"Starlings" as written by Guy Edward John Garvey, Craig Lee Potter, Mark Potter, Peter James Turner and Richard Barry Jupp....
How dare the premier ignore my invitations?
He'll have to go
So too the bunch he luncheons with
It's second on my list of things to do

At the top I'm stopping by
Your place of work and acting like
I haven't dreamed of you and I
And marriage in an orange grove

You are the only thing
In any room you're ever in
I'm stubborn, selfish and too old

I sat you down and told you how
The truest love that's ever found is for oneself
You pulled apart my theory
With a weary and disinterested sigh

So yes, I guess I'm asking you
To back a horse that's good for glue and nothing else
But find a man that's truer than
Find a man that needs you more than I

Sit with me a while
And let me listen to you talk about
Your dreams and your obsessions
I'll be quiet and confessional

The violets explode inside me
When I meet your eyes
Then I'm spinning and I'm diving
Like a cloud of starlings
Darling, is this love?


Lyrics submitted by niteflite01, edited by ian5652731, vlad3060

"Starlings" as written by Guy Edward John Garvey Craig Lee Potter

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Starlings song meanings
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28 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentOne of the best tracks from "A Seldom Seen Kid", this song deals with unrequited love and how it makes one feel - from "stubborn, selfish and too old" to the magnificently written :

    The violence explode inside me
    when I meet your eyes
    Then I'm spinning and I'm diving
    Like a cloud of starlings

    He sees this girl as the perfect woman, and only has eyes for her, even though throughout the song he tries his very, very best to hide and deflect his feelings :

    "You are the only thing in any room you're ever in"

    Such a beautifully simple yet powerful line.

    The girl clearly isn't interested in him though, not in any way, so the "love" is completely and utterly unrequited. Even though he's completely true to her, and even though he feels he needs her so much :

    "But find a man that's truer than,
    Find a man that needs you more than, I"

    A superb Elbow track.
    niteflite01on February 24, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI'm with you on the superb track, but not the unrequited.

    He's clearly in love, but he's old and cynical and damaged and scared.
    She knows all this but loves him anyway.

    "I sat you down and told you how
    the truest love that's ever found
    Is for oneself
    You pulled apart my theory
    With a weary and disinterested sigh"

    The last line "Darling is this love?" is about how when you're older love isn't that all powerful gut-wrenching thing from your teens, the stuff of a million love songs. So in a way it's about Elbow writing a love song for a jaded older generation (you know, older then 30).

    I've often asked when someone like Ben Folds will admit he's balding and can't really pull of songs about high-school any more, this is Elbow answering addressing that dilemma.
    piersyon April 02, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthis song it just....possbily the best start to an album. the lyrics are pure poetic genius, and just catch that feeling of love perfectly...and the music...the music on its own says the same thing as the lyrics, if you took the lyrics away. i can't believe it took me so long to discover the elbow love....what a band. what a song. and what an album!
    jenibenion April 13, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm with you on the superb track, but not the unrequited.

    He's clearly in love, but he's old and cynical and damaged and scared.
    She knows all this but loves him anyway.

    "I sat you down and told you how
    the truest love that's ever found
    Is for oneself
    You pulled apart my theory
    With a weary and disinterested sigh"

    The last line "Darling is this love?" is about how when you're older love isn't that all powerful gut-wrenching thing from your teens, the stuff of a million love songs. So in a way it's about Elbow writing a love song for a jaded older generation (you know, older then 30).

    I've often asked when someone like Ben Folds will admit he's balding and can't really pull of songs about high-school any more, this is Elbow answering addressing that dilemma.
    piersyon April 02, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAgree with "piersy" but would like to add that I think this is a love between an older man and a young woman and the obvious conflict, emotionally, that can cause. He's obsessed with a young girl he feels he will eventually lose so tries to be aloof but struggles. He puts himself down in one breath "I'm asking you to back a horse that's good for glue and nothing else" cause he feels he can't compete with younger guys, then plays to his strengths by telling her " But find a man that's truer than, find a man that needs you more than I". He wants to hear her "dreams and obsessions" cause maybe he no longer has any and doesn't want to be the reason she doesn't fulfill them, but..........darling is this love!
    Davel62on July 17, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm pretty much positive it's "the violins explode inside me" And not violets OR violence. It seems to fit with the rest of that part of the song.
    rossyvictoron September 23, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with Davel62, this man is just in love but he has a few insecurities (his age, if the young girl is ready for a love as strong as he is willing to offer i.e marriage) but still he cant help but be besotted with the young girl and he will do anything to be around her and listen to her speak about what she would like to do with her life (last verse) making him fall in love with her even more by the minute.

    Lovely Song...now if only my man would have opened up to me like this...yes he was older than me, I was younger
    ilviveon September 26, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhat is Guy Garvey talking about when he sings:

    "How dare the premier ignore my invitations. He'll have to go. So too the bunch he luncheons with."?
    granthallidayon November 25, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it's 'to' not 'too' it links in with next section of the song, on his way to 'The Premiere' stops by her place of work. Listen and it sounds right.
    Scolopaxon February 06, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI just love this song. It is certainly in my top 3 love songs of all time, it is so beautifully written and the feeling he sings it with just makes it so much more powerful, to bring a tear to my eye is something not a lot of songs do.
    'You are the only thing in any room you're ever in' so poetic and a brilliant description, I think this line just about sums up everything he intends to say in this song. How to him she's the only thing that matters - to the extent that sometimes she is the only thing that is there.
    Also on a more bittersweet note, this love for her is so true, that he accepts that she is too good for him, like he wants nothing more than for her to be happy. As in the line 'I sat you down and told you how the truest love that's ever found is for oneself' you can see he is trying not to push her away but to let her know that she is special. More special than himself.
    I could go on for hours about Elbow's lyrics, but I'll leave it be. Again one of the most powerful love songs of all time.
    x
    TwistedAgainon February 06, 2009   Link

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