"Call Me Back" as written by and Julian Casablancas Nick Valensi....
Wait time is the worst
I can hardly sit
No one has the time
Someone's always late

I look for you
And you look for me
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh

I don't know why
I came down
I hold your phone
Don't wake up
I hear a voice
In the ground

Tell me, don't tell me
The hard part is damning
There's something that you would not like me to tell you
Tell me, don't tell me
The hard part is damning
There's something that you would not like me to tell you

Wait time is to blame
Mat top frame's a trip
We all have the time
Someone's always fed
I look for you, and you look away
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

I don't know why
I came down
I hold your phone
Don't wake up
I hear a voice
In the ground

Waking up is so much fun to do.
(Tell me, don't tell me
'80 movie make out party, yeah
There's something that you would not like me to tell you)
(Tell me, don't tell me
There's something that you would not like me to tell you)


Lyrics submitted by littleodie914, edited by brechtsky

"Call Me Back" as written by Nick Valensi Julian Casablancas

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Call Me Back song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentMade an account specifically so I can write my interpretation of this song. It's one of few that I feel I truly understand. Bear with me, this is purely a literal analysis.

    So first thing to note, there are two time periods. The beginning is when there cellphones aren't in popular use. This is signified by how no one has the time. In this early period, both individuals are very much into each other and are eager to meet and both look for each other. They both must look for each other because they dont have possession of cell phones and thus must actually look for each other. But the girl is never on time, thus wait time is the worst and 'someone's' always late

    The chorus jumps to the present, in which circumstances have changed and, I guess, 'Julian' has discovered that his girlfriend has been cheating through the possession of her phone. Despite this, there is a futile effort on both parties to reconvene, the intention of which is unclear for both.

    He is waiting to see if she will confess to her unfaithfulness and debating whether he should say something instead. However, it is clear to him that she knows he knows. Therefore, there is something she would not like him to tell her.

    The next chorus is then in the presence of cellphones, where everyone has the time because they all have phones. The girl does not show up for their meeting, with the excuse that she has already eaten. In this instance 'Julian' looks for the girl through cell phone usage, who blatantly is ignoring his calls or looking away.

    Thus, call me back.

    Once again, futile effort on 'Julian's part and the dilema about confrontation.

    Of course there are emotional complexities involving unrequited attachment. I say attachment rather than love because it does not seem as if 'Julian' himself knows the extent of his emotional involvement with the girl. However, I think the emotional aspect is much more self referential depending on the listener and thusly I will not elaborate further on that point.
    ayumixtolon May 29, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI agree with blackmantis. I really want to know people's analysis though. It's one of my favorite songs on angles by far, it's really different from anything I've heard from The Strokes before. In my opinion it depicts that time when two people are dating and both of them are unsure what the other person feels and they're dodging confronting the fact because they're afraid of the possible rejection. It's one of the most annoying experiences ever.
    TravisMusic32on March 24, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is my fav song on the album...

    I agree with you guys about the whole relationship thing.

    The part where he's says "I hold your phone, don't wake up"... maybe she's sleep and he's checking her phone.

    "I hear a voice in the ground".... maybe she lives in an apartment and he can hear people downstairs?...
    sylvesterofrioon March 26, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIM THE firSt to comment n i feel GREAT:)
    this song is super great n i the love the angles album!!!!!
    i love the others ones too "Is This It", "Room OF Fire", "First Impressions Of Earth", "Angles" all of them!!! :D
    I LOVE THE STROKES !!!! =D
    thestrokesFEon March 15, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHere's what I got:

    Wait time is the worst
    I can hardly sit
    No one has the time
    Someone's always late

    I look for you
    And you look for me
    Wooah, oh, oh, oh, oh

    I don't know why
    I came down
    I hold your phone
    Don't wake up
    I hear a voice
    In the ground

    Tell me, don't tell me
    The hard part is damning
    There's something that you would not like me to tell you
    Tell me, don't tell me
    The hard part is damning
    There's something that you would not like me to tell you
    Tell me, don't tell me
    The hard part is damning
    There's something that you would not like me to tell you

    Wait time is to blame
    Mat top frame's a trip
    We all have the time
    Someone's always fed
    I look for you, and you look away
    Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

    I don't know why
    I came down
    I hold your phone
    Don't wake up
    I hear a voice
    In the ground

    Waking is so much fun to do.
    (Tell me, don't tell me
    The hard part is damning
    There's something that you would not like me to tell you)
    '80 movie make out party, yeah
    (Tell me, don't tell me
    The hard part is damning
    There's something that you would not like me to tell you)
    AndrewIndieon March 16, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of my favorite songs off the new album! I think " the hard part is damning" may change to " the hard part is coming" at some point in the song. Not completely sure though!
    SunHotel16on March 20, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTell me, don't tell me
    The hard part is telling you
    Something that you would not like me to tell you
    blackmantison March 22, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti agree with travis an sylvestro
    jules seems to definitely talk about some insecurity in a relation and the music seems to go with the mood too.
    "i look for you and you look away"
    "i don't know why i came down" (traveling to see her)
    i kind of feel this way about my girlfriend, very relate-able for me at the moment.
    spoonritteron March 29, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOh yeah....

    The chorus part goes...

    Tell me, don't tell me, the hard part is telling you something that you are not likely to tell you...

    Who writes shit like this???? Julian that's who. F*cking genius..

    I love the Strokes!
    sylvesterofrioon March 30, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationOk, so I was listening to this song recently, and I suddenly realized... This song could be about a murdering psychopath.
    Bear with me.

    Wait time is the worst
    I can hardly sit
    No one has the time
    Someone's always late

    He's been stalking this chick for a while and has figured out her routine, so he's waiting outside her house for her to come home. She comes home late, so he has to wait in the car, stewing in his anxiety.

    I look for you
    And you look for me
    Wooah, oh, oh, oh, oh

    He sees her get out of her car finally, and she looks around because she gets this weird feeling like she's being watched. He gets out of the car as she turns around to go inside and grabs her, the "Wooah" etc is her trying to yell but slowly her yell dies off as he holds a chloroform covered cloth to her mouth.

    I don't know why
    I came down
    I hold your phone
    Don't wake up
    I hear a voice
    In the ground

    I'll come back to this, as explaining it now would be a spoiler for the story. Suffice to say it is a flash forward in time.

    Tell me, don't tell me
    The hard part is telling you
    Something that you would not like me to tell you
    Tell me, don't tell me
    The hard part is telling you
    Something that you would not like me to tell you
    Tell me, don't tell me
    The hard part is telling you
    Something that you would not like me to tell you

    She wakes up while in the trunk of his car, and she's trying to yell to him through her gag. He hears her, and he's telling her to shut up. He says something along the lines of "I'm going to kill you, there's nothing you can do about it." In saying this, he is faced with the horror of his actions, and suddenly he feels uneasy with what he's doing. It bothers him, but it doesn't stop him.

    Wait time is to blame
    Mat top frame's a trip
    We all have the time
    Someone's always fed
    I look for you, and you look away
    Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

    He's driving to a small cemetery, the drive is the "wait time." He is blaming his uneasiness on the waiting. Trip is the driving of course. Now they arrive on his schedule, so suddenly every one has the time. He gets out of the car and goes to the trunk, where he stares at her for a moment. She is beautiful, and he admires her reverently. She refuses to meet his eyes. He finally reaches down to knock her out again with more chloroform, and her screams this time are much weaker.

    I don't know why
    I came down
    I hold your phone
    Don't wake up
    I hear a voice
    In the ground

    I'll explain this now. It is fast forwarding to after he has buried her alive. He finds himself standing over the grave he put her in, stuck in a trance. He notices her phone on the ground, and picks it up. He is reading texts and such, becoming more and more attached to this person, and it quickly becomes his most attached-to victim. Suddenly, she wakes up.

    Waking is so much fun to do.
    (Tell me, don't tell me
    The hard part is telling you
    Something that you would not like me to tell you)
    '80 movie make out party, yeah
    (Tell me, don't tell me
    The hard part is telling you
    Something that you would not like me to tell you)

    He imagines her waking up and screaming from under ground, as he can hear her yell, and suddenly the emotional connection goes dead, thus the sarcasm in the line. He leaves the grave site and proceeds with life as usual, attending a party the very same night.
    Zabble929on April 20, 2011   Link

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