You kept a death grip on the armrest.
You slept as I swerved through bumps and dips.
You leapt at the chance to act alarmist.
You swept past my face like an eclipse.

You act like I'm your chum and I can treat you like my little sister.
But if you cover the sun with your thumb you should expect to get a fever blister.

And if the air is filled with a sickening hum,
Don't be upset or overcome.
Don't worry.
It's just the irony engine working.

You rose like a crane to the occasion.
You froze at the very implication.
You chose to divert the whole invasion.
By winking and shrugging and smiling and giving me an awkward seatbelt hug
Before you vanished in the chilly autumn.

I could feel the motor chug
Something tearing loose and striking bottom.

And if you still can't see how a three point plug
Could superheat on the lunar tug.
Don't worry.
It's just the irony engine working.
Yeah don't worry.
It's just the irony engine working.



Lyrics submitted by goneinaminute

The Irony Engine song meanings
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    Song MeaningGuy and a girl friend have have known each other long enough to have a balance in their relation, a set of rules ("You can act like I'm your chum and I can treat you like my little sister"). However, the guy has feelings for his friend, and at this point even though he hasn't really expressed them they are a pretty obvious undercurrent in the things he does for her, e.g. give her a long ride home in which she sleeps, leaving him alone with his thoughts.
    At the end of the trip, the guy has made up his mind enough to come out the girl. Up to his point he had his doubts as to whether she was getting what was going on, but now he realizes she's been aware for a while, and he sees how not being open about it could end up damaging their friendship ("if you cover the sun with your thumb you should expect to get a fever blister").
    So when he finally starts leaning toward her while still in the car she diverts his avances in a light-hearted, off-hand way (she has that little girl thing to her, and uses that to cover up her embarassment). She smiles and hugs him awkwardly, then leaves.
    The guy is once again left to his thoughts, and the feeling he had while revealing his feelings to the girl, of a hum in the air, some cosmic powerful thing acting against his will, comes again and stronger. He probably has an affinity for machines and mechanisms, as they are quoted several times - rising like a crane to an occasion, a three point plug superheating, the motor chugging and feeling something coming loose in it -, so the name he gives to this thing is the Irony Engine. Also, he seems like an aw-shucks kind of guy, so naming the thing IE helps him turn his potential rage/humiliation/sadness into a manageable, homely kind of disappointment. Even though he can't completely explain to himself what happened in the car he is pretty sure he's not going to bring it up in conversation again.

    There are a couple of lines I haven't completely figured out:

    "You leapt at the chance to act alarmist
    You swept past my face like an eclipse."
    The second line there makes me think of the guy going for a kiss on the mouth and the girl diverting him and going for the cheek, but it's weird that that comes out so early in the song.

    "And if you still can't see how a three point plug
    Could superheat on the lunar tug"
    I think this refers to a space tug, a sort of rocket vehicle that's used to bring equipment to orbiting stations, or to carry satellites in their orbits. Maybe the guy sees a romantic relationship with the girl as inevitable, he's been foreseeing it and studying with the same focus scientists use in building a spacecraft, so when a minor malfunction foils his plans he just can't believe it.
    astrokittenon January 08, 2016   Link

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