"Have to Drive" as written by and Amanda Palmer....
I have to drive
I have my reasons, dear
It's cold outside
I hate the seasons here

I suffer mornings most of all
I feel so powerless and small
By ten o'clock I'm back in bed
Fighting the jury in my head

You learn to drive
It's only natural, dear
You drive all night
We haven't slept in years

We suffer mornings most of all
We saw you lying in the road
We tried to dig a decent grave
But it's still no way to behave

It is a delicate position
Spin the bottle
Pick the victim
Catch a tiger
Switch directions
If he hollers
Break his ankles
To protect him

We'll have to drive
They're getting closer
Just get inside
It's almost over

We will save your brothers
We will save your cousins
We will drive them far away
From streets and lights
From all signs of bad mankind

We suffer mornings most of all
Wake up all bleary eyed and sore
Forgetting everything we saw

(I'll meet you in an hour
At the car)


Lyrics submitted by HalfJack483

"Have to Drive" as written by Amanda Palmer

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Have to Drive song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentI just thought it necessary to mention that when I was listening to this song, I had a car wreck and crashed through a barbed wire fence. I thought it to be perfect situational irony! haha
    jewelsandlyeon December 11, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song makes me think of zombie movies. *shrugs*
    daytripper65on March 05, 2009   Link
  • +2
    MemoryI think it's about the holocaust, if you think about it, you'll see I'm right.
    Sameoldtuneon March 29, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation'I suffer mornings most of all
    I feel so powerless and small
    By ten o'clock I'm back in bed
    Fighting the jury in my head'

    This makes me think that it's a reference to alcoholism (not surprising given amanda's track record)
    It's an eloquently put account of life as an alcoholic - that I hear every day almost in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.
    Before I came into recovery, I found that driving my motorbike was the only way that I could shut my head up - the endless conversations, judgements, self hatred and other churning thoughts were all silenced by the absolute concentration on the angle of the bike, the grip of the wheels, the apex of the corner - and the peace that I felt on the back of the bike meant I spent most of my life on it.
    Pity, then, that I decided to drive hung over (like amanda does in this song) and lost my license after crashing into a white van...

    I'm not saying that this is ALL the song is about, but throwing in an extra angle to look at.
    Tradition12on February 19, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI have to drive
    I have my reasons, dear
    (that need to get away and run from everything)
    It's cold outside
    I hate the seasons here
    (even when your away you're still suffering)

    I suffer mornings most of all
    I feel so powerless and small
    (mornings are already depressing because the groggy feeling when we wake up, so to add depression onto that makes it worse)
    By ten o'clock I'm back in bed
    Fighting the jury in my head
    (she gives up and goes to bed so she doesn't have to hurt anymore while she's asleep; something a lot of depressive people do)

    We learn to drive
    It's only natural, deer
    (this time drive refers to continue throughout the day and week and month and "drive on")
    We drive all night
    We haven't slept in years
    (she says haven't slept because to her it's only an escape to get away, not to actually rest)

    We suffer mornings most of all
    We saw you lying in the road
    (still suffering and now giving up)
    We tried to dig a decent grave
    But it's still no way to behave
    (the people around her giving up on her as well but then decided to help her out of her depression)

    It is a delicate position
    Spin the bottle
    Pick the victim
    (it can happen to anyone randomly)
    Catch a tiger
    Switch directions
    (it can be difficult and confusing at times to come back to a life you love after giving up)
    If he hollers
    Break his ankles
    To protect him
    (don't let them slip back into sleep or that depressive state again to protect them)

    We'll have to drive
    They're getting closer
    Just get inside
    It's almost over
    (now she's running away from her depression that is chasing her)

    We will save your brothers
    We will save your cousins
    We will drive them far away
    From streets and lights
    From all signs of bad mankind
    (they're saving her... yay...)

    We suffer mornings most of all
    Wake up all bleary eyed and sore
    Forgetting everything we saw
    (still trying to get over her own depression)

    I'll meet you in an hour at the car
    (she's now going to help someone else get out of their depression
    youscaremeon April 07, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentFor some reason, I find myself connecting this song to depression. I can definitely understand the roadkill perspective - especially as that is what is described on the website - but I think that an equally sound interpretation is the depression angle of it.
    indiemuffinson June 07, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it's both about roadkill, and even people. Amanda has mentioned losing a lot of people through death in her life, but even though a lot of people who were important to her have died, she has to go on living, she can't dwell on their deaths forever, because she's still alive.
    missevalineon March 02, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationHonestly I think "drive" is a metaphor for living.

    I have to drive
    I have my reasons, deer
    (i have to live, i have my reasons for living, yet wanting to die.)
    It's cold outside
    I hate the seasons here
    (complaining about life.)

    I suffer mornings most of all
    I feel so powerless and small
    (maybe being groggy as someone else stated)
    By ten o'clock I'm back in bed
    Fighting the jury in my head
    (you're so depressed you just want to sleep & your mind is just like a machine that never stops thinking. You are fighting those thoughts in your head)

    We learn to drive
    It's only natural, deer
    (learn to drive--live-- it is only natural.)
    We drive all night
    (we do, even when we sleep)
    We haven't slept in years
    (we haven't in a away. We are always working either in mind or physically)

    We suffer mornings most of all
    (stated above)
    We saw you lying in the road
    (I think this is implying that you saw someone depressed as you or worse or in your position)
    We tried to dig a decent grave
    (you somehow think they won't make it in life(depressing, i know..) so you want to kinda help them "live it up" before they kill themselves or someone else, since you will never know when they will snap.
    But it's still no way to behave
    (It isn't.)

    It is a delicate position
    Spin the bottle
    Pick the victim
    Catch a tiger
    Switch directions
    If he hollers
    Break his ankles
    To protect him
    (I can't interpret this to match my interpretation. help anyone?)

    We'll have to drive
    They're getting closer
    (maybe the thoughts of this suicidal/homicidal person are getting to him)
    Just get inside
    (come with us.)
    It's almost over
    (maybe a manic episode.)

    We will save your brothers
    We will save your cousins
    We will drive them far away
    From streets and lights
    From all signs of bad mankind
    (maybe the person was only living because of their family. maybe they feel that they lost it all in their life and want to die but just can't muster up the ability to do it since they love their family but they are reassuring them we will keep them safe.)

    We suffer mornings most of all
    Wake up all bleary eyed and sore
    Forgetting everything we saw
    (just forgetting everything they saw/ did.)
    (I'll meet you in an hour
    at the car)
    unrequited00Loveon July 24, 2010   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningThese are all nice interpretations, but for me it's still about roadkill. I don't think there's anything "funny" or boring or unsatisfying about that; it's a very depressing song and still has elements of Amanda's usual themes of dissatisfaction among modern humanity. She's very good at double meanings, and I think she does it well in this song.

    We have to drive - we have things we need to get away from, even if it only feels like we're getting away from them. How many of us go driving when we're depressed, just to get away from our own thoughts and concentrate on something else for a while? Even my psychologist has suggested going for drives when I feel terrible.

    We drive all night - I think the "we" here is humanity in general. Even in small towns out in the country, there is always at least one car on the road at any time of the night. Someone is always awake and driving. Humanity hasn't slept in years.

    The last stanzas are about moving animals (in cars and trucks) to other places - wilderness preserves and zoos. If we pick up the deer, put them inside a vehicle, and move them somewhere where they'll be caged in away from the cars, we'll save them in a way.

    It's all very sad; it's an awful way to behave, because we're killing animals and the planet. But we can't help it. We have to drive, so let's meet at the car.
    BalisongAbraxason July 02, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI have a pretty distinct image in my mind of what is happening in this song.

    I think what happened is the narrator was driving one day and hit a deer; the deer gets horribly mangled but isn't dead right away. The narrator is so shocked and disturbed she can't bear to run over it again to put it out of its misery. She calls the cops and then walks onto the shoulder of the road and starts digging a grave for the deer. After a few minutes she sees a cop car coming and goes back in her car. There is a sense of relief with the cop's arrival because they will shoot the deer to put it out of its misery (they're getting closer/just get inside/it's almost over).

    The majority of the song is talking about the aftermath and its effects on the narrator. She feels awful about killing an innocent animal and allowing it to suffer for so long. She starts thinking a lot about mankind's detrimental effects on wildlife, and starts wondering if she should change her lifestyle to do her part to minimize those effects. But she justifies her continued use of a vehicle by saying she "has to drive." In this day and age, how does one survive without driving? It's not possible, she tells herself (I have to drive/I have my reasons, deer; you learn to drive/it's only natural, deer). The truth is that it is possible, it's just inconvenient, and she knows this deep down and the selfishness of it is eating her up (fighting the jury in my head). Finally she acknowledges that the choice to drive IS a choice, not a necessity, and that it is a selfish choice but she's going to choose it anyway, because in the end she values her lifestyle more than the lives of a few animals (it is a delicate position/spin the bottle/pick the victim - she could volunteer to be the "victim" by giving up her lifestyle, or she could continue to drive and pick wildlife and nature to be the "victim"). Finally she is tired of agonizing over the issue and feeling anxious every time she's behind the wheel, so she decides to simply put it out of her mind (forgetting everything we saw). The last lines (meet me in an hour/at the car) are important because it shows how the narrator is moving on with her life; she didn't want to give up the ability to just hop in the car and meet up with someone in an hour's time, so she shoves her guilt to the back of her mind and continues to drive.
    elddiReMsihTon November 16, 2011   Link

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