"The Very Old Man" as written by Jeffery Dimpsey, Tim Lash, Bryan St. Pere and Matt Talbott....
Electrified and lit up by an outline of herself
Smiling now as only she can be.
She said I made some new connections to astound them all
In ways we've never dreamed about
Her lovely hand is glowing from the light inside itself
From soaking in the esters stacked for miles on a single shelf
Holding my eyes still so she can see
If all the superundercover custom hybrids got to me
It's too much
You're too late
I want to see it all again
She says eep this benzene ring around your finger
And think of me when everything you wanted starts to end
And I saw living clusters form in pools beneath her feet
Invertebrates that only she can see
And I said what on earth are all these ampuls for
She says exactly, we're not gunna wait around here anymore
Systems back down slow, watch the dust cloud resend
And I will keep you. I will keep you till the end
Set your head down low, watch my ears ring
It's eerie and it's awesome,
How connected two pods scattered on the surface can become,
Lazy into one.

He knows lightning kills the other,
She can't stand to watch his petals fall,
It's better when cascades become like us all.

Afternoon a golden disengagement leaves a woman,
With a household left to fill.
Sit, and be still, send the voltage cross his ticker,
Watch the stars they start to flicker, and one by one levels

Another drink my love, and make it tall enough
So I can stand on it and see, all you've done for me.
A world of curves and lines electric,
Remember how you strung the colored lights, from Christmas tree
To me?

Lyrics submitted by Pet_Virus

"The Very Old Man" as written by Jeffery Dimpsey Bryan St. Pere

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Very Old Man song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentThis song is so beautiful how the sounds and even lyrics just seem to weave together forming a song that is forever etched on my heart and memory...
    kaisuteon June 22, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe beginning is about how amazing it is when you find the person you love and spend your life with them. "she can't stand to watch his petals fall" is about the old man becoming weak with age. "afternoon a golden disengagement leaves a woman with a household left to fill" is about the old man having a heart attack and going to the hostpital, so she's alone at home. "send the voltage crosss his ticker" is the man's heart getting defibbed after his heart attack. it doesn't work and he dies, and all the monitors show his pulse, blood pressure, and breathing rates go down, hence "and one by one the levels fall." the end is the woman recounting all her memories with her now deceased husband.
    largedirtysnowballon March 29, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentreally touching lyric, reminds me a bit of 'Try Not to Breathe' by REM where the character in the song is an old man wanting his life to end so all thats left are good memories but this one adds the theme of companionship. I've always been fascinated with relationships that last for a long time and I'm surprised more bands don't write about it. Saying that, I don't many other bands could top this.
    Little_Baby_Nothingon April 05, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is definetly deep, and Im glad I came across such a good song, I listen to this song alot even though I am only 16.
    Gubur69on May 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe worst part about this song is how low it's mixed on the record...i'm sure there was artistic intent on that, but it's such a pretty song and the story it tells is so incredibly sad. one of my favorite tracks on "...astronaut"
    atlanticebbon April 13, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment^^ its his voice
    slevletteon September 20, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSound to me like a couple that has been together for a long time. The old man is on life support and the woman has to make the decision to "pull the plug". The imagery is all there with the wires connected to the man. "A golden disengagement leaves her with a house to fill" - she will be alone after she pulls the plug. Very sad song, with brilliant lyrics. Matt Talbot is an underrated genius
    kingbonesteron January 23, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI absolutely love HUM; they’ve been my favorite band since 1994, and I still listen to their albums monthly (usually on a road trip since they’re great from start to finish).

    Back in college, I dissected “You’d Prefer an Astronaut” as term paper for an English comp class (we had to pick a piece of literature, and I argued the lyrics were poetry; the prof agreed). I no longer have the paper, but I still recall the gist of it.

    For as beautiful and ethereal as the lyrics are, the album tells a relatively simple but heartfelt story of a relationship’s inception, duration and aftermath. In short:
    Little Dipper — two “star-crossed lovers” get together despite parental disapproval

    The Pod — This relationship used to rock, but now it’s full of drug-related drama

    Stars — The girl is becoming disillusioned, feeling that she’s missed better opportunities in life because of the choice to be together; resentment builds

    The Suicide Machine — this is the man’s perspective. He feels like he’s stuck in a boring rut of the same old B.S.; drugs help him cope.

    Very Old Man — the decision is made to break up. Ironically, the climax of the story is “softly recorded”

    Why I like the Robins — After the break-up, the woman is hoping that all the guys who used to want her still will. The guy just wants to sleep around.

    I’d Like your Hair Long — He’s annoyed and conflicted because he wants her back, but not the way she was. He’s angry that she wasn’t what he expected.

    I Hate it Too — meaningless sex isn’t as awesome as it sounds; he misses her.

    Songs of Farewell and Departure — this is kinda like when a play has a narrator who leaves the audience with some final thoughts about the “moral of the story” that was just told.
    So, the last few songs are almost like the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Eventually, the guy copes and is alright.
    MattD1980on April 07, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIgnore the first part, which are actually the lyrics to "The Scientists" on their second album, "Downward is Heavenward."

    I agree with the last comment. The whole album "You'd Prefer an Astronaut" follows a lyrical concept, chronologically from the start of a relationship to the end.
    This song is very dense with imagery, and an almost sonnet-like intensity, so any attempt at trying to dissect the meaning of each line wouldn't yield much. The real depth of the song is taken as a whole. I think at this point the narrator in the relationship is contemplating the idea of monogamy with the "She" of the record.
    The narrator has a strange idea that it's some sort of kinetic and electric energy which has bonded the two together. The rest of the lyrics follow his thoughts about the dissipation of this energy.
    But the last stanza upends this thought (another trick of the sonnet) with a beautiful consolation on all the memories created and how "she" has done so much by changing his view to one more expanded.

    I don't know. I've thought a lot about the lyrics to this record. Matt Talbot is certainly a poet. One of the few rock bands I could say that definitively about the lead singer. I've related to the whole experience of "You'd Prefer an Astronaut." To take such a common human experience (the beginnings and dissolution of a relationship, all the things you learn and concluded from it) and transform it into something powerful because of it's uniqueness, takes a very brave and exacting artist (or group of artists in this case: Hum easily has some of the best musical chops of any 90s rock group).

    But man, those lyrics. Timeless.
    mylumon November 16, 2012   Link

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