"Lemonworld" as written by and Bryce D. Dessner Matthew D. Berninger....
So happy I was invited
Give me a reason to get out of the city
See you inside watching swarms on TV
Livin' or dyin' in New York it means nothing to me
I gave my heart to the Army
The only sentimental thing I could think of
With cousins and colors and somewhere overseas
But it'll take a better war to kill a college man like me

I'm too tired to drive anyway, anyway right now
Do you care if I stayed?
You can put on your bathing suits
And I'll try to find somethin' on this thing that means nothin' enough
Losin' my breath, doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Losin' my breath, doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

You and your sister live in a Lemonworld
I want to sit in and die
You and your sister live in a Lemonworld
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
You and your sister live in a Lemonworld
I want to sit in and die
You and your sister live in a Lemonworld
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

This pricey stuff makes me dizzy
I guess I've always been a delicate man
Takes me a day to remember a day
I didn't mean to let it get so far out of hand
I was a comfortable kid
But I don't think about it much anymore
Lay me on the table, put flowers in my mouth
And we can say that we invented a summer lovin' torture party

I'm too tired to drive anyway, anyway right now
Do you care if I stayed?
You can put on your bathing suits
And I'll try to find something on this thing that means nothin' enough

You and your sister live in a Lemonworld
I want to sit in and die
You and your sister live in a Lemonworld
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
You and your sister live in a Lemonworld
I want to sit in and die
You and your sister live in a Lemonworld
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo

Losin' my breath
Doo doo doo doo doo doo


Lyrics submitted by Nitro1515

"Lemonworld" as written by Matthew Donald Berninger Bryce David Dessner

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Lemonworld song meanings
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18 Comments

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  • +9
    General CommentFrom songfacts.com:
    "Berninger explained what a Lemonworld is to The Quietus: "A Lemonworld is an invented, sexy, weird place where you can escape from New York. I had some image of it being a big beautiful, maybe semi-decrepit house. You know the documentary Grey Gardens? It's set in a house out in the Hamptons, it's about this crazy mother and daughter who live there in their own little world. It's also very depressing and odd and beautiful. Anyways, I had this sense of a Lemonworld as a place where these two sexy sisters who wear bathing suits all the time and drink a lot, y'know, 'put flowers in my mouth and we can say we invented a summer lovin' torture party' — that's awesome! That's sexy, weird, and fun. My wife and her sister are very close in age, they're both hilarious and sexy and brilliant, so I think I was channeling them a little bit. It's a fun world."
    seitgeiston June 06, 2010   Link
  • +6
    General CommentThe singer didn't go off to war himself: his less well-off cousins did. He just put a yellow ribbon on his bumper to send the message that he "supports the troops." College kids like him don't join the army - they go off on day trips to the coast to hang out with girls and their sisters to drink expensive wine and try to forget how awful the rest of the world is.
    He takes pains to avoid the news channels and parks the dial on MTV or something equally vapid. "Lay me on the table, put flowers in my mouth and we can say we invented a summer-loving torture party." This is waterboarding imagery. He's acutely aware of the dichotomy between his heavenly life cavorting at the beach house with two beautiful girls while his cousins and countrymen fight and die in the dust and sand of ugly wars full of torture and terror. He doesn't want to think about them. He wants this day, this beautiful moment to be his whole world - his eternity, but he knows the lemon-scented cleanness of the moment he's in merely masks the stench of the world that it is built on.
    ghosttrainhoboon December 01, 2010   Link
  • +5
    My Interpretation"Lemonworld" is really evocative -- it suggests something elliptical, self-contained, bright, cheerful, but also fundamentally sour. The idea reminds me of British summer estates in Woolf and Wilde. The narrator's a "college man" struggling with his sense of privilege against a backdrop of war and violence that he's largely unaffected by, but he's also unaccustomed to the "pricey" setting of the country retreat.

    Flowers and "summer lovin' torture party" remind me of Mrs. Dalloway's Bourton estate, where a younger Clarissa struggles with her tempestuous feelings for Peter and Sally even as her intent to marry Richard grows clear as they throw open French doors and stroll through flower-gardens.

    One particularly resonant passage:
    "Perhaps that summer she came to stay at Bourton, walking in quite unexpectedly without a penny in her pocket, one night after dinner, and upsetting poor Aunt helena to such an extent that she never forgave her. There had been some quarrel at home. She literally hadn't a penny that night when she came to them -- had pawned a brooch to come down. She had rushed off in a passion. They sat up till all hours of the night talking. Sally it was who made her feel, for the first time, how sheltered the life at Bourton was. ... Sally's power was amazing, her gift, her personality. There was her way with flowers, for instance. At Bourton they always had stiff little vases all the way down the table. Sally went out, picked hollyhocks, dahlias -- all sorts of flowers that had never been seen together -- cut their heads off, and made them swim on the top of water in bowls. The effect was extraordinary -- coming into dinner in the sunset. ... The strange thing, on looking back, was the purity, the integrity of her feeling for Sally. ... Absurd, she was -- very absurd. But the charm was overpowering, to her at least, so that she could remember standing in her bedroom at the top of the house holding the hot-water can in her hands and saying aloud, "She is beneath this roof ... She is beneath this roof!" ... She could remember going cold with excitement, and doing her hair in a kind of ecstacy... and feeling as she crossed the hall "if it were now to die 'twere now to be most happy." That was her feeling ... all because she was coming down to dinner in a white frock to meet Sally Seton!"

    ("I want to sit in and die...")

    To be clear I'm not suggesting Matt wrote a song about Clarissa Dalloway -- I just think the parallels are nice :)
    kumokasumion April 25, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General Comment"It's basically a dirty song about my wife."
    -Matt Berninger
    drkpssngr11on May 15, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think it's

    "I'm too tired to drive anywhere, anyway right now"
    seabeariaon May 14, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSounds to me like he fought in the war and has now come back a troubled man. He drinks to get his mind off of the war and what happened there. He has found himself alone in the city working hard to make a living and uses the analogy of a lemon to describe the worlds appearance to his brothers and sisters who have not tasted its sour core.
    lamberson May 11, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI know it's not what the song's actually about, but it always makes me think of Catch-22. Some of the lyrics remind me of Yossarian scrambling to survive the war and how he tries to save Nately's Whore and her kid sister when he finds out they were thrown out on the street.
    floorchildon July 17, 2010   Link
  • +1
    Lyric Correctioni think its "im to tired to drive anywhere, anyway right now"
    francoisgilberton July 13, 2011   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis is completely my own interpretation, lacing my own experiences into the song and coming to this conclusion so I am not claiming this is the meaning but anyway.

    I feel this song is sang from the perspective of a man lost in a heavy depression. The city he is getting out of could be his over crowded thoughts in his grey, bleak mind. He's so tired of everything it means nothing to him now because he is used to all the craziness so he is numb to it. He could be suffering from post military depression, the lines suggest to me that he did a stint at war and returned home while the people he grew close to, who became like family to him, remained over there. It'll take a better war to kill a college man like me makes me think that he is more used to using mentality than physicality (going to college, getting an education) so the biggest challenge he faces is an internal battle with himself.

    He's tired of everything; he is sick of the life he lives and his emotional fatigue prevents him from moving on from the hardship he is experiencing. The 'bathing suit' line suggests that while everyone around him has a good time, and he encourages them to, he would prefer to sit and watch something on tv that is meaningless to him.

    He's losing himself, falling farther and farther into the darkness every day.

    'Lemonworld' is interesting because I didn't know what the phrase actually meant when I heard this song first. So I took it to mean that the people he sings about live in a superficial world. At a glance a lemon you'd imagine to be sweet since it is a fruit however that is not the case; a lemon is sour and bitter. Similar to the cruel world we live in. He is sick of life and all it's adversities, so he'd prefer to just die instead of continuing on.

    He's not materialistic; he thinks he's always been like that- if he's in a bad place mentally objects (money, cars, houses etc.) will not be enough to rescue him. He can't remember a day when he was happy and he never wanted to let himself fall so far into this dark state. As a child he was happy, but he doesn't look back on happy memories. This just indicates to me his unhappiness. 'Lay me on the table put flowers in my mouth' strengthens my views on the superficial state of society he is criticizing; even if he dies, people will put pretty flowers in his mouth to keep up appearance and to romanticize the situation. They can just 'pretend' to keep themselves happy.

    Then it goes back to the bridge and course which emphases the monotony of the hell he suffers.


    That is just my opinion on the lyrics. I really felt this song.
    LaurenD2710on September 21, 2014   Link
  • 0
    Lyric CorrectionIt's "But it'll take a better war to kill a college man like me".
    dwinslowon April 21, 2010   Link

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