Did you give it away
Did you give it away for free
Don't you give it away
Let's try to keep it in our family

I know you know desolation
Coming home with your pockets full of sand
I know it's no vacation
Now you're plowing your tiny patch of land
In a nation under your command

Did you give it away
Did you give it away for free
What would you have us pay?
I didn't know that your love was a commodity

What about appreciation, oh
That depends on your depth and density
What about inflation, oh
Your charts and graphs don't mean a thing to me
In your nation with its worthless currency

Won't you give it away for free
Won't you give it away to me

Would you hide in the hay
Would you hide in the hay with me
Won't you hide in the hay
Where it's dark and you can scarcely breathe or see
Assured asphyxiation
Where the foxes and field mice make their dens
Death by association
I swore I'd never take anyone there again
To this nation
A nation under your command


Lyrics submitted by wild_ cosmia

Give It Away song meanings
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3 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentThank you for taking the time to transcribe these lyrics! They are perfect.
    disastaron May 01, 2012   Link
  • 0
    Song FactAndrew Bird's "I didn't know that your love was a commodity" is a reference to current economic policies in which people treat money and goods differently, so love is also a commodity in which you can give it a price or maybe a value. That's what I think.
    sonjayoron December 17, 2014   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis song is about a conversation between the singer and someone else. It seems to either jealousy itself or the personification of jealousy in someone close (family member, friend, partner/boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband) and about the attitude one has about sharing (things and affection) outside of their family/friend circle. Though not explicit, the song might also be about the idea of polyamory. The conversation goes back and forth - stanza by stanza.

    Firstly, the singer is admonished for "giving [something] away" and that he shouldn't because he should "keep it in our family". The premise is that there isn't enough love/affection to go around for everyone we should keep it for only those close to us.

    The singer responds by saying he understand where this feeling comes from, saying that it's hard to feel like you don't have enough affection/things, just "pockets full of sand". And when you feel that way you create a situation where to find a tiny plot of land which you (or perhaps jealousy) rule supreme, (plot of land = your house or alternatively friendship/relationship). Then you start "plowing" a "tiny patch of land" that has little prospects of bountiful returns.

    The question is repeated, and he answers in a different way. How much should one pay for attention/friendship/love? Is my love a "commodity" that is scarce? He's trying to show the absurdity of the idea that there isn't enough affection to go around.

    The person responds by asking... well, these strangers might not appreciate it? He says, that depends on each person and his/her "depth and density" and while it varies, I don't lose anything from it. What about inflation (the idea that the more of something exists, the less it becomes worth)? So, more affection given to others, makes what I get worth less. He responds he doesn't believe in this idea ("your charts and graphs don't mean a thing to me") and in his opinion when you make love/affection scarce that it becomes a "worthless currency".

    Then the person (or jealousy itself) makes a last plea to the singer to hide away with them, far from the world where others live. He responds by asking, why should I burrow away from the light of the world where "it's dark" and one can "scarcely breathe and see"? If we do, we'll become just like the people who can't love at all - "death by association"? And finally says, I have made my decision to give up jealousy and to "never take anyone there again" - a nation under "your(jealousy's) command".
    Khabibul35on November 14, 2016   Link

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