"Big Black Car" as written by and Gregory Alan Isakov....
You were a phonograph, I was a kid
I sat with an ear close, just listening
I was there when the rain tapped her way down you face
You were a miracle I was just holding your space

Well time has a way of throwing it all in your face
The past, she is haunted, the future is laced
Heartbreak, you know, drives a big black car
Swear I was in the back seat, just minding my own

And through the glass, the corn crows come like rain
They won’t stay, they won’t stay
For too long now

This could be all that we know
Of love and all

Well you were a dancer and I was a rag
The song in my head, well was all that I had
Hope was a letter I never could send
Well love was a country we couldn’t defend

And through the carnival we watch them go round and round
All we knew of home was just a sunset and some clowns

Well you were a magazine, I was a plain jane
Just walking the sidewalks all covered in rain
Love to just get into some of your stories
Me and all of my plain jane glory
Just me and all of my plain jane glory


Lyrics submitted by Bryceing, edited by joelt88c, MadelineM

"Big Black Car" as written by Gregory Alan Isakov

Lyrics © THIRD SIDE MUSIC INC.

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Big Black Car song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +5
    General Commenti think its about him being in love with a girl who he sees as more than a person. he describes himself as just being a kid, while she is music. she's a dancer, he's a rag. she is glossy and perfect like a magazine and he's plane. she's a miracle and he's just holding space.

    he's sort of the trail to her comet, just following around never initiating anything. sitting in the back seat of the car, never driving.

    it reminds me a lot of the book "looking for alaska" where pudge sees alaska as this beautiful, amazing person who he can never compare to.

    "but i lacked the courage and she had a boyfriend and i was gawky and she was gorgeous and i was hopelessly boring and was endlessly fascinating. so i walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain i was a drizzle and she was a hurricane."
    dododo2on September 22, 2012   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationThis song plays well versed picture. The song suits a void within the character's heart. The inevitable failure of his loving relationship, is characterized by an unworthy sensitivity. He remembers himself listening to her with passion characterizing her as his "miracle", while he was "holdin', her "space".

    The next verse leads associating "space", with "time".
    He holds dramatic remorse for this abrupt and certain heartbreak. "The future is laced", foreshadows the end of all contact, for "The past, she is haunted."

    Big Black Car is symbolic of death, in this case the death within his heart. He claims he "was in the back seat", meaning he was not unaware of the situations that lead to this tragic heartbreak.

    Now peering through the backseat window of the Big Black Car, "the corn crows come like rain." The season is over, however the crows are symbolic of all the idiosyncratic places reminding his lost harvest in love.

    "They won't stay, they won't stay". His future is also laced, he knows that these reminders will come to pass. He knows this process is long, however not "For too long now".

    He is optimistic despite the pain of thinking, "this could be all that we know of love?" All he feels is the heartbreak.

    In comparison to the dancer she was, he knows he was the rag. Symbolized to blister his useless presence. The song playing in his head numbs his realization of noticing anything wrong at all. Love being the country "we" couldn't defend is instating his mind in present state. Much like speaking from the 3rd person. It is out of his mind and control.

    The ending verses come simply as a show. The writer empathizes with anyone joining this carnival of love, always hearing of that perfect love is just a joke.

    He knows her future is destined, he wishes he could be a part in her journey. Maybe she will remember him, only from the good times of his glory.
    TheDefinitionon December 17, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is one of the most gorgeous songs I've ever heard. Speaks to me with great depths. Its about, to me anyways, standing in someone's constant light, and wanting their light to be a part of your own. I can relate, respectively, to these lyrics. It's also, to me, about losing innocence to the dark face of the real world, after reaching adulthood. It's gorgeous, so gorgeous. I want to say so much more, I could talk for hours about this song. Absolutely beautiful.
    rachmcintyreeon December 19, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is so beautiful.
    kait18on March 18, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFixed the lyrics!:)
    joelt88con October 19, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAn absolutely beautiful song. I think it's supposed to be "plain jane", not "plane jane". I guess it's should be left as-is, though, since his website uses "plane".
    smill1953on January 10, 2016   Link

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