Built to Spill). But it's also a reference to the Virginia Reel, a very old popular folk dance widely enjoyed in the mid-to-late 19th century.

    The lyrics (and the music) provide the listener a contrast between "reeling around the fountain" (being unstable, reacting emotionally, being ungrounded and unbalanced) and the "solid state" (being firm, unmoveable, fixed, stable, grounded, etc.). Yet, the aparant contrast is undermined by the questioning, "how can that be your solid state?" and the accusation that "you make it unreal". Clearly the "solid state" is not to be trusted or believed.

    The ambiguity and mystery of the one verse that departs from this theme adds to the song: "I still confide in you almost every day / Even though you're not around." This invites some mediation on how we can confide in someone, or what it means to confide in someone. Why do we confide?

    I understand that Built To Spill usually starts with their music and then the lyrics come afterward. As music is such and abstract and emotional form of expression, it makes sense that the lyrics are similarily impressionistic or abstract, evoking a mood or a state of mind. This (and many other Built To Spill songs) are like a Kandinsky or Van Gogh painting as compared to the more accessible and easily-understood explicit illustrations given to us by most popular music or ballads.
    ericiveson January 25, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is actually a Halo Benders song. Halo Benders were a project with Doug from BTS and Calvin from Beat Happenning and half a dozen other cool bands. He's the founder of K Records, too.

    This was the first HB song I ever heard. I was working the summer in Denali National Park in Alaska and I went to the employee cafeteria for lunch, while I was in line i heard this song playing and asked the remarkably cute girl behind the counter who it was. She said Halo Benders and I said it sounded like Doug Martsch from BTS. She said Halo Benders were from Idaho like her and was I from Idaho, I said no but BTS was from Idaho as well. So we introduced each other to new music and made eyes at each other the rest of the season. I never saw her after that summer.

    Strangely all the lyrics Calvin sang are excluded in your lyrics here. I guess (probably wrongly) that this is from some live version of BTS doing it without Calvin so there aren't any lyrics from his side?

    I always found the charm in Halo Benders to be Doug's yearning, high, plaintive, slow, emotional, almost whining lyrics that were this great canvas for Calvin's deep, more rapid sort of flippant nonsense lyrics.

    In the original version Calvin keeps going off about predestination and laizzes-faire with lyrics like "Dance around on the kitchen table, Rub your tummy and show your navel". Brilliant. The self titled HB album isn't as stunning but The Rebel's Not In is great and God Don't Make No Junk is AMAZING. If you like BTS I DEFY you to dislike that album.

    geoffingeorgiaon November 25, 2008   Link

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