"More Yellow Birds" as written by and Mark Linkous....
Is your jewelery still lost in the sand
Out on the coast, or rushed into the brine?
You left your rings on the shoreline
So you wouldn't lose them swimming in the shallows

A plastic shovel, soft sweaty children far from home
On vacation not unlike your very own

And the Captain Howdy lit upon my shoulder
And he left me with sulfur and rooms full of headaches
I fell in with snakes in the poisoned ranks of strangers
Please send me more yellow birds for the dim interior

Will my pony recognize my voice in hell?
Will he still be blind, or do they go by smell?
Will you promise not to rest me out at sea
But on a fiery river boat that's rickety?

I'll never find my pony along the rolling swell
A muddy river or a lake would do me well
With hints of amber sundowns and moody thunderstorms
A sunken barge's horns, with the cold rusty bells


Lyrics submitted by Tiger_Angel

"More Yellow Birds" as written by Mark Linkous

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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More Yellow Birds song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentit's muted thunderstorms, not moody

    ah i love this song
    ireallylikebagelson March 24, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAlso, roiling not rolling swells.
    grinch11on April 09, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAnd the Captain Howdy lit upon my shoulder
    And he left me with sulfur and rooms full of headaches

    Captain Howdy is a reference to the demonic spirit from The Excorcist. Pazuzu, the demon, is referred to as Captain Howdy during the eraly stages of the possession. I think that Linkous was comparing his depression and subsequent drug addiction to feeling possessed. The 'sulfur and rooms full of headaches' line seems to be both a description of his squalid surroundings (possibly drug den) and a reference to the idea of demonic possession (the 'sulfur' reference alludes to the sulphurous fire and brimstone ideas of Hell).

    The 'snakes' (a standard metaphor for evil) and 'poisoned ranks of strangers' are his companions in the 'dim interior' of their drugs den (though this dimmness could also serve as a metaphor for their whole, bleak lives). The yellow birds, I think, are indeed canaries and his coalmining heritage would support the argument that he is referring to canaries being used to detect poisonous gases. I guess the fact that he's asking for 'more' inplies that they keep dying, meaning that he must be dwelling in a pretty poisonous place.

    I particularly like the use of the word 'lit' in this verse. It's used as a pun, I think.
    Monkeyman82on October 25, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI know this is what a lot of people say abou Sparklehorse songs, but the most amazing thing about this song is the feeilng it gives you when you listen to it. It's slow, sad, mournful but beautiful--and although lines rhyme here and there, it's really a lot of observations and declarations.

    My favorite line is "please send more more yellow birds for the dim interior" and although I haven't found anywhere saying this is what it's about, my friend told me about how in asylums they wouldn't let people have pets because it wasn't safe (for the people, or the pets!) but they would let them have canarys. So it's kind of like a call for something, anything that might make you feel better even though everything around you is bad.

    I dunno what it is about this song, but it's amazing and it's my favorite Sparklehorse song, they really are an amazing band.
    LvBonnon June 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentjust knowing about sparklehorse and mark from reading bios and such i'm thinking...this is probably alluding to drug rehab. and being in drug rehab.

    just the mood, certain imagery...very evocative.
    heart like a dollon August 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this is what "yellow birds" refers to:

    petcaretips.net/…

    Canaries were used in mines to detect poisonous gases before the miners could themselves.
    Morkon September 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this is what "yellow birds" refers to:

    petcaretips.net/…

    Canaries were used in mines to detect poisonous gases before the miners could themselves.
    Morkon September 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentConsidering Mark came from a family background of coal miners, "Mork's" theory is definitely correct. This is a beautiful, beautiful song. R.I.P.
    Aaron342on December 21, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think you're right about the canary. I wonder if Mr. Howdy is the name of the canary and the canary died while it was sitting on his shoulder...?
    grinch11on April 09, 2012   Link

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