The clouds explode and then the desert blooms
Someone will need to mop this floor for me
When I emerge I find my car
Like a cathedral in a dream of the future

Drive 'til the rain stops
Keep driving

Pull over and blast off when I get the chance
Clear as an insect's wings in sunlight
Flip on the high stakes radio
Try to sing the words right

Drive 'til the rain stops
Keep driving

I had his arms tied up behind him
We were together all day
Maybe make Culiacán by sunset
Try to anyway

High as the clouds now
Flying
Drive 'til the rain stops
Keep driving


Lyrics submitted by mdon06, edited by iagoed

Ezekiel 7 and the Permanent Efficacy Of Grace song meanings
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13 Comments

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  • +5
    General Commentjohn darnielle said tonight that this song is about torturing someone to death in norhern mexico and then having an existential crisis about it.

    so, there's that. he also said it was his take on this extremely popular topic which appears all the time on the billboard charts.
    laurentehkuon October 19, 2012   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI interpreted the faint heartbeat as the victim, barely alive but still hanging on. Just like the narrator is mentally.
    Gruberon October 21, 2009   Link
  • +3
    General CommentGreat album. I love having to go to the bible and read about the situation and then think about how it applies to the song and my own life.
    I would echo everyone's opinion about the themes we're seeing:
    1) Kidnapping/torture (our evil on this earth). clouds exploding=violence, mop this floor=blood, hands tied behind the back, etc...
    2) Drugs. The whole second verse is drug related. Blast off when I get a chance=taking uppers, clear as an insects wings=he's high, trying to sing to the radio but having trouble.

    And I will add one more theme not really covered yet - FLEEING/RUNNING.
    I feel this is a HUGE part of the song. Fleeing from gods wrath and judgement. Fleeing from our own horrible actions and insecurities. Fleeing from Gods grace. Trying to physically and mentally leave it behind. Notice the references to driving all night. Running from Gods wrath and ignoring the grace that could have been. Like Ezekiel says it's too late. God has set ruin upon the world. He is running from God, from the ruin, the mistakes.

    I find the title of the song very intreguing, "Permanent Efficacy Of Grace." In the following I am assuming grace is always efficacious. It is always strong. It is mans concept for the word of God that makes it less meaningful. By itself it will have meaning, with or without, our acknowledgement. Is John saying that Grace is there for the character and he struggles with this but still flees from it? Or is this a snide remark about the Permanent Efficacy Of Grace being a bunch crap? I guess I read the former as being true due to this character running so hard from it.

    Thoughts?
    eott1on March 11, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis is what John had to say about it before playing it in Seattle recently:

    This song is about a unique friendship between two guys. One of whom is tied to a
    chair and will be dead by the end of the song, and the other who has no name, and won’t ever have one.
    jtk1993on January 21, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe heartbeats at the end of the song on the album version might possibly be a reference to "The Tell-Tale Heart". I bring them up as an argument for the song being about murder.
    Blithiumon October 11, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLike a couple of you have already said, I think this song is from the point of view of a drug user who tortured someone and then left him for dead. The first thing that came to my mind when I heard it was this news story: cnn.com/2009/CRIME/05/19/phoenix.drug.kidnappings/

    The "clear as an insect's wings" and "blasting off" sounds like a reference to crystal meth. He's getting high and trying to focus on the songs on the radio and whether he's making good driving time in order to keep his mind off the horrific thing he did, but it keeps coming back to him and he just can't forget how he tied a man up and tortured him for hours.

    It's a very visual song. I can almost see the narrator stepping out of a dingy motel into a wet desert, then driving in the rain, drumming his fingers on the steering wheel and singing only to be interrupted by a flashback of a bloody floor and tortured man. Powerful stuff.
    platitudeson January 25, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this verse should be:

    I had his arms tied up behind him
    We were together all day
    Maybe make Culiacán by sunset
    Try to anyway

    I don't know entirely what this song is about but it would seem that the narrator is some kind of drug addict ("blast off" "high as the clouds now") and he is driving to Culiacán in Mexico with somebody tied up in his car. I would be interested to hear John's influence for this song.
    erolsabadoshon September 14, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's worth noting that Culiacán has a history of drug trafficking. Wikipedia says "Culiacán's reputation as a narco city has made it the de facto home of the Mexican narcocorrido," or drug smuggling ballad. Since this song makes reference to Culiacán, and also apparently to a drug and a kidnapping, maybe "Ezekiel 7" is itself a narcocorrido of a sort.
    sxeanon November 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningJust saw the MGs last night in concert. John talked about this song a little bit before playing it. He said that it was about someone being tortured to death.

    Pretty dark. Even knowing that, it is hard to understand the meaning, I feel like maybe it is someone on the verge of death, and when being tortured that he is just trying to focus on anything else he can.
    cmack482on November 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSeemed like this song was about a person who reached an epiphany or other understanding after a long hardship... only to realize that the hardship continues despite enlightenment. They're trying to hold on to that sense of understanding, and remember what they learned, and above all keep hold of the progress they've made, all the while falling back into old habits and lifestyles. Finding a reason to live, only to forget what it was...
    thamaon July 27, 2010   Link

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