Every time I see you in the world,
You always step to my girl

Back, back, way back
When I used to front like Angkor Wat
Mechanicsburg, Anchorage, and Dar es Salaam
While home in New York
Was champagne and disco tapes
From L.A. slash San Francisco
But actually Oakland and not Alameda
Your girl was in Berkeley with her communist reader
Mine was entombed within boombox and walkman
I was a hoarder but girl that was back then

The gloves are off, the wisdom teeth are out
What you on about?
I feel it in my bones, I feel it in my bones
I'm stronger now, I'm ready for the house
Such a modest mouse
I can't do it alone, I can't do it alone

Every time I see you in the world,
You always step to my girl

Ancestors told me
That their girl was better
She's richer than Croesus, she's tougher than leather
I just ignored all the tales of a past life
Stale conversation deserves but a bread knife
And punks who would laugh when they saw us together
Well they didn't know how to dress for the weather
I can still see them there, huddled on Astor
Snow falling slow to the sound of the master

The gloves are off, the wisdom teeth are out
What you on about?
I feel it in my bones, I feel it in my bones
I'm stronger now, I'm ready for the house
Such a modest mouse
I can't do it alone, I can't do it alone

Wisdom's a gift, but you'd trade it for youth
Age is an honor -- it's still not the truth
We saw the stars when they hid from the world
You cursed the sun when it stepped to your girl
Maybe she's gone, and I can't resurrect her
The truth is she doesn't need me to protect her
We know the true death -- the true way of all flesh
Everyone's dying, but girl -- you're not old yet

The gloves are off, the wisdom teeth are out
What you on about?
I feel it in my bones, I feel it in my bones
I'm stronger now, I'm ready for the house
Such a modest mouse
I can't do it alone, I can't do it alone

The gloves are off, the wisdom teeth are out
What you on about?
I feel it in my bones, I feel it in my bones
I'm stronger now, I'm ready for the house
Such a modest mouse
I can't do it alone, I can't do it alone

Every time I see you in the world,
You always step to my girl



Lyrics submitted by SongMeanings, edited by hoopdadoop, menano


Step song meanings
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23 Comments

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  • +14
    General Comment:This song is about our relationship with music - and feelings of possesiveness over the bands/songs you like. The "girl" in this song is music itself.

    In that light, the line, "Step to your girl" is a double meaning - you literally step to your music (as in moving to the beat), and it implies someone else coming onto your woman - which in this case means other fans following the music you like.

    Some other line interpretations:

    "Ancestors told me that their girl was better" - this is older folks insisting that their generation's music was better - richer, tougher, what have you.

    "The Punks would laugh when they saw us together" - Punk rock kids seeing Ezra listening to his music and laughing at it.

    "We saw the stars when they hid from the world" - meaning Ezra appreciated his music when it were still relatively unknown, hidden from the world

    "You cursed the sun when it stepped to your girl" - you get envious/possessive when your music hits the mainstream - i.e. is out in the sun

    "The truth is she doesn't need me to protect her" - coming to terms with the fact that music doesn't in fact belong to you. The chorus and the rest of the song reinforces this - it's about Ezra maturing and realizing it doesn't matter if the music he likes is obscure or mainstream.

    "Everyone's dying, but girl you're not old yet" - his music is still vibrant, still relevant.
    marks23on May 10, 2013   Link
  • +7
    My Interpretation:‘Every time I see you in the world,
    You always step to my girl’
    Everyone is always questioning and criticizing his music, ‘girl’ being another word for music throughout the song.

    ‘I was a hoarder but girl that was back then’
    He was writing and making music but wasn’t showing anyone, unlike now. he was ‘hoarding’ his music.

    ‘The gloves are off, the wisdom teeth are out
    what you on about?’
    The ‘wise’ critics and people are ‘stepping up’, ‘taking off their gloves’ so they can pick holes in him and his music. Referring I think to the back-lash vampire weekend received after their second album, for being posh, and publicly educated, detached from the real world. These were however, unfair, untrue criticisms and he asks ‘what you on about?’ confused and shocked at the rumors and their lack of substance.

    ‘I'm stronger now, I'm ready for the house’
    He’s prepared for the criticism now, he wasn’t before.

    ‘Ancestors told me
    That their girl was better
    She's richer than Croesus, she's tougher than leather’
    The older generation always talks about how their music has more substance, more longevity, and a ‘toughness’ in comparison to the throw away 1 hit wonder pop and dance songs of today. About how they are still good songs even now - they’ve stood the test of time.

    ‘I just ignored all the tales of a past life
    Stale conversation deserves but a bread knife’
    He tries not to take influence from other, older songs, tries to be original. ‘stale’ old songs that are out dated don’t deserve a look in.

    ‘And punks who would laugh when they saw us together
    Well they didn't know how to dress for the weather
    I can still see them there’
    The people of the time who liked punk used to laugh at his style/genre of music. But he knew punk music wouldn’t stand the test of time. Although the punk fans still think their music is superior.

    ‘Wisdom's a gift, but you'd trade it for youth’
    Being an older ‘has been’ band, out of the limelight, is a good thing. But every band that has past it’s time would snatch at the chance to become famous and popular once more, to ‘go mainstream’ for popularity and record sales.

    ‘We saw the stars when they hid from the world
    You cursed the sun when it stepped to your girl’
    It was better when he wasn’t popular and famous. In fact, it was a curse when the public (‘the sun’) got hold of us and made us big, or ‘mainstream’.

    ‘Maybe she's gone, and I can't resurrect her
    the truth is she doesn't need me to protect her’
    He, in the back of his mind, because of the criticism is sometimes gets, doubts his own music. Maybe with every album he makes his music is getting worse? And he should stop trying to ‘resurrect’ his music because it will never be as good as it used to be, before he was ‘mainstream’. But he really knows that he doesn’t need to defend, or ‘protect’ his music from the critics, because he knows that the music should speak for itself.

    ‘Everyone's dying, but girl -- you're not old yet’
    He finally comes to the conclusion that his music is still fresh, and still good.
    Sean01on May 18, 2013   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:This song is about coming-of-age in the context of a relationship with an ex-girlfriend. The "you" Ezra addresses in the song ("you always step to my girl") is actually himself -- he always screws himself over.

    The first verse alludes to an earlier time in Ezra's life when he was more pretentious. (End of college / just after college, knowing Ezra's story.) He used to "front" as if he were worldly, but in reality he was just sitting in New York listening to disco. His girl was actually worldly ("in Berkeley with her Communist reader") - but in retrospect he knows he "entombed her in boombox and walkman" - which is to say that he only saw her through the lens of his own needs at the time, ie his music. "I was a hoarder but girl that was back then" -- he was a hoarder of obscure references, a hoarder of "vibes," basically he was just trying way too hard to be cool, and he knows it was actually selfish of him, in retrospect. He treated her selfishly.

    The hook elucidates the meaning of the whole song: he's "ready for the house / such a modest mouse" -- he is way more modest/mature than he has been in the past -- and acknowledges, finally, that he "can't do it alone" -- he needs a girl to complete his life with.

    The second verse harkens back to the time he spent with this girl when they were first together. His family ("ancestors") told him to find someone richer and tougher - they told him she wasn't ready to ride or die with him - but he didn't listen, cause he was so in love with her. Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, young "punks" huddled smoking weed on Astor Place didn't believe in their relationship either, those people thought serious love was silly in general. Ezra rejected both points of view ("stale conversation deserves but a breadknife" & "they didn't know how to dress for the weather") because he was so in love with this girl at that time in his life. He couldn't picture life without her, he felt as if they were right and everyone else was wrong. TRUE LOVE etc etc.

    *INSERT BRIDGE HERE, THEY BREAK UP CAUSE HE AINT READY FOR CHILDREN, YEARS GO BY, ETC*

    Third verse. "Wisdom's a gift but you'd trade it for youth / age is an honor but it's still not the truth." He's older and wiser now which is great but he's still, even now, searching for that young true love that he had with this girl.

    "We saw the stars when they hid from the world" - he's saying that she and him found the true meaning of life even when no one else could see it.

    "You cursed the sun when it stepped to your girl" - now he's speaking to his younger, more naive self, who blamed fate for breaking them up and got angry about it.

    "Maybe she's gone, and I can't resurrect her
    The truth is she doesn't need me to protect her" - current Ezra, though, is older and wise enough to know that the love they shared is gone, maybe forever, and that his girl doesn't need him to have the life she wants.

    "We know the true death -- the true way of all flesh
    Everyone's dying, but girl -- you're not old yet"
    But he still wants her back, before she gets "old" i.e. dies - he wants to get old with her.
    pummeron March 25, 2013   Link
  • +3
    Song Meaning:Rather than this being an homage to influences or about music (which I buy a little of), I think the lyrics are extremely influenced by Souls of Mischief's Step to My Girl . So first, check those out. That song is about fearing your girl would run off with someone else, fighting off those who would try, and the telling line "insecurity turned into maturity."

    "Every time I see you in the world, you always step to my girl" is directly taken from the chorus as well as the first line "Back back way back."

    SO, I see this song as more or less the same or at least similar. "The gloves are off, the wisdom teeth are out" to me is about fighting for the girl, but possibly in some kind of more mature fashion. Also, the old "the gloves are off" phrase typically means a fight was already happening and now it's about to get worse or more serious.

    Overall, I think Step is about fighting for his love (an actual girl) and now he's matured and prepared to settle down with her "ready for the house."
    thatswankon June 08, 2013   Link
  • +2
    My Interpretation:The song is about Ezra finally being able to settle down after not being able to do so when the girl referenced in this song was ready to. They were dating and she was ready to be a serious couple and Ezra wasn't ready to do this. He wasn't ready to do this, but now he is, but this girl is unavailable to him now ("Maybe she's gone, and I can't resurrect her"). He missed his shot.

    The song is a plea to the girl to take him back since he's now ready to give her what she wanted... The chorus is most telling of this for me, at least.

    "Gloves are off, the wisdom teeth are out": He's done fighting her requests for him to grow up and settle down with her... He's gotten smarter and realized the mistake he made.

    "I'm stronger now, I'm ready for the house
    Such a modest mouse
    I can't do it alone, I can't do it alone": Same thinking... He's grown up and he's ready to be your typical American couple (house, kids, etc.). He's realized how he was stupid for not giving her what she needed at the time and it has really humbled him (and possibly fucked him up relationship-wise). He now shares the same feelings that this girl had... He wants the house and the car, but he obviously needs someone to reciprocate in order to do this.

    Just some thoughts... Knowing Ezra, it could be something totally different.
    Burton8219on March 27, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:For me, the 'girl' in the song is New York City. Different parts of the song touch on the ways people relate to the city--belonging to it, making competitive claims of ownership etc.
    harleywinkon April 25, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:No one has mentioned the joke about "step to my girl." Not only is the song about differing opinions about music, but also literally suggests moving or dancing. When Ezra says, you always step to my girl. In other words, "hey you listener, you're dancing to my music, the stuff you're listening to now." Nothing like a nice piece of self-conscious literature.
    MintyDintyon June 13, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:This is gonna sound corny and not as deep as everyone else's interpretation but to me this song is simply about vampires. I imagine an old vampire telling a story in this song. If you think about it that way most of it makes sense. It talks alot about back then and different times, periods, places of the world, and a girl. Read the lyrics again with vampires in mind and tell me if this makes sense.
    iiGTFOiion May 19, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:This song is simply an homage to the various influences of Vampire Weekend. While other meanings might be construed, it's obvious that the song is mainly a riff off of the hip hop song "Step to my Girl" by Souls of Miscief. For real, look it up on Youtube. You can also see this with shout outs to Modest Mouse.

    Girl= his music, and her various influences and styles.
    roberttaon May 28, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:i've been waiting for VW to come out with their new album--it's almost here!!!!! XD

    but about this song.
    I'm not quite sure about what it could all mean. Koenig does a fine job riddling his lyrics with many many references, yet still maintaining a certain amount of ambiguity. I think that's why they get a lot of flack for being pretentious at times.

    if i could attempt at deciphering what this could all mean, i think that perhaps this song isn't about a girlfriend-guy/boyfriend relationship that i was assuming upon first read and listen. instead i see it as a general cautionary tale about growing up- how things have changed/are changing both culturally- externally and internally.

    the first verse honestly evades me so i'm not quite sure what the heck he's talking about. even a brief search of the places and things he's talking about don't lend much..oh and btw its DAR es Salaam. Not Das.

    But the second verse seems to be commentary about 'outsiders' - perhaps they're friends, family members, society in general - people who have come before and supposedly 'know more'. These "ancestors" don't seem to approve of the relationship choices of the speaker. He chooses to ignore the negative comments, opting to call the reminiscent "back in my day.." conversations as stale.
    "They didn't know how to dress for the weather." This is an interesting sentence- it represents to me a wholly solid introduction to two ideas within this song of otherness and a growing introspective maturity. Throughout the rest of the song, there is an unidentified 'they' that is being confronted; they didn't know how to dress for the weather- they were unprepared for particular occurrences. Perhaps they're unprepared because they're caught in the past "all the tales of a past life". But what has made the speaker so different compared to 'them'? Is it his newfound relationship? And what is his relationship with- another person? A deeper understanding of himself? It's obviously not approved of/recommended and is scoffed at, thus, alienating him from 'them'. Eventually, he moves on and yet he can still "still see them there huddled on Astor"- stuck in their weather [the snow is falling]...
    I don't want to dig too deep into the last verse- there's a lot that could be unloaded, but it's also saying a lot by itself, straight forward enough. But to continue with my themes, the lines:
    "We saw the stars when they hid from the world
    You cursed the sun when it stepped to your girl" are worth paying attention to.
    Considering the stars- they are 'otherworldly'- "coming out" at night, and not so bright, compared to the sun of course. Again, the imagery connotes an otherness of speaker and 'them'. Most people go to sleep at night and often don't get to see the stars- in a backwards way, you could say that the stars were 'hiding' from the world. And that the world in this verse is representative of the 'they' from the previous verse. Perhaps Koenig is saying that, given enough time and patience, a completely different perspective emerges. The phrase 'we saw the stars' in and of itself is just a great phrase- connoting whimsical/magical feelings..images...Yet, compared with the 'you' in the next line, that could also be the 'they' being confronted, when their relationships- their 'girls' are in question, the sun is cursed. the very thing around to "enlighten", per se, the larges masses of the world.
    Finally, considering the chorus and how it mentions the gloves are off and the wisdom teeth are out; gloves are used to protect against outside elements- in some cases, put up a 'front' between person to person- like how a doctor wears gloves during a physical. wisdom teeth don't actually supply wisdom when they come in- for most, they're a source of great pain and must be removed. The surgery to remove them can be considered a sort of coming of age moment; you were not as wise before them as a child as you are without them as an adult. These actions show that the speaker has or is reaching a point of introspective maturity. He's willing to 'take the gloves off' and deal with people. Even in not-so-pleasant situations. The wisdom teeth are out- this can dually be seen as a sort of sign of humility- yes. They mark a point of coming of age. But equally, the phrase itself can be translated as saying 'i did come this far and have grown this much, but there is still something missing; i'm not all together'...this idea is echoed by the line "I can't do it alone, I can't do it alone".
    "I feel it in my bones, I feel it in my bones
    I'm stronger now, I'm ready for the house"
    He can feel himself growing, maturing- he's, quite simply, stronger, he can make big life decisions for himself now...

    There are also some religious references to be noted in this song (among many many other things), but I didn't feel like digging any further, so I'm stopping here. Plus, I'm sure more people will soon comment on those anyway.
    But those are my few cents, for now....
    frofroarion March 21, 2013   Link

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