"Neat Little Rows" as written by and Guy Edward John/potter Garvey....
My high priest is folded neatly, back in your box, oh Lord
Call the song he sang so sweetly, back in your box, oh Lord
Found myself astride a tiger, lifting my head, just like you said
Drown me now in doubt of ire, get me to bed, oh Lord

Lay my bones in cobblestones
Lay my bones in neat little rows
Lay my bones in cobblestones
Lay my bones in neat little rows

Angels and idols, spiraling wild, windin' your necks, oh Lord
Landed gentry, ride on behind me, windin' your necks, oh Lord
Smokey progress, back room changes, let me back in, put back the pin
'Cause now I found those sought out pages, can't read the text, oh Lord

Lay my bones in cobblestones
Lay my bones in neat little rows
Lay my bones in cobblestones
Lay my bones in neat little rows

In the house, where they grew you
There were secrets and mistakes
That the eyes that see through you
Would give anything to erase
But picture they're counting your fingers
Waiting for the focus of your eyes
No no, don't point fingers
Fingers are for pointing at the sky
No no, don't point fingers
Fingers are for pointing at the sky

Lay my bones in cobblestones
Lay my bones in neat little rows
Lay my bones in cobblestones
Lay my bones in neat little rows


Lyrics submitted by fakeplastictrees23, edited by BobTheRhino

"Neat Little Rows" as written by Guy Edward John Garvey Craig Lee Potter

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Neat Little Rows song meanings
Add your thoughts

7 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +3
    General CommentI think this song is about Guy Garvey making his peace with aspects of his upbringing.

    The repeated phrases in the first verse ("back in your box") and the second ("wind in your neck") are both colloquial expressions in Manchester and elsewhere that basically mean don't get above yourself, don't get ideas above your station. I guess his background was fairly working class, and in the UK at least there can be an inverted snobbery amongst the working classes where we tend to resent people who aim high, as if wanting to get out of poverty is the same thing as thinking you're better than everyone else, better than the family that raised you or your friends from school or whatever.

    I think that's what he's going on about here - maybe as a kid, saying he was going to be a big star with his music and getting told "wind in your neck, son." But then, when he did get all the success he was looking for ("found myself astride a tiger", "landed gentry ride on behind me") he realised it wasn't everything he thought it was going to be ("drown me now in down of eider", "now i found those sought out pages, can't read the text") and that he didn't fit in in that world as well as he thought he might, and realising folk at home had more wisdom than he credited them with at the time.

    So he says "don't point fingers" at the people in "the house where they grew you" (his family) - it's easy to blame your parents for things that have gone wrong in your own life, but as an adult you have to recognise that they loved you and were probably doing the best they could.

    Cobblestones and terraced houses (the "neat little rows" the song is named after) are symbolic of the Manchester streets where he grew up. (Ever seen the TV show Coronation Street? Like that.) So "lay my bones in cobblestones, lay my bones in neat little rows" - he's saying that Manchester was where he was born and Manchester (meaning not just the city, but his family there and everything about the place) will always be with him until he dies. It's like that Rupert Brooke poem about a soldier in the first world war saying "If I should die, think only this of me/ That there's some corner of a foreign field that is forever England." No matter what happens to you, the place where you are from will always be a part of you, and I think that's the idea Guy's reconciling himself with in the song.
    subjunctiveon July 14, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about a previous romance.
    Chumbawambaon March 16, 2011   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningI saw Elbow at the O2 in London last night. They were terrific, and the lyrics of middle part of the song (In the house...) were shown up on the screen behind the band. The whole album of Build a Rocket Boys! is about Guy Garvey's childhood and memories. The lyrics in this part seem to me to be about a moody teenager who is arguing with his/her parents that their parents love them to pieces and reminding them of that first moment of their birth when the parents were so filled with love for their new child ("But picture them counting your fingers, waiting for the focus of your eyes"). This part of the song seems like a reminder of parental love to me.
    samchewon March 30, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about someones life, but always at the back of their mind is the inevitability of death and how he knows where he will end up-in "neat little rows" in a graveyard.
    pacificeyeson April 05, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFirstly this line "drown me now in doubt of ire, "
    is "drown me now in down of eider"

    I think this song is about a fairly young child, maybe about 5 years. First verse he talks about his favourite singer being packed away in it's box, not sure what was popular with the under fives thirty odd years ago, maybe elvis or something. It could be being put away just for the night or perhaps forever, since he's outgrown it.

    The second verse sounds like a game of soldiers in the playground, he can't read the text because he's that young.

    The chorus is refering to the way his parents have brought him up. Bones are the foundations of a person. Cobblestones are what old streets are made of, to lay his bones in the cobblestones is to be making the past part of him, awareness of his ancestors and history. Neat little rows may refer to attempts at bringing him up in a good and orderly way rather than scattered and chaotic.
    AngelGreyon May 27, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnd just to add about the music in this song, the "na na nas" in the chorus sound quite playful and childish, like it is a little kid singing it.

    Also the strange sounds behind the " in the house where they grew you...." bit to me sound alot like there's a school playground a few streets away and all the kids are out doing thier thing. I don't know if anyone else gets that from it.
    AngelGreyon May 30, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat song! :)
    Thia007on November 20, 2011   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain