"Pop Lie" as written by and Will Robinson Sheff....
All sweetly sung and succinctly stated
Words and music he calculated
To make you sing along
With your stereo on,
As you stand in your shorts on your lawn
Get completely incorporated
By some couple who consummated
Their first love by the dawn

A falling star wished upon
That flashed in the sky and was gone
And, mouths wet and blonde hair braided
By the back room the kids all waited
To meet the man in bright green
Who had dreamed up the dream
That they wrecked their hearts upon
He's the liar who lied in his pop song
And you're lying when you sing along
And you're lying when you sing along

So, here's to car seats so cruelly weighted
And here's to faces already faded,
At the end of the day
When they just threw away
The only good thing that they owned,
And now they're pinned down and strangulated
But, at the food court, the float's inflated

And people line up to see
The man who dreamed up the dream
That they wrecked their hearts upon
He's the liar who lied in his pop song
The liar who lied in his pop song,
And you're lying when you sing along
Oh yeah, you're lying when you sing along

Week by week it climbs up and comes on,
And we're feeling all right, though we know it's all wrong
I'm ashamed to admit that I cannot resist what I wish were the truth but is not
And I truly believe we're not strong
And we'll sing until our voices are gone,
And then sink beneath that manicured lawn

This is respectfully dedicated
To the woman who concentrated
All of her love to find
That she had wasted it on
The liar who lied in this song


Lyrics submitted by smileforthecamera, edited by Kozumou

"Pop Lie" as written by Will Robinson Sheff

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Pop Lie song meanings
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15 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentWe listen to songs that touch us deeply, and we build this image of the singer in our head, assuming that something so emotional must be a reflection of his or her life, right? Sometimes that's the case, but other times it's just fiction, written because it's a good emotional hook.

    I don't know if Will Sheff is singing about himself, but it definitely applies to anyone who loves a band. It seems to be about separating the art from the artist. All these things that we want our favorite singers and songwriters to be and feel - it might be a lie. We can fall in love with the music, but we can't fall in love with the people.
    Way_AEon July 21, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFirstly, there's a few words wrong here. 'Words and music HE calculated', 'A FLASH in the sky IT was gone', 'The liar who lied in HIS song'. Not a big deal really, but little words can completely change the inflection of a line, or even the meaning of the whole song.

    I think this is clearly a song about the fickle, shallow content of todays pop music. 'Week by week, it climbs up and comes on' refers to a song climbing the charts and being played on the radio, and 'But at the food court, the float's inflated People line up to see...' referring to lame public appearances where naff bands mime at a shopping mall. These two lines alone lead me to believe it is not about Will Sheff or Okkervil River.
    Will talks of starry eyed kids, and the fact that the kids see these idiots as icons, Gods almost to be followed and worshipped, and that the worship is thoroughly undeserved, especially since the content of their 'art' is inherently flawed by being tawdry paint-by-numbers pish, written solely to sell records rather than say something worthwhile.

    'And we're feeling alright, though we know it's all wrong' implies that the music is catchy, hence radio friendly, but that deep down we all know it's meaningless drivel.

    I have to disagree massively with laviebonne who said 'SOMETIMES, just sometimes, THEY'RE ONLY LYRICS.' To imply that Will Sheff is guilty of doing exactly what he abhores in this song seems a little rash. To a songwriter of any worth no lyrics are JUST lyrics. Whether speaking from personal experience, or as a 3rd person narrative, I have no doubt that Will would have thought long and hard about every word in the song, and would not have just tossed them off to fit with the music.

    Kaitling Grace - don't be upset, Will Sheff wrote a whole piece on the OR website forum about the awkwardness of talking to fans, check it out, it was nothing personal. If it helps, one time I saw them he buggered straight off back stage before anyone got a chance. I hung around a spoke to Ben, Scott etc, and they were lovely. I was sad enought to take a CD to sign, and Ben even took it backstage to ask Will to sign it. He did. It is one of my most prized possessions, signed by ever member of the Black Sheep Boy tour. Yay me.
    croakditchon February 01, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe first missing lyrics is "And mouth sweat, and blonde hair, braided."

    The second missing lyric is "And now they're pinned down and strangulated."

    The third missing lyrics is something like "in a simplified manicured lawn." I still can't quite understand that one, even in the "One Man Band Version."
    stars&satelliteson July 17, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti totally agree with Way AE.
    example time: tim kasher.
    i hate to bring him up because i'm always bringing him up, but he fits quite nicely in this example.

    well, 99% of his fans think he's a drunken asshole who is obssessed with loneliness and his ex-lovers.

    i REALLY don't think he's actually like that, even though it brings the LULZ sometimes. it also kinds of sucks that he's pegged as that kind of guy, which is a pathetic brand of man.

    hate to break it to everyone. HE IS A NORMAL GUY. i think that ruins eveyrone's image of this broken man writing of his misfortune in relationships and drowning his sorrows in alcohol.

    SOMETIMES, just sometimes, THEY'RE ONLY LYRICS.
    OR the way they are feeling at the time, but it passes and they go back to living a fairly normal life, being their damn attractive, beard-faced selves.
    speaking non-specifically and objectively, of course.

    anyway, IAWTC.
    laviebonneon August 12, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song might me dedicated to me. After an OR concert, I waited to meet Will Sheff and he was so uninterested and terse. It pretty much sucked.
    kaitlingraceon August 29, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell kaitlingrace that song's not for me then. I met Will Sheff before an OR concert, and he was totally cool!
    schnerzzon October 01, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhy are half the lyrics missing? I don't get why there's a * instead of some of the words.

    I wanted to talk about the line "and now they're... pinned down, triangulated", or if it's "pinned down, strangulated," because it's one of those clever Sheff word plays. If it's the former, then whoever "they" are are merely "located", if it's the latter, then they are "pinned down" in an altogether more sinister sense.

    But I can't, because those lyrics aren't even there. :?
    ardnelsonon November 04, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentcroakditch,

    I can see how you would be confused, but that remark was not even made towards this song, merely the message Sheff is trying to get across. The whole idea behind my comment was to reiterate that fact that singers are not always the people you expect them to be based on their lyrics alone. Read IN CONTEXT, my comment is only agreeing with the first comment and including with a tiny for-instance. In fact, it hurts me for you to think I believe Will Sheff just writes lyrics without thinking about them. His attention to detail and his word placement making me utterly weak at the knees is what makes him one of my favorite song writers.
    laviebonneon February 18, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentlaviebonne,

    In that case a very sincere and public apology. I must have been having a bad day. Don't be hurt, I've no idea who you are or what you're like, so it was nothing personal. And I agree with your comments re. Sheff. Undoubtedly one of the finest lyricists going.
    croakditchon March 03, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe third missing lyric is "And then sink beneath that manicured law". The lyrics are printed on the CD jacket of the "Pop Lie" single.
    Beazeron December 02, 2009   Link

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