"Answering Machine" as written by and Paul Westerberg....
Try and breathe some life into a letter
Losing hope, never be together
My courage is at it's peak
You know what I mean

How do say you're okay to
An answering machine?
How do you say good night to
An answering machine?

Big town's got its losers
Small town's got its vices
A handful of friends
One needs a match, one needs some ice

Call-waiting phone in another time zone
How do you say I miss you to
An answering machine?
How do say good night to
An answering machine?

Try and free a slave of ignorance
Try and teach a whore about romance

How do you say I miss you to
An answering machine?
How do you say good night to
An answering machine?
How do you say I'm lonely to
An answering machine?
The message is very plain
Oh, I hate your answering machine
I hate your answering machine
I hate your answering machine
I hate your answering machine


Lyrics submitted by typo, edited by heather152

"Answering Machine" as written by Paul Westerberg

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Answering Machine song meanings
Add your thoughts

10 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +5
    General CommentA handful of friends
    One needs a match, one needs some ice

    ^^ those lines are basically saying that his only friends are his cigarettes and his alcohol (one needs a match, one needs ice)

    yet another example of westerberg's genius.
    nmsleson July 05, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI had this song on repeat for a very long time. My ex, a musician, was always on tour, and this song just hit home for me. It's an amazing song... very much ahead of its time. Westerberg is a damn genius.
    krushzedon January 08, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is a simple concept about not accepting the lack of personal intimacy. I love all the comparisons to things that are as equally as futile as expressing emotion through a machine: "Try to breathe some life into a letter", "Try to free a slave of ignorance", "Try and teach a whore about romance".

    I heard this song a thousand times but never picked up on the 212, 313 lyrics at the end (PS, 313 is Michigan).
    DAS JETSon March 29, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI don't think the song is specifically about an answering machine and trying to make contact with someone. I think it's more about just loneliness in general. "a handful of friends, one needs a match and one needs some ice" - Those are the only friends around for him, and anyone who has ever been lonely, whether it's been their entire life or just for one night should be able to understand the feeling.
    Wester86on October 09, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe last numbers are area codes.

    212 = new york
    etc.
    mt in chon December 29, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI just don't completely understand the line "One needs a match, one needs some ice"...I'm assuming that one needs a match for a cigarette and one needs some ice for (presumably) an alcoholic drink...

    Perhaps he's missing something in his life (maybe the girl he's trying to get a hold of?) like he's missing the match for his smoke and the ice for his drink...he's just not complete or something along those lines

    I also thought about match as in a match in a relationship (i.e. "they're a perfect match") but then the ice thing doesn't work with it or make sense
    RobotRockon October 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIce melts, matches burn out. When you talk to someone as they hear you, there hearing exactly what you mean wile you mean it. When they hear a message they hear the dead past
    Musixexon May 05, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAhh, I understand that line now. "Handful of friends, one needs a match, one needs some ice"...he's got his hands full with a cigarette in one and a drink in the other...
    RobotRockon July 20, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment@Robot Rock, which is exactly how I found Westerberg in a NY lounge bar the one time I met him in person back in 1990. Approachable guy, did not mind at all being chatted up, maybe because the "friends" he was with didn't provide much in the way of conversation. ;)
    edfinkelon December 14, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmy favorite Mats song... well favorite of the moment. The clever lyrics really drive home the point of loneliness. I believe the opening of "Color Me Obsessed" addresses this song and the woman whom Paul was trying to hook up with. She was a photographer that had done some work for a paper or the Mats... one of the fansites addresses this in more detail, perhaps it is colormeimpressed.com
    CapnCanardon November 05, 2013   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain