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Bob Dylan – The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest Lyrics 10 years ago
The house is a trap. We are to not want for worldly desires. They will trap us.

You sell your soul for a couple bills, and you've mistaken eternity for the house of pleasures.

This world is the house of pleasures, but they are quick to fade. They are false. They are attachment to this world.

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Bob Dylan – Jokerman Lyrics 10 years ago
The Jokerman is the free man. The free mind. Jokerman is in touch with nature, he is the true potential within us all. He is Christ, he is also who Bob Dylan sees himself as. He is Ginsberg, too. He is any person who has been liberated through higher consciousness and love. He is the one who sees the beauty in nature, in every moment, the one who is truly living in the now.

I don't want to dissect too much of the song, but I will say a couple things.

One, the reference to Sodom/Gomorrah is about being free of homophobia and judgment. It is a joke. As in,

Man: Aren't you worried about going to Sodom?
Jokerman: Why, nobody there wants to marry my sister.


The part about Leviticus and Deuteronomy are about ancient law, almost as ancient as the law of the jungle (what we learn through nature) and the wisdom of the ancient sea. It's basically saying, you can't be taught by the men around you today, because you were taught at the source. Your head is above that.


The other lines are almost an admiration for the Jokerman, he is perfection. He rides a steed and has beautiful features, etc. These aren't physical things. This is the perfection of consciousness. This is something to strive for.


Then we switch to the Rifleman. Who, I believe is inspired by Reagan, but is not just Reagan. Rifleman being a reference to the westerns that Reagan made. (Although, I'm well aware he was not the official Rifleman, it is the reference that counts.)

The Rifleman is also the newly born prince. There's a lot of despair here. The priest in the pocket and blade are about, at that time, the administrations use of the evangelical movement for votes. Reagan was and still heavily is backed by religious leaders in the USA. The blade is about the fear of war.

But the Jokerman is above all of this. He can see it happening, but he is unmoved.

The Jokerman is within us all.


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Bruce Springsteen – Mansion On the Hill Lyrics 12 years ago
Pretty sure this song is about dreams. From a poor perspective, dreaming one day of being rich, living in the mansion on the hill. This whole album more or less is like the dark side of born to run. The "What if's"

Born to Run is saturated with hope for the future, a chance to break out based upon artistic merit and a lottery ticket like rise to fame via music.

This album is more or less like what it is to not break out, or to turn to crime due to lack of a way. With the same hopes and dreams of being someone, being wealthy, getting out.

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Third Eye Blind – Another Life Lyrics 13 years ago
I agree with the last comment. I believe it was a severe depression as told throughout the whole album, brought on by his break-up.

Holing himself up in a room for 7 weeks, depressed. People said "He never had a down day" because he's usually pretty cheerful, but this time he's devastated. Then, he reemerges.

He realizes can start over a new life. The transition happens at "oh and the time goes by, I realize".

Then he's happy to be alive. He's seeing things differently.

It would make sense that it was originally "Butterfly" due to the metamorphosis aspect. It also makes sense that he changed it maybe because Mariah Carey did a song about heartbreak and butterflies already. Dunno. Love the song though. Perfect for heartbreak.

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Guster – Long Way Down Lyrics 13 years ago
I agree with the above two. I believe it's specifically about the perspective shift that one experiences when they are no longer blinded by love.

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Guster – Red Oyster Cult Lyrics 13 years ago
I think it's not glorious, that you don't have to grow up or grow old. It all sounds very sarcastic to me. I believe it's directly targeting drug users (specifically LSD "Few drops away"). And yeah, BOC is kind of tied into the drug culture. If you've ever seen the Stoned Age, one of the characters is being chased by an eye from a Blue Oyster Cult show.

I'm pretty positive this whole album has a kind of "anti-drug" theme, but in a very well put way, from someone who's had experience. The lyrics seem to be saying that the narrator has seen that drugs have weighted them down, allowed them to be young and allowed them to be free, but at the same time they aren't going anywhere.

I would tie it to Come Downstairs and Say Hello, in that one is a realization you're wasting your time doing dead-head type stuff as watching Wizard of Oz and listening to Pink Floyd, and this one is almost the backlash of figuring out how you got there, once you're out of it.

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Guster – Red Oyster Cult Lyrics 13 years ago
I think it's not glorious, that you don't have to grow up or grow old. It all sounds very sarcastic to me. I believe it's directly targeting drug users (specifically LSD "Few drops away"). And yeah, BOC is kind of tied into the drug culture. If you've ever seen the Stoned Age, one of the characters is being chased by an eye from a Blue Oyster Cult show.

I'm pretty positive this whole album has a kind of "anti-drug" theme, but in a very well put way, from someone who's had experience. The lyrics seem to be saying that the narrator has seen that drugs have weighted them down, allowed them to be young and allowed them to be free, but at the same time they aren't going anywhere.

I would tie it to Come Downstairs and Say Hello, in that one is a realization you're wasting your time doing dead-head type stuff as watching Wizard of Oz and listening to Pink Floyd, and this one is almost the backlash of figuring out how you got there, once you're out of it.

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Guster – Come Downstairs And Say Hello Lyrics 13 years ago
I got this from here: http://pclit.pbwiki.com/The+Wonderful+Wizard+of+Oz

Pretty good insight.


"Come Downstairs and Say Hello" by Guster

from Keep it Together (2003)



In this song, lead singer Ryan Miller expresses his dissatisfaction with being not fulfilling his own resolutions to improve his life. He cites the practice of watching the 1939 film adaptation of Baum's novel (entitled simply The Wizard of Oz) while listening to Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" as an example of the sloth he is trying to avoid:



Dorothy moves to click her ruby shoes / right in tune with "Dark Side of the Moon" / Someone, someone could tell me / where I belong / be calm be brave / It'll be ok



Later, Miller imagines characters from "The Wizard of Oz" encouraging him to get out of his funk and accomplish something:



Voices calling from a yellow road / to come downstairs and say hello

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Bob Dylan – Ballad of a Thin Man Lyrics 13 years ago
Just watched "I'm not There" and it pretty much follows what I was saying.

It's not about gay sex. Bob Dylan Fan my ass.

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The Jealous Sound – Anxious Arms Lyrics 13 years ago
Ceekenpomp is on the money. This whole album certainly has a drug use theme, I would say more specifically of the opiate family. Painkillers, heroin, etc.

I feel that the author is completely unable to be in a committed serious relationship due to their anxiety, depression, drug problem, but they realize that the person who has had faith in them is all they have. They're closing in fast on another year. Means, I think, the author feels a bit guilty they don't have their shit together by now to be married.

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Radiohead – Faust Arp Lyrics 13 years ago
Also, it's "You've a head full of feathers, You got melted to butter."

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Bob Dylan – On the Road Again Lyrics 13 years ago
I believe this song is about life and how Dylan can see that there is something higher in life than what you see around you. Many of Dylan's songs pre-born-again era were about a feeling that life is a game to be played, an illusion of sorts. My feeling of this song was that he was always looking ahead, to even after life and wished to be there.

So in this song, he's pointing out how absurd life is and saying that he's enlightened, to a degree. He doesn't live there, his mind is not there. I think the entire family, etc is a metaphor for the absurdities of life.

Just my interpretation. Would go with other songs on the album dealing with the same kind of issues.

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Bob Dylan – Ballad of a Thin Man Lyrics 13 years ago
And also, the song is a joke...it's mocking people of that mentality. It's making them sit there and wonder what the hell Dylan is talking about in this song, because it's directly targeting them. The truth is; there is no real answer. It's a red herring. He's just throwing together the silliest and most ridiculous imagery to poke fun at someone trying to figure it all out via the F.Scott Fitzgerald school of thought.

It is for the people of the press who say, "What's the message in this song?" for every single one of Bob's songs and his reply is "If you don't know, I didn't write it for you" basically. Either you understand Bob or you don't, but he's not going to give you an easy answer.

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Bob Dylan – Ballad of a Thin Man Lyrics 13 years ago
I believe this song is about someone's inability to see the message in things that aren't explicitly laid out for them.

In a sense it serves two purposes. It makes idiots sit here and analyze every single line and try to imagine it's about gay sex, thereby turning THEM into the Mr. Jones that knows something is happening in this song, but they don't know what it is...

There are just people who do not get things like Bob Dylan but are intelligent people none-the-less.

Anyone can get F. Scott Fitzgerald first pass, but not everyone can understand Blake or Ginsberg. Get me? There's just a difference between straight forward narration and surrealist type poetry...the person who can get A but not B is Mr. Jones.

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Bob Dylan – It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) Lyrics 13 years ago
These things are traps for distracting you from your true life's purpose...

Money:
"For them that must obey authority
That they do not respect in any degree
Who despise their jobs, their destinies
Speak jealously of them that are free
Do what they do just to be
Nothing more than something
They invest in."

You pay for college to work a job that you hate. You hate your boss and you hate anyone who isn't hating their life as much as you are. For instance, those who are "free" in the sense that they are not bound by society's rat race.


Consumerism:
"Advertising signs that con you
Into thinking you're the one
That can do what's never been done
That can win what's never been won
Meantime life outside goes on
All around you."

Obviously. This car will make you happy. This deodorant will bring you love. With this box of crackers, you'll live forever.

Church and Politics:
While preachers preach of evil fates
and
While some on principles baptized

Again, these things are distractions. Anyone who just sits and fights for their church (not God, the church) or fights for their "social club" (aka, political party) is distracted. Not realizing they're furthering someone else, not their self.



Being a judgmental about sexual issues (premarital, homosexual):
Old lady judges watch people in pairs
Limited in sex, they dare
To push fake morals, insult and stare

People who spend their lives just worrying about judging other people instead of living their own lives.

And also:
While money doesn't talk, it swears
Obscenity, who really cares
Propaganda, all is phony.

The point is to not get hung up on any of these things. You could spend your whole life fighting obscenity...but who cares? You could spend your whole life fighting propaganda, but if you understand EVERYTHING is just as phoney, then it doesn't matter.

Being partisan/pro-war/anti-war/peace loving:
"As some warn victory, some downfall
Private reasons great or small
Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
To make all that should be killed to crawl
While others say don't hate nothing at all
Except hatred"



There are tons more in the song, but the point is that these are all distractions. These are things not to be worried about. These are what you need not to fall into if you plan to actually be yourself, to understand the nature of true freedom. Once you become a slave to any of these things, you are a slave...period. Meanwhile, all the rest of the world are slaves to these things, and you have to figure out a way to be you and live your life amongst these things....just to survive...

"An' though the rules of the road have been lodged
It's only people's games that you got to dodge
And it's alright, Ma, I can make it."

The big line comes near the end with:

"My eyes collide head-on with stuffed graveyards
False gods, I scuff
At pettiness which plays so rough
Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
Kick my legs to crash it off
Say okay, I have had enough
What else can you show me?"

He's basically saying that the world has attempted to hold him down with these things, and he's rejected them. He is doing exactly what he wants. He's kicked off the handcuffs.

This song is all about being mentally free from everything that attempts to enslave you.

He refers to taking off handcuffs, he says how most people are "living in a vault" (not free) he says how people speak jealously of those that are free, etc etc etc.

The most important thing is to understand that you don't have to play these games and you don't have to be any one or anything's slave...

"I got nothing, Ma, to live up to."

Just be yourself, realize where the traps are, even ones with good intentions. This is life, and Dylan lets us believe that something better is coming afterward, but we have to make it through all of this, first.

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Radiohead – Faust Arp Lyrics 13 years ago
The name Faust Arp is a mash up of Faust, a man who sold his soul to the devil for almost unlimited power, but in the moment he experienced happiness, he had to give the devil his soul. From wiki:

"The second part begins with the spirits of the earth forgiving Faust (and the rest of mankind) and progresses into rich allegorical poetry. Faust and his devil pass through the world of politics and the world of the classical gods, and meet with Helen of Troy (the personification of beauty). Finally, having succeeded in taming the very forces of war and nature Faust experiences a single moment of happiness."


And also Arp, which I believe to be a reference to Hans/Jean Arp, who is a French/German painter/sculptor. One of the famous stories about him can be found on Wikipedia. It's about his reluctance to be dragged into the army:

QUOTE
Arp later told the story of how, when he was notified to report to the German embassy, he avoided being drafted into the army: he took the paperwork he had been given and, in the first blank, wrote the date. He then wrote the date in every other space as well, then drew a line beneath them and carefully added them up. He then took off all his clothes and went to hand in his paperwork. He was told to go home.


Next, the reference to the blackbird pie, which is taken from Sing a Song of Sixpence:

QUOTE
Sing a song of sixpence,
a pocket full of rye.
Four and twenty blackbirds,
baked in a pie.

When the pie was opened,
the birds began to sing.
Now, wasn't that a dainty dish
to set before the king?

The king was in his counting house,
counting out his money.
The queen was in the parlour,
eating bread and honey.


That's where the black bird pie reference comes from. I think metaphorically, its in the song to display bringing the king something, aka, an issue. Meanwhile the king just counts his money and the queen enjoys decadent delicacies.

Add it up...

I take the lyrics of the song to be a reference to Thom's work as an activist. I remember reading in an interview with him in an issue of Paste about the time of the Eraser's release that he was very ambivalent about activism because he was afraid of being blackmailed or used. Here's a bit of it:

QUOTE
“I think what he does for AIDS is amazing,” says Yorke. “No one else seems to have that energy. I think what happened with the Drop the Debt campaign, unfortunately, is that the very people responsible for those debts, the G8—as these things go in high-level politics, if someone chooses to engage with them saying, ‘I want you to help this or change that,’ they want something in return. They don’t give a f— if it’s morally right, they just want the photo op, and that’s where I got off the ride.”

Power brokers attempting to capitalize on the intensity and devotion of Radiohead’s audience is obviously a cunning, deviant method of attracting support for political issues. But, remember, this audience is comprised of musical zealots. A picture of a politician’s arm around Thom Yorke isn’t necessarily going to open up a demographic some interest group is desperately trying to convert. Still, Yorke is acutely aware of the power of his iconology, how it can be abused, and how, in the end, it can actually hurt the greater cause.

“After all the talk, they don’t do shit; they get something out of it and you get nothing in return. They tried to do the bizarre blackmail scheme with me because I’m involved with Friends of the Earth who are trying to get the British Government to reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2050. They were talking about setting up a meeting with me and Tony Blair. I wasn’t particularly happy or wild about meeting the guy who took us into Iraq, and then they started talking about having a few meetings beforehand with us [Yorke lapses into a formal British voice] just to discuss how the day would go, and to make sure I was ‘onsides,’ so that if perhaps after the meeting I said things less than positive about the situation and what Blair was doing… just to remind me that [kind of behavior] may well jeopardize Friends Of The Earth’s access to the Prime Minister in the future. That’s called ‘blackmail,’ and that’s exactly what they used to do with Bono. And I don’t think that’s good enough, and it’s not Bono’s fault. The constant discussion I’ve had with him about it was, ‘I’ll try to work from the inside, and you try and work from the outside,’ which is good. But what I worry about is that you don’t come out of it intact, and it can jeopardize the issue.”



If I had to sum it up, I would say that the singer is somewhere between Faust and Arp. A bit of a split personality on social/political issues. On one hand wanting to control it all (Faust) and on the other hand just wishing to play crazy so that they leave him alone and he doesn't have to fight (Arp).



It's on again, off again, on again


In his heart though, he knows he should be doing something. (Ought to feel.) But, he knows the area of activism is just as shady as anything else. So, this frustrates him. Instead of getting involved with the little groups, he'd prefer to just make art. Bob Dylan does the same thing. He'll do stuff for a cause, but he also saw the way Lennon got used by people like Ruben and Hoffman. Even if people have the best intentions, they still may do things in a shady way. A way that compromises Thom's morals.

What he wants to do is create art, as his activism.

QUOTE
watch me fall
like dominos
in pretty patterns

and

squeeze the tubes and empty bottles now
take a bow, take a bow, take a bow


are both references to him giving all that he can artistically, but it still not being enough. Falling like dominos in pretty patterns to me means writing a song during a very intense emotional breakdown. Pouring your heart into something like a global warming, collapsing mentally from just wanting to help and change things, and the end result is a beautiful painting, poem, song, etc.

I believe this part:

QUOTE
i guess im stuffed, stuffed, stuffed
we thought you had it in you
but no, no, no
exactly where do you get off
is enough, is enough
i love you but enough is enough, enough
a last stop


..is a dialog between him and someone wanting him to give more to a certain cause. Probably a ton of people in anyone famous' life. People are constantly courting you for their cause. Some of those lines sound like what someone may say to someone, being disappointed that they aren't giving more, and some sound like a frustrated response. Again, compare these two:


QUOTE
exactly where do you get off
is enough, is enough
i love you but enough is enough, enough
a last stop

and

They don’t give a f— if it’s morally right, they just want the photo op, and that’s where I got off the ride.

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