"Country Disappeared" as written by and Jeff Tweedy....
Wake up we're here
It's so much worse than we feared
There's nothing left here
The country has disappeared
If the winter trees bleeding, leave red blood
The summer sweet dreaming, April blush
But none of that is ever gonna mean as much to me again.

Hold out your hand,
There's so much you don't understand
So stick as close as you can,
All of the best laid plans
You've got the white clouds hanging so high above you
You've got the helicopters dangling angling to shoot,
The shots to feed the hungry weekend news crew anchorman.

So every evening we can watch from above,
Crushed cities like a bug
Fold ourselves into each others guts,
And turn our faces up to the sun.

I won't take no
I won't let you go
All by yourself
Oh no you'll need my help
When the cold night shakes you like a chandelier
The snowflakes break through the atmosphere,
And melt on the blue breath of the auctioneers and disappear.

Every evening we can watch from above,
Crushed cities like a bug
Fold ourselves into each others blood,
And turn our faces up to the sun.


Lyrics submitted by startak

"Country Disappeared" as written by Jeffrey Scott Tweedy Glenn Kotche

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Country Disappeared song meanings
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  • +1
    My Interpretation"wake up, we're here"

    should actually be

    "wake up, will you?"

    ;)
    jj_jac555on May 14, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHow beautiful. Sorry so long… not worth doing unless I'm trying my best. :)

    FIRST VERSE:
    The first four lines evoke images of a disappointed journey through life and time. Literally, it says the journey is over. ["We're here."] Our old hopes are lost. Our worst fears were superseded. It is the disappointment of youthful dreams, or the dissolution of community in the present age. The country has disappeared. It's worth saying explicitly what the verse implies. There used to be something here; no longer. There used to be a country; it disappeared. We're seeing how the world, and the poet, have changed.

    He sings of the dying season with focus on vulgar physicality. I love the leave/leaf wordplay. Leaves fall, trees bleed, the world is dead. The living season is of love, dreams, and sweetness. But a blush is bloody, after all. Look up 'sanguine' if you need proof. The interplay of the bloody/physical and the dreamy/spiritual recurs later. How beautiful.

    The interrupted if-then construction (i.e. we never get a "then" part) could mirror the break in his heart, his love. "But none of that is ever gonna mean as much to me again." It could highlight his uncertainty. He doesn't know what to make of it. [Compare verse two.]

    The prevailing sentiment is alienation from the the world, nature, the metropolis.


    SECOND VERSE:
    The second verse also opens with a command to the unspecified addressee. This command is also an invitation to shared experience, friendship or love. [The meaning of "Wake up," is clarified somewhat through a comparison.] He sings "There's so much WE don't understand." This correction shifts the focus from difference ("YOU don't understand") to common human limitations and frailties. The best plans fail, but we're not in it alone

    Another image of natural beauty is immediately tempered by alienation and the impersonal modern social complex. In the next lines, he uses the simple device of repeatedly extending ("overloading") the noun phrase. Consider how (1)-(8) each coherently complete the sentence.

    We've got ______.
    (1) helicopters
    (2) helicopters dangling
    (3) helicopters dangling, angling
    (4) helicopters dangling, angling to shoot
    (5) helicopters dangling, angling to shoot the shots
    (6) helicopters dangling, angling to shoot the shots to feed the hungry weekend news
    (7) helicopters dangling, angling to shoot the shots to feed the hungry weekend news crew
    (8) helicopters dangling, angling to shoot the shots to feed the hungry weekend news crew anchorman

    This fact is indeed true part of many sentences and many songs. But his cadence seduces us into hearing many of these "false" endings. For example, the strong downward emphasis he puts on "shoots" and "shots" suggest numbers (4) and (5) from the above list respectively. This helps explain why listeners are so off-balance… especially when we hear it the first time and don't know where the song is going. Most importantly, our minds jump to different associations with each new extension. At point (1) we think of elegant technology amidst the clouds. At points (4) and (5) we think of war, as we don't yet have context for cameras and the news. Not to mention the delicious ambiguity of "angling," which has four meanings that each fit well. Viz. --- Slanted (as in geometry) --- Fishing or searching --- Biased (as in news) --- Scheming. Nothing positive, in any case. The off-balance listener feels removed from the scene, facing a complicated, messed-up, and ill-intentioned social force. The "not understanding" and failure of the "best laid plans" converge on this point nicely.

    The prevailing sentiment is alienation from the the world, nature, the metropolis. Sadness and intense desire, just short of despair.


    CHORUS:
    The news is presented as having rapacious gatherers and a disconnected, voyeur audience. The question of observing/watching or participating/being is now central, I believe. "Every evening we can watch from above." This evokes the human capacity for detachment and objectivity. We can watch disinterestedly. We can watch the pain of the decay and the crushed city as if it were bugs, small and insignificant.

    I do not believe that he is celebrating "[watching] from above / Crushed cities like a bug." This is a continuation of the tragic vision. It picks up where verse two left off.

    Lines three and four of the chorus are harder. The voyeuristic disconnect remains present, but he obviously cares (and we care) deeply about the city. The "we" that watches is part of that world. The pain of the song is located within it, too. The blunt physicality of guts and blood is reminiscent of verse one. A physical/sexual interpretation fits to some degree.

    What to make of the "folding" and "turning"? Again, these are tough lines. Are we still watching ourselves on TV and this a description of where we all end up…. dying, our bodies turning like the leaves and our minds looking blankly upwards? Is this escapism, folding into each other (sexually) and looking away (sun-gazing) so as to not see the horror? Is this an image of human communion and celebration of the beautiful?

    I feel that he is indeed celebrating: "fold[ing] ourselves [into one another], and turn[ing] our faces up to the sun," although circumspectly.


    VERSE 3:
    Verse three is his most powerful statement of common travail, interdependence, and love. The insistence on relational involvement ("I won't take no….") powerfully disavows the observationalism explored in the chorus. Human frailty in the face of disinterested natural (cold) and social (auctioneer) life return. Physicality and color reprise in the blue breath, contrasting red blood. The rhythms of nature push to death and oblivion, as in verse one. The snowflake simply disappears.

    The prevailing sentiment is alienation from the the world, nature, the metropolis. Sadness and intense desire, just short of despair. But, perhaps, we can fold ourselves into each others blood, turn our faces up to the sun.
    mpmc23on September 20, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentamazing song. jeff has done it again.. wilco the album = album of the 21st century
    jj_jac555on May 14, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnother very Lennon-esque tune... Tweedy's been listening to solo Lennon and solo Harrison me thinks.
    kreplechon May 15, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My Opinion"When the cold night shakes you like a chandelier
    The snowflakes break through the atmosphere,
    and melt on the blue breath of the auctioneers and disappear."

    Possibly the best lyric Jeff has written. Very Dylanesque!
    junkbondtrader1500on May 31, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment** Correct lyrics :
    "Hold out your hand
    There's so much WE don't understand"

    The "fold ourselves into each others guts" and "fold ourselves into each others blood" is so true about love. That person is inside of you.

    "I won't take no
    I won't let you go
    All by yourself
    I know you need my help" Could be about a break up. He is struggling against it, but wants to help her through it too.

    "Turn our faces up to the sun" is an optimistic way to end a totally depressing song.
    postmortemon July 02, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwell it must be my state of mind but i see so many jeff tweedy songs as amazing love songs,
    some of them are tortured love songs, for sure...

    but this one is like love that you can completely count on even in at the end of the world as you know it, where you feel so cold and alone that you just want to go off alone, because well, the world has ended as you knew it...

    for whatever reason I do not find this song depressing, and dannng the melody is so beautiful, and the way he phrases the anchorman line....ahhh, great song
    riteron July 20, 2009   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThis song is about a zombie holocaust.
    wsucougzon March 03, 2011   Link

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