"The King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 1" as written by and Jeff Mangum....
When you were young
You were the king of carrot flowers
And how you built a tower tumbling through the trees
In holy rattlesnakes that fell all around your feet

And your mom would stick a fork right into daddy's shoulder
And dad would throw the garbage all across the floor
As we would lay and learn what each other's bodies were for

And this is the room
One afternoon I knew I could love you
And from above you how I sank into your soul
Into that secret place where no one dares to go

And your mom would drink until she was no longer speaking
And dad would dream of all the different ways to die
Each one a little more than he could dare to try


Lyrics submitted by PLANES

"The King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 1" as written by Jeff Mangum

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 1 song meanings
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  • +6
    My InterpretationI think this whole song is a kind of exploration of the mix of innocence and sexuality and dysfunction inherent to life. All of these are emphasized by the main characters being described as young. I think of this song starting out talking about the innocence and dominion of youth, making everything the castle to your kingship as you run through the woods, playing. In the next verse, you learn that the other kid shares a father with the narrator, but different mothers. The parents don't get along, the dad doesn't hide his dissatisfaction (throwing garbage across the floor), and the children's escape from this hell is their sexual experimentation. The third verse is a sex scene between the half siblings. The final verse farther explains the poor conditions of a black-out drunk mother and a tortured, unhappy father that wants nothing but out of the situation.

    I also think there's something to the alternation between happiness and dysfunction. The happiness coming from the children together, moving from innocence into awareness. The dysfunction coming along whenever the parents enter the picture, being the evil that causes their early maturity, strengthening their bond. The children are together in overcoming their situation, or at least get each other through it.
    clayborgon August 25, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI agree with alot of the things being said. Where I've never heard the Anne Frank thing before (although it sounds familar so I'm sure someone told me in passing) I get the main ideas in the song and feel they're simalar...

    It seems the first verse is as someone earlier said, just little kids playing make believe, however I don't think many serious song writters, especially those as good as Jeff Mangum would have anything with out a specific reason so I'm still open to interpretation there. I think part of it is escapism, so that it could be a little kids but others who aren't young can relate... it's escaping from the "realities" of life where you really can believe you are the king of carrot flowers. I think "king" and building a "tower" is used to offer some control over something, even if it's make believe, when in the "real world" they don't have control over anything.

    "And your mom would stick a fork right into daddy's shoulder
    And your dad would throw the garbage all across the floor
    As we would lay and learn what each other's bodies were for "

    This is one of the first things that grabbed my attention, it's very beautiful and eerie. Especially the concludion of "learn what each other's bodies were fore" because from the first two lines, where the parents are obviously unhappy and fighting to the point that they're fighting, you'd the the "children" (or just the speaker) would learn this violence because that's how they see bodies being used, however with this other person, his/her friend, they lay and learn separatly from the parents.

    "And this is the room
    One afternoon I knew I could love you
    And from above you how I sank into your soul
    Into that secret place where no one dares to go"

    From above you how I sank into your soul into that secret place where no one dares to go is an absolutely amazing line. Yes, it is obviously sexual...from above sinking into that secret place, that an the earlier line about learning what each others bodies were for show that these "friends" have a discovering phyical relationship and I think it's important and wonderful when you think about us as human being, it's what we do, we are physical people and touching another person in this way is what we were made for and as much as our souls crave fulfilment I believe our bodies do too. (If you contrast this to song against sex, you'll see the important differences in the way sex is discribed...something beautiful when there is love or care involved, and something crude when it is with out)

    And then the emotional aspect of sharing souls, that secret place where no one dares to go is the emotional intimacy that can be very scary. Very few people really 'know' each other like that, very few dare to go there, but that afternoon where he knew he could love her...that intimacy comes from this beautiful love...

    ...this beautiful love within a world, their world, or any world that can seem so depressing and violent. (Another way I can see that this song could most definetly be based on Anne Frank)

    "And dad would dream of all the different ways to die
    Each one a little more than he could dare to try'

    Another very eerie and beautiful line in the song... it seems outright depressing and in way it is, but with the last line their is a little glimmer of hope, although it depends on how you look at it.

    Obviously the "parents" (or whatever they may represent) are the saddest most broken characters in this song that on a literal level serve as a contrast to the friends. Though the dad is a very sad and broken man who dreams of all the different ways to die, each one is a little more than he could dare to try... it is not human nature to kill oneself. If you try to hold your breath, you will pass out and start breathing again before you could suffocate yourself. The dad dreams of these ways he would never dare to try because he doesn't really want to die. Maybe he feels this was but what he would probably really prefer would be to see the beauty that the "children" see, and have the world be the beautiful place they escape to instead of the grim reality of the situation before them.

    Very nicely it shows that love can spring in any situation. So there's hope. Beautiful song!
    RainSongon December 13, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Commentyou may aswell just cut my heart out and give it to Jeff Magnum.
    woodwellon June 04, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe best line I think is "when you were young you were the King of Carrot Flowers" I love it.
    interpretationwizardon July 17, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe "holy snakes" part reminds me of those Appalachian churches that would dance around with snakes. Also, wild carrots do bloom flowers.
    Inueon July 06, 2012   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationTeenage years. You know exactly what you should be doing but don't understand what keeps getting in the way.

    This is about Anne Frank, obviously.

    What an amazing lyricist. What a goddamn beautiful song.
    AwayFromSirenson May 02, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song, musically, makes me feel like it's the middle of summer, I'm laying in a beautiful field of flowers, the sun is shining; and then the lyrics make me feel like there's a war going on all around me.

    This song is gorgeous and tragic.
    Christa426on November 08, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI don't know if this has been said but the section about the room might not be as sexual as it first appears. The whole anne frank thing could explain it as well. It could be the room where Jeff Mangum first read Anne Frank's diary and fell in love with her. "From above you how i sank into your soul into that secret place where no one dares to go." The secret place where no one dares to go sounds like a diary to me and sinking into a persons soul could be reading that diary. From above you could just mean without her having a say in the reading of the diary or having a greater understanding of an overall view of what was happening at the time because of learning about the situations historically.
    Gator16on November 07, 2011   Link
  • +1
    Song ComparisonThis really puts me in mind of Dylan Thomas' poem "Fern Hill". I know it as the choral music set by John Corigliano.

    And honoured among wagons,
    I was prince of the apple towns--
    And once b elow a time
    I lordly had the trees and leaves
    Trail with daisies and barley
    Down the river of the windfall light.
    PotsAndOwlon February 24, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Commentpretty interesting lyrics...i think this is what makes the song so strangely nice.
    weezerific:cutleryon April 27, 2002   Link

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