"Happy Returns" as written by and Steven John Wilson....
Hey brother, happy returns, it's been a while now
I bet you thought that I was dead
But I'm still here, nothing has changed

Hey brother, I'd love to tell you I've been busy
But that would be a lie
Cos the truth is the years just pass like trains
I wave but they don't slow down

Hey brother, I see the freaks and dispossessed
On day release
Avoiding the police
I feel I'm falling once again
But now there's no one left to catch me

Hey brother, I feel I'm living in parentheses
And I got trouble with the bills
Do the kids remember me?
Well I got gifts for them,
and for you more sorrow
But I'm feeling kind of drowsy now
So I'll finish this tomorrow

Lyrics submitted by arefsh, edited by jpdwebb, RFSH, baviaan

"Happy Returns" as written by Steven John Wilson

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Happy Returns song meanings
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  • +1
    General Comment*And for you and sorrow
    Ozymandias25on March 03, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFirst up, what a beautiful song!

    Can confirm the lyric is "and for you and sorrow", as written in the booklet that comes with the album. Not sure what this means though...

    For the song generally I think this is a letter, mostly because of the "so I'll finish this tomorrow", not sure how else that would make sense. I think perhaps this is an unfinished letter the protagonist of the album started writing before she died and was subsequently only discovered much later. Perhaps written to her literal brother.

    For background, Steven has stated that the album concept in general is based on the story of Joyce Carol Vincent, a young woman who lived in isolation such that when she died in her apartment the body was not discovered for three years.
    jpdwebbon March 23, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAlthough this album is a mostly fictional account of Joyce Vincent's life, according to her Wikipedia page, her body was indeed found surrounded by wrapped Christmas presents, which seems to suggest that she did intend to reconnect with some of the people she had estranged herself from. That one detail makes a sad story so much sadder.
    sewnomercyon July 07, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General Comment@BigRed97 Cool, I actually had read that blog post (before hearing the album so didn't remember/connect it). Makes sense!
    jpdwebbon March 23, 2015   Link
  • -1
    General CommentProbably one of the saddest songs Wilson ever wrote. My lord, what a feeling of just pit-bottom sorrow that this track soaks into you.
    MurphyMonsteron June 15, 2015   Link

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