"Tenuousness" as written by and Andrew Wegman Bird....
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Lyrics submitted by TDeMello, edited by gromerthenotshabbyrhino

Tenuousness song meanings
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  • +2
    General Commenti was at Andrew's portland maine show tonight (head is still spinning!) and he played this song.

    afterwards he explained that hobis-hots was a word in a made-up language that he and his friend had created when they were young...that most of the words they made up were just swears and insults and such...but that it rhymed with greek cypriots, which he "was really very determined to get into a song"
    nooffensebuton October 25, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI have come to interpret this song as being about what I am choosing to call mental masturbation. Another way of putting this is the pursuit of knowledge as a means to becoming fulfilled, and the song highlights both the futility of this and its necessary place in the natural progression of things.

    [I'm going stanza by stanza here]
    The intro creates an association between the song's namesake (which means "what a drag!") with intellectuals.

    The next bit describes such an intellectual with some pretty powerful imagery, like someone who has been thinking (scratching their beard) so much that they have become exhausted (their chin has been rubbed off!), and equating the brutal friction of sharpening an ax to 'brushing up' on some of the oldest syntax's (as though its that simple) makes our model intellectual into a self-parody.

    The next part shows the implications of such perpetuating inquiry, illustrated as a waxing and waning axis where you are nothing but a small gear that must serve your societal function of procreating and paying taxes to keep the machine running.

    This next stanza is the most abstract, as it introduces some neurological references. The meaning of the numbers may be interpreted many different ways, but I think Bird was simply using them as arbitrary poetic sounding figures that make it seem like he's spelling out some equation, and he can do this without having to back it up ("...get[ting] away with murder..." as Bird himself has put it) because of the elasticity of the heavens. This elasticity image also reminds me how malleable the substance of imagination is. "Those who live and die..." self explanatory if you've been following along my opinion.

    The rest of the lines before the repeating stanza are used to further paint the picture of *click* compulsive thinking, *click* uneasiness, *tic* and the harrowing products of scientific advancement.

    I'd like to know that the move from astronomy to numerology produces a historical timeline of human inquiry within the song, to follow up on the origins of language which introduce the song. If there were an order to fields of study, communication then looking to the heavens then counting things seems logical.
    bistro7on September 11, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe coprophagia and 'know when to stand and when to sit' reminds me of dog training. "click click click" for training a pup. - just a thought on that
    logancrenshawon April 27, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think he’s talking about the history of humanity and what the world has become. know when to stand and sit sounds like obeying your superiors. I thought “who would want to know this/ click click click/ who wants to look upon this pray tell” sounded like hes talking about facebook.
    meroby1on December 11, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAlso gonna Add if Andrew Bird revised his songs like he did here, It would not be long before hit hit mainstream and got the recognition he deserves. Dont think so? Look at Mumford and Sons. People are craving these tunes.
    MaynardFreebirdCastroon March 07, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI try to picture all of these things in my head, I like that when this guy sings... one thing I also think he was trying to relate was the educational pressures applied on all in this day and age. Though we don't always discuss them I think a lot of our hang-ups come from that developmental stage when we are pressed into learning all of these bizarre facts and facets of the human experience. In this day and age all of this information is so easily accessible at that. I think that's where the "click, click, click..." comes in. It's that our lives are so mechanical and removed from our own organic considerations- and not talking about food- but I mean every facet of our lives without having to answer to the mechanisms of daily life, all of which are an extension-via the chain of cultural development- of all those ancients that he discusses in the opening stanzas. We wouldn't be where we are now without the exact occurrence of history as it happened- the flow of events became a chain and now we are here, regardless of how obscure and inconsequential it all may seem, it played a role. So it begs the question eventually how much consequence do you bear? And does that really matter at all?
    syates777on January 28, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthanks for posting nothing!
    mw828on December 15, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPorts = quotes

    Them, you, us plus eleven comes just shy of infinity
    Mooncutteron December 16, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is so damn catchy. I want to dance whenever it comes on.
    wild_ cosmiaon December 18, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentalright, here's what i got:

    firstly, it's clearly "Porto-centric Lisboans".

    secondly: "Harbisots" isn't actually a word, even if it does sound like he's singing that.

    my guess is: "and harbor-sorts who hang around in ports a lot, all night."
    tonythelonelyon December 19, 2008   Link

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