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Laura Marling – Darkness Descends Lyrics 11 years ago
I love this song so very much...

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Groove Armada – Paper Romance Lyrics 11 years ago
After listening closely to a live version played on BBC6, I think this is correct:
"yeah you can rub me off much better
if you come our way"

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Patty Griffin – Moses Lyrics 12 years ago
While that's an entertaining interpretation, I really don't see it that way. It's just about having nothing in your life and feeling shitty about it. An empty apartment, no relationship to speak of, no close friends. She calls her gay neighbor her "best friend", but he's someone who doesn't express any interest in her life and would only know if she died "eventually." If that's her closest relationship in the world, she's kind of fucked. It's just a song about loneliness...definitely not about wanting to screw your gay neighbor.

Only one comment for this song? This is one of my favorites. Patty should be more well known.

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Aimee Mann – The Fall Of The World's Own Optimist Lyrics 13 years ago
I think you're both right. I've always thought this song was about meeting and working with Elvis Costello--I mean, the song could be applied to any situation where, as user1951 put it, you idolized someone only to realize they didn't really deserve it for one reason or another. I think the basic plot of the song is that the narrator got to be around/work with someone she really admired, only to be cast aside (the eggshells I've been treading couldn't spare me a beheading...from a Caesar who was only slumming) for being beneath him or for not idolizing him enough...something like that. But plot aside, I think it's just about disappointment in someone you used to admire.

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Wire – Outdoor Miner Lyrics 14 years ago
This is one of my favorite songs. I'm also surprised no one has really commented. I was first introduced to Wire, and this song in particular, by the Grays (they released a cover of it as a b-side). I don't even know what to say about it, but I love it. I guess maybe there's not much to say, it's a very simple song (and I mean that in a great way).

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Patty Griffin – Making Pies Lyrics 14 years ago
I think everyone really got this song right, especially dark maiden. When I first heard it, I thought it was one of the most depressing things I'd ever heard. But after sitting with it for some time, it's less depressing--I mean, she gets on with her life, no matter however gray and commonplace it might be. She takes joy in these little things and just keeps going. Or maybe it's just quiet resignation-- because the things that she takes joy in are so small that it's kind of depressing. I don't know, how I see it really depends on my mood when I'm listen to it. Anyway, it's a lovely song--certainly not what you'd expect given the title.

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Matthew Sweet – Knowing People Lyrics 14 years ago
I couldn't agree more, mandc. The lyrics definitely blur the line between hatred directed at others and self-loathing. I think assuming it's only about hatred of other people is to entirely miss the point. I also like that there's a bit of humor to it (the backing vocals, the over-the-top guitar work at certain points etc), despite it being such a markedly misanthropic song.

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The Smithereens – Behind the Wall of Sleep Lyrics 14 years ago
It's a pretty straight-forward song about having a crush on a bass-player who's a bit out of his reach. I first heard this on the Left of the Dial compilation (excellent compilation of 80's underground music, pick it up) and I can't stop playing it. It actually reminds me of the song "Left of the Dial" by The Replacements.

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Aimee Mann – You're With Stupid Now Lyrics 14 years ago
I never thought this song was about a personal relationship. It seems to me it's more about being in a formal/professional relationship that keeps you in limbo--you know, one step forward two steps back. I remember reading somewhere that this song was partially based on a British MP friend of hers--a small part of the political machine trying to do some good (but he's surrounded by self-serving politicians and idiots). I think that idea fits in quite well with the lyrics, given the references to making speeches and shaking hands (and more obviously, the Margaret Thatcher line). It could also be about her record company problems, though I'm wary of thinking every Aimee song is just another "fuck you" to a past record company. But again, it makes sense. In both situations it's about being stuck in a tug-of-war working situation with dangerous, self-serving idiots.

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Pernice Brothers – Baby In Two Lyrics 14 years ago
I can't be the only person who loves this song, right? I'm not really a huge Pernice Brothers fan, but this song is absolutely brilliant from start to finish. Best and most interesting use of a biblical reference I've heard in years. The doubled backing vocals, the imagery, the way the drums stop and start at exactly the right moments--all perfect.

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The Shins – Phantom Limb Lyrics 14 years ago
"I think the lyrics purposely don't mean anything."

I couldn't disagree more. It takes a while to sink in and process the lyrics, but once you do I think it's pretty clear that there's a story here. The line "there's no connection/with no connection" isn't supposed to be taken literally, it's meant to show emotional distance and isolation. "Phantom Limb" is an impressionistic first person description of the lives of a pair of teenagers (i.e. the phantom and the fly) who are completely removed from their peers (the foals in winter coats/white girls of the north/fabeled lambs). The first couple of verses describe how the two girls see their peers--the description shows how detached they feel. The rest of the song focuses on the two girls and gives lyrical snapshots from this period in their lives: being mocked (a week of rolling eyes/cheap shots from the trite), drinking and listening to music at one of their houses, looking at a family vacation photograph (family portrait circa '95/this is that foreign land/with the sprayed on tans etc). The chorus echoes the themes of detachment and social isolation present in the first few verses with lines like "two zombies walk in our stead" and "so we just skirt the hallway sides" etc.

And we'll no longer memorize or rhyme,
Too far along in our climb,
Stepping over what now towers to the sky,
With no connection.

These last few lines show how far gone they are, there's no possibility of things being better/different--the only way for them to cope in such a hostile environment is through complete isolation. The song is very thorough and consistent in describing their situation, all of the images relate back to the main themes--I don't see how one could conclude that the lines are meaningless or random. I think if you've come to that conclusion you haven't been paying enough attention, you haven't sat with the song long enough to make sense of it.

Good song, I like the imagery. And the title is clever in more ways than one.

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Elliott Smith – Baby Britain Lyrics 15 years ago
*beatles-esque

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Elliott Smith – Baby Britain Lyrics 15 years ago
I just want to add that I think the Britain v. America debate is a little misguided. The song isn't meant to be taken literally--it's not a song about a country. Like Britain, the subject of the song is isolated--and I think that's really all the comparison to Britain was intended to mean. In the case of Britain, it's obviously isolated by water. The subject of the song isolates himself with alcohol, which is another reason why the Britain metaphor works (the water symbolism relates back to his alcoholism). The sound of the song is also undeniably beasles-esque, so I guess it works on that level as well. It's just an interesting way of analyzing himself from a distance, in my opinion.

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Elliott Smith – Baby Britain Lyrics 15 years ago
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by mlueth19 on 03-04-2006 @ 01:17:34 AM
I've always wondered about the line "For someone half as smart, you'd be a work of art." Do you think he meant "Someone less intelligent would see you as a work of art, but I'm too smart for that"?
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I'm of the opinion that he's talking to himself in a lot of his songs (or the character in the song is talking to himself), even though he may refer to himself in the third person. So, to be more precise, I would say it means "Someone less intelligent might see me as a work of art, but I know better." But I think your interpretation of it is entirely correct. I always loved that line.

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Elliott Smith – Single File Lyrics 15 years ago
I haven't read an interpretation that I fully agree with yet, though I think upallnight was getting on track. I definitely agree that the basic plot is about watching junkies on line at a methadone clinic, but I think that's entirely allegorical. It's not the point, it's just a way of getting it across. What I think is interesting about the song is that it's unconventional--he's not telling the kid he's losing something by being an addict, he's saying he loses something when he tries to clean up and quit. When the narrator says "there's a price you'll pay for trying hard to become whatever they are," it's in reference to taking the pills and trying to become like them, to become normal (in this case, clean). It's an interesting way to look at the situation--the drugs are killing him but at the same time, quitting comes with a considerable price (perhaps killing a part of himself). What the narrator thinks that price is isn't exactly clear, but maybe it's about denying a part of yourself to make life easier. Or maybe it represents knowingly giving in to conventional expectations--I think the "single file you're a murder mile" line plays into both of those interpretations. It could mean any number of things really. Drug addiction and getting clean are just shorthand for these ideas. Either way, it's an interesting way of getting his point across.

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The Shins – Mine's Not A High Horse Lyrics 16 years ago
I don't think that's the case, hempfandango. He's pointing back at her, as in "it's not my fault, take a look at yourself." He is making it clear that she only has herself to blame.

As for the title, I think it refers to the narrator, in contrast to the subject of the song. He's saying, that unlike her, he's not on a high horse. He's just telling the truth.

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The Shins – Mine's Not A High Horse Lyrics 16 years ago
Regarding the last two lines of the song, he is pointing his finger back at her--not giving her the finger. The sky is horizontal, and his finger is parallel to the sky...so he's pointing at something. If he was giving her the finger the last line would be "one finger perpendicular to the sky." :)

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Aimee Mann – You Do Lyrics 16 years ago
Generally speaking, I agree with deediddum.

but though there are caveats galore
you've only got to love him more--
and you do
you really do
even when it's all too clear

The narrator is telling her friend that the relationship is clearly riddled with problems. The friend refuses to acknowledge this or thinks she can change the man if she loves him more. So the narrator is saying to the friend, "even though it's clear that he's a jerk and that this will not work out, you think you can change the outcome by loving him more." The narrator knows this is headed for disaster--the guy is a jerk, and nothing will change that. The friend is only setting herself up for a fall.

and if he seemed a little strange
well, baby--anyone can change
and you do
you do
you really do

I absolutely love this verse. It's just so goddamn sad.. Here the narrator is playing with that idea of "I can change him." The friend thinks she can change him if she loves him enough blah blah blah. But instead of him changing, the only one who will change is the friend. She will change herself to suit him, and it will only do more damage to her in the long run.

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The Shins – Mine's Not A High Horse Lyrics 17 years ago
I love the last two lines of the song:
"will you remember my reply?
one finger parallel to the sky"

It sums up the entire song perfectly.

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The Shins – Fighting In A Sack Lyrics 17 years ago
Ok, here's my verse by verse interpretation:

"Just last night I woke from some unconscionable dream
And had it nailed to my forehead again
To keep this boat afloat
There are things you can't afford to know
So I save all my breath for the sails"

I think this verse is saying that, for most people, there are things you just cannot think about and/or realize if you're going to keep going. In his "unconscionable dream," he saw what people "can't afford to know." Going along with the atheism theme that was mentioned previously, perhaps what people can't afford to know is that there is no supreme being (or that life is absurd/meaningless)--things of that nature.

"But you'll find those lingering voices
Are just your ego's attempt to make it all clean and nice and make a moron out of you
Walking a bridge with weakening cables
Huddled up in fear and hate because we know our fate and it's a lot to put us through "

I'm not so sure about the chorus. Perhaps he's saying that the lingering voices are the religious types-- the ones who look for "clean and nice" explanations about the world around them. Then again, the lingering voices he's talking about could be the opposite. They could be the existentialist thoughts people have--but I certainly don't think existentialism is "clean and nice." In my opinion, he's referring to the former, not the latter. The dogmatically religious voices are those that are huddled up in fear and hate.

"Most ideas turn to dust
As there are few in which we can all trust
Haven't you noticed I've been shedding all of mine?
So let's abandon that track
And leave our fathers fighting in a sack
We're way too wise-assed for that"

I love the first few lines of this verse. The narrator is clearly distancing himself from dogmatic beliefs by "shedding" his own. By extension, he's also distancing himself from the religious. The last three lines suggest that we should abandon fighting over dogmatic beliefs/ideas like those in the past always have, because it's like fighting in a sack(bloody, violent, and pointless).

"You might find some fools at your doorstep
Hustling the latest changes to the book that's the strangest
In an attempt to multiply
Marionettes on weakening cables
Huddled up with fear and hate because they know their fate and it's a lot to put them through "

This verse is clearly focused on religion and the bible ("the book that's the strangest"). More specifically, it focuses on dogmatic types ("fools") that go around trying to convince others that their beliefs are the correct ones. They are puppets (marionettes) on a weak foundation ("weakening cables") who are trying to turn as many non-believers as possible into puppets too-- perhaps to further convince themselves that they are right (the more people on their side, the more right they think they are). They are "huddled up with fear and hate," perhaps because on some level they know they're going to die ("their fate") and there's no aferlife. Or maybe it's just that they know deep down that they really know nothing about what will happen to them when they die. In that sense, it's also about fear of the unknown--which is probably why many need to create and adhere to dogmatic beliefs (in order to convince themselves there are no unknowns).

"We've taken on a climb
And it's long enough to put the best of us on our backs
Walking up a slide
And there are those of us who'd have us five miles off the track"

I guess the gist of this verse is that life is hard for everyone, no matter what you believe and no matter how strong ("the best of us") you are. Something like that, I guess.

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Sleater-Kinney – Milkshake 'N' Honey Lyrics 17 years ago
re funkybrownie: The song is written from the perspective of a guy.

I think the song is either making fun of or just showing how this pathetic guy reacts after being screwed over. Instead of sucking it up, he drags it out by whining about it and begging the girl to take him back. The lyrics are so whiny and pathetic--even Corin's voice has an exaggerated whiny dramatic dragging quality in this song.

What makes me love this song is the deliberate use of cliches when referring to the fact that the incident took place in France ("your croissant is getting cold" and "Meet me at the Sorbonne"). I love when people use cliches on purpose for a comedic effect.

Good song.

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XTC – Dear God Lyrics 17 years ago
Andy is a militant atheist. It's amazing how people see what they want want to, no matter how clear the message is. The idea that he must believe in god because it's addressed to god is just silly. It's a lyrical device...take a literature course. For those who refuse to see the song for what it is and how it was meant, here is a quote from Andy about the song:

"it [Dear God] failed in part, because it wasn't as caustic as I would've liked it to be. It should've been a nail in throat of the public, but instead some took it as a declaration of faith when I wanted to make it clear that I don't believe in God - and that even if there is a He or a She they have nothing to do with organized religion."

Just watch the video for Dear God. Andy is attacking the massive twisted tree (religion) that people are desperately clinging to, which is exactly what he is doing in the lyrics. I really don't see how he could be any clearer.

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The Shins – So Says I Lyrics 17 years ago
It's about the rise and fall of communism, a return to capitalism, and then more failed attempts at communism.

"In which every soul is duty bound
To uphold all the statutes of boredom
Therein lies the fatal flaw of the red age"

This verse is clearly talking about communism, especially when he mentions the "red age." But the red age "was nothing like they'd ever dreamt." It wasn't the perfect harmonious system that some people thought it would be because their "lust for life had gone away" when they had nothing to fight for--nothing to struggle for or against (the rent they hated).

"So we burned all our uniforms
And let nature take its course again
And the big ones just eat all the little ones
That sent us back to the drawing board "

This verse refers the discarding of communism ("so we burned all out uniforms") in favor of capitalism, where "the big ones just eat all the little ones."

"We've got rules and maps and guns in our backs but we still can't just behave ourselves
Even if to save our own lives so, says I
We are a brutal kind "

This verse is outlining how people can't seem to make any system work (partly because of a perceived corrupt and brutal nature).

"Cause this is nothing like we'd ever dreamt
tell Sir Thomas More we've got another failed attempt
Cause if it makes them money they might just give you life this time"

This final verse refers to communism again, and more failed attempts that don't match up to Sir Thomas More's utopian version of communism (as illustrated in his book, Utopia). Finally suggesting that if communism were a prosperous system, maybe it would work (or "give life" to More's version).

That's how I see it.

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Liz Phair – Alice Springs Lyrics 17 years ago
Life in a disappointing town that smothers you? That's what I always thought it was about.

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Throwing Muses – Snakeface Lyrics 17 years ago
I always thought this song was about sex.

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Aimee Mann – Momentum Lyrics 17 years ago
Momentum is about someone who is stuck in a self-destructive pattern. She can't move forward because she's too scared. At the same time, this fear and apathy is also keeping her going, in some dysfunctional way. She's not moving forward, but it keeps her moving in the same pattern/rut she's always known. Her fear of going forward and failing, combined with her past failures, are her reasons for "condemning the future to death so it can match the past." In a way, it's almost comforting to her.

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Aimee Mann – Lost In Space Lyrics 17 years ago
The lyrics posted for this song are mostly incorrect. I'll break down my interpretation verse by verse, with the corrected lyrics:

Verse 1:
Lost in Space a bubble drifting
into a place where planets shift and
the moon's erased
it's features lift in the glare

Verse 2:
But I'm the stuff of happy endings
though mostly bluff
belief suspending but close enough
for just pretending to care

The protagonist is the bubble drifting in space. Like a bubble, the protagonist is hollow. She is aimlessly floating around in space (a metaphor for her desolate life), completely disconnected from the world around her. And the chorus makes it clear that she doesn't even care. The functioning part of her is "mostly bluff."

verse 3:
Well, she's the face and I'm the double
who keeps the pace and clears the rubble
and, lost in space, fills up the bubble with air

The protagonist is still physically present, and yet she is completely removed--just floating through life. Her physical presence/self, the one that goes through the daily routine (while she is still mentally disconnected) is the "double who keeps the pace and clears the rubble." In other words, it's the (minimal) part of her that functions in society.

bridge:
You split like a cell
and then cannot tell
the line from the parallel

The bridge highlights the previous image of a disconnected person. The protagonist is fragmented into two parts, her core self (which is disconnected, and apparently, extremely fucked up) and the part of herself that functions. The images of the split cell and parallel lines in the bridge are perfect in illustrating this fragmentation of the protagonist's personality, to the point where she (or perhaps those around her) can't tell which one is real.

Anyway, that's my take on it.

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Aimee Mann – Frankenstein Lyrics 17 years ago
I read about this song in an interview somewhere. It's about this manufactured relationship between these two people. They both know it's built on lies--on only seeing what they want to see in each other and making up the rest. Frankenstein is a metaphor for their manufactured "jerry-built" relationship. And, of course, the relationship self-destructs in the end.

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Aimee Mann – Backfire Lyrics 17 years ago
Backfire is about this completely dysfunctional relationship between two people. One wants to be the savior and drags the other into bad situations (while having good intentions), and it keeps turning into a disaster. The other person sees this destructive pattern and tries to tell the savior how his plans aren't going to work out, but is unsuccessful in communicating this. So, basically, it's about a complete lack of communication and how it perpetuates their destructive relationship. That's my take on it.

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Elliott Smith – Waltz #2 Lyrics 17 years ago
What everyone said so far about it being about his mother and his stepfather is true. I read about it in an interview somewhere. The first verse (first the mic then a half cigarette /singing cathy's clown) is referring to elliott watching his mother sing karaoke, after deciding to split with his father I guess (or something to that effect).

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