The only girl I've ever loved
Was born with roses in her eyes
But then they buried her alive
One evening, 1945
With just her sister at her side
And only weeks before the guns
All came and rained on everyone
Now she's a little boy in Spain
Playing pianos filled with flames
On empty rings around the sun
All sing to say my dream has come

But now we must pick up every piece
Of the life we used to love
Just to keep ourselves
At least enough to carry on

And now we ride the circus wheel
With your dark brother wrapped in white
Says it was good to be alive
But now he rides a comet's flame
And won't be coming back again
The Earth looks better from a star
That's right above from where you are
He didn't mean to make you cry
With sparks that ring and bullets fly
On empty rings around your heart
The world just screams and falls apart

But now we must pick up every piece
Of the life we used to love
Just to keep ourselves
At least enough to carry on

And here's where your mother sleeps
And here is the room where your brothers were born
Indentions in the sheets
Where their bodies once moved but don't move anymore
And it's so sad to see the world agree
That they'd rather see their faces fill with flies
All when I'd want to keep white roses in their eyes


Lyrics submitted by PLANES

Holland, 1945 song meanings
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135 Comments

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  • +7
    General CommentThe song is hard to take out of the context of the entire album. So it should be considered against the other songs.

    "Now she's a little boy in Spain, playing pianos filled with flames"

    Pepito Arriola is a metaphor of the reincarnation of Anne Frank.

    "And now we ride the circus wheel"
    Its a circus wheel of life, death, and reincarnation. There are several rings and circles mentioned throughout the song that provide this similar imagery.
    The person who committed suicide m.p. fits in with this as well. Just like Anne Frank they ride this circus wheel and are born again.

    This is how Jeff Magnum can be in love with Anne Frank, because she is alive somewhere today.

    And if i can theorize a little further - Jeff too is the reincarnation of the boy that Anne Frank was in love with in her diary. "Will she remember me 50 years later." - "oh comely"

    "Now how I remember you How I would push my fingers through Your mouth to make those muscles move That made your voice so smooth and sweet And now we keep where we don't know All secrets sleep in winter clothesWith one you loved so long ago Now he don't even know his name "
    - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

    He doesn't know his own name, because he's reincarnated as someone else. The old person "won't be coming back again" but they are reincarnated as someone today.

    Wow, just an amazing song and an amazing album.
    holdennon March 15, 2009   Link
  • +5
    General Commentbeing buried alive is not literal here - I think what he's saying is that taking a 13 year old girl, full of life, and confining her to 2 or 3 rooms is equivalent to being buried alive. Also, the bit about "And it's so sad to see the world agree
    That they'd rather see their faces fill with flies " is about anti-semitism. If you've ever seen films of the uncovery of the concentration camps - there were piles and piles of jewish corpses. really horrifying to see. And don't be mistaken, the powers that be knew what was going on in the concentration camps, but they did nothing about it. They could have bombed the train tracks that were taking the jews to the camps. they could have bombed the camps but they (we...) did nothing about it. And jeff is really nailing something. A lot of people hate jews - even people who have never seen a jew. Wierd. Good in yer, jeff.
    (my parents are european and they lived thru that war. I heard about it pretty vividly._
    HelenaTroyon May 25, 2004   Link
  • +5
    General Commentthe 'little boy in spain, playing pianos filled with flames' is Pepito Arriola.

    Not alot is known about the life of the musical prodigy. It is suggested that his his history has been obscured or "covered up" for reasons relating to the alleged murder of his female cousin by his aunt. He is often cited as proof of reincarnation:

    "At the International Congress of Psychology in Paris, 1900, Professor Charles Richet presented a Spanish child three and a half years old, named Pepito Arriola, who improvised upon the piano rich and varied airs. At the age of four and a half years he played six compositions of his own at the Royal Palace of Madrid before the King and Queen. His harmony was remarkable and his expression marvelous. The young artist has since become and incomparable violinist. The law of rebirth alone can explain many of these cases; their gifts are the results of immense labors which have familiarized their spirits with the arts and sciences."

    Also:
    "To tell the truth, there is in him a narcotic, it is neither the touch, neither the harmony, nor the agility, but the expression. It has a richness of astonishing expression. That it is about a sad or merry piece, or martial, or energetic, the expression is seizing . Often even this expression is so strong, so tragic, in certain airs melancholic persons or funeral, which one has the feeling that Pepito cannot, with his imperfect touch, to express all the musical ideas which quiver in him: so that I would almost dare to say that he is a much larger musician than he does not appear to be it ..."

    Sound familiar?
    pigoinkwhereon January 18, 2005   Link
  • +5
    My InterpretationThe song has clear references to Anne Frank's life and ideals. A more general meaning to the whole song might be the loss of beautiful minds and souls to wars that are based on petty feelings like pride and prejudice.

    Anne Frank was born with roses in her eyes because she had the eyes to see the beauty in this world, even during the difficult times she lived through. In her own words, "Think of all the beauty that's still left in and around you and be happy!". The last lines of the song ponder at why would people rather have children like this dying ("their faces fill with flies"), rather than living through their innocent, beautiful perspective of the world (white roses in their eyes).

    Anne wasn't literally buried alive. I think this line is more metaphorical in the sense that she was secluded and left to die in a concentration camp with only Margot at her side. The middle part of the song is less clear to me, but in general I understand that it's about injustice and the loss of youth's innocence and potential in the war.
    ejhergenon July 06, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI really enjoy the sense of scale in this song.
    It's about one girl, one girl among millions killed, yet Mangum uses her so poetically that it can't help but be a metaphor for everyone who was killed in the Holocaust. Innocent people cruelly slaughtered for no apparent reason, with great irony in the guns which rained down on everyone and more specifically their late timing.
    As the song progresses, we're reminded more and more of the cosmic significance of this - to keep a long story short, it's zero. "The Earth looks better from a star
    That's right above from where you are"
    The whole genocide is much more tolerable when you don't connect, or empathise, but just look at it from afar. Possibly a metaphor for the Allied powers who chose to do very little about the Holocaust until they actually had to (it's so sad to see... filled with flies)
    mudswipeon September 12, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI'M the little boy in spain. no, i wish. not a clue. but anne frank wasn't a little boy in spain at any point in her life... maybe after she died. reincarnation?
    ataraxia37on June 24, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe song is not about Frank exactly. It's about the relevance of Frank in cultural history. The song is a comment on the place Frank holds in our shared cultural consciousness. As we strive to understand the holocaust, we turn to the words of this young girl. The girl is able to explain it better than anyone else because she speaks with clarity and honesty, and she speaks with an authenticity that is emotional and which touches anyone. Consequently, our collective understanding of the holocaust is shaped by the girl's diary. In this sense she is buried alive. She exists forever for what she was.

    That the song is the emotional pinnacle of the album is no mistake. The song is performed loud and fast because it is ultimately a song about life. What makes the diary universally affecting is its inherent vitality. It is a book about living. Living in the face of terror, but living. It is a book that celebrates an unflinching belief in an endless human capacity. For a girl to say in the face of the Nazis that people could be basically good is a willful declaration for humanity. Thus, we confront the question of how we can go on after the holocaust. This song finds the answer in our understanding of Anne Frank. That in reading her words we can hope for humanity. That kind of hope has to be sincere and virulent. That the song is loud and fast is testament to the fact of life in the wake of unspeakable horror, of the need to hope when we find it all but impossible.
    vbveceraon July 08, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it's great that 13 years after the album was made people are still commenting about it. Talk about staying power. Brilliant fucking album and I just got into it in the last month.
    drgonzo15on November 27, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationAnd now we ride the circus wheel
    With your dark brother wrapped in white
    Says it was good to be alive
    But now he rides a comet's flame
    And won't be coming back again
    The Earth looks better from a star
    That's right above from where you are
    He didn't mean to make you cry
    With sparks that ring and bullets fly
    On empty rings around your heart
    The world just screams and falls apart



    This lyric makes me cry every time. I believe I heard somewhere that one of the members of the band (i think Julian I'll explain in a second) that their brother killed himself and jeff was so kind to write such comforting things about it like "he didn't mean to make you cry" and "he says it's good to be alive but now he rides the comet's flame and won't be coming back again" which is the sweetest thing ever. I think it was probably Julian because he describes making music as a "coping mechanism" and that he's done it since he was 16 which could've been when his brother died. and also Julian is kind of childlike and kind and it's just the saddest thing
    walkingfirtreeon February 04, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI created a stop-motion animation for the song. Check it out at…

    youtube.com/…
    ajrabideon April 14, 2014   Link

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