Build your own television receiver
Staying home can't be that bad for me
Because I'm not scared, but I'd like some extra spare time
Easily earn me big money
I'm a modern girl, but I fold in half so easily
When I put myself in the picture of success
I could learn world trade or try to map the ocean

When you're dead, in hospitals and freeways
When you're dead, in resting homes and clinics
When you're dead, it must be nice to finish
When you're dead

I've had it with you, and Mexico can fucking wait
And all of those French films about trains
Because I'm not scared, but I'd like some extra spare time
I'm not scared, but the bills keep changing colors

When you're dead, in hopsitals and freeways
When you're dead, in dress shirts and neck ties
When you're dead, in apartments and on beaches
When you're dead

They say California is a recipe for a black hole
And I say I've got my best shoes on, I'm ready to go
Ready to go, ready to go, I'm ready to go
Ready to go, ready to go, I'm ready to go

These are times that can't be weathered
And we have never been back there since then
These are times that can't be weathered
And we haven't been back there since then
These are times that can't be weathered
And we have never been back there since then
These are times that can't be weathered
And we haven't been back there since then



Lyrics submitted by watchthefireworks


Pictures of Success song meanings
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42 Comments

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  • +4
    General Comment:It's about trying to make it in this world, trying to work, pay the bills, fend for yourself, be successful. She's a "modern girl" she has been raised in a culture that told her she can do anything she wants but it's still so overwhelming to think about. I think almost anyone in America can relate. Working for this and that, constatly making to-do lists, thinking of your "next move" in the plan. It's a never ending struggle. Sometimes it just makes you want to crawl into a hole and run away from it all because it seems like no matter what you're always going to be broke, or not at the place you want to be. So why not just stay in bed, make your home all cozy and never leave? Give up your problematic relationship, that Mexico vacation you wanted to take, give up all your dreams of seeing the world and doing all the things you wanted to do, your "bucket list" (like traveling or watching French films). Because the real world is fucking scary, you know? But you can't admit that. Even though we all feel that way sometimes.

    I love the chorus because it's so true. Won't it be nice in a way when we are old and everything on our to-do list will be done? We'll have completed our education, career, family, saved all the money we're going to save, do all the things we're going to do. And there will be nothing left to worry about.

    Rilo Kiley is a Los Angeles based band and having grown up in California myself I relate to the last part a lot. If you're a Californian and you travel to other states you'll get people who tell you that California is about to fall apart. An earthquake is coming that will break it into pieces. The immigrants are going to tear down the economy. The societal morals are disningrating to nothing. The fires will burn down Southern California. It's a black hole, basically. It's going to suck itself up into nothing. A disaster waiting to happen. California is also a place where what you are doing, and how successful you are is on everyone's minds. There is a lot of cultural pressure there to be doing *something*. To have a good job, lifestyle, etc. To be as close to perfect is possible. I think she sounds overwhelmed in this song. So California is a black hole? Well okay then, fine. Take me. I'm sick of the hamsterwheel. I want off. I'm ready to go.
    oceanphoenixon September 03, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:i also love the part when she says
    "and mexico can fucking wait."
    its always been my favorite part in the song
    you was untrueon December 13, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:I cannot get this song out of my head, no matter what I do. I think it's about growing up -- about what happens after you're out of college, when you're on your own...when you have to be a real adult and take care of yourself. At moments, you just want to quit everything. This band has an amazing sound and everyone should listen to them.
    catherinekson July 06, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:the best Rilo song. its so transcendent and simple. it feels like what I see in every kid's eyes who are spacing out in class or listening to their ipods staring out into nothing or glazing over as they stare through the madding crowd of a party...its a song about those thoughts and feelings, behind those eyes, for me.
    xsylviaoon June 02, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:To me this song is about life slipping past you and trying to grasp some kind of control over it. It's about finding yourself being carried along by everyone's expectations of you and routine and in the middle of that just wanting everything to stop for a second so you can try to figure it all out, echoed by the underlying sense of frustration throughout the song. It's about knowing life's supposed to mean something more than this and trying to break free of everyone's expectations- not just accepting the status quo because it's suffocating. What I love about Rilo Kiley's lyrics is how open they are to interpretation, they can mean so many different things to so many different people and yet to each person be so powerful.
    MJ5590on May 17, 2008   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning:She's talking about death here because she's talking about rest and about what's coming next. You've done everything you're supposed to do, now what? Get a hobby and die. When do you get spare time? Not until you die. It's such a realistic song about adulthood, the bills changing colors and everything. It makes me sad that people are so tickled by the one swear in the song that they completely bypass its actual meaning. "Mexico can fucking wait" is not the best line in the song and if you think so, you're not getting it.
    bonanzajellybeanon November 16, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:Rilo Kiley truly has a sound that's hard to put in a certain category. I like that about it, they keep me guessing. I can really relate to the lyrics that Jenny sings, although I have a harder time relating to Blake. PLUS... Rilo Kiley is the band that got me into Phantom Planet more than a year ago.
    watchthefireworkson April 18, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:such a beautiful song...
    technicolor_girlon September 17, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:The end is so powerful. I sing along at the top of my lungs more times than I'd like to admit. I really like the line about folding in half easily when thinking of the pictures of success. It's true--it's really hard to compare yourself to what life is showing us... French films and all that jazz.

    I'm surprised there aren't more comments on this song...
    ivegotatimebombon October 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:plus...being sick of pretentious jerks. awesome.
    catherinekson October 23, 2004   Link

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