"Strange Overtones" as written by and Leo Abraham Brian P.g. Eno....
I wake up every morning
I hear your feet on the stairs
You're in the next apartment
I hear you singing over there

This groove is out of fashion
These beats are 20 years old
I saw you lend a hand to
The ones out standing in the cold

Strange Overtones in the music you are playing
I'll harmonize
It is strong and you are tough
But a heart is not enough

Put on your socks and mittens
It's getting colder tonight
A snowball in my kitchen
I watched it melt before my eyes

Your song still needs a chorus
I know you'll figure it out
The rising of the verses
A change of key will let you out

Strange overtones though they're slightly out of fashion
I'll harmonize
I see the music in your face
That your words cannot explain

Strange Overtones in the music you are playing
We're not alone
It is strong and you are tough
But a heart is not enough


Lyrics submitted by Jeremyyy

"Strange Overtones" as written by Leo Matthew Kevin Abrahams Brian Peter George Eno

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., THE ROYALTY NETWORK INC.

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Strange Overtones song meanings
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  • +3
    My InterpretationI should have made "Longwinded' my user name.....This is a song of affirmation as demonstrated by the uplifting percussion and melody. The lyrics provide metaphors for common life (hear feet on stairs, next apartment) connecting – or recognizing in other people– positive aspects (I hear you singing over there), specifically compassion. Age, life experience, teach us to know ourselves - our faith in mankind is bolstered when we recognize something appealing in others - compassion specifically addressed with "I saw you lend a hand to the ones out standing in the cold". The use of metaphor throughout regarding music and song is clever. This groove is out of fashion is a way of saying this person has life experience, may not be popular or trendy or successful by someone else's definition of success but it works for them and the theme of following your heart, being compassionate - even being attracted to someone because of it is nothing new i.e. "these beats are 20 years old." The person being sung about is either younger and; or, still finding their way - they may not believe in themselves yet, still developing their confidence and sense of self. it is hard to follow your gut all the time. Recognizing this in ourselves and others; Being supportive of someone else who is on their own journey, appreciating it even in simple ways, allowing that to inspire your own mood or life is expressed with ""I'll harmonize". We can't deny that others affect us. As we all know, there is a common misperception that nice people are stupid or naive. Why can't you be nice, a warm person, non threatening but still sharp and shrewd? Are we all struggling to find that balance to assert ourselves but find a way to fit in somewhere? Things that make you go Hmmmmm. Sorry wrong song. We also know that there are times in life you have to harden yourself, ("put on your socks and mittens") use your logical brain, not just emotional brain, which we have accepted in common culture as our "heart". But in doing all that, don't lose faith, don't get too jaded, don't change...take time to contemplate, make informed decisions, do the right thing - there's an old Ojibway saying about having a snowball in the hut - a problem, something troubling you. You talk it out, work it through. I think it's directly related. There's another related Ojibway saying about chopping your own wood and it will warm you twice - just thought I'd throw that in as a bonus for reading all this so far. "I see the music on your face" : Just say faith instead of face and get the meaning, you can see people's integrity, faith, in their demeanor and expression. "Your song still needs a chorus" getting through your life challenge, finding your way, strange overtones, but be true to yourself, be open to learning and taking from the world that surrounds you on a daily basis "the rising of the verses" - that can be risky - but new perspective can be the key to... happiness, resolution, decision instead of indecision... as we add life experience we grow wiser, hopefully....."we are not alone" the more things change the more they stay the same, strange overtones but the beat is timeless. It is written in such a way that you can take the interpersonal relationship between singer and subject to different levels. A romantic attraction, admiration from a mentor, grand/parent to child - Oh yeah David and Bryan, very cool - I love song lyrics that live up to their melodies' intricate musical arrangements.
    shadowhopeon January 17, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell i think this song is about an aging rocker who doesn't understand the latest music trends and longs for the old days. I would really love to hear other opinions though. Some have suggested the song has an anti-religious message, which i can see.
    youtube.com/…
    Silver_godon September 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe music to this song is fucking amazing
    maureenomalley23on November 22, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentShadow may be long-winded, but tremendously insightful! This whole album is amazing.
    grasswidow103on February 10, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAmazing song.
    dharmaartiston June 05, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song reminds me of all the hip-hop/pop artists on the radio that make shitty covers of popular hits from they're parents'generation..and make it they're "own".
    Alligatorshoeson August 03, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI like to think this is how Brian Eno and David Byrne started collaborating (*disclaimer, I know that is not the case, I'm just pretending) - Both artists had their hey day 20-30 years ago, so the lyrics add up. David heard Brian experimenting with beats in the next apartment, and came up with the chorus, and great music was born!

    Seriously though, I think it's a pretty straightforward song about living next to a musician you respect... if you're finding deep life metaphors in these lyrics, I think you're looking too hard.
    yellowstaron August 28, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love the Talking Heads and when this first came out i heard it on the radio with no intro and was like: 'Whoa i can't believe i have never heard this awesome Talking Heads song before' ~ DB's stilllll got it baby
    SeenAndNotSeenon May 09, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI always took this song as a sweet romance, sung by a lonely heart.

    It's about that person you see regularly in your life, whether it be a neighbor, somehow that attends your school, or rides your train; you're attracted to this person but there is never any practical reason for you to meet.

    And so, after a time, this person leaves your life. Maybe this person was your "soul mate". You'll never know.
    puzzudon October 26, 2015   Link

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