An ancient business
A modern piece of glass work
Down on the corner that you walk each day in passing
The elderly sales clerk won't eye us with suspicion
The whole, immortal corporation's given its permission

A little stairway
A little peice of carpet
A pair of mirrors that
Are facing one another
Out in both directions
A thousand little Julias
That come together
In the middle of Manhattan

You waited since lunch
It all comes at once

Around the corner
The house that modern art built
I ask for modern art
To keep it out the closets
The people who might own it
The sins of pride and envy
And on the second floor
The Richard Serra Skate Park

You waited since lunch
It all comes at once

Sit on the park wall
Ask all the right questions
Why are the horses racing taxis in the winter?
Look up at the buildings imagine who might live there
Imagining your wolfords in a ball upon the sink there

You waited since lunch
It all comes at once


Lyrics submitted by billjohn, edited by dodgerblue

White Sky song meanings
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29 Comments

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  • +5
    General CommentEzra said in an NME interview: [Out in both directions, a thousand little Julias/Come together in the middle of Manhattan]'That part of the song takes place in a clothing store, it's about going into a dressing room and looking at Julia who is standing between two mirrors, and that weird thing happens where you see yourself going off in two directions.'

    I think that was pretty much established but I thought I'd put a quote in from the man himself (:
    tonivictoriaon April 26, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General Commenti think it's about the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the art museum that houses "The Starry Night" and "The Persistence of Memory" and is located in New York.

    "A modern piece of glasswork"
    "Down on the corner that You walk each day in passing" - It was originally located on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, but it relocated to other places.
    "In the middle of Manhattan" - MoMA is located in Midtown Manhattan in New York City.
    "The house that modern art built"
    "I ask for modern art"

    The title "White Sky" probably refers to overcast weather, where the sky is mostly covered with clouds, hence the sky being white.
    deathcab4awesomeon November 25, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Commentawesome song. love that it's a little tour of a very expensive slice of manhattan

    - the house that modern art built bit is moma, thought maybe guggenheim since it looks very serra-like, but no, must be moma. 52nd btw 5th and 6th aves

    - holy motor corporation is the gm building, on 59th and 5th.

    - modern piece of glass work = apple store (it's a glass cube, very louvre-like). 59th and 5th

    - wolfords are tights. expensive ones. think bergdorf's. bloomies. sak's.

    This lyric:
    "A little stairway
    A little bit of carpet
    A pair of mirrors that
    Are facing one another
    Out in both directions
    A thousand little Julias
    That come together
    In the middle of Manhattan"

    - plaza hotel, think of the entrance. 59th and 5th.







    m985916on January 21, 2010   Link
  • +2
    Lyric Correction"The holy motor corporation is giving it's permission"

    Should be: "The whole, immortal corporation's given its permission"

    ((I have the lyric book from the CD infront of me >__>))
    YlracisSwedishon February 23, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentBEST. LYRICS. EVER. The "thousand little Julias" line is my favorite line of any song I've ever heard. It's so ambient and descriptive. I dig this band.
    Funkmeisteron October 08, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti hate to be "that dork with the lyrics corrections" but here's what i think:

    first verse:
    an ancient business a model piece of glasswork down on the corner that you walk each day in passing
    the elderly sales clerk will eye us with suspicion the holy motor corporation giving its permission

    last verse:
    sit on the park wall ask all the right questions while the horses race the taxis in the winter
    look up at the buildings imagine who might live there imagining your wolfords in a ball upon the sink there


    richard serra is a modern sculptor who makes all these iron arcs and stuff; i guess they do look kind of like a skate park. i saw one of his installations at the museum of modern art ("the house that modern art built") about two or three years ago.
    wolfords are a brand of tights. i mean, he could have just said "imagining we're living together" or something, but instead he imagines her tights in the sink. SO. GREAT.
    ap0theosizeon November 19, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think that they are describing a walk though manhattan, mainly to and through the museum on modern art. In 2007 MoMA had an exibit of Richard Serras work on, you guessed it, the second floor.
    sweetnezzzon January 06, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhat's wonderful about vampire weekend, is that it's all about epiphany...
    mattmattmattmatton January 10, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree about the MOMA - how wonderful to have a pop song about an epiphany in a museum!

    Sit on the park wall
    Ask all the right questions
    While all the horses race the taxis in the winter
    Look up at the buildings imagine who might live there
    Imagining your wolfords in a ball upon the sink there

    This made me think of the part of Central Park opposite the Plaza Hotel, where there are always horse-drawn carriages and taxis. But it could also be the part of the park right near the Met, where there are such beautiful apartment buildings. Very evocative of a Sunday afternoon in Manhattan.
    p456on January 11, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI honestly think this song is about having sex in different places across the Manhattan. I especially got that from:

    "You've waited since lunch/It all comes at once."

    Which is followed by the raucous AHHahh Aahhhaaa woowoo's of the chorus, which could themselves represent the actual deed.

    Hearing "The elderly sales clerk won't eye us with suspicion/ The holy motor corporation is giving it's permission" I thought it had to do with walking past a the desk in the building, nonchalantly, with the intention of actually having sex somewhere inside.

    "Ask all the right questions
    While all the horses race the taxis in the winter
    Look up at the buildings imagine who might live there
    Imagining your wolfords in a ball upon the sink there" seems to lend itself to being about the silly, empty banter between a lustful couple, as the girl is really just imagining another place for their deviant hobby.
    leetovon March 30, 2010   Link

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