"Calling and Not Calling My Ex" as written by and Will Robinson Sheff....
She was once mine
That smile that shines from the glossy magazine that's stuck inside the Sunday times
She was so sweet
On Christmas eve
With the snow set deep when we went walking through the pines
I had just been fired and her first offer had arrived
And the new year would see her flying far away from me
Though I didn't know it a the time

With out-stretched hands
Now she commands a famous figure
For every picture
And she stands up strong and she demands
And they deliver
Yeah she's a fixture
And it's mixture of dumb jealously and fear that I might feel
Should she appear
Just like it hasn't been three years
And there's distance to her voice over the phone
And that's because she stands alone
While I'm still sitting here

Girl you see me here on another quite night
I will wait until another indistinguishable day arrives
I'll sigh when the light is even and bright
Where my life is sweet while it's slightly disappointingly just gliding softly by
Girl you won't wait for me
In some secluded stand of trees
Some Christmas eve some god was kind enough to set aside
Although I love you too, I'm proud of you
God knows I'm feeling really stupid now
For ever having said "goodbye"

During the fight
I said yeah right
When insisted that I'd visit
That you'd write
Now I know you're working hard so I never hear from you
And that's fine
You look the same on TV as when you where mine

I walk in from the kitchen and I finger the remote control
I watch you from the distance you go walking through the terminal
I remember every instance when you stunned me
Well you're so lovely yeah you're so smart

So go turn their heads
Go knock them dead
Go break their hearts

Go break their hearts
Baby break their hearts
And I know you will

Lyrics submitted by smileforthecamera, edited by thenew110

"Calling and Not Calling My Ex" as written by Will Robinson Sheff


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Calling and Not Calling My Ex song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentThis is my favorite Okkervil song and the most painful for me to listen to. The feelings of nostalgia, loss, and regret it invokes creates a knot in my gut.

    Anyway, I imagine this song is autobiographical. Just seems too real not to be. Oh, and I don't think the protagonist was dumped. Rather he wasn't committed enough to her and let her slip away when she moved to follow her career. "God knows I'm feeling really stupid now for having ever said goodbye."

    Once he realized what he lost it was too late. All he had left were his bittersweet memories, regret, and feelings of failure. And he is painfully reminded of these when he sees her on TV.

    I love the "I finger the remote control" line when he sees her on TV. What a way to convey his current desire for her.

    And the way this song blends into the next with it's sexual content, nostalgia, and yearning seems perfect.

    It so happens that at the time I was really into this album I met this girl I was soooo into. Three months into the relationship she leaves me with no word. So it's damn hard to hear this song. But I still love it like I love her memory.

    jinglejpjon May 13, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe most bittersweet song I've ever heard. I love the conflicting emotions: him being fired the day she gets a job offer, regretting the end of the relationship yet being happy for her.
    JeremyB1on August 11, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIf they're still together, why open with "she was once mine"?
    Low Feedbackon October 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt appears obvious to me that this song is about a guy who fell in love with a girl who then left him to become a TV star. I love Sheff's writing, never too complex, brilliant reflections and some awesome figures of speech like this one: That smile that shines from the glossy magazine that stuck inside the Sunday Times.
    I feel maturity in Sheff's text. I feel through the lyrics and tone that this is not another 25 years old songwriter babbleling the same shit we hear in too much songs about some girl and you ask weither he's ever gonna grow up or has just found the way to be popular and is gonna stick with that forever.

    Anyway, I discovered Okkervil River with The Stage Names and when I first heard The Stand-Ins I thought no way this album is better than The Stage Names. I still don't think it's a better album, and also considering that Stand-Ins are song that didn't make it on The Stage Names, it is still a very solid album. The songs are growing on me. I will buy that CD when it comes out.
    Cédrick88on July 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAbsolutely! I don't think there is a person on the planet who should go through life without knowing the bliss that is Okkervil River's first 3 albums. However, between The Stand Ins and The Stage Names, I actually think The Stand Ins is the better album of the two, It just flows better. In The Stage Names you have Savannah Smiles and then A Girl In Port that break the rest of the album in two halves with extremely slow tempos that conflict with the rest of the album. I mean, you can have slow songs in an more rock oriented album, but don't but it right before one of the most rock oriented songs on the album! It just doesn't fit.. in this there is much better flow. there is more, but whatever, that is the main thing.

    1. Black Sheep Boy
    2.Down the River of Golden Dreams
    3.The Stand Ins
    4.Don't Fall In Love With Everyone You See
    5. The Stage Names
    reds21on July 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI dunno...! I think their earlier albums are a lot less driven than their later ones. I adore Black Sheep Boy- it's in my top 5 albums of all time- but their first two albums are a little bit overfilled with slow, winding folk tracks for me, and I don't think they were as good at it as they are in Stand-Ins? I suppose if your favourite SN track was Girl In Port and your favourite SI track was Blue Tulip then they demand a play!

    I totally agree that Stand-Ins flows a lot better than Stage Names, though.

    I'd put it as:
    1. Black Sheep Boy
    2. The Stage Names
    3. The Stand-Ins
    4. Down The River Of Golden Dreams
    5. Don't Fall In Love With Everyone You See

    As for Calling And Not Calling My Ex, I suppose the lyrics speak for themselves (guy dates girl, girl gets famous and it breaks them apart) but I think that last line has a pretty good claim as one of the most glorious moments of the album!
    Appers66on July 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's a sweet song with very believeable characters. And it's a sad-celebrating christmas theme, hence the walks in the snow with pines around and the very christmas inspired melody-elements.

    Good song. Great ending.
    Low Feedbackon August 08, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"And you won't wait for me in some secluded stand of trees some Christmas Eve some god was kind enough to set aside"

    I am almost certain that this is a (brilliant) reference to another brilliant song, performed by Iron & Wine and Calexico on their joint album "In the Reins".


    The song is "Sixteen Maybe Less" and the line that is most closely referenced is
    "My brother told me he saw you there
    In the woods one Christmas Eve, waiting."

    The plots of these two songs make for a great comparison and contrast.
    Targetpractice.v01on September 27, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIDK what the song is about. I just want to say thanks to those of you who posted your ranked lists of favorite albums. I DL'ed Stand Ins this weekend, listened to it tonight, fell in love after about 4 notes, and was wondering which album to get next. Black Sheep Boy is currently downloading. So thanks for the tip!
    gravity_defianton December 02, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretationeverything in this song is in the last two lines. it is about saying goodbye to someone or something you desperately don't want to lose--but it's already gone. The only way to move on is to let go--and despite how clearly the singer knows that, the shape of the song suggests otherwise--why write/sing this song if you could really accept it?
    xoqqiyon September 22, 2009   Link

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