Hudson died in Hudson bay
The water took its victim's name
Now rivers rise toward Riverside
To change their names again

A stranger walked in through the door
Said, "All apartments are pre-war"
We laughed and asked him for his name
He stayed until the end

We watched the Germans play the Greeks
We marked the ninety-nine-year lease
Our fathers signed
Which I declined to try and comprehend

(Chorus)
Over and over again
All these never-ending visions
Over and over again
Like a prize that's changing hands
The time has come
The clock is such a drag
All you who change your stripes
Can wrap me in the flag

The legendary wooden gate
That first established real estate
Is lost to time
Like other crimes
That won this pleasant land

(Chorus)

Hudson died in Hudson bay
But I was born on Sutton Place
The rising tide helped me decide
To change my name again

Some men tend to linger on,
And some make haste from Babylon,
And some will roam their ruined home,
Rejoicing to the end

(Chorus)

The lines are drawn, the map is such a drag
All you who change your stripes can wrap me in the flag



Lyrics submitted by SongMeanings, edited by bobduck, KilgoreTro, itsnine, alianovna, dodgerblue, phoebe9261

Hudson song meanings
Add your thoughts

5 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +7
    My InterpretationI sort of got the feeling that this song was about how History plays itself over and over again.
    Cyberghoston May 07, 2013   Link
  • +7
    General CommentLots of New York City history in this song.
    Henry Hudson did indeed die in Hudson Bay, cast adrift on a small boat after a mutiny, never to be heard from again. The Hudson River is named for him.
    The shore of the Hudson River runs parallel to what is now Riverside Drive.
    The "99 year lease" lyric might refer to the Lenape tribe, the Native Americans who lived on the island of Manhattan and believed that they were merely leasing the land to the Dutch colonists.
    The island of Manhattan changed its stripes many times in colonial times (the natives, the Dutch, the English, the Americans all claimed it) and it's been host to immigrants from all over the world.
    "Pre-war" apartments are sought after in the city for having more architectural detail and charm and may command higher prices. It's implied that it means the building was built before WW2, but since there is always a war going on somewhere in the world, maybe all apartments are pre-war?
    justduckygalon June 07, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI feel this song is about the troubles that war vets face while returning from service, losing all that they own and love, as "some will roam their ruined home, rejoycing until the end". Hudson, the war vet of the song, represents them as a whole.

    It further shows the troubles of war vets when saying "over and over again, all these never ending visions, over and over again like a prize thats changing hands." Hudson is haunted by his memories, just like a war vet who experiences nightmares, or visions, for up to their entire life. Even if it was at one time glorious, the guilt of causing bloodshed can lead to madness. The loss of sanity is expressed in the line "The time has come, the clock is such a drag. Oh, you who change your stripes can wrap me in the flag". He may have been a hero, but the experience that lingers with him slowly kills him, as if being suffocated by the flag he was once fighting for.

    Easily the most beautiful song off of the new album.
    xamenalon May 06, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationFor me, it just seems that he is trying to talk about how war can change cities and the way of living of everyone who lives over there, bringing a wave of empty hope and disaster to that place and to the people that lives over there. When he says "Hudson died in Hudson bay and the water took its victim's name. Now rivers rise toward Riverside to change their names again" it's like if the water was just a way of remembering tragedies and death and that the name that they put because someone died there is just so empty, like "so everytime someone dies here, we gonna change rivers' names? why do we have to wait for death to see that this is ridiculous?"

    When he talks about the "stranger guy" who told that "all the apartments are pre-war", the strange guy is God, warning us (humanity) that every single place is about to live a war and we just laugh. We just laugh and want some more reasons to believe in God, but, instead, he just stays with us until the end. And that's another way that they come to put some reflection over religion on the album: it is hypocritical to go for religion only because you want salvation, but is a fact that religion will bring you a salvation, even if that is just psychological, but it will save you somehow.

    And in the chorus he explains all the wars that he talked about on the last verse (World War 2, Independence War) when he talks about the "never-ending visions" that made every human feel like objects of victory, passing through the hands of the winners of every war that happens to establish power. We are just prizes of consecutive wars. And when the time of the next power comes, just kill me and bury me in my old flag since now you are a different power, controlling humans differently than how they used to control before. This is confirmed when he comes with the next verse, talking about the crimes "that won this pleasant land".

    Like the movement of the tide, coming and going, the people change their names (different cultures dominating a same space means different names on the same city). And while everything is happenning, some men just don't care, some men rush to find answer in God and some men (the soldiers of the loser side of the war) will come back just to see their houses destroyed, their home is now a ruin and everything was pointless. Through it all, after a war for a territory, the ones who have the power will keep on being powerfull and the rest of the humanity will be drowned in despair and that's the only thing that war will bring at the end: sadness and death.

    ps: i'm brazilian, so forgive me if there are some gramatical mistakes over there.
    lukebarrecon November 19, 2014   Link
  • -3
    General CommentI was reading Battle Royale when I first heard this beautiful song.
    As I read the book, I realized it related to battle and fighting. I do agree with the war vets interpretation, but I feel like this song was made for the book I read. It's like seeing the kids fight, as they're the victims. The dead,and the two (don't want to spoil) who lived are the vets,the viewpoint.

    They remember all of the people and things from the battle, feeling like everything is collapsing above them. Because a winner from the book smiled for the cameras.They couldn't do anything else to cover the pressure. The clock part symbolizes the map and forbidden zones.

    idk about you, but that book and the war vets definitely give me whole different feelings about the song.(It's one of my favorites of the album.)
    funformaton May 21, 2013   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