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Bruce Springsteen – Lucky Town Lyrics 15 years ago
Might have something to do with Springsteen remarrying?

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Leonard Cohen – Famous Blue Raincoat Lyrics 15 years ago
Well I'm back after three years wandering in the desert. Thanks for the comments (and the e-mail that one of you was kind enough to send). I still have a great affection for this song and stand by most of my previous thoughts (if not the histrionics that accompanied them!). I am most interested in the scientology reference that kconway mentioned and, to Fypast, I agree, the song is all about a man struggling with his shortcomings. I do stand by my thoughts about disloyalty but perhaps I would rephrase them; in Cohen's mind at least 'Jane' has been unfaithful, if not why would he still use the phrase 'my woman'? In my naivety I overlooked the allusions to drug abuse but whoever brought that up is totally on the money; it just adds to the desolation of the whole song really doesn't it? One final thought (until 2009!) ars musica mentioned the Tori Amos cover, I have to agree, it is an amazing version. Best wishes.

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Ben Folds Five – Brick Lyrics 18 years ago
The opening verse of Ben Folds' 'Brick' asserts the secrecy that surrounded his girlfriend's abortion. It's six hours past midnight, not yet sunrise, he dresses without thought and is 'numb'. Certainly the cold has deprived his senses, but moreover, he is numb to the gravity of the operation; the repercussions both for his girlfriend and himself. This reaction is perfectly normal, the morning of the abortion has arrived and there will be no reprieve. In self-preservation the author becomes detatched and pragmatic, driving his girlfriend to the clinic. The second verse reveals that her parents were unaware of her pregnancy, and the line 'they're not home to find us out' trivialises her situation. Without knowing that Folds is describing the circumstances of an abortion, one might assume that their being together was an act of rebellion, conducted in exciting secrecy; the typical behaviour of the young and frivolous. Of course, it becomes painfully clear that this is not a love song. The pre-chorus states the loneliness that both parties feel, a loneliness that cannot be comforted and defines the end of their relationship. The chorus is something of a riddle. His girlfriend's pregnancy has caused such strain and exasperation that the author feels as though he is slowly dying, exhausted by the situation. Folds is 'heading nowhere' because the pregnancy is a pre-occupation, until it is resolved, life cannot be conducted, no progress can be made. At 7:30 his girlfriend is called for her operation. Folds waits with nervousness and in an anguish. The buying of the flowers is an act which is intended to console his girlfriend, however, flowers are a precarious gift owing to their synonymity with death, (funerals). To afford the abortion the couple are forced to sell yesterday's Christmas presents, evidence of their desperation. The lines 'Can't you see, It's not me you're dying for' are spoken directly to the unborn child, now terminated. Here the author discloses the schism between he and his girlfriend. The abortion was ultimately her choice, and he was unable to change her mind, the song is in part, therefore an apology to, or at least a mourning of his aborted child. As both the author and his girlfriend 'break-down' (in tears, and or emotionally) it is clear that she too struggles to cope with the consequences of the operation. As the song concludes Folds and his girlfriend truly will be alone as their relationship cannot continue under such traumatic disagreement.

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Leonard Cohen – Famous Blue Raincoat Lyrics 18 years ago
Cohen's 'Famous Blue Raincoat' is a typically inward complexity. Interpreting this epistolary song is made difficult by the ambiguity surrounding the specific relationships of it's subjects. Cohen's description of a love-triangle is none-the-less tremendously astute, provoking great tenderness and empathy for his intense, and often contradictory emotions. Certainly 'Jane' was an intimate of the author, referring to her both in the first and third person as 'his woman', however Jane's relationship with 'Famous Blue Raincoat' is less clear. Unquestionably she was unfaithful to Cohen with him, however the extent to which is speculation. The evidence purports that Jane's involvement was somewhat more than a single act of infidelity. The line, 'And you treated my woman to a flake of your life, And when she came back she was nobody's wife' definately implies that their relationship was sustained for some duration, and sarcastically, that it was an honor. For her to come back, she must have gone away, surely for more than a single night. Moreover, for the incident to inspire such beautiful verse, and such interest and knowledge in the adulterer you would expect the affair to have spanned some time. Cohen's 'enemy', his rival in affection for the woman, deserts her, leaving her with neither Cohen, who is cuckolded, or of course, himself - grown tired of the engagement. The heart of this song is it's exposition of envy. Cohen reluctantly and with devastating resignation, thanks his rival for removing the sadness that pained the face of his woman - something he was impotent to. Because of his love for Jane, his humiliation; his rejection and loss, even though at her hands is abated by her improvement. Furthermore, Cohen is with hindsight, 'glad' that he was prevented from reclaiming his woman, recognising (again with reluctance) that regardless of his love for her, she could never be his. Not after such disloyalty. The tale is composed some time after the conclusion of the affair. The three members of the triangle are essentially independant, although Cohen and Jane remain close enough for a memento of her one-time-only suitor to be brought over to his residence. Perhaps this is the most vague aspect of the song. Cohen and Jane are separated, coming by 'with a lock of your hair' seems an incredibly insensitive act on the woman's part, excusable only if both the author and she, feel together the abscence of 'Famous Blue Raincoat', a man who we are informed has aged, remains unsettled, (is dissatisfied perhaps). Such a supposition though, disagrees with the rest of the song. The detail, 'The last time we saw you... Your famous blue raincoat was torn at the shoulder' suggests the loss of eligibility, possibly giving Cohen some form of wicked consolation and the song's proviso, 'Your enemy is sleeping, and his woman is free', reveals the author's present temper; he refuses to see the man that stole his woman, but cannot inhibit him, should he return for Jane. He is too badly wrecked, made passive by rejection.

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Ben Folds – Fred Jones Pt. 2 Lyrics 18 years ago
Whilst the balmy qualities of the song leave great scope for interpretation, it is clear that 'Fred Jones Pt. 2' is the portrayal of a man's crowning day with a company for whom he has worked for twenty-five years. The song pursues Mr. Jones as he clears his desk and leaves, unceremoniously, without send-off or remark to enter a life of retirement. On the emotional plain we trace Mr. Jones' feelings of loneliness (at his desk), insignificance and overwhelming sadness. This is emphasised by a two second pause and the piano solo that follows the line, 'he reflects on the day'. A day like any other, a day that has confirmed his decrepitude. Sat alone, in darkness save for the streetlights, Mr. Jones determines to sketch and to paint, to alleviate his emptiness. In actuality, this final scene is the most moving and tearful section of the song. Unable even to trace a slide satisfactorily, Jones's sadness becomes unrestrained anger at his hopelessness, at 'all of these bastards [who] have taken his place'. Although the song concentrates on the individual, it's themes are universal. The train is a metaphor for life, people get on, sit around for a while and then disappear. Jones achknowledges Death (the shadow in his office) that soon he must pass. 'It's time', the principal line of the song, refers both to the end of Mr. Jones's span at the paper and is an omen of his (and all people's) inevitable departure.

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