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In an open field at dusk
to footfalls I awoke
marching ants across my temples
their feet had no intention
they followed some magnetic drum
prisoners of their destination

from the slats of the factory come
where once they did make rails
old Death's peculiar songs
he didn't know I was listening
so he crowed out nice and long
to the spiders and the lumber
and the dust of his conquest
and his hunger and his lust

I heard his feet rejoice
I heard him tap his cane
as if he had his own review
on stage at the F and M

I caught his words in my open mouth
I gagged and choked and spit them out
I heard him turn as he did hear
my tiny heart beat in his ear
I was already running
oh, I heard him coming

shrapnel spitting from his wheels
his sobbing arms raked for my heels
I dove and rolled and hid my face
and I said these magic words:

my dove is home
her breast is warm
my dove is home

and I said these magic words
and fell down, down the anthill for days

my dove is home
her breast is warm
my dove is home

my dove is home
her breast is warm
my dove is home


Lyrics submitted by crowdedsky

Fever song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentI always thought she said, "on stage at the Athenaeum," rather than, "on stage at the F and M." I have no evidence to confirm or deny that, but
    mattsmallwoodon July 23, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn the line "I heard him turn his heated ear", I hear -- "I heard him turn as he did hear" instead.
    bettyfelonon March 10, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationNeko's references to the assailant dancing makes me think of Twin Peaks (David Lynch), in which the killer dances after he murders his victims. (For those who haven't seen the series, I'm trying to say this in a way that doesn't involve any spoilers!). We know from multiple interviews that Neko has been deeply influenced musically by composer Angelo Badalamenti, of Twin Peaks fame (which can clearly be heard in the dark reverb guitar sounds that emerged on her "Blacklisted" album). Neko has also said in interviews that many of her songs are inspired by stories and dreams - some that are her own, and some that have come from others. So all of this leads me to wonder if "Fever" might have been inspired by the killer's storyline in Twin Peaks. Maybe some lucky interviewer will ask her about this someday (hint, hint)?
    inanna6on March 11, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI really really like this song. In particular, I like the idea that when he thinks no one is looking, Death shows more of his "human" side, singing about his hunger and lust to the spiders. I also like how the song starts out with a marching beat, to echo the ants' march (our march toward death? prisoners of our destination?) and then turns into a lovely swinging, soulful beat.

    On a side note, has anyone noticed how many references to trains there are in this album? Seems like she talks about trains, and rails, and tracks, etc. In this one, Death is hanging out "where once they did make rails" Brings to mind images from a forgone time....
    Emma318on March 12, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is gorgeous -- escaping death by hiding among the ants.

    I've also noticed the references to trains, which are scattered through many of Neko's albums. The line in "Thrice All American" comes to mind, about there being "hope in the train yards that something inspired." She definitely finds them evocative, doesn't she?
    persimmonon March 16, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this a song about fighting death.

    From the start you learn that she's already quite dead and buried. Footsteps from above. Ants marching across her face. The song changes key and tempo and the dead tells her story.

    She died in the factory. She fought the Grim Reaper only to finally succumb to death.

    Her "magic words" confuse me, but I think she saying she's found peace (the dove is the universal symbol of peace) and accepts her fate as she passes.
    fleetingwordson March 24, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't think she means anything obscure and hidden, I think this is pretty literal, Neko doesn't use too much metaphors. I mean, if the tornado in love with a person is just a tornado in love with a person, as she said, I guess it's safe to say that this could be just about a person who literally finds themselves fighting a personification of death. In the end I think they do die but woithout just "surrendering" to the grim reaper, I guess just realize that they are at peace with themselves and accept death without needing to be forced by/into it.
    Think of it as a fairy tale, I remember an interview where she talked about how grim, dark and haunting fairytales really were before Disney came and ruined it.
    Anyway it is certainly not her first song about someone accepting death(see "at last" for example).
    admvenomon August 01, 2009   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningI just assumed that this was a dream she had when she was feverish - the title seems like a giveaway. As someone else pointed out she said she writes a lot about her dreams and they are vivid. Other than that I can't say for sure exactly what it's about. I always thought she was saying 'old Dad's' instead of 'Old Death', but I'm probably wrong. When it comes to something as personal as dreams, then interpretation is tough.
    ginintonicon September 17, 2011   Link

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