"Letterbox" as written by and John S./flansburgh Linnell....
I'll never know what you'll find
When you open up your letter box tomorrow
'Cause a little bird never tells me anything I want to know,
She's my best friend, she's a sparrow
And I'll never never know what you never never never want to know
When you know what you are, O.

If I had a pair of eyes on the back of my head for each time
You forgot to take out all the things you forgot to talk about
When you took a bite out of my spine,
I would have a lot of eyes on me by this time wouldn't I?
Wouldn't that just be fine.

Too late or soon to make noise about
Love and there's no time for sorrow
Run around in the rain with a hole in the brain till tomorrow

I'll never know what you'll find
When you open up your letter box tomorrow
'Cause a little bird never tells me anything I want to know,
She's my best friend, she's a sparrow
And I'll never never know what you never never never want to know
When you know what you are, O.


Lyrics submitted by qshapadooy

"Letterbox" as written by John Linnell John Flansburgh

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Letterbox song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentIn a nutshell, this song puts all the fine points on the nature of certain types of dysfunctional relationships. It does this so well, it's inconguous with the fact that someone with this much insight should remain in such a screwed up relationship; hence, the relationship is no more. So actually, it's not insight, it's 20/20 hindsight.

    The "letterbox" is merely a hint of that new separateness/singularity; for a while anyway, our interface with the world--our new "intimacy"--is the postal system. Certain other phrases are dead giveaways. For example, "take a bite out of my spine," addresses that ugly situation where one person in a bad relationship permits the other to use shabby little expedients (e.g., playing on inner doubts, information withholding, lying) to rob them of fundamental self-worth. The other "giveaway" is that last line of the A section about "And I'll never never...". This is a reference to the fact that when one of the parties to relationships like this finally wakes up, with the resultant breakup, they have to reflect tragically on the fact that there are certain things they'll never be able to resolve in a satisfactory way; notably, why the other partner was so screwed up in the first place. If they knew, change might have been possible and the breakup might not have been necessary. It's one of the ironies of bad relationships.
    razajacon September 30, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment...don't TMBG usually just write stuff that's meant to confuse people? There's no *point,* it's just...weird. With a little bit of meaning thrown in there.
    emilieheidelon February 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThrow in that weirdness in the 21st. century, and this guy would be looking in his inbox just waiting to see if that cryptic email would either land in his inbox or his "junk mail"! LOL
    pharmageekon September 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyup (to razajac)
    Mr. Baconon April 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe "letterbox" is the future. The "sparrow" is time gone past (in the fourth dimensional, shouldn't I know better than that based on the things that I have learned, seen and done timeline that we all exist upon - and, as such, shouldn't I know better than all of you). We know and understand what has happened, yet the future does not seem to respect our predictions.

    The song is about the fact that we all have lived our own crazy lives, and have seen the things that we have seen - we individually think we know what is really going on - we expect life going forward to congeal with what we think the future will be.

    But of course, it doesn't. The future keeps confusing us, it acts like the ongoing culmination of the not so random sequence of events that it is going to. And still, we act suprised that that the ongoing result of the culmination of billions of people interacting with each other doesn't fit our own selfishly tailored view of what will happen tomorrow.

    Despite our confusion, life goes on. And the mail will show up tomorrow.

    Repeat.
    Kwederon April 24, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me this song's about a guy who's in love with a girl and sent her a message admitting his feelings, and now he's anxiously awaiting her reply. He has no idea "what she'll find" (how she'll feel about his love confession)

    "'Cause a little bird never tells me anything I want to know,
    She's my best friend, she's a sparrow"

    The "little bird" is the one he loves, who's his best friend but he hopes soon to be girlfriend--she never tells him anything that indicates she loves him, though, which is making him nervous.

    "Too late or soon to make noise about love" -- he's not sure if it's too late in their relationship to be more than friends, or if he's being too hasty telling her how he feels. The rest of the song basically just describes his anxiousness (like running around with a hole in his head until he finds out her response tomorrow)
    PairOFishon April 22, 2015   Link

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