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Shearwater – Wildlife in America Lyrics 3 years ago
American Sniper.

Shearwater – Backchannels Lyrics 3 years ago
The author, asked what it is about:
"The voice in your head that occasionally tells you to stop living. I think it's far more common than people let on."

Shearwater – Quiet Americans Lyrics 3 years ago
I'm not sure what the video or the song is supposed to mean, and I like it that way! But some stabs.

I don't want to read too much into the video. But to me it hints at the idea that America will not be run by white men forever, and entertains the idea that maybe the systems they built while they were in control may not turn out well for them. There is some gleeful schadenfreude to it, to my eyes, but also anxiety and regret that replacing the rulers of the world won't automatically make it a kinder place.

My reading of the song is that, as much as some of us look forward to the diminution of American supervision of geopolitics (including me), we're also anxious that America turning inwards will not, and maybe this is a theme, automatically make the world a better place. Just a conflicted, unhappy contemplation of the disasters at both ends of the spectrum, and a despair whether a positive place in the middle can be found.

Catchy song, for all that!

Wye Oak – Mary Is Mary Lyrics 3 years ago
We left a 'maybe' for the cold hard

(Something that had been rumored became reality)

And they found a body in my backyard

(The corpse that you planted last year in your garden, has it begun to sprout, or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed? O keep the dog far hence, that's friend to man, or with his nails he'll dig it up again!)

And leave for the country just like you did


But he's not in the country, just look how you live


And O high and mighty, what do you know?

(O God. O God. Oh god oh god oh god yes.)

And there is no great eye on the sparrow

(c.f. the old Gospel hymn His Eye is on the Sparrow:

And Mary is Mary and I am not

(Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee)

But what, what good does she have that I haven't got?

(Hail Mary, full of death, sing me a bitter song)

And one head is lesser than the two heads

(One is the loneliest number)

But we know the facts that go unsaid

(Two can be as sad as one)

And I'm left alone in my own home
Where all that I own is not my own

(It's the loneliest number since the number one)

And O sleeping giant, why do you rest
Behind the eyes of who I love the best

(Why do people's religions have to get in the way)

And is there another where you do keep
The pain of another where my own sleep

(Or maybe the song is about religious faith as metaphor for sexual fidelity, who knows)

And O high and mighty, what is your guess?
Can we learn to live with so much less?

(I really wanted this lyric to be "so much loss", but it's not.)

And you say that we end where we all go

("To Hell, I guess.")

But O high and mighty, what do you know?

(Oh Lord. Amen.)

Elvis Costello – Soul For Hire Lyrics 6 years ago
This seems to be pretty obviously about public defenders.

Leonard Cohen – Night Comes On Lyrics 6 years ago
Men of previous generations did call their wives "Mother", so it's a little ambiguous. But I suppose he probably does mean his mother.

Shearwater – Believing Makes It Easy Lyrics 6 years ago
Jonathan: "This song is about taking mushrooms. I figured no one would think I would write such a thing."

Shearwater – Corridors Lyrics 6 years ago
I always thought this had to do with WWII prisoners of war, but I'm starting to think it's about seeing the formerly strong dying in hospital.

Wye Oak – I Hope You Die Lyrics 7 years ago
As the SCALES fall from your eyes. Like St. Paul.

Jenn said this was metaphorical, but I always thought it was about terminal illness myself.

The Shins – Bait and Switch Lyrics 7 years ago
Sheesh. Mercer enunciates well and it's pretty clear what he's saying.

I finally had all my ducks in a row
Peace and quiet by means of subtraction
And how she got in, I'm not sure that I know
But two weeks on and my spine was in traction
My eyes in a basket

My gut and my heart are so out of phase
And that kind of girl, she ain't nobody's daughter
I'm just not used to these powerful waves
She's shining the brass and I'm taking on water
What am I to do now?

I call on a beautiful witch
With a moral compass, bait and switch

Hide from my psychic derailer
Drive this car to sea
Spend the night as high as I can in a towering hemlock

But it's no use, it can always be found
A creature of habit has no real protection
I'll tell her I'll leave if she don't settle down
She sees it's a lie on closer inspection, like everyone else does

Then rub a terrible charm
Hold it smoking in my eyes
I'm just a simple man
Cursed with an honest heart
Watch me go and tear it all apart

Then rub a terrible charm
Hold it smoking in my eye
I'm just a simple man
Cursed with an honest heart
Watch me go and tear it all apart

This reminds me of Turn a Square in sound and subject matter. Seems a little forced, though.

Shearwater – Insolence Lyrics 7 years ago
The coda quotes Buffy St. Marie's Cod'ine.

Talk Talk – I Don't Believe In You Lyrics 8 years ago
What's funny is that they also have a song called "I Believe In You."

Shearwater – False Sentinel Lyrics 8 years ago
I'm pretty confident in these:

I was welcome-
In the dark above the reef-
Spread in shoals around the moon's eye
The silver eye, a world unseen.

Shearwater – Meridian Lyrics 8 years ago
This song, and the album, begins with the Bikinian anthem, quoted later in "Uniforms":

"I jab ber emol, aet, i jab ber ainmon
ion kineo im bitu
kin ailon eo ao im melan ko ie"

"No longer can I stay; it's true.
No longer can I live in peace and harmony.
No longer can I rest on my sleeping mat and pillow
Because of my island and the life I once knew there."

This song and "Missing Islands" are bookends for the album, depicting basically the same scene.

Shearwater – Missing Islands Lyrics 8 years ago
Sort of the "end credits" of the album. A hushed and distant depiction of the nuclear annihilation of an atoll.

"bloom and recede in the day" makes me think of a solar eclipse, but maybe not.

Shearwater – Missing Islands Lyrics 8 years ago
Effortless gulls in the wake
Silver and white on the bow
As the island is broken away
from the world

Bandages pulled from the eyes
The violent surging of life
in the bloodstream of heaven and earth
falls away

Stars on the boundary line
bloom and recede in the day
and the airfield is under the waves-

Shearwater – Uniforms Lyrics 8 years ago
Very straightforward continuation of the album's main theme, the destructive effects of colonialism and, especially, World War II on the indigenous island peoples of the world. Like other songs on the island, it is from the perspective of the island peoples.

The song's (and album's) overarching message is, "Go home colonialists!" "Burning atolls" is probably a reference to the atomic tests conducted on various South Pacific islands. (It might be a reference to the whaleship Essex, but that's a stretch.)

"Eber im lok" etc. is another quote from the Bikinian anthem, a sample of which opens the album.

"The world blooms for the last time" is probably a reference to the destruction of the micro-cultures, like those of pacific islands. The diversity of human cultures and lifestyles decreased catastrophically over the last two centures, but particularly in the last one.

Shearwater – Uniforms Lyrics 8 years ago
Send back the uniforms!
Send back the generous reich!
Send us back to our lives
on the waving blue wild
and remove every mark
down to the waterline
and with your arms at your sides
turn homeward.

Over seas.
Over roads.
Over burning atolls.
Hurl your empire's crown
back in the heart
of the waves.

eber im lok jiktok ikerele
kot iban bok hartu jonan an elap ippa

Relay, relay the unquenchable song through the wire
where your horses alight
on the shores of our lives.

The world blooms for the last time.

The Tragically Hip – Nautical Disaster Lyrics 8 years ago
It's a dream. It doesn't have to be about a real event.

I think the "fingernails scratching" and "kicked off our pantleg" are taken from the Bismarck. The general setting fits the sinking of Lancastria much better (especially since it was filled mostly with non-combatants, unlike the Bismarck, which was filled with soldiers - frankly, soldiers on the side of evil - in a time of war). Maybe it was inspired by Dieppe.

The historical connections do matter a great deal, but the vividness of the recalled (imagined?) dream is what matters more. It's silly to lose sight of that while arguing which historical incident fits the song lyrics better.

Spoon – The Ghost of You Lingers Lyrics 9 years ago
For what it's worth, the graphic novel Watchmen features an advertisement for the perfume Nostalgia, with the slogan: "Oh, how the ghost of you lingers." It may have been a subconscious borrowing and doesn't seem related to the song, but it's a long turn of phrase to be entirely coincidental.

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