He goes every single day
To collect his pay
A place where crossroads do meet
By the railway

That yellow brick road
Never felt so cold
Black crows barking at my feet
Black crows howling at my door

Swift he spoke your souls my sweet
Save your tears for here they are my treat
So come on child take my hand
And we'll ride upon the dead mans train

The dead mans train
The dead mans train
The dead mans train... let's ride

Swift he spoke your souls my sweet
Save your tears for here they are my treat
So come on child take my hand
And we'll ride upon the dead mans train

The dead mans train
The dead mans train
The dead mans train
The dead mans train


Lyrics submitted by PaperAirplane

Dead Mans Train song meanings
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    General CommentBeautiful, beautiful song.
    Structurally I have a general idea. But the meaning of the song is communicated aesthetically, through feeling and received subjectively - well, that is at least how it affects me. It is one of my favourite songs to play and to sing.
    Crossroads. The place where one supposedly sells his soul to the devil in turn for whatever it is he desires. The deal is generally known to be equivocal and the one selling his soul usually ends up regretting having sold his soul, etc. etc.
    Then we have "by the railway", which no doubt links to the dead man's train.

    The second half of the verse contains two ambiguities that are recurrent throughout both Lady of the Sunshine tunes and Angus and Julia Stone tunes. Angus Stone, one of my favourite writers, is very metaphoric. this whole song, to me, is constructed with metaphors.
    "That yellow brick road, never felt so cold". The significance of the yellow brick road is, at least concerning Mr. Stone's interpretation of it, undetermined. But what I do understand in introspective relation, is that the general outplay of life, when stoned on cannabis, seems to be known on a level higher than any verbal level, making it incommunicable. The degree of universal understanding seems infinite throughout everything and such theories and revelations are born. I also understand that Angus' surname is accurate in what he is. He is a stoner. The yellow brick road is a metaphor, and it never having felt so cold is an ominous sign. The funny thing about this half of the verse, containing both the Yellow brick road and the Black Crows, is that two Angus and Julia Stone songs are named "Yellow brick Road" and "Black Crow". The song yellow brick road briefly refers to "Maryjane" (the english slang interpretation of marijuana) as a cathartic means. Just like this one, it is a sad and ever beautiful song. Much similar to my outlook on life, it is a song of the inevitability of desperation and despair, melancholy and dejection, and also the longing for, although inexpressible, indifferent purity/divinity. The yellow brick road could be his place of visitation, metaphorically, when stoned. His place of gloomy omniscience, yet simultaneously, bliss of flayed suchness.
    This song, to me, is the odd occasion where one of those visits is at random far more dark and drastic, which, as I'd imagine myself thinking of, gives birth to the superstition of the devil, the seemingly perpetual sadness, and the lethargy. Another Angus and Julia Stone song, The Devil's Tears (an even more tear drawing beautiful song), opposes this song. Perhaps because his visit at that time was far more enlightening and blissful.
    As for the Black Crows (I have not heard the song, so may be slightly misinformed), the ambiguity is definite.
    1. Crows in pairs are known to be some kind of demonic force.
    2. Another myth is that they are sentinels from the spirit world. They draw people who are adventurous (spiritual, drugs) rather than insular, because they're easier targets.
    3. The Goetic demon Raum supposedly appears in crow form.
    4. Huggin (thought) and Munin (memory) are Odin's two messenger crows. Perhaps Angus combines these human aspects with the evil of Black Crows as if to suggest that Thought and Memory are burdens.

    Now I'll put it together.
    Sells his soul, Crows, as sentinels of spiritualism, pester him to deliver his soul - send it away on the dead man's train. the image that unwinds in my mind is a father sacrificing his son to a crooked man, crying as the child is terrified of the soft tone in the harsh remarks of the crooked man. "Save your tears for here, they are my treat. So come on CHILD, take my hand, and we'll ride upon the dean man's train". The child is a metaphor for the the attitude the devil brings about. One could say that the child is the soul of Angus. But remember, this is just how I involuntarily visualise it, it won't be what Angus was thinking. This crooked man is the devil, and he is escorting the soul onto the ghost train of some kind.

    Overall it's a fucking brilliant song. I love Angus Stone as a lyricist with an exquisite voice and consolatory result sound. His sister however, sounds like a troubled goat.
    SystematicServitudeon October 27, 2011   Link

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