"Why You'd Want to Live Here" as written by and Benjamin Gibbard....
I'm in Los Angeles today, it smells like an airport runway. jet fuel stenches
In the cabin and lights flickering at random.

I'm in Los Angeles today, garbage cans comprise the medians of freeways always
Creeping even when the population's sleeping.

And I can't see why you'd want to live here.

I'm in Los Angeles today, asked a gas station employee if he ever had trouble
Breathing and he said "it varies from season to season, kid."

It's where our best are on display: motion picture actors' houses maps are never
Ever current so save your film and $15.

And I can't see why you'd want to live here.
Billboards reach past the tallest buildings,
"we are not perfect but we sure try."
As UV rays "degradate" our youth with time.

The vessel keeps pumping us through this entropic place in the belly of the
Beast that is californ-I-A, I drank from a faucet and I kept my receipts for
When the weigh me on my way out (here nothing is free).
The greyhounds keep coming dumping locusts into the street until the gutters
Overflow and Los Angeles thinks, "I might explode someday soon."

It's a lovely summer's day and I can almost see a skyline through a thickening
Shroud of egos. (is this the city of angeles or demons?)
Here the names are what remain: stars encapsulate the gold lame and they need
Constant cleaning for when the tourists begin salivating.

You can't swim in a town this shallow - you will most assuredly drown tomorrow.

Lyrics submitted by jephque

"Why You'd Want to Live Here" as written by Benjamin Gibbard

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Why You'd Want to Live Here song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI love this song I was listening to it today. This my opinion of this song. Okay here it goes, I think this song is about how he has a friend who is planning on living there and how he knows they will not make it.
    Fallsemesteron June 15, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Comment"you can't swim in a town this shallow - you will most assuredly drown tomorrow."

    I think he's criticizing the values of LA more than just the city itself...
    swanstreeton May 21, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"AN anti-L.A. song? Well, I've never seen it that way." Ben Gibbard, the Seattle-based singer for Death Cab for Cutie, insists he isn't a Los Angeles basher. "This song is a conversation. It's a lover trying to convince his loved one not to move to L.A. He's saying anything he can think of. It could be anywhere she's going, it just happens to be L.A."

    haroldlovesmaudeon March 16, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYeah, I'd say that the song is more about him trying to stop someone from moving to Los Angeles (or trying to get him or her to move back) rather than trying to stop anyone from moving there. It's got some fairly accurate moments, though-- I don't have anything against L.A., though I'm not a frequent visitor, but seriously, you cannot breathe there and people are a little bit too fond of their cars.

    It's a love song about L.A. in that he loves her and wants her to move away from the city. It seems fairly straightforward to me...

    And proefound: The thing with a city is that it really is the people it attracts... I mean, isn't it? Very little of New York City's population was actually born there, but the sort of people who are attracted to the city are the ones that create its character.
    The locusts from the Greyhound are among the ones who shape the city's identity, and peoples' perception of this identity is typically a reflection on those locusty types that occasionally achieve notoriety or even fame rather than on natives.

    "i hate california, EXCEPT sanfran. because its the least "california esque"

    god i love this song
    totally criticizes california's morals, image, style
    its great
    it needs to be said,
    the place is a shit hole."
    You know what? You're right. The county whose trash bins were downsized because they're recycling so much-- what a shithole. And the town near Sacramento (not even San Francisco!) that holds the largest environmental film festival in the world is so shallow. No morals whatsoever. All the Californians happy about the legalization of gay marriage-- they're doing nothing for the image of their state! It's all so wrong.

    I can't speak for southern California, but San Francisco might possibly be the most NorCal-esque city in California (except possibly Santa Cruz. I'm probably obligated to mention Sacramento since it's the capital and all that jazz, but most of us don't consider it to really be a city). I mean, you might still hate California, but if you love San Francisco so much yet manage to so thoroughly loathe the rest, you're either a filthy hypocrite, going mindlessly along with whatever your counterculture media sources tell you too, or just sadly ignorant.
    ms.cellophaneon July 04, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOnly Death Cab can actually be cheered while singing this song in LA.
    michygreen92on January 11, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentalright, everyone thinks this song is about how much he hates LA, but its not. it basically about a friend, maybe girlfriend of his moving out to LA, and him trying to come up with excuses and reasons for her to not go.
    deliriumtriggeron May 27, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentexactly perfect delirium.
    replayingtragedyon June 20, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentexactly perfect delirium.
    replayingtragedyon June 20, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentregardless of if it's about him hating LA or not, he found enough reasons to make it seem as though he detests LA, and it's pretty darn convincing.

    either way it's a great song
    stellaluna1125on March 19, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthaha, believe it or not this song made me change my mind about living there.
    Title_Trackon March 27, 2003   Link

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