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J. Tillman – James Blues Lyrics 11 years ago
Hearing a couple things differently, and a couple listens in the headphones are confirming it, I think:

"how a young man yearns after a nurse"

"his impotent heart racing"

and a very subtle "if" before "desire"

I nearly wrote an essay concerning the last stanza, and I think it's actually not a bad place to approach much of J Tillman's catalog from, that statement. There's a bit of confusion of perspective here, and I'm not certain if I'm implying it or if it's there to be found, but "the universe makes much more sense without a purpose" being immediately followed by the head-hangingly sullen "poor, poor James" certainly carries a sense of pity for the character, but, and here's where things might get a little worth arguing over, I think there's a bit of quotation happening here. As in this is a thing that James has said, and Tillman's "poor, poor James" is an expression of pity in response to James' expression of the sentiment.

Or perhaps it's the other way around, suggesting that James' crippling fear of himself, his future, fate, and the universe, and perhaps even God are keeping him from his own life.

If desire is what makes upright mammals human,
put me out to graze, give this beast a burden.

I can't help this line, though, and it's what I keep returning to. It's a conditional statement, not just a declaration, and Tillman suggests that, if desire is what is human in us, then he wants to be put out to graze, which is an odd idiom to use here. The immediate connotation is that of "put out to pasture," but this carries a different weight in usage. I wish I had a better handle of this, but the image I'm getting is of his desire to be most human, put to feed on desire itself, to take the weight of this humanity as his own burden, so that in doing so he might truly live. A bit of a plea to be thrown into the thick of it all, proclaiming (ah, here we are) that "the universe makes much more sense without a purpose." Perhaps he's not pitying James for coining the line, but proclaiming it in response to the character, choosing to live without needing the answer to it all figured out, instead of being crippled by uncertainty about it.

Thoughts?

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Wilco – What Light Lyrics 12 years ago
"Just remember what was yours is everyone's from now on"

Maybe think about it like this: Art of any sort has to begin as an inkling of a thought inside one person's head. It is, in its conception, entirely personal, entirely self-reflective, and completely dependent on its creator for its meaning. And it can stay this way, so long as no one is ever exposed to it. But the minute you let it out, it gets bigger than that.

You can't keep your song entirely yours. All of the words and tears and love and joy and heartache that go into every song are only the beginning of what it means. I had an odd experience as a musician where I wrote a song some years ago and discovered that a new friend of mine had it playing on her mySpace, and in that instance, I realized that what I'd written was entirely bigger than my outlook for it. I'd written a song that I thought was too personal to connect to anyone properly, and felt the need to explain it to friends in order that the backstory might complete, but here was this new friend of mine who took this song I'd written completely blind, no back story, no emotional input from me, and connected with it on a level beyond what could've been possible if I'd sat down and explained it to her line by line. That started teaching me a lesson.

It's incredibly tempting to explain your art away. In some sense, it takes a bit of an edge off of it, makes it a little more comfortable for the listener to hear, because you think they know what to listen for and might offer a little more forgiveness if they see the full scope of everything surrounding.

But that ruins the experience for them. It's no longer a song waiting to made theirs, it's your song waiting to be heard by them. The connection gets muddied, weighed down, and made soggy by all the extraneous explanation. Yet, either way, they have to run it through their own minds to interpret it, no matter how much explanation you give.

So why not offer them the entire song? It began as yours, but in order for it to reach its full potential, it has to become someone else's, and in becoming theirs, it loses the intricacies of the personal situation that made it what it was while connecting on an emotional level that runs far deeper than is fully expressible simply through lyrical content. And as frustrating as it can be to reach a point where your band has fans that simply don't ring resonant with what it took for you to create these songs, it can still mean something to them, too.

The meaning of it, then, doesn't lie solely in your hands, or solely in the hands of the people it's connected to, but somewhere in between-- the fans drawing meaning from your original one, while filling in holes for themselves, offering the artist new ways to understand what they've written through the evolution of this song as it takes on this new meaning.

And that meaning, that beauty, that purpose for the song, that string that runs resonant deep beneath everything that's been written over top of it to work to express, that's that white light that shines out of it, that connective force buried inside the music, inside the writer before it even finds its way out into an instrument. But once it's there, it can't be put out. It can only be built on.

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Songs: Ohia – John Henry Split My Heart Lyrics 13 years ago
the reprise of the "long dark blues" at the end of this song is fucking perfect. I floored it in my car the first time I heard it.

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Andrew Bird – Sick of Elephants Lyrics 14 years ago
i believe it might be "pain was only fair leaving your toeses"

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Andrew Bird – Simple X Lyrics 14 years ago
i see your point, however i've also seen a lot of artists avoid meaning with that. some people don't want to explain what they've written, and i think you're right, it takes personal interpretation to truly "get" a song, but if you don't understand what's inside it, sometimes you can get caught up in that. or in this case, curiosity sparks interest in this genius, and you find that Bird, whether or not he intends it, writes from a place that is quite beautifully poignant.

you see a very large movement in history, especially in the mid-1800's in France, with the symbolist movement headed by figures like Rimbaud (who's inspired his share of rock musicians). the interesting thing about these guys was that they turned from what was previously understood as poetry into very intense imagery. this is the first good representation of people writing from drugs, and also a thing called "synesthesia"--where all a person's senses collide into one interpretation of reality. i've never done LSD or pot, but from what I've heard, this is very easily attainable through those drugs. I would suppose opium would also contribute. a good idea of that sense would be hearing people talk about the smell of colors, or how people with perfect pitch hear notes with color.

interestingly enough, Rimbaud thought of himself as a prophet. he called himself "le voyant" - the seer - and he thought it was his call to bring to the world a universal language. his thinking on this language was that in the very essence of language must be this understanding of the sounds we hear, in the way that certain words will sound beautiful before we even know meaning. he believed that a universal language could be attained where perhaps nothing of dictionary meaning was even said, but the sheer power of the sounds of the words would move the soul from somewhere far beyond the constructs of ascribed meaning. Rimbaud's sense of idealism and his mission were so incredibly strong however, that he eventually abandoned the field of poetry altogether. perhaps his ideas were synonymous with those of the most idealistic of revolutionary youth, as he began his career at age 15, delved heavily into experimenting with absinthe and opium with Paul Verlaine (his mentor, eventual lover, then bitter foe after a quarrel that ended in gunfire), and it's my opinion that he moved so fast with his ideas that he burnt out on the concept, and realized the impossibility of this task without utterly his own self. check out "The Drunken Boat" for one of the best example's of Rimbaud's poetry, and also a good idea of how the guy could've burnt out. he sort of predicts his own demise, realizing that, upon seeing the most incredible of things, a person simply can't not strive for them if they become unattainable, and he wishes he'd never seen them in the first place. he eventually has to abandon his dreams altogether as he has to battle reality harder and harder to achieve this "synesthetized" state in which this universal language comes together.

all that dissertation to say, perhaps what is appealing so strongly about andrew bird is his innate understanding of the beauty of language. i don't believe we could truly achieve a universal language based on sounds alone, but i think some people are more gifted with a sense of aesthetics towards such things, and it would not surprise me if a. bird is one of those people, who the beauty of language comes naturally to. some people write b.s. lyrics and they sound like it, and then when have men who write in lyric in such a fashion as this, where there is something just beyond the surface that holds us captive, something in between the words themselves, and i don't believe that's anything anyone could ever work toward, but a beautiful innate gift of God that should be celebrated just in the way we're doing here. the interesting thing, is the words that bird chooses, even if only b.s.-ing, have such meaning attached to them as we're finding out when we start to tear into his work.

what a peculiar thing this man's genius is.

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Andrew Bird – Scythian Empire Lyrics 14 years ago
Haha, and on the end of every roll of Scotch tape you buy, there's always that little non-sticky tartan bit to get the roll started. good call. no idea if there's any implication, but Lord, I love the way this all falls together sometimes...it's like free association and a great look at how interconnected the themes of our world and language are. very awesome.

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Andrew Bird – Fiery Crash Lyrics 14 years ago
i hear the "close your eyes and you wake" bit like i would if hearing someone on a road trip who fell asleep in the passenger seat say "i closed my eyes in detroit and woke up in wisconsin". just like how a very large passage of time or distance can be covered while you're completely unconscious of it. just a thought. or maybe just how easy it is to nod off and wake up in a compromising position somewhere public.

in all honesty, i think it's Bird's take on how our society works through looking at how we act in airports. if you look at the gist of it, it's life in an airport. but if you look at "every face has you reaching for your mace", sort of goes to illustrate the fact that everyone's gotten so hostile to those they don't know.

as for the fiery crash, it's kind of a call to wake up a little. it could be the last time you do anything if your plane goes down, and as often as it doesn't happen, it doesn't mean it still couldn't. some people live their entire lives afraid to fly because of the one in a million chance that their plane goes down. it never happens, so say the ones who end up in a crash.

it might just be a reverse psychology ploy to alleviate travel fear. you figure the people who worry the most are those most afraid to go down, but if you can be okay with envisioning your flight crashing and burning, you're either gonna be okay in flight, or you'll be a lot more ready to handle it if it does happen. ("just a nod to mortality").

our lives are pretty fragile, as strong as we'd like to think we are, and when we put our hands in the forces of something that can be a bit unpredictable, it's kind of important to respect the fact that you don't have control of any of that.

i think you ought not immediately try to read into it, but look at what he's given you. look at how antisocial we are in airports. and think about what it does to think about your plane going down, how that changes your idea of things. most people get comfortable with flying because they just won't think about that.

here's another thought: "to save our lives you've got to envision a fiery crash"...perhaps he means save a bit more figuratively. get people to wake up from their stupor. remember 9/11? remember how the whole of New York City actually banded together and became a community where people talked to eachother and helped eachother with sincerity? what happens when any group is faced with tragedy? they almost automatically break out of their little worlds and interact with those around them. they become people in community, with real lives, acknowledging the real life that surrounds. perhaps it's Bird asking us to give those lifeless stiffs in the airport a bit of a wake-up jolt, just to get their blood running and their minds racing.

just an idea, but that's my take on it.

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Andrew Bird – Armchairs Lyrics 15 years ago
These looms that weave apocrypha
they're hanging from a strand
The dark and empty rooms were full
of incandescent hands

exactly. hands of a clock. kind of a foreboding image, in all honesty. rooms that would be completely dark if not for the ticking clocks inside, being the only life to be found in there.

the image leading up to time being a crooked bow.

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Andrew Bird – Heretics Lyrics 15 years ago
So be careful when you're done
You're bound to get post-natal

post-natal: Of or occurring after birth, especially in the period immediately after birth.

reincarnation? afterlife? post-partum depression?

and this:
Tell us what we did wrong
And you can blame us for it

anyone who's known someone who's thought of suicide, or thought of it themselves can most likely resonate with this strongly.

and i'm thinking boring holes in our tongues to be the anti-establishment tongue-studs of today's youth.

oh, and more along the possible idea of suicide,
How about some credit now
Where credit is due
For the damage that we've done
We have wrought upon ourselves and others

most people don't do it to just "get out", but so that they won't hurt others anymore, and because their own personal hurt is so intense.

there's a lot to chew on here...

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U2 – Yahweh Lyrics 15 years ago
Religion and scripture are not knowledge of God. There is a large difference between a faith and an adherence to scripture. I have no doubt that scripture is "breathed out by God" and I trust it and look to it for guidance and reaffirmation and knowledge of where this faith began. But faith ought not be just a recollection, but a moving forward process. You cannot live the faith of your fathers, though let them be an inspiration to you in whatever manner that might be.

That said, I believe in Jesus Christ as the one savior of humanity, and that he is the Son if God, fully God and fully man, and that he did not sin. That said, I also respect the views of anyone willing to put forth effort in what they believe. The above bashing is not right on anyone's part, as it is quite lacking in respect. Guys, learn that you don't need to completely agree with eachother, and that people need to understand things differently than everybody else. What makes sense to me might be completely irrelevant to someone else, who needs to understand the truth in a very different context. That said, what do we do with people who don't believe "the right way"? First off, realize that God is shockingly bigger than the Bible, and understand that He'll work in whatever context necessary to speak to us. If you are looking for him, you will find him. Some people find him in very strange places. That's not our place to judge them for. Our place as those who believe in God is to act as a support system. The purpose of the church is not a sectarian separatist society, but its supposed to act as a community of those who believe as part of a body coming together to work integrally. This means affirmation and building up of those who believe. And if someone claims to believe, build them up. If they've got holes all through why they believe what they do, ask them questions in such a way as to help them to see what they're missing. Questioning can be the best thing for a person possible, but it's got to be done with CARE and RESPECT. If you don't respect the person you're asking questions of, you're doing them no favor, and (at least it appears this way) seeking personal glory in a manner of right vs. wrong. It just doesn't work that way.

If you guys want to discuss this stuff, I'd highly suggest you bear some respect for eachother and dig into why you guys believe highly different things. You aren't going to have a civilized conversation on doctrine if your doctrines are completely different, so don't think you will. But also realize that someone isn't necessarily evil for not believing what you believe. Rather, ask them why they believe and find out why. You might learn a few things just by opening up to understanding how someone else's brain works.

Sorry if that came off sort of harsh, but it's hard to read through something as heated as this and not get worked up myself. Please have respect for eachother, and see what comes out of it. I guarantee it'll be a good opportunity for the both of you.

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Andrew Bird – Armchairs Lyrics 15 years ago
here's my thinking on "time is a crooked bow"

there's a lot of different symbolism involved there, but here's the one that comes most often to my mind. i think of it as in reference to a bow and arrow, and a crooked bow is one that is taught, pulled, ready to be let go of in order to fire. if time's a crooked bow, perhaps the more time given, the more the bow is bent, and in that, the inevitable becomes even more so until it eventually has to be released and fired.

but the idea of time as a structure that can be bent, rather than a purely linear construction presents its own fascinating possibilities as well.

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M. Ward – From A Pirate Radio Sermon, 1989 Lyrics 15 years ago
(it's actually "mine won't be mine anymore")

this song is incredible.

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Andrew Bird – The Naming of Things Lyrics 15 years ago
holy crap, the violin break in this song where it absolutely explodes?! holy crap. this song is so damn beautiful...

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Andrew Bird – Tables and Chairs Lyrics 15 years ago
i absolutely love this song. it's so beautiful. how come no one's mentioned the "we were so tired of being mild" line yet? that resonates so strongly with me sometimes. just getting over that blandness of dull life and having joy over the simplest and most enjoyable things that occur all around us...i don't know, kind of a subjective perspective on that one...

also, i've always gotten this image in my head when the "crumbled financial institutions of this land" bit comes around. it always makes me think back to Fight Club when Tyler Durden is talking about destroying all the banks and debt records and it's kind of an economical chaotic collapse in which the whole world resets and we're forced out of our rutted everyday to truly live...i think he says something about "pounding out strips of venison on abandoned four lane highways" something like that. that's what runs through my head with that one. the kind of economical apocalypse alluded to in Fight Club.

also, the last line...so don't you worry about the atmosphere. that's so strangely comforting, because you can be one of those people who thinks it's totally going to hell and we're destroying our ozone and pay waay too much attention to it, or you can just live life and not feel constantly bombarded by the people who would live to watch for signs of the apocalypse. take it as it comes and embrace it with joy.

i love this man's lyrics. they brought me so much hope in a time where it was very tempting to look at life all gloomy-like. but he gives so much to just sit and smile about. thank God for andrew bird.

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Iron & Wine – Upward Over the Mountain Lyrics 16 years ago
as many times as i've heard this, i don't think that there is too much metaphor intended with the last stanza. there's just something in the way that he sings that makes it perfect. just a memory of a very strangely intimate moment that they shared. a son who's seen exactly how sensitive his mother is and can be, but it's so perfectly illustrated that the true meaning of it probably eludes anything we could write about it. it's beyond words, it's one of those sheer emotional moments. and i don't know how, but Sam renders it into music perfectly.

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My Morning Jacket – One Big Holiday Lyrics 16 years ago
the way i've always taken it as pretty much as an epic. he gets this mysterious call giving him some insider information into somehting really special that he needs to know about, and thus begins the rock journey. somethin that'll take em far beyond their wildest dreams. so they find this music, stumble upon it almost and get taken away in it.

the wonderful thing is though, if you look at it, the song doesn't finish itself with the words. it ends halfway through the verse. "all the leather kids were loud...." and then the song almost restarts and then explodes. it's like "we found it....and woah!" it explodes right in front of em. in a way, it's almost the bands theme song, i think, and it could be taken as an anthem, or as a tale of the recording of the album, but either way it's an awesome story.

very epic.

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My Morning Jacket – Butch Cassidy Lyrics 16 years ago
listen to this one after midnight and you'll understand it. it has to be dark, and you need to be open to hearing it. it works best with your eyes closed. such a darn beautiful song.

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Iron & Wine – Promising Light Lyrics 16 years ago
it should be "there in the SCAB where you pinched my leg"

I think the sea references in the beginning have to do with the status of the relationship. Preferring to set sail and head out accross the deep instead of staying safe and shallow - "tusslin in the waves"

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The Mars Volta – Cassandra Gemini Lyrics 16 years ago
to Eterna1, for some reason, iTunes has decoded my cd a few different ways from time to time. The track order is one song per track up until track five, which is the beginning of Cassandra Gemini, and fromt here on out, the rest of the album is cassandra. Reason being, Sony told them that if they realesed a full-length album with only five tracks, they would still consider it an EP, which is total bullshit (and good reason to buy the vinyl!)

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The Mars Volta – Cassandra Gemini Lyrics 16 years ago
to Eterna1, for some reason, iTunes has decoded my cd a few different ways from time to time. The track order is one song per track up until track five, which is the beginning of Cassandra Gemini, and fromt here on out, the rest of the album is cassandra.

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Iron & Wine – Bird Stealing Bread Lyrics 16 years ago
it seems to focus on how fickle love can be, but it hurts so much to lose it. And it seems that, no matter what, it's always a bit fleeting, just like that bird stealing youor bread.

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Iron & Wine – Lion's Mane Lyrics 16 years ago
if your sifting through a lion's mane, you've either avoiding being bitten and killed, or you have been bitten, but have come through it.

This song is beautiful, I don't know how Sam Beam is this brilliant, but his lyrics always evokes such beautiful imagery and says things that i dont know how to elude to except like this

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My Morning Jacket – Bermuda Highway Lyrics 16 years ago
i think, if anything, the chorus is just an invitation to not lose your childish sense of wonder.

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Iron & Wine – Upward Over the Mountain Lyrics 16 years ago
once again, Sam Beam's beautiful poetry render a heart-wrenching ballad. It sounds to me more to be him trying to comfort his mother despite some independence and defiance. But the chorus seems like he is alluding to the fact that his leaving his mother has left him broken, but that a mother's love won't die. The last stanza used to make me get a lump in my throat...beautiful stuff.

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