I would like to feel the pain of a broken heart
Just to let me know that I can fall apart
No one wants to hear the birds sing
Morning's near
Day will soon become night again my dear

I don't want to know the pain of a broken heart
I always know to stop before it starts
No one wants to hear the boy sing love sick songs
Just keep dancing, keep smiling
Even if it feels wrong

It's not the place, nor the time
Nor that I can't keep you mine
Your smile, my smile
Our faces mash a while

"Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly
Man got to sit and wonder why, why, why
Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land
Man got to tell himself he understand"

Got to fly

It's not the place, nor the time
Nor that I can't keep you mine
Your smile, my smile
Our faces mash a while

Won't you come outside, love
Won't you come outside?
Won't you please be mine, love
Won't you come outside?


Lyrics submitted by _mycritique

Kurt Vonnegut song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentcat's cradle is the greatest book ever
    enjoyyourrootson November 03, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's not the place, nor the time Nor that I can't keep you mine.

    Stylistically brilliant: we usually say, "its not the place or the time" meaning that in the current spaciotemporal realm, whatever it is, is not proper at the moment.

    The lyric expresses something wholly different. The syntax suggests that the place, the time, and the fact that I can't make you mine are are not the reasons that things are not working out.
    LightWeighton May 04, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI wish I didn't read these lyrics. It kind of ruined the chorus part for me.

    "It's not the place, nor the time
    Nor that I can't keep you mine"

    I had hoped he said "It's not the place, nor the time, *know* that I can't keep you mine" I thought it fit in better with the things he said earlier in the song like:

    I don't want to know the pain of a broken heart
    I always know to stop before it starts
    No one wants to hear the boy sing love sick songs
    Just keep dancing, keep smiling
    Even if it feels wrong


    But that's just me.
    bkupslupon May 05, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionI think the song mainly addresses the human condition - I wouldn't like to go into specifics though. I think the meaning at heart is clearer without speculating about details, but if you want to do that too that's fine. (Note: this turned out quite a bit longer than it needed to be. Sorry.)

    It seems obvious that the core meaning of the songs stems from some of Vonnegut's ideas, (particularly those expressed in Cat's Cradle; Bokononism). The lyrics make sense without having a knowledge of the book, but it would probably help. In short, Bokononism is a fictional religion from the novel. I personally would rather describe these principles as humanist than existentialist, but that doesn't matter.

    The first two verses both explore the tendencies of the narrator towards knowledge and the fear this presents. The narrator wants to learn and know about himself and the world around him, but is scared of what he might find.
    The lines: 'No one wants to hear the birds sing morning's near' and 'No one wants to hear the boy sing lovesick songs' correspond with each other. A comparison can be drawn between the bird and the boy, (and the boy presumably refers to the narrator). No one wants to hear the birds announce the coming of the morning, because as the next line explains, it'll just be night again soon enough anyway. There is apparently no use in stating the obvious day after day after day. Similarly, no one wants to hear the boy whining, because just like the day-night cycle, he'll come in and out of heart-break and sing lovesick songs each time. To everyone else this is boring/pointless/tedious. So here the lyrics comment on the naivety of human and animal nature, and how oblivious both can be.

    'Just keep dancing, keep smiling / Even if it feels wrong'. This statement particularly draws from descriptions of Bokononist ideas in the book. Essentially: small harmless white-lies, or 'foma', can be used to achieve happiness. In Bokononism this is highlighted by a warning at the start of the scriptures telling the reader not to continue, as it is a pack of lies. The song returns to this principle a number of times. Furthermore, 'keep dancing' might reference a Bokonon quote about how unusual travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God. We can take dancing to, in context, to signify play, happiness, and frivolity in life.

    The third section I am less certain about. Incidentally if you check the official website, the lyrics give is 'Nor that I can't make you mine', but I doubt it matters very much. Either way the narrator and the other party are in an undesirable situation, the narrator knows he can't make the other person his specifically, and this is fine by them and they kiss a bit. I can't be sure, but maybe this is to do with another part of Cat's Cradle. It's not easy to summarise, (spoilers), but the protagonist cannot 'keep' the girl he is in love with his per se, because she is Bokononist. She explains that Bokononists love every person equally, and a person that wishes to have all of someone else's love for themselves is a 'sin-wat'. This is seen as selfish, and not their right. But hey; I might be wrong, maybe I'm looking too far into the parallels between book and song. However, just because it relates to this particular scene does not mean that it describes that exclusively. So this doesn't rule out any further speculation about relationships or other specific experiences of the narrator.

    The 'Tiger got to hunt' stanza is a direct quote from Cat's Cradle, as one of Bokonon's calypsos (hymns, if you will). It discusses man's instincts being as any other animal's, and that the only way man can rest and recover some comfort, just as the other animals do, is by pretending to have an understanding of it all. This reinforces the idea of 'foma', and it's place in living a content life. The foma are necessary for man to have any comfort - you might say he will never really know anything apart from his own lies.

    The last stanza may pertain to the book, again, in ways I won't go into detail about due to unavoidable spoilers. It also links back to the idea of possessing a person/all their love as in the section preceding it. I can agree with the notion that 'won't you come outside?' could be another party asking the narrator to stop thinking, (man got to sit and wonder why why why) for a while and experience life the only way he can.

    So - I think the lyrics discuss a lot of Bokononist ideas from Vonnegut, specifically to do with foma and the human condition, love, and happiness. Do with that what you will. I am not very good at being concise.
    chalkedon May 27, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe "tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly" verse is in Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle
    RandomTaxon March 11, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSeems like both writers know that Man only has the illusion of a choice in life, and that we'll always try to do the same things because we're trapped.

    The outro is wonderful.
    Perhaps Panon November 18, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentbeautiful
    lidpeaon September 13, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm pretty sure, it's not just about all this existentialist crap.
    Sure, Kurt Vonnegut is pretty sweet and Mountain Dew is the best soda ever made, however, I think this song is about an affair.

    "Morning's near
    Day will soon become night again my dear"

    "Just keep dancing, keep smiling
    Even if it feels wrong"

    "It's not the place, nor the time
    Nor that I can't keep you mine
    Your smile, my smile
    Our faces mash a while"

    "Won't you please be mine, love
    Won't you come outside? "
    Aioazechon December 24, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentits is DEFINATELY:
    "It's not the place, nor the time
    TO KNOW that i can't keep you mine"

    listen and you will hear :)
    linkarmhan17on April 08, 2010   Link
  • -1
    General Commentit seems to me that this song is commenting on a lot of the ideas/themes used in a lot of kurt vonnegut's writting as well as a lot of other beat writters. themes like critquing society's values and and the humman condition/nature.

    "Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly
    Man got to sit and wonder why, why, why
    Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land
    Man got to tell himself he understand" - this comments on the human condition, that we question things and that we base our society on culture, rather than instinctive decisions. but i wonder whether society is really pushing for this attitude; that we should be questioning the masses and alternaltive ideas. we seem to be becoming more ignorant of alternalitive ideals.

    we want to make it easier for oursleves. this song seems to comment on this: "I would like to feel the pain of a broken heart, Just to let me know that I can fall apart" - this comments on how we, as a society, are being dehumanised and are lacking in compasion, perhaps from a lack of connectivness with intangiable things and our environment as well.

    "No one wants to hear the boy sing love sick songs
    Just keep dancing, keep smiling
    Even if it feels wrong" - i think this is saying that no one questions or bothers to analyse the meanings behind things. the idea of uniformity and the lack existentialism seems to be quite prominant in western society. i really think this is a result of ideals we have formed and the lack of diverse intellectual ideas.
    lost goaton May 20, 2008   Link

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