my love, i am the speed of sound
i left them motherless, fatherless
their souls dangling inside-out from their mouths
but it's never enough

i want you...

carved your name across three counties
ground it in with bloody hides
their broken necks will line the ditch
till you stop it
stop it
stop it
stop it
stop it
stop this madness

i want you...

i have waited with a glacier's patience
smashed every transformer with every trailer
till nothing was standing
sixty-five miles wide
still, you are nowhere
still, you are nowhere
nowhere in sight

come out to meet me
run out to meet me
come into the light

climb the boxcars to the engine
through the smoke and to the sky
your rails have always outrun mine
so i
picked them up and crashed them down
in a moment close to now

cause i miss
i miss
i miss
i miss
i miss
i miss
i miss
i miss

how you'd sigh yourself to sleep
when i'd rake the springtime
across your sheets

my love, i am the speed of sound
i left them motherless, fatherless
their souls dangling inside-out from their mouths
but it's never enough

my love
i'm an owl on the sill in the evening
but morning finds you
still warm and breathing

this tornado loves you
this tornado loves you
this tornado loves you
this tornado loves you
this tornado loves you

what will make you believe me?

this tornado loves you
this tornado loves you
this tornado loves you
this tornado loves you
this tornado loves you

what will make you believe me?


Lyrics submitted by laughing_man

This Tornado Loves You song meanings
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24 Comments

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  • +4
    General Commentindeed, the tornado IS meant a literal one (as Neko insists) but her playful resistance against metaphor throws us into a dichotomy, pitting us against the forces that run throughout this album: Nature and Nurture.

    hudsucker's point is well-taken; Neko IS smart and this song is an extension of her "I don't write love songs" attitude... but Neko's resistance, strangely, reinforces the metaphor... in love and, especially, in love songs, we like to think in metaphors.. so a straightforward interpretation of this song would a man who is running away from a destructive relationship, hiding from a crazy, obsessed woman

    but taken literally, we get a picture of love that is absurdly comic: a funnel of wind searching for its love, who is in hiding.. then we think 'how is this possible? a tornado loves?' -- for we know what happens when we love it and "come into the light" to meet it: we are gone, vaporized or smashed up like the transformers and trailers... thus, love becomes a hunt, a tragically sad and empty one ("carved your name across three counties," the path of destruction "sixty-five miles wide")..

    the agony of unrequited love fuels the tornado's chase, but this obsession ultimately reveals a relationship in flight ("your rails have always outrun mine"), an escape from love's entrapment and disintegration... by the end of the song, "he" is safe from harm, "still warm and breathing"; our pained heroine/tornado is left alone and crying "What will make you believe me?"

    as soon as we begin to laugh at this, we realize we've been thinking in metaphors all along... (have we been conditioned into thinking in metaphors? -- the "nurture"?) to love a tornado, we have to be prepared to die with it -- right? .. but, love as death, as a tornado, is the very thing we resist, and run away from...

    thus, love becomes "literal" in this song.. it IS Nature -- formidable, destructive, unrelenting as IS the cyclone's eye...
    laughing_manon March 07, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General CommentCouple of lyrics corrections:

    It's "left THEM motherless."

    And
    "How you'd sigh yourself to sleep
    when I'd rake the springsteen
    across your sheets."

    It is, in fact, a literal tornado - a love song from a tornado's point of view. On the one hand, it's a serial killer - raking a trail of destruction and death in its quest to find this woman, killing and destroying to impress her, or at least convince her he's really in love with her. On the other hand, he's just acting like a tornado is SUPPOSED to act. You can empathize with the tornado's pain and confusion with the way Neko sings that first "what will make you believe me" at the same time as it's scaring the hell out of you. Neko's voice and phrasing makes most of her songs work, but I can't always pin down what's going on in them, narrative-wise. This is an exception, and I can't imagine anyone will write a better song than this one this year.
    adamselzeron May 07, 2009   Link
  • +3
    Song MeaningNeko said this song is actually about a dream she had where a tornado knocked on her door and professed its undying love for her, and she thought it was just the most bizarre thing to dream about, so she just had to capture it in a song before it escaped her. True story, it was during an interview with Jian Ghomeshi when she explained it.

    No imagery or metaphor, she's talking about a real tornado.
    Lerxston October 03, 2012   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationTo me, this song is about the awful times in life that are sent to us as a gift of change for the good.
    BrandonPon June 18, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentjust had another thought, the tornado as love unrelenting... though we run to escape its destruction, it keeps rolling and twisting along ("so I picked them up and crashed them down") without fault... Neko may be making a distinction between the tornado/Nature, whose (love) continues, and the boy/humans, who love on condition, start/stop love on whim...
    laughing_manon March 07, 2009   Link
  • +1
    MemoryJust on a personal level, this song reminds me of myself when I was in my early twenties. My personal life was a whirlwind. I never stood still for long. Luckily, there weren't too many casualties.
    grasswidow103on March 08, 2009   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningI agree with adamselzer. I also take Neko at her word that this was a song about what it would be like if a tornado was romancing you and he's right that the tornado is acting just like a tornado and can't figure out why his love is being rejected.

    I also think that the song is a comment on how men naturally pursue a love interest - clumsily, but with tenacity. I love the line "carved your name across 3 counties". How much more does the tornado need to do to show he's serious? I also like to think that the line "stop this madness" is tornado putting the blame on her for the destruction.

    But as usual, the woman is always a few steps ahead in the love game as is said in the line "your rails have always outrun mine". Another beautiful part of the song is when the tornado tries to lure her by saying "come out to meet me/run out to meet me/come into the light" and tried to reassure her that nothing will happen when he says "But morning finds you still warm and breathing". The tornado tries every trick in the book to convince her to be his lover.

    It truly is one of her best songs IMO. I'd like to think that although she openly rejects the need for a romantic partner that she still likes the thought of being desired by a man.
    ginintonicon August 16, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think that the "tornado" is Neko.

    What a beautiful song! There is so much build up to the chorus at the end.
    It finally happens and then the song ends.
    It leaves me wanting so much more.
    I noticed Neko Case has such an amazing way of keeping the listeners attention.


    *Side note*
    The new album is so good.
    Listen to it on NPR. It's on their website until the release date, March 3rd.
    jasonchriston February 25, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLyric correction:

    I miss, I miss
    the way you sigh yourself to sleep
    when I breathe the springtime
    across your cheek
    persimmonon April 11, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe "souls dangling inside-out from their mouths" bit is particularly vivid. I've heard (though I think it's an urban legend) that being in the vaccuum inside a tornado can cause your lungs to be sucked out through your mouth and turned inside out.
    jfruhon April 30, 2009   Link

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