"Nonphenomenal Lineage" as written by and J Lytle....
Well hello good morning sir
The results are back
And now it's time to pack your things and go
Seems you came up rather short
Of the average sort
Now I must inform you've no reason left to remain here
Now surely you'll understand that only gifted hands
Will receive the chance to touch down on fortune
Now we'll gather up your things
And lead you to the gate
And you will go away
And never attempt to return here
Nonphenominal Lineage


Lyrics submitted by Cake

"Nonphenomenal Lineage" as written by Jason Lytle

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Nonphenomenal Lineage song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentForgot to mention, I think the title refers to the particular music scene and musical influences of the band. Grandaddy came out of the '80s underground independent music scene, with alot of punk influences as well, which is absolutely not where the major labels and any successful band of the time was coming out of. The lineage of ancestors to Grandaddy is nonphenomenal because it's all these small hardworking honest indie acts, and not huge commercial arena rock stuff that makes money like led zepplin or whoever you want to cite as the major influences of mainstream commercial music in the early-mid 90s. Grandaddy was around and making music for like 8 years before the album this song was on was released, and this was their first full length album! so they must have really had to struggle and fight to just keep making music and survive and suffered a lot of rejection.
    enjoymywaffleson June 24, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI totally agree with frijolito.

    This song really reminded me of Midlake's first album- this resounding theme of science, and people failing due to science/ scientific method.

    The feeling I got from this song was that this guy has been through some kind of scientific test that everybody goes through (possibly at coming of age or somesuch); but that his lineage (his descendants or ancestors) wasn't phenomenal enough to be worth anything to the society. So he gets sent back home, unlike (it's presumed) everybody else, who have something interesting or special about them and go onto to greater things and fortunes. Poor guy. This song evokes total pathos. Great stuff.
    Kenshi Rydenon May 11, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe formality of the language suggests its perhaps a redundancy. The guy's no longer capable of doing his job as well as others so hes dropped.
    benfoldsfanon May 12, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment' Nonphenomenal Lineage ' to me seems as if this person was born into the world and hasnt found their passion or gift in life. The way it's worded sounds like there's some rejection involved.

    I wonder if these lyrics have anything to do with the bands approach to writing music and if they don't write 'media friendly' material they feel like they're rejected in the industry and therefore don't get a fair go.
    leonperkinon October 16, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's about how the author believes he is perceived by others, presumably by those in a position to judge him; you know, in a "you have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting" way.

    According to WP, lineage is kinship, descent. So, it's about having just average genes, just average intelligence. Which leads to the door of an average life.
    that_guatemalan_guyon July 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe songs about the admenastration of many groups, mostly having to do with education or careers i think. In ye old days, to attend public school you had to take a test that showed you being worthy of school or not. The catch22 was that the test scored most average children as mentaly retarded. Such as in the song. The guys not concidered worthy to get the chance to make something out of himself for he is of "Nonphenomenal Lineage." So they send him packing. I think its Grandaddy basicly pointing out whats wrong with the design of some sellection programs in our society.
    GreenAndyon August 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentEver since the first time I heard this album, this song always touched something deep in me. An overly formal rejection, which sounds like a form letter. The music works beautifully with the lyrics, creating an atmosphere of loneliness and rejection.

    This songs moves me close to tears.
    frijolito_tson April 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about (the true story of) music critics or the music industry itself rejecting grandaddy, deciding they are not worthy of promotion and success and telling them to get lost. Because this happened the band is doubting their own talents and have abandoned their dreams of success. The language is really formal and computerized and its from the point of view of the industry, of The Machine. because its really all about money and not about talent or good music or just helping out a worthy artist, and money is the great dehumanizer of relations.
    enjoymywaffleson June 24, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI thought this song had to do with dying and ascending to some sort of heaven.

    ('The results are back/Now it's time to pack/Your things and go') could be talking about a person's life being judged and deciding if he goes to the heaven or not.

    ('Seems you came up rather short/Of the average sort/Now I must inform/You've no reason left to remain here') could be about the person's death, and an angel escorting him to heaven.

    ('Only gifted hands/Will receive the chance/To touch down on fortune'), this could be dealing with what enjoymywaffles was talking about, but it may be about how only holy souls get access into a sort of heaven.

    ('And lead you to the gate/And you will go away/And never attempt to return here'), I thought that was a really specific part about the heaven's gates, although I may be wrong.

    The whole heaven thing is really confusing to me, because I haven't heard religious talk in most of Grandaddy's songs, or at least recognized it. And I'm agnostic, haha.
    rootvalueon August 09, 2008   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningTo me, it's quite obvious the song is talking about a not-too-distant future of gene scanning to look for what people are "pre-destined" to be. If you're susceptible to certain diseases, etc.

    The man in the song had parents who also had poor genes (thus "nonphenomenal lineage) and as such, he is being removed from the society which is selecting it's members by their genes.

    The results are back, meaning the results of his blood test. He comes up rather short of the average sort, meaning he is below average on the cumulative "gene score" they would give to someone to describe how good, error-free, and low disease susceptibility their particular genes are.

    Only gifted hands can touch down on fortune, meaning only people with the right genes will be allowed to gain large fortunes and prosper. A way of culling the bad genes from the population.

    I really thought it was very obvious and literal.
    Valmyon November 01, 2010   Link

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