"Ansel" as written by and Isaac Brock....
(Here we go!)
I took a train down to New Mexico
With my father and brother, Ansel
You can't know, well, you can't ever really know
Was I really supposed to know?
How the hell would I know?
(There it goes!)

I made a mess of myself and the trip on the whole
My father stayed patient with me; why? I don't know
You can't know, you can't ever really know
That's the last time I'd see my brother, Ansel
(There he goes, so)

Troubles on the head winds, troubles on the tail winds
Troubles on the head winds, troubles on the tail winds

Me and my sister we hung on the phone
Watching the news as they looked for Ansel
On top of that mountain, underneath the snow
Their dogs were sniffin', I guess you never know
You can't know, well, you can't ever really know
Would you really want to know?
How the hell would you know?

On gears around an uncaring sun
It doesn't know what it gave
As the bone moon winds 'round again
Again this allows one sphere's heart to pump
Pumping waves of hearts that come and go
And then come and then

You can't know, well, you won't ever really know
Would you really want to know?
No, you can't know
The last time that you'll ever see another soul
No, you never get to know
No, you don't know


Lyrics submitted by McWeird007, edited by Mellow_Harsher, alex166686, Gregulator

"Ansel" as written by Jeremiah Green Isaac Brock

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Ansel song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +6
    General CommentIsaac's brother died in a mountain accident back around the time Good News came out. "Although it was a problem, I didn't feel as I do with the last few friends and my brother who died." - Isaac Brock

    I think this song is him finally expressing the death of his brother in a song. It obviously isn't a 100% literal depiction of his brother's death, and his brother wasn't named Ansel, but I think this song is about the feeling he had when he found out his brother died on that mountain.
    TurinTurambaron March 14, 2015   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningThis song is about the last time that Isaac Brock saw his brother Ansel before he died in an avalanche.

    It also seems to be about how life is uncertain and how it could end at any time. The uncertainty is both a good and a bad thing, as you both would and wouldn't want to know when your time will come.

    From an interview with Isacc Brock from USA Today (usatoday.com/story/life/music/2015/03/17/modest-mouse-strangers-to-ourselves/24831695/):


    While Brock mulls over the big ideas, he also gets achingly personal on Ansel, which details a last trip he took with his brother, who died in an avalanche. "I kind of lost my mind, and I'd say it was pretty frustrating for the guy. I figured we'd be able to reconnect at some point and fix that," he says. "It's not a new reminder, a new concept, but you could trip and fall and die right now. It's just good to remember that."
    yourbuddypalon March 19, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"The last time that you’ll ever see another soul
    Nah, you never get to know
    No, you don't know"

    Wowowwow.
    SparklingLemonadeon March 17, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPossibly about Ansel Adams? I imagine him and Isaac would share the same ideals -- both hate seeing peaceful, beautiful scenes of nature being destroyed for civilization.
    MechanicalBirdson June 11, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCaught a lyric in the song I liked, wondered if it had been put on here. Songmeanings never lets me down :)
    Nice job!
    Suhmeron June 21, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI think that this song may be based on real life events, not Isaac's perhaps, but it might be a story someone told him. I believe it is rendered through the child's perspective, like the parts with the words "don't know" show that kids don't remember or don't think about certain events, probably because they are too complicated or just not interesting for a child. And the tone of the song is positive because children who had lost their relatives when they were young often don't feel sorry about that.
    So for me this is a song about a child telling a story about the lost brother who was never found, and as he tells this story, he openly confesses that he doesn't remember much of what had happened back then.
    catherine3on March 13, 2015   Link

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