jaZZjaZZ54

84

Points

Born 1954. Blues, Rock, Jazz
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The Shins – Sea Legs Lyrics 2 years ago
@[toucanvan:32572]
Actually, he says "I invest in a single lie", which I take to mean he has said "I love you" to get the whole thing rolling.
BINGO!, by the way. You got it.
Dayum? Well, he's a star, but he doesn't believe in the soul, or anything spiritual. Overall, his stuff depresses me. Yet I am drawn to his genius for expressing keen insights, and his liquid voice.

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The Shins – Sea Legs Lyrics 2 years ago
@[jaZZjaZZ54:32571] "moonstruels"

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The Shins – Sea Legs Lyrics 2 years ago
Kind of a self-conscious "Come on Baby, Light My Fire".
It's about the necessity and pitfalls of seduction in a post-Christian society. The couple needs sea legs because they are on some unfamiliar, shaky ground, and worse, trying to do something our modern heads have a hard time dealing with.
The moon is dead, our art having rejected romance in most forms. Yet it's carcass does still rise, women still have their moonstrils, and we still get the need for physical intimacy.
So when the urge hits, according to this guy, there's no time for him to build the romantic and moral framework that most women need to feel comfortable. He's contributed his single lie ("I love you"), momentum is established, and they need to get on with this thing, as a seduction interrupted by a woman's questioning is about as revivable as an animal run over by a train. But if he can keep it on track, there'll be quite a fire.

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The Shins – Sleeping Lessons Lyrics 2 years ago
@[Risiko:32570] He's talking to the youth, not the aged. He's saying, "Screw what the old think and be who you are." Your bright blood. Youth.
Same thing the boomers had to do in the 60s and 70s.

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Genesis – I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) Lyrics 2 years ago
@[dbn429:32569] Front men of very successful bands tend to have big egos. Jon Anderson of Yes might be an exception. But I agree with you on Gabriel. I think he was a bit tortured with religion, especially eschatology (the end of the world - i.e.The Book of Revelation). Gabriel also seems to have a bit of a Christ complex - especially in his later work. Prolly should research... oh well...can't do everything. I don't sense the rebuke of people here as you do, though. Just a character who's fine with less.

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Genesis – I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) Lyrics 2 years ago
@[ProfessorKnowItAll:32568] "There's a future for you in the fire escape trade." Mr. Farmer is offering Jacob a step-up in the economic world, albeit a sales position in about as banal an industry as one could imagine. Jacob has no interest in sales, or in cat burglary - far too demanding.

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Donovan – Sunshine Superman Lyrics 5 years ago
Donovan has put his acid tripping aside in order to get himself together and woo some hard-to-befriend person or persons. Since reportedly, he's in India with the Maharishi and the Beatles, and the song was reportedly dedicated to John and Paul, my guess is that's who he wants to impress and draw in.
The over-confident chest-beating that follows is tongue-in-cheek - He's actually admitting he's star-struck, bedazzled, and not in their league (but probably should have been).

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Donovan – Sunshine Superman Lyrics 5 years ago
@[shanef:14501] Shane, Donovan says, "I could have tripped out easy, but I'm changing my ways". He was in India with the Maharishi and the Beatles. So "Sunshine", the first word of the song, just means sunshine, not Orange Sunshine, a popular LSD pill back then.
"It'll take time, I know it, but in a while... you're going to be mine". Sounds like he's motivated to straighten up his act and woo some hard-to-befriend person or persons. Possibly the Beatles or at least John and Paul, to whom he reportedly dedicated the song.

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Donovan – Mellow Yellow Lyrics 5 years ago
"Saffron" probably refers to a very popular pill form of LSD at the time called "Orange Sunshine" - definately more mellow than Jimmy Hendrix's purple pill (Purple Microdot) that inspired "Purple Haze".
The second substance, Donovan names "Fotine", a Greek given name for girls. I can only guess that he may be referring to heroine.
This second substance is definitely NOT "fourteen" - listen carefully.
The third substance, Donovan calls "electrical banana", and it's NOT a banana-shaped dildo as some here have suggested. It owes to a short-lived but widely repeated rumor that frying banana peel would produce a smokable hallucinogen. Mad Magazine even featured a cartoon with this theme - a hippie dude frying banana peel accidentally slips on the unused part of the peel, hits his head on the stove, and achieves his visions inadvertently, illustrated in a thought baloon.
Even though the rumor about bananas was widely known, few believed it, and I think that's why Donovan says it's "GOING TO BE a sudden craze" and "BOUND TO BE the very next phase", i.e. it's not proven. I think he's poking fun at a generation obsessed with psychedelic ("electrical") substances, and always looking for the next kick, the newest high.

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Donovan – Hurdy Gurdy Man Lyrics 5 years ago
Hurdy-Gurdy man is eternal presence of love whether we are in tranquility or crying - Like Shiva, always creating and destroying.

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Steely Dan – Aja Lyrics 10 years ago
Thank you, lgluau. You figured it out. I knew "Aja" had to be a real place with plenty of rich and famous people who would not "stare" at relatively minor celebrities like Fagan and Becker. The "dude ranch" reference made me think of Rancho Sante Fe in CA, but that doesn't account for the "Chinese music". Good job!

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Steve Winwood – Arc Of A Diver Lyrics 13 years ago
Not really so opaque, my friend. Just a bit of symbolism.

First of all, Steve Winwood didn't write the lyrics - he put them to music and sang, played and produced the album.

But in a nutshell, the song is about this: the dude needs his woman.
And he describes her in aquatic terms:
"She bathes me in sweetness..."
"Warm water breathing, She helps me hear... (or "here", doesn't really matter)"

Get it? If his woman is "warm water breathing", then HE is the diver.

He's unfulfilled and confused when he's without her:
"For sharing dreams I need my woman..."
"I must be deaf on the telephone - I need my love to translate."

He's an aging rocker who knows he needs to settle down with the one that helps him:
"[I'll] play the piano -no more running, Honey...(should be capitalized)"
"Lean streaking music spawned on the streets. I hear it, but with you I had to go.
'Cause my rock 'n' roll is putting on weight..."

"This time to the sky I'll sing if clouds don't hear me
To the sun I'll cry and even if I'm blinded"
He's vowing his determination to slow down his hectic life.

"Moon-gazer" - A man gazing at the moon, is in some state of contemplation, not a busy man darting here and there - The speaker wants to try to slow down and spend more time with his lady.

"Sticking up the future", "raiding the past", and "holding today to ransom" are intentions a renewed and confident man would boast.
She is his healing, safety and renewal.
And their love-making is "effortless".
One lucky dude...


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Blind Faith – In The Presence Of The Lord Lyrics 13 years ago
Oops, I meant to write:
...sliding from the key of D minor down to D-flat minor for the verse in Layla

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Blind Faith – In The Presence Of The Lord Lyrics 13 years ago
Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton are complicated people with complex thoughts and feelings on the ultimate questions of life. The dissonant and ironic chord at the end of "In the Presence of the Lord" demonstrates a reluctance to say "I've found the answer - everybody listen up! - the search is over!" and maybe a bit of frustration that it always has to be that way - an open question. The songs here embrace faith in some sort of ultimate peace while acknowledging that the writers want nothing in the way of dogma. And the final cut "Do What You Like" puts to rest any notion that these guys are getting religion in any conventional sense.

Someone above said this song was sung by Clapton - Well, it sure sounds like Winwood to me - struggling (beautifully) for those ultra-high notes. If it's Clapton, he's doing his best Winwood impression (actually, no way - I've never heard Eric sing that high.). I'm a fan of both, but Steve wrote three songs for the album, Eric wrote one, and as far as I can tell Winwood sings all the leads. So, despite Clapton's top billing, it's far more a Winwood album. And after this album, Clapton began to use some of the unusual chord changes typical of Winwood's work, such as sliding from the key of D minor down to E-flat minor for the verse in Layla (The song starts with the familiar energetic chorus sequence in D minor.). My favorite example of really unusual changes that work out beautifully is Winwood's "Empty Chair" on one of his solo albums.

Either way, it's a fantastic collaboration of two giants (and Ginger Baker and Ric Grech were certainly no slouches).

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Blind Faith – In The Presence Of The Lord Lyrics 13 years ago
Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton are complicated people with complex thoughts and feelings on the ultimate questions of life. The dissonant and ironic chord at the end of "In the Presence of the Lord" demonstrates a reluctance to say "I've found the answer - everybody listen up! - the search is over!" and maybe a bit of frustration that it always has to be that way - an open question. The songs here embrace faith in some sort of ultimate peace while acknowledging that the writers want nothing in the way of dogma. And the final cut "Do What You Like" puts to rest any notion that these guys are getting religion in any conventional sense.

Someone above said this song was sung by Clapton - Well, it sure sounds like Winwood to me - struggling (beautifully) for those ultra-high notes. If it's Clapton, he's doing his best Winwood impression (actually, no way - I've never heard Eric sing that high.). I'm a fan of both, but Steve wrote three songs for the album, Eric wrote one, and as far as I can tell Winwood sings all the leads. So, despite Clapton's top billing, it's far more a Winwood album. And after this album, Clapton began to use some of the unusual chord changes typical of Winwood's work, such as sliding from the key of D minor down to E-flat minor for the verse in Layla (The song starts with the familiar energetic chorus sequence in D minor.). My favorite example of really unusual changes that work out beautifully is Winwood's "Empty Chair" on one of his solo albums.

Either way, it's a fantastic collaboration of two giants (and Ginger Baker and Ric Grech were certainly no slouches).

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The Beatles – Happiness Is a Warm Gun Lyrics 14 years ago
"I need a fix" - heroine
"I'm going down" - the current high is wearing off - heroine
"down to the bits that I left uptown" - out of H, desperate to find remnants - heroine
"when I hold you in my arm" (not "arms")"trigger" - syringe - heroine

For 40 years, this song has always been about heroine addiction, and I've never heard anyone disagree with that interpretation - till tonight when I read the above posts. But I didn't see anything convincing for a different interpretation.

You can argue for years what the opening poem is about - maybe delirium... maybe an actual woman, but I doubt it. To me, it's a run-on that mimics a mind out of control. It make no sense. It's a deteriorating state of mind.

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The Beatles – Can You Take Me Back Lyrics 14 years ago
BTW, this song fragment has nothing to do with "Cry Baby Cry" except that it sounded good in succession to the longer song.
Different author - similar mood.

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The Beatles – Can You Take Me Back Lyrics 14 years ago
"Robert can you take me back?"
might, I repeat "might" be a reference to the "Doctor Robert" who famously introduced the Beatles to LSD in 1965.
Paul might be lamenting the additional knowledge that often comes with the use of LSD and the accompanying additional sense of responsibility experienced by conscientious users.
The Lennon/McCartney song "Doctor Robert" penned a few years earlier was certainly more celebratory.

Dr. Robert was a real doctor, and definitely not a pseudonym for John Lennon.

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The Beatles – Doctor Robert Lyrics 14 years ago
This is a song about a doctor friend who introduced the Beatles to LSD - whatever his real name was. It is certainly not about Bob Dylan (Zimmerman).

"Well well well, you're feeling fine.
Well well well, we'll bring you - Dr. Robert.
(get it?)

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The Beatles – Cry Baby Cry Lyrics 14 years ago
razajac had it right three years ago. This Lennon song tells of a well-to-do family, with heartbreaking distance between the members. Everyone is carrying on like normal - going through the motions of normal family life, but there is no apparent emotional connection between any of the characters. True emotions are not allowed, but the children find some freedom in their mischief.
The small child (baby) cries naturally, out of lonliness and abandonment. The mother sighs, a little impatient for the time when the little one learns that crying out will not bring aid, and that needs are to be suppressed.

McCartney's "Can you take me back where I came from" vignette seems related in mood to Lennon's song, but I think it's a separate conception.
I hear Paul singing in the second cycle "Robert can you take me back?"
-which could be a lament, a longing for simpler times, simpler worries, and the simpler understanding before Dr. Robert broadened their minds to greater understanding and thus greater responsibility.
Dr. Robert has his own Beatle song - he was the person who introduced the Beatles to LSD.

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The Beatles – Cry Baby Cry Lyrics 14 years ago
razajac had it right three years ago. This Lennon song tells of a well-to-do family, with heartbreaking distance between the members. Everyone is carrying on like normal - going through the motions of normal family life, but there is no apparent emotional connection between any of the characters. True emotions are not allowed, but the children find some freedom in their mischief.
The small child (baby) cries naturally, out of lonliness and abandonment. The mother sighs, a little impatient for the time when the little one learns that crying out will not bring aid, and that needs are to be suppressed.

McCartney's "Can you take me back where I came from" vignette seems related in mood to Lennon's song, but I think it's a separate conception.
I hear Paul singing in the second cycle "Robert can you take me back?"
-which could be a lament, a longing for simpler times, simpler worries, and the simpler understanding before Dr. Robert broadened their minds to greater understanding and thus greater responsibility.
Dr. Robert has his own Beatle song - he was the person who introduced the Beatles to LSD.

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The Beatles – Get Back Lyrics 14 years ago
By the way "Death Cab for Cutie" named their band after a variant of the "Paul is dead" myth, in which the unfortunate Beatle dies in a Taxi. Oh, and of course Paul himself would be the "Cutie".

I gotta go - I'm having way to much fun with this silly stuff.

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The Beatles – Come and Get It Lyrics 14 years ago
The song was written by McCartney for a scene in "The Magic Christian" where the crazy millionaire (Peter Sellers) has dumped many thousands of dollars (Pounds?) into a huge vat of raw sewage, and all the average blokes are diving in. It's not about any legal battles.

Badfinger's first album had quite a bit of help from the Beatles. The guitar solo on "Day After Day" sounds every bit like George Harrison - it may have been George.
But writer/singer Pete Ham was a super talent in his own right - "No Matter What", "My Baby Blue", "Day After Day" - the whole album was a pleasure!

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The Beatles – Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey Lyrics 14 years ago
Geez, I've read through all these crazy explanations, and finally the last guy - haloofflies - gets it right.
There are few people whom I love and honor more than John Lennon, so take the following as my best attempt at an explanation for some of his less than wonderful behavior.

John had a long, long bitterness with the Maharishi. While that trip to India triggered a long series of spiritual epiphanies in John (witness "Tomorrow Never Knows", "Across the Universe", "Number 9 Dream"), he could never get over what he saw as the Yogi's pretentiousness and undeserved sense of self importance - which became magnified for John, due to his strong projection of these qualities (actually dark qualities within John himself) onto the Hindu Master.

John saw his own flaws in the Maharishi, and envied and resented the Yogi’s throng of followers with their unconditional love.

John’s first putdown was mild –“Nowhere Man” somewhat affectionately casts the Mahesh as a person of no consequence. But by the time of the White Album, John’s envy of the Yogi had congealed into outright derision, most clearly stated in “Sexy Sadie”:

“How did you know the world was waiting for a lover?
You came along to turn on everyone”

...Clearly roles John cherished as his own. But the Maharishi had effortlessly seized them (and had in some way diminished John’s role, or so he thought).

“Everybody Has Something to Hide Except For Me and My Monkey” celebrates the truths taught by the Yogi, while at the same time fingering him as a hypocrite.

“your inside is out when your outside is in
your outside is in when your inside is out”
speaks to the bliss felt when one is able to let go of separateness and its accompanying fear, and just become part of everything – i.e., no distinction between the self and other (definition of “Nirvana”).

But then the speaker in the song goes on to shame himself by declaring that all people except himself have something to hide. Well to be exact, except for him and his monkey.

Well the Maharishi didn’t carry a monkey – unless it was hidden. So the speaker (the Maharishi) has stupidly revealed his hypocrisy.

John’s messiah complex was a western one, complete with required suffering. The Maharishi had no such requirement of suffering for himself. It was this accompanied by the Yogi’s apparent complete happiness (something John longed for but never reached) that ate at John so deeply and for so long.

John saw his fame, fans, and influence as a reward or compensation for the suffering he endured because of his deep sense of abandonment that haunted him throughout his life.

Yogi got it all for free.

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The Shins – Split Needles Lyrics 14 years ago
I have no idea what I did to get my above comments posted four times?!

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The Shins – Split Needles Lyrics 14 years ago
I have no idea what I did to get my above comments posted four times?!

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The Shins – Split Needles Lyrics 14 years ago
I have no idea what I did to get my above comments posted four times?!

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The Decemberists – When the War Came Lyrics 14 years ago
To me, "The Crane Wife" has more to offer musically than its predecessor CDs. But then I was one of those people who strongly preferred the Beatles over Dylan due to their catchy tunes and their extensive attention to musical production and arrangement (with some great help from producer George Martin), making each song sound unique and appropriate. Their songs never ran together - I never confused one for another - a characteristic that got better with each successive album. I think the Decemberists accomplished this feat with "Crane Wife", and it's partly due to the talented producers, engineers, and advisors made available by their new and much bigger label. Certainly, the wonderful raw talent rests with the band and in particular with lyricist/composer/singer/guitarist Colin Meloy (or Maloy - I find both spellings in abundance on the web). But with the kind of assistance that a big label can offer, you find numerous enhancements, both large and small to the music. This quality makes the album instantly palletable to more people - in particular, me. I was bowled over by Crane Wife the first time I heard it, and went looking for other Decemberists albums. Fortunately, my Daughters already owned a couple - Picaresque and one other. I played Picaresque and knew immediately that the album would not satisfy my need for musical variety and excellence the way Crane Wife had. I know that, as with Blonde on Blonde, or Blood on the Tracks, I could come to appreciate the album with its extraordinary lyrics and sensitive vocals, and the sophisticated-yet-emotional post-grad life perspective that comes out in the songs. But Crane Wife delivers far more sheer enjoyment for my inner ears - the ears that connect to emotion and make my spine tingle with waves of extacy. And its due to to the way the music and voice and meaning interact - not just the improved arrangements.
If I were a veteran fan of the group, I, like so many on this blog, might have had some misgivings about the sudden boost in musical sophistication. But Crane Wife is my first exposure, so I've nothing to grieve. It's probably my favorite album of still-existing bands. That's saying a lot!

submissions
The Decemberists – When the War Came Lyrics 14 years ago
To me, "The Crane Wife" has more to offer musically than its predecessor CDs. But then I was one of those people who strongly preferred the Beatles over Dylan due to their catchy tunes and their extensive attention to musical production and arrangement (with some great help from producer George Martin), making each song sound unique and appropriate. Their songs never ran together - I never confused one for another - a characteristic that got better with each successive album. I think the Decemberists accomplished this feat with "Crane Wife", and it's partly due to the talented producers, engineers, and advisors made available by their new and much bigger label. Certainly, the wonderful raw talent rests with the band and in particular with lyricist/composer/singer/guitarist Colin Meloy (or Maloy - I find both spellings in abundance on the web). But with the kind of assistance that a big label can offer, you find numerous enhancements, both large and small to the music. This quality makes the album instantly palletable to more people - in particular, me. I was bowled over by Crane Wife the first time I heard it, and went looking for other Decemberists albums. Fortunately, my Daughters already owned a couple - Picaresque and one other. I played Picaresque and knew immediately that the album would not satisfy my need for musical variety and excellence the way Crane Wife had. I know that, as with Blonde on Blonde, or Blood on the Tracks, I could come to appreciate the album with its extraordinary lyrics and sensitive vocals, and the sophisticated-yet-emotional post-grad life perspective that comes out in the songs. But Crane Wife delivers far more sheer enjoyment for my inner ears - the ears that connect to emotion and make my spine tingle with waves of extacy. And its due to to the way the music and voice and meaning interact - not just the improved arrangements.
If I were a veteran fan of the group, I, like so many on this blog, might have had some misgivings about the sudden boost in musical sophistication. But Crane Wife is my first exposure, so I've nothing to grieve. It's probably my favorite album of still-existing bands. That's saying a lot!

submissions
The Shins – Split Needles Lyrics 14 years ago
Wow - what an exceptional CD and an exceptional song!

Perhaps it seems contradictory to the whole concept of "indie" music, but I think this song is a description of what Mercer is going through now, with his success, and the accompanying conflict between his desire to be completely free to do the music he wishes at a comfortable pace, versus pressure from investors/managers for music that fits their marketing plans.

I think he's saying that he's had to succumb to pressures to set a consistent, recognizable style for the band, and that's the "hole" he's had to dig for himself - though not totally bad:
"It gets far enough in sight and rhyme
I get to wear another dress in counting time"
- But it's confining nonetheless.

And being an extremely creative fellow, Mercer's music is constantly evolving, which presents a conundrum to the business side:
"Oh won't you do me the favor, man
Of forgiving my poly-morphing opinion here
And your vague outline"

And with this latest album there was an artistic reevaluation, due to Mercers new "vague ideal", and yet another marketing/growth reassessment; with a new set of rules:
"And this is what you get for pulling pins -
Another hole inside the hole you're in"

He was allowed a significant amount of choice in choosing the shape of the new hole ("They want you to decide"), but it's still a hole - There were many conditions that had to be met - there still had to be a certain consistent, marketable sound - a trademark sound that the money men were comfortable with.

After a time, decisions get made through a chaotic consensus - with each concern justifying the decisions with their own peculiar language and sophistry:
"Eventually, it happens,
Some gather on one side
with all their pearly snapping"

And then Mercer and the other Shins are obliged to go to the studio - Mercer's basement studio? - and make the thing happen:
"They close the basement door,
It sets our teeth to chatter
You never saw it before
But now that hardly matters"

So, to conclude: The band's mushrooming success is forcing Mercer to largely let go of control of artistic direction, and surrender a great deal to the break-neck speed and relatively arbitrary (blind man's) guidance of the forces of money.
Sounds like besides being confining, the success and accompanying pressures are intimidating, and a bit overwhelming - and Mercer is struggling to continue to enjoy the whole mess.
Extremely talented people are often extremely sensitive and conscientious.
I hope he's coping well.
Maybe we can all support the guy with letters of encouragement and appreciation.

BTW, GrungyBeatle, I hear Grim, but not Sarcastic in the lyrics of this album. I don't own any others by the Shins.

submissions
The Shins – Split Needles Lyrics 14 years ago
Wow - what an exceptional CD and an exceptional song!

Perhaps it seems contradictory to the whole concept of "indie" music, but I think this song is a description of what Mercer is going through now, with his success, and the accompanying conflict between his desire to be completely free to do the music he wishes at a comfortable pace, versus pressure from investors/managers for music that fits their marketing plans.

I think he's saying that he's had to succumb to pressures to set a consistent, recognizable style for the band, and that's the "hole" he's had to dig for himself - though not totally bad:
"It gets far enough in sight and rhyme
I get to wear another dress in counting time"
- But it's confining nonetheless.

And being an extremely creative fellow, Mercer's music is constantly evolving, which presents a conundrum to the business side:
"Oh won't you do me the favor, man
Of forgiving my poly-morphing opinion here
And your vague outline"

And with this latest album there was an artistic reevaluation, due to Mercers new "vague ideal", and yet another marketing/growth reassessment; with a new set of rules:
"And this is what you get for pulling pins -
Another hole inside the hole you're in"

He was allowed a significant amount of choice in choosing the shape of the new hole ("They want you to decide"), but it's still a hole - There were many conditions that had to be met - there still had to be a certain consistent, marketable sound - a trademark sound that the money men were comfortable with.

After a time, decisions get made through a chaotic consensus - with each concern justifying the decisions with their own peculiar language and sophistry:
"Eventually, it happens,
Some gather on one side
with all their pearly snapping"

And then Mercer and the other Shins are obliged to go to the studio - Mercer's basement studio? - and make the thing happen:
"They close the basement door,
It sets our teeth to chatter
You never saw it before
But now that hardly matters"

So, to conclude: The band's mushrooming success is forcing Mercer to largely let go of control of artistic direction, and surrender a great deal to the break-neck speed and relatively arbitrary (blind man's) guidance of the forces of money.
Sounds like besides being confining, the success and accompanying pressures are intimidating, and a bit overwhelming - and Mercer is struggling to continue to enjoy the whole mess.
Extremely talented people are often extremely sensitive and conscientious.
I hope he's coping well.
Maybe we can all support the guy with letters of encouragement and appreciation.

BTW, GrungyBeatle, I hear Grim, but not Sarcastic in the lyrics of this album. I don't own any others by the Shins.

submissions
The Shins – Split Needles Lyrics 14 years ago
Wow - what an exceptional CD and an exceptional song!

Perhaps it seems contradictory to the whole concept of "indie" music, but I think this song is a description of what Mercer is going through now, with his success, and the accompanying conflict between his desire to be completely free to do the music he wishes at a comfortable pace, versus pressure from investors/managers for music that fits their marketing plans.

I think he's saying that he's had to succumb to pressures to set a consistent, recognizable style for the band, and that's the "hole" he's had to dig for himself - though not totally bad:
"It gets far enough in sight and rhyme
I get to wear another dress in counting time"
- But it's confining nonetheless.

And being an extremely creative fellow, Mercer's music is constantly evolving, which presents a conundrum to the business side:
"Oh won't you do me the favor, man
Of forgiving my poly-morphing opinion here
And your vague outline"

And with this latest album there was an artistic reevaluation, due to Mercers new "vague ideal", and yet another marketing/growth reassessment; with a new set of rules:
"And this is what you get for pulling pins -
Another hole inside the hole you're in"

He was allowed a significant amount of choice in choosing the shape of the new hole ("They want you to decide"), but it's still a hole - There were many conditions that had to be met - there still had to be a certain consistent, marketable sound - a trademark sound that the money men were comfortable with.

After a time, decisions get made through a chaotic consensus - with each concern justifying the decisions with their own peculiar language and sophistry:
"Eventually, it happens,
Some gather on one side
with all their pearly snapping"

And then Mercer and the other Shins are obliged to go to the studio - Mercer's basement studio? - and make the thing happen:
"They close the basement door,
It sets our teeth to chatter
You never saw it before
But now that hardly matters"

So, to conclude: The band's mushrooming success is forcing Mercer to largely let go of control of artistic direction, and surrender a great deal to the break-neck speed and relatively arbitrary (blind man's) guidance of the forces of money.
Sounds like besides being confining, the success and accompanying pressures are intimidating, and a bit overwhelming - and Mercer is struggling to continue to enjoy the whole mess.
Extremely talented people are often extremely sensitive and conscientious.
I hope he's coping well.
Maybe we can all support the guy with letters of encouragement and appreciation.

BTW, GrungyBeatle, I hear Grim, but not Sarcastic in the lyrics of this album. I don't own any others by the Shins.

submissions
The Shins – Split Needles Lyrics 14 years ago
Wow - what an exceptional CD and an exceptional song!

Perhaps it seems contradictory to the whole concept of "indie" music, but I think this song is a description of what Mercer is going through now, with his success, and the accompanying conflict between his desire to be completely free to do the music he wishes at a comfortable pace, versus pressure from investors/managers for music that fits their marketing plans.

I think he's saying that he's had to succumb to pressures to set a consistent, recognizable style for the band, and that's the "hole" he's had to dig for himself - though not totally bad:
"It gets far enough in sight and rhyme
I get to wear another dress in counting time"
- But it's confining nonetheless.

And being an extremely creative fellow, Mercer's music is constantly evolving, which presents a conundrum to the business side:
"Oh won't you do me the favor, man
Of forgiving my poly-morphing opinion here
And your vague outline"

And with this latest album there was an artistic reevaluation, due to Mercers new "vague ideal", and yet another marketing/growth reassessment; with a new set of rules:
"And this is what you get for pulling pins -
Another hole inside the hole you're in"

He was allowed a significant amount of choice in choosing the shape of the new hole ("They want you to decide"), but it's still a hole - There were many conditions that had to be met - there still had to be a certain consistent, marketable sound - a trademark sound that the money men were comfortable with.

After a time, decisions get made through a chaotic consensus - with each concern justifying the decisions with their own peculiar language and sophistry:
"Eventually, it happens,
Some gather on one side
with all their pearly snapping"

And then Mercer and the other Shins are obliged to go to the studio - Mercer's basement studio? - and make the thing happen:
"They close the basement door,
It sets our teeth to chatter
You never saw it before
But now that hardly matters"

So, to conclude: The band's mushrooming success is forcing Mercer to largely let go of control of artistic direction, and surrender a great deal to the break-neck speed and relatively arbitrary (blind man's) guidance of the forces of money.
Sounds like besides being confining, the success and accompanying pressures are intimidating, and a bit overwhelming - and Mercer is struggling to continue to enjoy the whole mess.
Extremely talented people are often extremely sensitive and conscientious.
I hope he's coping well.
Maybe we can all support the guy with letters of encouragement and appreciation.

BTW, GrungyBeatle, I hear Grim, but not Sarcastic in the lyrics of this album. I don't own any others by the Shins.

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The Shins – Sea Legs Lyrics 14 years ago
This being a late response, I think the other responders have already got it just about right by now. But I can tell you, no matter what the CD booklet says, the second line of the chorus is: "We've no time to start a protocol to HEM us in." What he's saying is that "When that dead moon rises again" - or when the when the opportunity for intimate contact arrives - "We've no time" to waste on outdated formalities of courtship. In other words, when presented with the fleeting chance for love - even though one partner is laden with false hopes for traditional romance - i.e. the "dead moon", one has to act while the moment is right - for it is perishable.
The "single lie" he invests in is to indulge the girl's naive expectations of true love, or whatever romantic illusions she's kept from that "simpler time".
The "sea legs" arise from the couple's wllingness to walk together into unfamiliar and unstable territory.
This is truly an awsome song with a shockingly new and more perceptive perspective on infatuation. Fatalistic in the end, but alive while the hearts remain open.
This could be a long shot, but i think the heavy Indian influence in the melody invokes the matter-of-fact Hindu religion, with it's lack of romance and wistful hope - "Here are the rules of life; don't expect to receive any waiver from them or short-cut to happiness." In the song, the boy gets it; but the girl doesn't and has to be coddled a bit, lest she back out in fear and ruin the chances of something beneficial for both.

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