"Perpetual Motion Machine" as written by Isaac Brock, Johnny Marr and Joe Plummer....
Daniel read the paragraph
He read until the words ran out
It said we're all in trouble now

Poison in the juice carafe
We drank until our thirst ran out
Oh no, we're in some trouble now

Everyone wants to be a perpetual motion machine
We all try harder as the days run out
We all try harder as the days run out
We all try harder as the days run out

With your teeth to your lips
And your hair to the ground
Well, you hear the fish and they're making this sound
Saying, "We just want to go on walking around
And feel what it's like to fall down"

Patrick ran the race
Yeah, he ran until the tire ran out
Oh no, I'm in some trouble now

Tried to kick it over
I tried until the juice ran out
Oh no, we want more trouble now

With your teeth to your lips
And your hair to the ground
Well, you hear the fish and they're making this sound
Saying, "We just want to go on walking around
And feel what it's like to fall down"

I saw

Everyone wants to be a perpetual motion machine
We all try harder as the days run out
We all try harder as the days run out
We all try harder as the days run out


Lyrics submitted by IceCuban06, edited by sheionizes

"Perpetual Motion Machine" as written by Joe Plummer Isaac Brock

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Perpetual Motion Machine song meanings
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16 Comments

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  • +6
    General CommentTo me this is one of Modest Mouse's most easily interpreted songs.

    Perpetual Motion is movement that continues forever, which is physically impossible. A perpetual motion machine is something many people have tried to theorize or create, but never successfully.

    This song is saying everyone wants to live forever. Infinite life, like perpetual motion, is long desired and quite impossible.


    Living a Life until you die = Reading a paragraph until words run out = Running a race until time runs out
    Patrykon August 30, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSimilarities Modest mouse/ Pixies

    Pixies:

    With your feet in the air and your head on the ground
    Try this trick and spin it, yeah
    Your head will collapse
    When there's nothing in it
    And you'll ask yourself
    (...)
    Except the little fish
    But they told me, he swears
    Trying to talk to me, to me, to me

    Modest mouse:

    With your teeth to your lips
    And your hair to the ground
    Well, you hear the fish and they're making this sound
    Saying, "We just want to go on walking around
    And feel what it's like to fall down"
    Ugly Mouseon July 21, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Daniel read the paragraph
    He read until the words ran out
    It said we're all in trouble now

    Poison in the juice carafe
    We drank until our thirst ran out
    Oh no, we're in some trouble now"

    = Poison is alcohol, they're gonna have some fun

    With your teeth to your lips
    And your hair to the ground
    Well, you hear the fish and they're making this sound
    Saying, "We just want to go on walking around
    And feel what it's like to fall down"

    = Fish are people that enjoy alcohol. Falling down isn't a bad thing, just a different lifestyle. Watch Factotum by Bukowski.


    Patrick ran the race
    Yeah, he ran until the tire ran out
    Oh no, I'm in some trouble now

    Tried to kick it over
    I tried until the juice ran out
    Oh no, we want more trouble now

    = Having fun with alcohol, hence juice.
    Sythieriuson December 08, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAnyone hear the gibberish in the background after "I Saw"?
    I love that part. That's old school mouse, and it's really trippy.

    This song is meant to be played on a loop.
    SeanTheInterpreteron August 25, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHeard this last night... have to say I'm pretty excited for aug.4th...
    I like it. reminds me of Steam engenius a little.
    But did anyone else notice the whole "blame yourself"
    "With your teeth to your lips
    And your hair to the ground
    Well, you hear the fish and they're making this sound
    Saying, "We just want to go on walking around
    And feel what it's like to fall down"
    ?

    Blame yourself has to be one of my favorite songs of all time it was pretty cool to hear that line in a recorded song.

    It would be amazing if they would release a professionally recorded version of blame yourself... but one can only dream.

    Anyways I think the song is about just going on with life and experiencing things before you die.
    nullityon July 14, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love the fish part, how they want to feel what it's like to fall down. I kind of long ago gave up on any complete understanding of any modest mouse song, but I think I actually have a good grasp on what this ones about. I think it's kind of like Dashboard, about global warming and the end of the world or whatever, and how people end up wasting their time until they're running out of it. I think the fish part is a morbid curiosity about the end of the world and how we want to "feel what it's like to fall down."

    I have to say guys, I listened to No One's First last night and I'm liking it. I don't know why, but it seems a lot better than We Were Dead somehow. August 4th <333
    bookferrieon July 17, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI, too, appreciate the surfacing of one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite songs appear on this song. It's nice to see it on a legitimate release. This EP is so good.
    sonicmariolinkon July 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHey, "Perpetual Motion Machine" has the lyric: "With your teeth to your lips and your head to the ground/You hear the fish and they're making this sound/Saying, "We just wanna go and walk around and feel what it's like to fall down." which he has incorporated into songs during shows (namely, Trailer Trash & Blame Yourself) some time ago. He must have felt the need to incorporate said lyric into a studio recorded tune as he thinks they're quite good and I have to say, along with "You'll See" (a piece that a live version of Trucker's Atlas transitions into) the aforementioned lyrics is probably my favorite MM lyric that has not appeared on an actual studio recorded version of a song (until now of course...)
    A_Raging_Bullon July 23, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI went to a modest mouse concert a few years ago and they mixed this in at the end of ocean breaths salty
    which sounded a little bit better but still a great song
    TimTim1on August 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI like the resurfacing of lyrics, this was originally an Ugly Casanova song 'Here Comes Trouble'.
    Hamandjamon August 10, 2009   Link

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