Anything we should know about your change?
I know you're a serious lady
Living off a teacup full of cherries
Nobody knows where you are living
Nobody knows where you are

Take a bath and get high through an apple
Wanted to cry but you can't when your laughing
Nobody knows where you are living
Nobody knows where you are

You're so far around the bend
You're so far around the bend

I'll run through a thousand parties
I'll run through a million bars
Nobody knows where you are living
Nobody knows where you are

You've been humming and I think it's forever
Praying for pavement to get back together
Nobody knows where you are living
Nobody knows where you are

You're so far around the bend
You're so far around the bend

There is no leaving New York
There is no leaving New York

There is no leaving New York
There is no leaving New York

There is no leaving New York
There is no leaving New York



Lyrics submitted by lilblig7, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"So Far Around the Bend" as written by Matthew D. Berninger Aaron B. Dessner

Lyrics © BUG MUSIC

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So Far Around the Bend song meanings
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  • +5
    My Interpretation:Song instantly resurrected memories of a number of young men and women I knew in my twenties. Berninger has created a narrator who is experiencing a brutal truth about a certain category of urban dwellers, but transmitting it to us with gentle human acceptance.

    I know you're a serious lady
    Living off a teacup full of cherries

    Impressionistic image for me; my takeaway is that 'serious' is meant tongue-in-cheek (she may refer to herself as 'serious' about 'her art', but she's certainly not serious about her life per se), and that the 'teacup full of cherries' references her dietary style (supermodel-like, eating almost nothing) but also to living on 'nothing' in general. She may not have a lot of possessions, or money, or fame (yet!), but she's young, whipsmart, and 'artistic'. What she does have in life right now, however, is spectacular (her 'teacup' is tiny, but goddamn if it ain't full of the most beautifully delicious cherries). The latter refs the attitude of a lot of smarter-than-normal but also fairly pretentious people who believe they're talented at something, or they're artistic, and move from East Jesus, Missouri to Hollywood or Manhattan on a determined whim, no job waiting there, believing that their native fabulousness guarantees fifty-thousand minutes of fame.

    Nobody knows where you are living
    Nobody knows where you are

    This type of person is always happy, always outwardly confident, almost manically carefree in outward demeanor; but behind that, there's the fact of: running out of rent money and having to charm friends and strangers into giving them places to stay until they roust some cash up, and God knows how they do that. But they get some cash, and they rent a new apartment, but it's only a matter of time before she skates on the third month's rent; the process continues indefinitely. And so it's true: nobody does know where she's living, that's her rep, she's always moving, and she always spins it as another aspect of her carefree nature: she can't get bogged down in one apartment, there's always more fabulous digs for one as special as she is.


    Take a bath and get high through an apple


    And I'm running the movie in my head, using the people I knew back when, of J. sitting in a bubble bath, a baggie o' green stuff I've brought her on the table next to the bathtub; she, drinking champagne and, not having a bong handy, but having an apple, demands that I get her an apple corer from the kitchen, with which, when I hand it to her, she skillfully drills tubes into the fruit and turns it into a fracking pipe and proceeds to smoke weed through it. (She loads it, but I light it for her...of course.) And I'm thinking (sorry, the song's narrator is thinking) back on this and says:

    Wanted to cry but you can't when your laughing

    And he says this because he is internally shaking his head back and forth, slowly, while he stares at her giddy, newly high face, there in the claw-footed white iron bathtub, above the bubbles, thinking, goddamn, goddamn, you can't...I...you can't continue like this, I...could...have loved you. Fuck you, bitch, I love you now.

    And there's no point in asking her whether she has money for next month's rent; you know that next month, someone else will be luxuriating in the lovely claw-footed cast-iron bathtub, someone with a real job and real money who's responsible. There's no point in asking her; she'll be gone. You're already clueing in now, strongly, about her life, about her prospects (and, dimly, about the life and prospects of all such people); you've known her for almost a year. You stare and gawk and grin at her, at the apple which is now a pipe, and you start to laugh, as she is laughing; but your stomach is dropping between your thighs, and tears start to form, and your leg kicks, and you panic, and you excuse yourself to go to the kitchen to fix a bourbon.


    You've been humming in a daze forever
    Praying for Pavement to get back together

    Shrewdly observed example of her emotional retardation; girl: you're how old, and you're still concerned with the viability of the bands of your youth? But at the same time...Christ...doesn't this show another thing you love about her? We loved that music...it was...it IS important...so...*sigh*

    Now there's no leavin' New York

    has a dual meaning; for the narrator, it means he can't leave because he's still so fascinated by her, he's forced to go through those million bars again, and, sure, again, hoping against hope to catch sight of her. But it's also a wry warning, under his breath, in his mind, to her, which is: your craziness and risk-taking and breathtaking irresponsibility and everything that makes you so excruciatingly attractive to be around is precisely what will finish you the fuck off...girl, keep this shit up, don't bother getting help, and you'll be dead in five years.

    The narrator is transiting between the youthful romantic dream of urban life and the jolting-faceplant of reality.

    Damn if these people, like the woman in the song, aren't unbearably interesting when you move from the suburbs to the big city after college, and encounter them for the first time. Fuck me...they're so free, so unencumbered by bourgeois values like hard work and saving money, the tired shit about which your 'rents droned endlessly. That's your attitude towards these exciting sophisticates when you're twenty-five.

    By thirty, you've seen how many have died of drug overdoses, or of AIDS (back in the day), or have descended into permanent mental illness and are puked up onto the streets for good. The narrator in Berninger's lyrics is moving from the romantic view of such people he held in his youth, into the hardened, realistic view of the thirty-year old. He knows she's circling the drain, but he's still conflicted and still wants to run around the city looking for her. Maybe even to help her; he may not yet know that he cannot possibly 'help' such people, the final nasty lesson he must learn.

    Finally, the refrain: You're so far around the bend...

    Can't you see yourself with a half-smirk on your face, and eleventy conflicting emotions coursing through you, and saying that phrase to her...it's playful and, on the surface, non-judgemental, but...

    Damn.

    Altogether a jaw-dropping song; both the lyrics and the brothers' music are bursting with the full complement of competing/contradictory emotions. Again I'm struck by Berninger's acute empathy; he's exactly the kind of guy you want, as another guy, if you want a real friend. I imagine he must be incredibly appealing, in person, to straight women.



    spang1960on November 07, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:i know this song should probably come off as pretty depressing, about someone who alienates herself from everyone, and although i relate, i can't help feeling happy when i hear this song. it just sounds so pleasant with the violins, the xylophone, and the flute. i don't feel so introverted when i listen to this.
    beepohbeepon March 10, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:Praying for pavement to get back together

    Probably should be a big "P" in Pavement - probably refers to the band.
    webegonon February 17, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:That clarinet interlude just makes my heart sing...and the gorgeous instrumental arrangement *sigh*
    packtsardineson March 31, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:I picture "you're so far around the bend" as meaning "you are so hard to find" and "there's no one leaving new york" meaning the big city full of people make it even harder to locate you.

    trypticsoyagaron April 06, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:I'm really, really hoping he doesn't do an interview where he says this song is actually about his neighbor's cat.
    spang1960on January 09, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:This song makes me smile so much because...

    I saw The National. And Pavement. On the same day. Osheaga 2010.
    CoffeeAndFlowerson October 24, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:This is the most wonderful song ever.
    leahperon January 26, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:And I think it's "There is no leaving New York"
    leahperon January 26, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:So lovely.
    So so lovely.
    LonelySmileson February 16, 2009   Link

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