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Tom Waits – Cold Cold Ground Lyrics 1 year ago
Sounds like the last person left in a deserted town. All that is left is run down monuments to a disappearing way of life. Nothing to do but get drunk, shoot stuff, and burn it all down.

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Tom Waits – New Year's Eve Lyrics 1 year ago
Sounds like a group of addicts get together on New Years Eve and it all goes south. The cleanest one of the bunch is the host and tries to bring in one's mother to help maintain order. Unfortunately, things get out of control, and several are arrested. The host of the party leaves in frustration to start over in Vegas. However, he will never forget his friends.

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Tom Waits – Jitterbug Boy Lyrics 1 year ago
This is about a guy who is obviously down and out and is using braggadocio to build himself up. It's endearing in a way.

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Van Morrison – Sweet Thing Lyrics 2 years ago
@[Wongo:27645] Interesting, this is my take on "Astral Weeks" ("taking good care of your boy/putting on his little read shoes" etc).

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Van Morrison – Astral Weeks Lyrics 3 years ago
My interpretation of this is this is from the perspective of someone close to the moment of their death ("to lay me down"). Thinking about the most beautiful moments from their life and wondering what it will be like in the afterlife ("to be born again," "talkin' to Huddie Ledbetter"). Some have attributed the mother to the woman he is dating, but I thought it was his own mother, and he was seeing himself as a little boy.

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Tom Waits – Waltzing Mathilda Lyrics 3 years ago
@[tsreyb:23096] He's trying to convince himself that he is at peace with alcoholism. That is not the same as being at peace with oneself. Very similar to Jitterbug Boy on the same album, the narrator is a character and just because he is saying happy things does not mean he is happy.

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Grateful Dead – Ripple Lyrics 3 years ago
At the time people were looking to Dylan and his ilk for guidance. They are just musicians. They don't have answers to life's questions, but they can put you in a place to find the answers yourself. "If you should stand, who is to follow? If I knew the way, I would take you there" Hunter's wisdom is that he has no special wisdom, no great insight. What he has is music that can put you in a place to experience your own wisdom.

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Grateful Dead – Row Jimmy Lyrics 3 years ago
Just a fantastic song, one of my all time favorites. Beautiful image of a river town past its heyday, a girl dancing without a jukebox, working people struggling to get by, and finding solace in the healing power of music (which the song itself exemplifies). But who are Jimmy, Julie, and the narrator? I believe the narrator is Julie's mother speaking to her husband Jimmy. They are watching their daughter learning to dance while reflecting on their struggles and the plight of the town. They are struggling to get by, but marveling at their daughter coming of age. Julie's mother tells her husband to get down and row and see where life takes them.

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Palace Music – Ohio River Boat Song Lyrics 3 years ago
A simple Americana image of a boat worker on the Ohio River. In the first verse knows his love has been unfaithful but sticks with her, like a boat in tow...Yet in the second verse she kicks him out. He says her hair means less to him than a melting flake of snow, but clearly he is in denial because his heart is still full of woe. Still he carries on, does his work, and appreciates the beauty of the muddy river.

Oldham County is in the Louisville Area, while Floyd's Knob is on the Indiana side of the river.

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The Mountain Goats – Alpha Negative Lyrics 4 years ago
I don't think it is literally about murder since this appears to take place early in the relationship before the Alpha Couple hits rock bottom. The poison could refer to their alcoholism and perhaps one blaming the other for introducing it into the relationship. Either way, the main character loves the other deeply but also knows early on that the relationship is toxic and doomed.

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The Mountain Goats – Pigs That Ran Straightaway into the Water, Triumph of Lyrics 4 years ago
@[MLieberman27:16347] Claremont is Claremont, CA, a college town outside of LA near Chino. JD grew up in that area and much of his early material refers to locations in that area.

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The Mountain Goats – See America Right Lyrics 4 years ago
One part of the couple has gone to Tampa, leaving the other in Tallahasse. I picture this taking place at approximately the same time as the other half of the couple (Alpha Female?) is eating boiled peanuts in "Alpha Omega" after kicking out the Alpha Male. Alpha Male continues in a downward spiral in Tampa, with worsening alcoholism, culmingating in him getting thrown in jail. Upon getting out of jail, they meet in Inglis, which is in between Tampa and Tallahassee. This may be the first step toward getting back together briefly before it all blows up once and for all.

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The Mountain Goats – Going to Bristol Lyrics 4 years ago
A guy who is in denial that his girlfriend is leaving. She is so mad she is trembling and drops her cup and all he thinks is "i liked everything i saw". She gets to the point of leaving but the key breaks in the lock. All he says is "it's going to be OK". Yeah, right, somehow I don't think so.

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The Mountain Goats – Going to Maryland Lyrics 4 years ago
@[terpfan417:16305] Perhaps he is a tourist? Hence "Going to..."

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The Mountain Goats – Going to Malibu Lyrics 4 years ago
A guy's ex convinces him to meet under some pretext. He has said he doesn't want to get back together, but in the back of his mind he can't believe how good she looks, and she smiles and knows what he's thinking.

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The Mountain Goats – Going to San Diego Lyrics 4 years ago
A guy on a bus to meet a woman all his friends are advising him against seeing. She is crazy and close to death...maybe a drug addict? Definitely a mistake but the heart does what it will.

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The Mountain Goats – Going to Kansas Lyrics 4 years ago
We don't really know the perspective of the woman in green, but I get the impression that she sees the events in the song as a friendly hook-up (on vacation at the beach, possibly). She leaves and probably thinks nothing of it, while the first person narrator is completely destroyed.

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The Mountain Goats – Distant Stations Lyrics 4 years ago
Could this be the person who sends the postcards to the guy in Austin in Source Decay? "I waited for you but I never told you where I was...:

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The Mountain Goats – The Mess Inside Lyrics 4 years ago
@[heroinhotwater:16042] Very similar to the Alpha Couple but I think it is a different couple. It seems to be the Alpha Couple never had a phase where they were truly in love because they were so self-absorbed in their alcoholism. This relationship is almost more painful because they genuinely loved each other at one time, and both want desperately to get back to their earlier love, and yet they can't, they have lost it and once it's lost you can't get it back.

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The Mountain Goats – The Mess Inside Lyrics 4 years ago
I believe this is couple in "Jenny," which refers to a southwestern ranch-style house that they had just purchased, along with the motorcycle. At some point their love wanes and they try through a variety of trips and consumer goods to recapture their earlier love. Now the southwestern ranch-style house just hides the mess inside from the outside world. This is also likely the same couple in "Riches and Wonders".

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The Mountain Goats – Young Caesar 2000 Lyrics 4 years ago
No idea if this is the basis for the song, but according to good old Wikipedia, Gratian was made Roman emperor at age 8, before being assassinated at age 24.

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The Mountain Goats – The Black Ice Cream Song Lyrics 4 years ago
Funny, it is such a short simple song but so open to interpretation. Seems to me that the first verse is at night, he has a vision of someone feeding him black ice cream. Then in the morning he is woken up by his son's go kart. As he is becoming conscious, he realizes what day it is, and looks over at his wife. This reveals the "you" in the first verse to be his wife who is now lying next to him. So the dream becomes a dark vision about his wife trying to poison him or otherwise have it in for him. It's a guy in 1957 having a fucked up dream about his wife while his son is outside playing in the go-kart.

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The Mountain Goats – Source Decay Lyrics 4 years ago
@[dagwood:16002] Best explanation I can come up with as well. A guy living somewhere west of Austin who at some point traveled with his best friend/lover in Bangkok. She is still traveling, he is back in TX, and all he has is a memory of a railroad platform in 1983. My only question is whether the characters correspond to any of the others on AHWT or if this is a separate couple. I don't see anything that obviously links them to the others.

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The Mountain Goats – My Favorite Things Lyrics 4 years ago
Great song about a hipster who is too into his John Coltrane to appreciate the moment and focus his attention on his partner. I hate to admit it, I have been this guy many times, including when listening to the Mountain Goats.

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The Mountain Goats – Alpha Sun Hat Lyrics 4 years ago
I have been listening to this song for 20+ years and for all this time I thought it was "ovary voice". Oboe reed makes so much more sense! And yeah, I am surprised this one has so few comments as it contains I believe the first mention of the alpha couple's journey to Tallahassee. At this point he is starting to realize he wants to end it, but she is still in denial. He secretly wants her to leave because he doesn't have the willpower to leave first, probably because he hates himself.

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The Mountain Goats – Orange Ball of Hate Lyrics 4 years ago
@[tragicweek:15991] Interesting. I always thought it took place in New England. Knowing that it takes place in California completely changes the meaning. So the narrator has always wanted to leave California but this is the moment he decides he likes his life the way it is. Nice.

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The Mountain Goats – Alphabetizing Lyrics 4 years ago
@[pdaddyrock:15976] I have this on the Chile de Arbol 7" listed as 1993.

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The Mountain Goats – Source Decay Lyrics 4 years ago
@[kozmik:15972] I don't think it's the couple in Jenny, because she has a new southwestern ranch style house. Doesn't seem like the type of neighborhood with Impalas on blocks. I don't see this being Jeff and Cyrus. There is nothing in "Best Ever Death Metal" to indicate they were more than bandmates. I think there is a third couple. Possibly one of whom is the woman who comes in on the redeye from Taipei?

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The Mountain Goats – Jenny Lyrics 4 years ago
Jenny has recently gotten married and bought a new ranch house. They are doing well but her husband has a rebellious streak. He goes and impresses her by buying a new motorcycle as well. I think they are the couple that gradually deteriorates through "Riches and Wonders" and "The Mess Inside". This is the moment when their love is at its peak, the moment they are trying to get back to in "The Mess Inside". I don't think the driver is William Stanforth Donahue because he was a failure and would not have gotten the hot chick or the nice house.

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The Mountain Goats – Color in Your Cheeks Lyrics 4 years ago
I like the rehab angle. "Drink some of this" could be coffee. Don't they drink tons of coffee in rehab places?

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The Mountain Goats – Pigs That Ran Straightaway into the Water, Triumph of Lyrics 4 years ago
I don't think prison is just a metaphor for addiction. First he wants to go home, then he hopes that the judge will relent, then for a piece of space junk to strike the prison van so he can go on the lam and lie low in Claremont. None of these things happen. At the end, his "triumph" is merely that he will not let prison break him. He is still a stubborn addict who refuses to change.

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The Mountain Goats – Pigs That Ran Straightaway into the Water, Triumph of Lyrics 4 years ago
@[RedLeaf:15971] If he skipped out, why would he be praying for space junk to break a hole in the roof?

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The Mountain Goats – Hast Thou Considered the Tetrapod Lyrics 4 years ago
The meaning is pretty obvious. Just wanted to add that the line "fine white foam" referring to his stepfather's spittle is just killer. I could imagine a 1000X close-up photo of the spittle being this beautiful image, but then you step back and see that it is a drunk abusive alcoholic drooling on himself and it is just pure ugliness.

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The Mountain Goats – Pink and Blue Lyrics 4 years ago
I think it is just about someone (most likely a single mother) who has a nine day old infant with absolutely no clue how to raise it, and nothing but a cardboard box for a cradle.

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The Mountain Goats – Pink and Blue Lyrics 4 years ago
@[thedreamlord:15951] Why do you think it is a father? Could also be a single mother. Certainly a person with a baby in pretty desperate circumstances.

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The Mountain Goats – This Year Lyrics 4 years ago
@[scenicworld:15949] Well, of course that is what happens in the song. But it's about so much more!

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The Mountain Goats – No Children Lyrics 4 years ago
Definitely a sad, depressing song about the alpha couple hitting rock bottom prior to their divorce. The narrator hates his wife and hates himself, but they both feel unlovable by anyone else and so they stick together. The talk about killing himself and his wife is his "cry for help", trying to attract your attention as suicidal/alcoholics typically do.

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The Mountain Goats – No Children Lyrics 4 years ago
@[kickinside:15948] Yep, classic alpha couple narcissism. They want you to feel sorry for them but they are just a completely mundane alcoholic couple with no redeeming qualities.

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Fugazi – KYEO Lyrics 4 years ago
I first heard them perform this song at an abortion rights protest show outside the Supreme Court. It follows "Dear Justice Letter" on the album, so I always interpreted this to have a broader meaning than being about war/military. It is about keeping your eyes open for all abuses of power, taking away constitutional freedoms, etc.

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Fugazi – Cassavetes Lyrics 4 years ago
@[rich79:15645] Actually his best work was Woman Under the Influence, and she was also in that.

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Moss Icon – I'm Back Sleeping, or Fucking, or Something Lyrics 5 years ago
@[instantramen:8539] Who or what the f--- are Formosa and Sheridan?

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Townes Van Zandt – If I Needed You Lyrics 5 years ago
I think it's about rejection. He would do anything for her, but realizes that she would not do the same for him. All he has is his parakeets.

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Townes Van Zandt – I'll Be Here In The Morning Lyrics 5 years ago
I can't help but wonder if the guy is lying--perhaps intentionally, perhaps to himself. No question, he sincerely wants to stay for this woman but he also has the impulse to go. I'd like to think he stays, but I am not so sure.

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Van Morrison – Astral Weeks Lyrics 5 years ago
@[swasome:4538] I agree with this, but to be more specific I think this is about a person who is at the moment of death. About to transition to a higher plane of existence. First he wants to know if his love will find him in the afterlife (will you find me/will you miss my eye, etc). He wonders if he will meet the ghosts of his heroes (talkin' to Huddie Ledbetter...). Then he sees himself as a little boy and his mother taking care of him (first he refers to the boy as "he", but then he says "pointing a finger at me"). He is filled with gratitude to his mother. Then he leaves the world...

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Van Morrison – Madame George Lyrics 5 years ago
@[Paega:4537] This seems right to me. I don't know much about Ireland at the time, but the song reminds me of cities in the US that have undergone gentrification and lost their bohemian culture. It's bigger than Madame George specifically.

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Bonnie 'Prince' Billy – Raining In Darling Lyrics 5 years ago
@[Oxenbrigg:4516] Yeah, "I go outdoors where it's fun to be" does not sound very convincing either and the way it is delivered I think supports your ironic interpretation.

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Palace Brothers – You Will Miss Me When I Burn Lyrics 5 years ago
These are the things you tell yourself when you are lonely and isolated. To make yourself feel better, you try to think of reasons why it might be better to be alone (When you have no one/no one can hurt you). Of course, none of it is true. Human beings are social creatures in need of love and friendship.

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Will Oldham – I Am a Cinematographer Lyrics 5 years ago
@[sidneycarton:4515] See, I have the opposite interpretation. Great songs are like that. I think it is about this pretentious guy who fancies himself a cinematographer. He walks away from New York, California, and even Louisville because he is an utter failure. I think it is a self-parody in a way because Will Oldham himself has a "starving artist" image. But even though the guy in the song is a pretentious douche bag, it is still sad in a way.

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Will Oldham – A King at Night Lyrics 5 years ago
Great song. The guy is a total prick but he is simply covering up for his insecurities. At the end of the day, you feel more sorry for him than anything else.

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Will Oldham – We All, Us Three, Will Ride Lyrics 5 years ago
One of my very favorite Will Oldham songs. A simple song about a crippled woman fantasizing about a man coming to give her a baby and ride away together.

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