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The Lonely Forest – I Don't Want To Live There Lyrics 10 years ago
You're right that this song is straightforward, but I'm confused about "33rd." Oregon was the 33rd state, but as you say, they're from Washington. Any idea what that lyric means?

The Velvet Teen – Chimera Obscurant Lyrics 10 years ago
I agree, this song is a masterpiece. Musically it's unique, lyrically it's a tour de force, and it captivates me for 13 minutes ever time I hear it. The song has two themes, which Judah weaves together: government control and Christianity. To hear him tell it, The Good News was delivered 2000 years ago, and yet now, with the rise of technology, rampant consumerism and the nanny state, people are being led astray and denied salvation at a faster clip than ever. He lists negative social trends and then references Biblical numerology to make his case that There's Only One Way Out. This song is probably the most beautiful thing to have come out of a belief in conspiracy theories. :-)

Personally, I find it ironic that this was released in 2004, in the middle of arguably the most overtly Christian presidency ever. With the rise of mega-churches and the Joel Osteens of the world raking in the dough, Judah's complaint that Christians are being discriminated against strikes me as laughable. However, this militant atheist can recognize genius when he hears it, and this song CERTAINLY qualifies.

The Lonely Island – Jack Sparrow Lyrics 10 years ago
Almost there. I'm pretty sure it's:

From the day he was born
He yearned for adventure
Old Captain Jack
Giving them what for

This song is downright hilarious. Love it.

Rogue Wave – Per Anger Lyrics 11 years ago
Yeah, I know these lyrics are nonsensical in places, but cut me some slack: the album isn't out for another month, and I haven't been able to look at the liner notes. Suggestions welcome.

Rogue Wave – Fear Itself Lyrics 11 years ago
This is an absolutely gorgeous song about the fate that awaits us if we don't take dramatic action to avert anthropogenic climate change. I particularly like the title, which is a reference to FDR's famous phrase, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

Iron & Wine – Communion Cups and Someone's Coat Lyrics 12 years ago
I asked Sam to play this at a show last year and he said he didn't remember it. Glad to know he's re-learned it!

Josh Ritter – Labelship Down Lyrics 12 years ago
The title would seem to be a reference to that excellent young adult novel, "Watership Down."

Marz – Everybody Had a Hard Year Lyrics 13 years ago
The lyrics from this song are partially taken from and partially inspired by John Lennon's song by the same name. Lennon's song was included as part of the Beatles track "I've Got A Feeling" on Let It Be.

I get such a wonderful, relaxed feeling listening to this song.

Mew – 156 Lyrics 13 years ago
Wow, prmacaluso, that is a totally plausible explanation. Thanks so much for telling us!

Also, it explains why it is "spelled out" as "one five six" and not "one hundred fifty-six." And also, this sort of pun could fit pretty well with Jonas' admission, as recounted by ToHereKnowsWhen, that his original meaning wasn't as cool as the other explanations people came up with. Not to say that I don't like it, but it's pretty easy, and he might consider it a little too cute, now, when compared with the theories he's heard.

I discovered this song today, *years* after its release. What took me so long!?! I adore And The Glass Handed Kites, and have also been totally digging "Snow Brigade." I think I'm well on my way to becoming a fully-fledged Mew addict.

Elbow – Grounds for Divorce Lyrics 14 years ago
Good god, is this ever a song about alcoholism.

Mondays are when the regulars at the bar drink to the narrator's son, whom he doesn't see very often because he's always at the bar.

Unsurprisingly, his wife doesn't like that he's always there. He rarely comes home on time, either; he doesn't even use his compass/watch combo as a watch, so he never knows what time it is.

There's fighting at this bar, too, and plenty of gambling. The "sticks" line refers to billiards. (This point is pretty clearly made in the video.) Guy has bet someone everything he has, but asks to keep a Chinese cigarette case, presumably his most prized possession.

Can I just say that I love the chorus? What a beautiful, tortured sentence!

In the second verse, some guys are sitting around a table playing cards ("jokers") and lending each other money ("flesh by the pound" is a reference to one of Shylock's lines in The Merchant of Venice) while some women look on and make comments. "Aniseed" is used to make absinthe.

He may or may not have taken advantage of the ladies' availability; either way, he has plenty to apologize for. He's bought his wife roses before and he'll do it again, but his behavior doesn't change so he might as well not have bothered.

And, depressingly, we learn that his son will be in here soon enough, following his dad's lead.

I really, really like this song. What a stellar single!

Hijk – Elly and Iffy Lyrics 14 years ago
"Bomberman" is a Nintendo game.

Hijk – Hey Sleepy Smile Lyrics 14 years ago
While "Hello Goodbye" is by the Beatles, "Snapshot and How" is actually another song by HIJK.

Hijk – The Dresser Speaks Lyrics 14 years ago
Sounds like a pretty straight up song about getting high and having a dresser speak to you.

Hijk – September Looms on a Hill Lyrics 14 years ago
Je suis la nuit magnifique is French for "I am the splendid night."

Pelle Carlberg – Pamplona Lyrics 14 years ago
I'm sure you did! I e-mailed you with the changes, but I didn't get a response so I posted the comment. Thanks for fixing them.

Minipop – Generator Lyrics 14 years ago
This song was written about the 2003 NYC blackout. And I cannot stop listening to it!

Pelle Carlberg – Pamplona Lyrics 14 years ago
These lyrics are wrong in several key ways. Here is my attempt at the lyrics:

Uno de enero
Dos de febrero
Tres de marzo
Cuatro de abril
Cinco de mayo
Seis de junio
Siete de julio
A-Pamplona San Fermin, tra-la-la-la...

City of light, this is the city of light
Got my headphones on, tonight I feel so strong
Radio on, I've got the radio on
They played a new song, it turned me o-o-on

They had a choir, it took me higher
'Cause they sing nana...

And I'm gonna go to the city
Where life is surreal and it's pretty
In Pamplona, in Pamplona
I will phone you up and tell you that I'm
In Pamplona, in Pamplona
I will phone you up and tell you that I dared

Matador's hat, I need a matador's hat
I need a mustache and I need it fast
I'm so inspired, give me the choir
And we'll sing nana...

So call me naive or insane
Tonight I will be on that plain
In Pamplona, in Pamplona
I will phone you up and tell you that I'm
In Pamplona, in Pamplona
I will phone you up and tell you that I'm
Not a coward, not a sissy
In Pamplona I am waiting

(I'm gonna tell you what it all smells like
I'm gonna tell you that [???])

In Pamplona, in Pamplona
I will phone up and tell you that I dared

Bloc Party – Flux Lyrics 14 years ago
At the end of the song (at least in the radio rip I've heard), there's some Italian repeated several times, sped up. Here it is:

Tutti i giorni dal lunedì al giovedì i ragazzi ascoltate su radio one

Which means:

Every day from Monday to Thursday, guys listen to Radio One

+/- – Trapped Under Ice Floes Lyrics 14 years ago
I think it's very literal, about drowning in freezing cold water. Really creepy, but this song is excellent.

Bloc Party – Kreuzberg Lyrics 14 years ago
You're right, batfink, that "something must change" is the key line in the song. But it doesn't mean he's finally coming to terms with his sexuality. This whole song is about him giving up the over-sexed, superficial, promiscuous party life and wanting more from a relationship than an anonymous fuck. It's about growing up.

The National – Start a War Lyrics 14 years ago
I think this song is about a family that has issues dealing with the inheritance of someone who dies. He's speaking collectively (we) and he says things like "I'll get money" and "put it in a safe behind a painting," both clearly talking about a will. The line that caused me to realize what this song was about, though, is "You were always weird but I have never had to hold you by the edges like I do now." He's holding the will, the last embodiment of a person's literal will, by the edges.

What an excellent song.

Bloc Party – Kreuzberg Lyrics 14 years ago
The best lyrics in this song are missing here. Over the repeated "after sex" bit at the end, Kele sings:

Concerned mothers
Of the west
Teach your sons
How to truly love

I think this is my favorite song from "Weekend."

Pompeii – Miracle Mile Lyrics 15 years ago
He and a girl have known each other for nine years, probably dated at some point, but she ends up marrying someone else. He finds her at her housewarming party when husband and wife move in together and their history comes up. They try to put it behind them, and the song ends on a very positive note, with Dean confident that they can still be friends.

This is a much healthier way to deal with this situation than is featured "Company Calls (Epilogue)."

The song title is a reference to the 1988 movie "Miracle Mile." In the movie two people, Harry and Julie, meet in Los Angeles and are immediately attracted to one another, but end up unable to connect. Initially, serendipity keeps them apart, but they don't get a second chance because LA is destroyed by nuclear missles. Also, LA is home to the Miracle Mile shopping and cultural district along Wilshire Blvd, from which the movie took its name.

So he's saying that he feels like they've been kept apart by a catastrophe, namely her relationship with her husband. But he's resigned himself to that and doesn't want to lose her as a friend.

Pompeii – Ten Hundred Lights Lyrics 15 years ago
I'm pretty sure this is about a friend coming out. The "Got my feet wet" verse clinched it for me. Also, I think that verse is a quote from the letter where Dean found out this friend was gay. That's the easiest explanation for the first person in that verse, and it provides the answer for the question one has after hearing the first verse, namely "what's the news?"

"There is a difference from keyhole to spotlight" means that how the person is behind closed doors/in the closet (where one might see him or her through a keyhole) and how they are in public are different.

Finally, my guess is that the "they" he keeps referring to is the friend's parents. It could also just mean anyone who doesn't know yet.

I adore songs that reward close listening! This one definitely fits the bill.

Pompeii – Stories and Charts Lyrics 15 years ago
This song is about an engaged couple that calls off their wedding, and then have to tell their families the bad news. It's horribly awkward and they put it off until the very end of the evening, after dinner and dessert when they're just sitting in the parlor drinking wine.

Pompeii – Relative is Relative Lyrics 15 years ago
This song is really excellent. What a story! Sorry this comment is so long, but I got carried away. :-)

At the beginning of the song, we find out that the narrator's mother and his biological father are not together. It seems likely that they had a fling and broke up when she got pregnant. The separation was messy, and his mother doesn't have any fond memories of it. They hadn't known each other for very long; she knows nothing about his family.

He would love to research his family and know more about his father. He wants peace of mind and the satisfaction of knowing about half of who he is. His mother's excuse for not doing so is that she doesn't have the money for it.

I love the wordplay in the chorus. "Relative is relative," meaning that when one talks about his presumed sibling(s) and father as "relatives," that's less true for him than is is for them, since they're only his half-siblings and his step-father. As he clarifies, "relative's not relevant in my case." (I don't know if this song is autobiographical, but if it is, he mentions that he has a sister in "Stories and Charts.")

Then we have the beautiful wordplay on "open" and "shut":

"and my case is
not closed and open to interpretation or a point of view"

Great repetition of "my case," and this time he's using a different idiom, "open and closed case," a term usually used in police work meaning that everything is clearly understood and there's nothing to investigate.

But he inverts the idiom, reinforcing that his situation is the opposite of open and closed. Finally, he chains on another cliché, "open to interpretation." And this is true, he, his biological father and his mother all feel different things about the situation as it stands and the choices that were made many years ago.

Finally, the last sentence of the chorus is great. It keeps the repetition theme going. His father will stay foreign (unknown) until he's found and the narrator can finally learn something about him.

The second verse starts out with him letting us know he doesn't even know his father's last name. That's going to make finding him nearly impossible.

Instead of feeling warm affection toward his mother, he feels frustrated. Not knowing about his father has ruined his relationship with her, because he blames her for not keeping in touch with him.

The last verse is his fantasy about how he can get closure by finding his father. But the last sentence is bitter: he is mad that he's the only one of the three of them (him, father, mother) that seems to want to reconnect. The "you" in this verse is directed at his father. It brings the father into the picture, which has mostly been a dispute between the mother and her son, just in time to let him share the blame for losing touch.

This song reminds me a whole lot of "Sucker Punch" by The Pale Pacific. (Another really great song that you should go find right now.) They touch on similar themes, though that song is a bit more enigmatic. But they both end with a frustrated lack of understanding: how could a father not want to know about his children?

Now It's Overhead – Estranged Lyrics 15 years ago
Being gay isn't a choice. I just don't get why some people still can't accept that.

Now It's Overhead – A Little Consolation Lyrics 15 years ago
This song is about woman, probably a mother or grandmother, at the end of her life. The first verse is some friends/family going to visit her in the hospital/rest home and asking the narrator if he's coming with them. But it hurts to see her almost dead, so he decides not to; they tell him they'll call if "it" (her death) is close.

The second verse is someone exhorting the narrator to get something off his chest, to talk to his mother/whomever about something that they haven't talked about before. Time is running out to speak up, because soon she'll be gone.

The chorus here is him leaving the rest of the group and going to talk to her alone. Perhaps it's about his feelings of homosexuality, alluded to in "The Decision Made Itself" and (possibly) "Surrender."

The third verse is after she's died, at the funeral. The pipes of the organ are a little consolation. But just a little; he's still crying.

And the last bit about ascending (thanks WayToBlue!) is her spirit flying off to heaven or wherever.

When I figured this out just now, it blew my mind. Somehow I had always interpreted it as the end of a summer fling, but the true meaning is much more powerful. I really, really love this song.

Tarkio – Eva Luna Lyrics 15 years ago
Presumably, this song owes something to Allende's "Eva Luna."

Rogue Wave – Love's Lost Guarantee Lyrics 15 years ago
What, only two comments??? This song is fabulous! It's about the end of a relationship, and how the guy feels after it's over. All he wants is a guarantee that the girl isn't going to screw around on him and is going to reciprocate his love. But that didn't come to pass in this relationship.

On a related note, I'm quite sure these lyrics are wrong in at least a couple places. It's "the victim role is well rehearsed" for one.

The Books – Take Time Lyrics 15 years ago
I met Nick and Paul last year at a concert and they told me several things about this song. First of all, the person reading the passages of the Bible is Abba Eban, an Israeli diplomat. He has an audio book of him reading from Psalms and Ecclesiastes.

The the Italian sample came from the film "Medea" by Pasolini. Wikipedia helpfully informs us that this was a film adaptation of Euripides' tragedy by the same name, about the relationship between Jason (of Golden Fleece fame) and his erstwhile wife Medea.

The French samples are from the Senegalese film "Touki Bouki." IMDB says this is a film about a young couple stuck in Senegal who long to live in Paris. They dream up cons to get the money to book passage. And now that we have a translation for that sample (thanks Tangee!), it sounds like a pretty risqué scene. :-)

Devon Sproule – Tristan and Isolde Lyrics 15 years ago
For I have known them all already, known them all:—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

-T.S. Eliot, "The Loves Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

Damien Rice – Amie Lyrics 15 years ago
That might make sense, Jolly_Bob, if the title of the album wasn't "O" and there didn't happen to be a 1954 book named "Story of O" by Anne Desclos.

Knowing that actually gives this song (and the rest of the album) a whole new meaning.

Damien Rice – Dogs Lyrics 15 years ago
Lelo, let me try to answer your two questions.

1) Since this song is about jealousy (or just observing a relationship you're not a part of), I think he's trying to convey the "monkey in the middle" feeling. The girl is saying or doing things that he's "getting," but it turns out they aren't for him. Same with the guy; the two are wrapped up in each other, and they aren't paying attention to him in that way. These lyrics are actually clever examples of "garden path" sentences (check Wikipedia), where you have one idea about what he's saying until the last word, which changes everything around.

2) The other party being driven wild is "him," the boyfriend. When Damien hangs out with them, the girl drives Damien wild with lust/desire/whatever, but she's doing the same thing to the boyfriend. Except the boyfriend gets to sleep with her at the end of the day.

+/- – Megalomaniac Lyrics 15 years ago
Holy crap, does this song ever rock. I love that it's in 5/4!

Tarkio – Devil's Elbow Lyrics 15 years ago
Devil's Elbow is a scenic point on the Oregon coast. And I do dearly love this song!

Elbow – Forget Myself Lyrics 15 years ago
Wikipeida's got your back. It's an urban planning term.

Elbow – Leaders Of The Free World Lyrics 15 years ago
So I've always read the "your mum don't sleep" line as being from the viewpoint of England. Two hundred years on, England feels the need to talk some sense into the colonies. And I second the comment about Louise... I don't know what that's in reference to, but I'd love to know.

The Decemberists – The Island: Come and See; The Landlord's Daughter; You'll Not Feel the Drowning Lyrics 15 years ago
Also, "paragon in paralax" should be "Patagon in parallax"

Oh, and can I just say that I love this song? I think it's my favorite off the album.

The Decemberists – The Island: Come and See; The Landlord's Daughter; You'll Not Feel the Drowning Lyrics 15 years ago
A couple corrections, as of 21 August:

Fix -> Affix
Arab best -> arabesques
the reefs -> the reeds
commerants -> cormorants
It's -> Its
ziggurats -> Sycorax
photo -> foretold
beneath -> below
With this bare waking eye -> Witnessed by no waking eye

Lastly, I don't think the last two lines are a quotation, though I suppose that's debatable.

Troubled Hubble – Dulcinea Duct Tape Lyrics 15 years ago
Best song about duct tape ever.

Alexi Murdoch – Orange Sky Lyrics 15 years ago
This is a hymn. I'm surprised it took me this long to figure that out.

The Decemberists – The Tain (Parts I, II, III, IV, V) Lyrics 15 years ago
Patrick Brown seems to have taken his Tain document down. But the Wayback Machine still has it:

Atticus Finch – The Gold and the Gray Lyrics 16 years ago
I meant "last rites," of course.

The Dismemberment Plan – Ellen and Ben Lyrics 16 years ago
Anybody know what _Nebraska_ is? I found this on Amazon:

Not sure if that's what he's talking about.

The Books – Take Time Lyrics 16 years ago
The sampled parts of this song are from the King James version of the Bible. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says:

To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to luck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.

Notice that there are seven sets of four uses of "a time" in that, as there are in the song. This probably explains why they used "there is no new thing under the sun" for the last sample of the song: They had run out of "a time and a time"s.

You'll also notice these as the lyrics to the Byrds' "Turn, Turn, Turn":

The two odd samples out, "There is no remembrance of former things" and "there is no new thing under the sun" are also from Ecclesiastes, at 1:11 1:9 respectively.

I think this song is a meditation on time, and how best to use it. The scripture quoted here is all about not getting caught up in the rat race. "It's all been done before, get over it." That could be a distressing thought but The Books remind us that, instead of obsessing about keeping up with the Joneses, we should instead Take Time to have fun with friends and family. This is where all the samples of uproarious laughter come in.

What a fantastic song.

The Books – Venice Lyrics 16 years ago
Translation of the Italian:

1. away with this thing please
2. away with this head please!
3. wafer
4. stay calm... wait... oh wait, shit, um, now, wait!
5. down with that head! put the head down, Nico... away with that thing, goddamnit
6. a tiny little bit a tiny little bit! like this like this come on! more over there!
7. aah aaah ah ah [dialect] is beautiful?? it's not going away any more... [dialect] look, no no no! eeehhh!

The Books – An Animated Description of Mr. Maps. Lyrics 16 years ago
1. The news story bit sounds very much like a description of the Unabomber, though the announcer plainly calls the man "Maps" several times.

2. Rosinante is the name of Don Quixote's horse, though Cervantes obviously never spoke of donuts and chicken tenders.

The Books – Vogt Dig For Kloppervok Lyrics 16 years ago

1. The title is "Beware the Jabberwock" in Danish, which is a line from Lewis Carroll's poem "Jabberwocky."

2. The first "verse" of the song is the first paragraph of the poem.

3. "Kommen sie in" means "come in" in German, said respectfully.

4. "Kalaallit Nunaata Radioa" (referred to as KNR) is the national radio and television station of Greenland. It translates directly to "Greenland Radio," but in English KNR is usually translated as "Greenland National Broadcasting Company," as it is on KNR's website, .

5. The next sentence says "Greenland's radio: we wish you good night." in Danish.

6. And "Tamassi sinilluaritsi" is the plural form of "sleep well" in Greenlandic, the language of the indigenous people of Greenland.

7. So that enigmatic central paragraph means "Greenland Radio. Good night." in the two official languages of Greenland.

8. The last two paragraphs are again a collection of lines from "Jabberwocky," though they are out of order and the four lines come from three different stanzas. Carroll defined "uffish" as "a state of mind when the voice is gruffish, the manner roughish, and the temper huffish."

The Books – If Not Now, Whenever Lyrics 16 years ago
A few comments and explanations.

1. The sample for "Indepdent" is the same sample used at the beginning of another Books song, "That Right Ain't Shit," from their second release, _The Lemon of Pink_.

2. The French line, "Ceçi n'est pas une pipe" (This is not a pipe) is from a famous painting by René Magritte titled "La trahison des images" (The trechery of images). In the painting, the phrase is written in cursive below a picture of a pipe. The Wikipedia article about Magritte has more on the artist and his work, as well as a picture of the painting.

3. The line "I can't find the books, they must be in La Jolla" is from a "This American Life" act called "The Greatest Phone Message of All Time." This act tells the story of an unintentionally funny phone message left for a student of Columbia University by his mother in the early 90s. It is _hilarious_. You can visit to hear the whole act (hell, the whole show). To hear just this act, scrub forward to 39:05.

* This information can be up to 15 minutes delayed.