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They Might Be Giants – Mrs. Train Lyrics 5 months ago
Nobody wants to be first to see the train they heard about, so the line to see the train doesn't have anyone in front. But since nobody wants to be first to see the front of the line, there's nobody in second position either.

Ultimately it becomes clear that the train itself is a hypothetical line of people that never manifested because nobody wanted to be first and seem pushy and impolite.

There is a lot of room for metaphors here. Inductive reasoning in math, for one. But also maybe something about Nirvana.

Dennis Deyoung – Desert Moon Lyrics 9 months ago
It is a great song about reconnecting with a person from your past that slipped away. The lyrics tell a story of a man at a train station presumably returning to his hometown (the "Desert Moon" of the title), perhaps for a holiday, and is addressed incidentally by a woman asking if it's the right train for his town. They simultaneously realize that they know each other, in fact they were high school sweethearts. She just happened to be returning there too, and they have met again as if by fate. They take the train together and reminisce in a dining car as the train leaves. It's implied that they may fall in love again, and the chorus layers in general nostalgia and lost innocence themes.

Then we get to the video.

It turns the whole story on its head and deconstructs it mercilessly. He comes to his hometown, arrives by himself, is greeted by friends/family. Something's distracting him, and at his first opportunity he asks after his old girlfriend and finds that she no longer lives there and moved to Chicago. So the story told by the lyrics? It's a fantasy he made up in his head. My own speculation follows -- when it came up that he was returning to Desert Moon, he regretted having lost contact with his old girlfriend, and daydreamed about randomly running into her again on the train home. It fits with how perfectly out of the blue it was, and how even the minute details were suffused with deeper symbolism: "The waiter poured our memories in a tiny cup". He built up his daydream into the perfect, most romantic moment he could imagine.

The whole time at the departing station he probably looked around for her, even though there was no reason to imagine she'd turn up. Finally he got on the train and headed home. Now starting to obsess, he decided maybe she still lived in Desert Moon and he'd look her up.

Back to what's actually in the video, after hearing the news, he's totally listless. He practically sleepwalks through being reunited with his family and oldest friends, not even being able to completely enjoy getting his classic Mustang from the old days going again. All he can think about now is finding her. He has a pretty good time with his buddies, but in the morning he's on a mission. So he gives his beloved car to his... friend? brother?... it isn't clear...and takes another train to Chicago (from an iconic station) to try and find her there.

A couple of thoughts come to mind--the song connects with me so much because I've had that fantasy before, of randomly meeting someone that used to be important to me, that parts of a lost past of unfinished stories can suddenly start again.

The second, and perhaps sadder thought: such a fantasy is now all but impossible. Not because you can't find old friends, but because it's too easy. In 2009 I got on Facebook and managed to reconnect with just about everyone from my past that I gave a damn about. It felt good but obviously didn't have the romantic sheen of random fate. Technology has rendered obsolete that entire genre of story except as a period piece--today's youths will rarely lose contact entirely with their childhood friends and loved ones, and almost never quite feel firsthand the emotions that inspired this song.

Talking Heads – (Nothing But) Flowers Lyrics 1 year ago
Agree there is a post-apocalypse narrative. The lyrics speak of these familiar comforts being given up for survival after some calamity. Maybe nuclear, but it doesn't have to be.

I don't hear irony in the lyrics, at least not in the sense of meaning something other than the words spoken. I think he's correctly anticipating the feelings of most people that would be caught up in a situation like this. The narrator doesn't actually disagree with the way they are living to survive--he knows how necessary it is. He's reflecting on how life seems so idyllic, but he just can't get used to it and misses the conveniences of technology and civilization.

KISS – Beth Lyrics 1 year ago
This interpretation makes the most sense to me. In an imaginary music video I see most of the song occurring with images of a studio and the band in the background, busying over a piece of music (representing what he's telling her). He hangs up (a differently colored phone) before the last verse, and for the last lines he's shown using the phone in a dimly lit kitchen. In the background instead can be seen light coming from a bedroom door.

The reason I favor this over the surface words is that change at the end. He knows he won't be home soon and doesn't want to tell her that. If it were just the band he wouldn't feel the same level of guilt that is making him try to hide the timing.

Muse – Madness Lyrics 1 year ago
My interpretation ties in with imagery from the video. I like to think of it as about a person who's been afraid of letting his emotions get out of control, afraid of commitment, afraid of really immersing himself in the emotion of love. Maybe he was hurt badly once, and has built up walls, has built up protections to keep his emotions protected and his mind nice and orderly--this is represented by the police in the video.

So now he's falling in love proper, in spite of all his defenses. He's realizing he needs the whole experience of love, and can't resist it even if he wanted to. His repressed feelings are exploding inside of him, and it feels like anarchy overwhelming him, the rioters overwhelming the police. Will it destroy him or fulfill him? It's left ambiguous and maybe that's right too.

The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1 Lyrics 1 year ago
I won't claim this is what the songwriters intended, but here's an example of what kind of story you can imagine with this song. It sticks with me since I started thinking about it.

The singer-narrator is suffering from mental illness. He can't handle the world, it just seems like everything is trying to harm or consume him. He's a sort of weeaboo so everything gets translated into his favorite anime themes--his anxieties and perceived persecutors become the pink robots. He fantasizes a heroine to protect him and thinks of her every time he's afraid. She's a powerful girl, ready to fight, but it's also sad because she has the burden of fighting "enemies" that he has built up to be invincible in his head, so it has the flavor of a lost cause. Further disturbing, in that she's there to feed his fantasies as well as protect his emotions.

Something happens though, and he starts to see it all in a different way. Maybe he's getting some help, starting to regain control of his brain. He's been taking his medications, imagining them to be her "vitamins". Now she represents all the smarter, saner parts of him, battling his worst inner impulses. She's fighting to make him well--and he's cheering it on. He can't really BE well until he realizes he's the one fighting, that Yoshimi is just a persona he imagined that was capable of it--but if his imaginary creation can do it, that means he can.

Which brings it to the last line--it's always been: "You won't let those robots eat me." but it ends with "You won't let those robots eat Yoshimi"--he's truly accepted Yoshimi as a part of him, and is confident that he won't lose her, that is to say, the best and bravest of himself.

Joe Tex – I Gotcha Lyrics 2 years ago
Almost too creepy to play for other than dark humor or irony.

The narrator of the song felt a connection with a girl in a relationship she knew was doomed. She rejected his advances at the time, asking him to wait until she officially broke it off, promising they could be together then. It's possible he read more into her words than she actually said, or she was leading him on, or any number of possibilities, but for whatever reason, once it was done she got cold feet and started avoiding him.

He manages to confront her and declares that she owes him her affections because of her promise. He demands it, like a lender collecting a debt.

On one level, a catchy, funky song invoking "the chase" of an amorous man pursuing a reluctant woman. But I think that the songwriter is intentionally deconstructing it, revealing a frighteningly predatory attitude. The man's gone Yandere, which is what the song is really about.

The Alan Parsons Project – Eye In The Sky Lyrics 6 years ago
Of course, that fits a "surface" meaning. The theme of something precious destroyed by an obsessive pursuit of totalitarian knowledge and control can be a metaphor for many things.

The Alan Parsons Project – Eye In The Sky Lyrics 6 years ago
I don't know if it counts as "the" meaning of the song, but for me it seems most complete with both the lyrics and the "big brother" theme of the album, to consider the following interpretation:

It is about a relationship to me, but the context changed from pursuing romance to a game of control of Orwellian intensity. The conflict--lies, confusion, divergent expectations--drove one party to constantly check up on the person, to find out secrets, to learn when they are lying... in order to overcome their insecurities with massive information, so much knowledge they feel the person cannot successfully conceal anything from them anymore. Almost a god-like feeling, hence the "eye in the sky", "maker of rules".

Now that they feel they have all the cards, it seems like a hollow victory because having no secrets, no mystery destroyed the romance. And though they partly brought the situation on themselves, they feel betrayed and have bitterly split from their former love.

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