Unsentimental
Driving around
Sure of myself
Sure of it now
You were standing this close to me
Like the future was supposed to be
In the aisles of the grocery
And the blocks up-town
I remember
Remember well
But if I'd forgotten
Could you tell?
In the shadow of your first attack
I was questioning and looking back
You said “Baby, we don't speak of that”
Like a real aristocrat

Compound to compound
Lazy and safe
Wanting to leave it
Wanting to wait
When the taxi doors opened wide
I pretended I was horrified
by the uniformed clothes outside
and the courtyard gate
You're not a victim
But neither am I
Nostalgic for garbage
Desperate for time
I could blame it on your mother's hair
Or the colors that your father wears
But I know that I was never fair
You were always fine

Unsentimental
Driving around
Sure of myself
Sure of it now
You were standing this close to me
Like the future was supposed to be
In the aisles of the grocery
and the blocks up-town
I remember
Remember it well
And if I'd forgotten
Could you tell?
In the shadow of your first attack
I was questioning and looking back
You were standing on another track
Like a real aristocrat


Lyrics submitted by mania

Taxi Cab song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentOh sorry, I meant to post this as a comment, not a reply, but I don't know how to delete my previous reply. Here it is as a comment, sorry to clog up the page.

    First of all, this song had a very Belle and Sebastian vibe to it, to my ear.

    I thought this song analyzed a past relationship through a class lens. The lyrics are fantastic and multi-layered. Here are some things I was able to parse (or at least try).

    You were standing this close to me
    Like the future was supposed to be
    In the aisles of the grocery
    And the blocks up-town

    They would shop for groceries together at one of the groceries up near Columbia. West Side Market, perhaps? Grocery shopping is something you do with someone you’re quite serious about. They were in love and committed. And in the markets by Columbia, you can’t help but stand close to the person you’re shopping with — the aisles are very narrow! It felt right to be together. But can this relationship survive the post-college shifts that are to come?

    Compound to compound
    Lazy and safe
    Wanting to leave it
    Wanting to wait

    Yes, it sounds like she’s going to some jail or military compound. But what about a family compound like the Kennedy compound? Is VW saying these family compounds can have prison-like in their hold on people? Is this the same girl as in Cape Code Kwassa Kwassa? The girl wants to break out of this stifling environment, but at the same time, it’s very comfortable. Similar to the ambivalence found on “Run.”

    When the taxi doors opened wide
    I pretended I was horrified
    by the uniformed clothes outside
    and the courtyard gate

    They went by taxi to her family’s place. The image of uniformed people by a courtyard reminds me of an English country manor, but I think it’s more literally her family’s fancy apartment building in Manhattan. He’s not really horrified, but he pretends he is because he’s bohemian and opposed to the trappings of wealth. Now older he can gently mock this point of view. Also reminded me of the Dan/Serena relationship on Gossip Girl.

    You're not a victim
    But neither am I
    Nostalgic for garbage
    Desperate for time

    The narrator’s accepting his role in the break-up. He’s conscious of his tendency to romanticize poverty and how that put distance between them. Now he is older and understands that this girl can’t help who her parents are.

    I could blame it on your mother's hair
    Or the colors that your father wears
    But I know that I was never fair
    You were always fine

    “Your mother’s hair” made me think of the ultra-perfect coifs of ladies on the Upper East Side, like Bergdorf Blondes perhaps. And the father’s colors could be the colors of his prep tie or the navy jackets he wears to signify his membership in the upper class. Here the narrator is blaming himself for the relationship's end. A kind of “it wasn’t you it was me” post mortem.

    You were standing on another track
    Like a real aristocrat

    I LOVE this line. So many layers and sung in such a wistful tone. Here are a few possible interpretations:

    1) She was on the other track, going in another direction. They are just on different paths so the relationship had to end.
    2) She’s on the other track resonates with the “wrong side of the tracks.” She’s on the fancy side, he’s on the other.
    3) This line made me think of the oddly affecting scene in Metropolitan when Tom Townsend, the debutante and her military escort say good-bye to Nick Smith at Penn Station. Nick Smith was a member of the “untitled aristocracy,” like the girl in this song. I’m willing to bet that Ezra has seen this movie.

    Not sure what is meant by “your first attack,” whether it was some kind of mental breakdown, a verbal attack on him or something else.

    Very beautiful, intriguing song.
    p456on January 14, 2010   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationGuy meets girl. Guy is a poor hipster, girl is from a rich family. They date a while, but as it's getting serious he starts to take issue with her background and upbringing. He can't see himself dating her because of her background. He finds reasons why it won't work. The relationship eventually ends but as he is reflecting on it, he realizes it was not her fault she who her parents were. He realizes that she was really okay and he liked her. He is admitting that he sort of unconsciously sabotaged his own relationships.

    The song has a similar theme to "I think you're a Contra". The protagonist in that song also second-judges a girl and then later realizes he was wrong and that he wanted her.
    ned23on February 08, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's a post-break up song. It's all about looking back on a relationship and how close they once were and it seems to place blame on both of them, much like how a person actually looks at a break up. When you look back you don't say, "It was all her fault," you think about what you AND her did wrong.

    ------------

    Unsentimental
    Traveling around
    Sure of myself
    Sure of it now

    He doesn't feel bad about the relationship. His way of thinking about it and coping was just driving or traveling, and he's "sure of [his feelings] now."

    But you were standing there so close to me
    Like the future was supposed to be
    In the aisles of the grocery
    And the blocks uptown

    Reminiscent of when they would do small thinks like shop with each other and how they were "supposed to be" together.

    I remember
    Remember well
    But if I'd forgotten
    Could you tell?

    He remembers everything that happened; all the problems, all the fights, and all of the good times. Not like he can prove it to her, they probably cut off communication, hence the "could you tell."

    In the shadow of your first attack
    I was questioning and looking back
    You said, "Baby we don't speak of that"
    Like a real aristocrat

    Best part of the song IMO. When they first started fighting, he looked back in her past and fought with something she had done, I feel like it might be cheating. Like a "real aristocrat," or someone who feels like they're better than you, she said "we don't speak of that." Whatever she did was admissible, but what he did was worth the argument.

    Compound to compound
    Lazy and safe
    Wanted to leave it
    Wanted to wait

    Not a litteral jail cell, but it was a relationship that was trapping them. It was "safe" to be with her, why leave when you might not find another? He was in-between breaking up and waiting to see if it would get better.

    When the Taxi door was open wide
    I pretended I was horrified
    By the uniform and gloves outside
    Of the courtyard gate

    I think it MAYBE a reference to how he'd take the Taxi to her apartment and he'd compare the doorman/bellhop to a warden/security guard.

    You're not a victim
    But neither am I
    Nostalgic for garbage
    Desperate for time

    Neither of them are really hurt, they just realized they're mainly in a relationship because they're getting old and are afraid of dying alone. When they think of their relationship, they're "nostalgic for garbage."

    I could blame it on your mother's hair
    Or the colors that your father wears
    But I know that I was never fair
    You were always fine

    He's describing her, and I think juxtaposing it with insults he's said to her. He would "blame it on your mother's hair," which she inherited, or her father's style which she took, but he wasn't "fair," she was fine.

    You were standing on another track
    Like a real aristocrat

    Like two trains passing in the night, they were heading in different directions. They were different people than in the beginning, and like "an aristocrat," she probably thought she outgrew him.

    My $0.02! :)
    Vballon March 20, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMarvelous!
    GibbyJon January 05, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThat middle set of lyrics from "compound to compound" sounds to me like some sort of imprisonment and someone wishing for older times, and more time, and reflecting on the "crime" and blame.
    GibbyJon January 05, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy favorite so far off the album. Just on the first listen it sounds as it might be about two lovers, with the singer looking back on the relationship. Something like that.

    Love it!
    pnw13on January 11, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song just SCREAMS 500 Days of Summer...
    MesseJorganon January 17, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCorrect lyrics from booklet:

    Unsentimental
    Traveling around
    Sure of myself
    Sure of it now
    But you were standing there so close to me
    Like the future was supposed to be
    In the aisles of the grocery
    And the blocks uptown

    I remember
    Remember well
    But if I'd forgotten
    Could you tell?

    In the shadow of your first attack
    I was questioning and looking back
    You said, "Baby we don't speak of that"
    Like a real aristocrat

    Compound to compound
    Lazy and safe
    Wanted to leave it
    Wanted to wait
    When the Taxi door was open wide
    I pretended I was horrified
    By the uniform and gloves outside
    Of the courtyard gate

    You're not a victim
    But neither am I
    Nostalgic for garbage
    Desperate for time
    I could blame it on your mother's hair
    Or the colors that your father wears
    But I know that I was never fair
    You were always fine

    Unsentimental
    Traveling around
    Sure of myself
    Sure of it now
    But you were standing there so close to me
    Like the future was supposed to be
    In the aisles of the grocery
    And the blocks uptown

    I remember
    Remember well
    But if I'd forgotten
    Could you tell?

    In the shadow of your first attack
    I was questioning and looking back
    You were standing on another track
    Like a real aristocrat
    Christa426on February 04, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Memoryjust saw the live this song was also very cool live
    beamoon February 22, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentone stellar song off their new album, the lyrics are what draw me to it.

    if anyone cares to listen to a recording of mine of this song.

    purevolume.com/hakarat

    it's just something i do when i'm bored
    hakaraton February 25, 2010   Link

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