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Josh Ritter – Thin Blue Flame Lyrics 6 years ago
For what it's worth, the title of this song is a S.T. Coleridge reference. From Coleridge's poem "Frost at Midnight":

"Sea, and hill, and wood,
With all the numberless goings on of life,
Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue flame
Lies on my low burnt fire, and quivers not"

I might be inclined to think that this were merely coincidence if not for the other seeming references to Coleridge's poetry scattered throughout The Animal Years (for instance, the albatross in "Monster Ballads," which can be seen as an allusion, albeit a frequently used one, to Coleridge's famous "Rime of the Ancient Mariner").

The White Stripes – The Union Forever Lyrics 8 years ago
The lyric is "the traction magnates on the run" not "traction magnets".

"traction magnets" makes no sense in the context.

Titus Andronicus – Theme from 'Cheers' Lyrics 8 years ago
Santos had it mostly right but in the wrong order. It's make mistakes, get drunk, talk about it. It's about living a "disappointing" life, like a lot of Stickles' songs.

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy – I See A Darkness Lyrics 10 years ago
One more really important note-The ones that have a love for everyone they know are usually the suicidal ones. This world is too cruel to give all your love to.

P.S. I don't think he says 'anyway' after "That's what you told me". I sure hope not. That would nearly ruin the song for me.

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy – I See A Darkness Lyrics 10 years ago
Ahhh, I've just heard this song for the first time. A song has not hit me this hard on first listen since Bowie's "Heroes" or VU's "Heroine". And I personally relate to this one so much more than those two, by a long shot (I can't *really* relate to the lyrics in 'Heroes' or 'Heroine', only on some metaphorical level).

Anyway, I know exactly what Oldham/BPB means with every word on this song, and each deep piano note that accompanies every phrase in this song echoes deep within my soul.

He's talking about depression and suicide, yes, but he's also talking about the power of friendship. When you're truly thinking about where you're life's headed or if it's headed anywhere, the only thing that can save you are your friends. If they abandon you, the darkness looms.

Envisioning the rest of your life, you either see a happy old man (either by himself, or with a wife, with his old friends or some new ones) who's found his inner smiles to light up forever, or you see a darkness, nothing.

When this fork in the road shows itself, the only thing that can lead you to life is companionship and love, both from your friends and from above.

This song is about the highs that always come before and after the lows. It starts with having a love for everyone you know, then into the darkness, then it often results in effusive affection for the ones you care most about. Did you know how much I love you, my best unbeaten brother?

This song is about how sometimes, we don't notice our friends spiraling into a place they don't want to be. We can go out and share a drink with them a bunch, but sometimes we still don't notice the kind of thoughts they got, and what they all might mean.

This song is about how once they've found that place, only your friendships can decide your fate. Again, on the one hand, you have peace of mind. On the other, darkness.

This song is about so much, I can't even put it into words properly, no matter how many I use. The most profound song I've ever heard. No report on the human brain could explain depression or suicidal thoughts like this.

Death Cab for Cutie – Grapevine Fires Lyrics 10 years ago
liqiedos, that is a very esoteric take on this song. Basically, what you're implying is that this song is only for residents of southern California. No one else could understand what happened during those fires, and Gibbard wrote a song about it FOR US.

Sorry to knock you off your Californian high horse, (are there horses in CA?) but that's not the case.

On the surface, this song is clearly about the fires in San Diego, yes. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a look at what things mean on a grander scale. There is meaning behind things, liqideos, there's meaning behind everything; you're wrong when you say there isn't. There was meaning behind the fire when it happened, and there is meaning behind these lyrics besides what's on the surface. Whether that meaning is righteous or truthful is up to you to decide; but there is meaning.

Gibbard's lyrics in this song are too surreal (aside from the fires, which obviously actually happened) to not be pointing at some philosophical truth or belief. To me, plain and simply, the fires represent Hell. And not just Hell, but the vacuum-cleaner Jesus freaks who hold Hell over your head as a warning ('to warn us it's only a matter of time/before we all burn'). Gibbard's response to this is very similar to his response in "I Will Follow You Into the Dark"; 'what happens on the other side is a terrifying thought, but as long as I'm going to witness it with you that's O.K. with me'.

The child dancing in the field of graves in the cemetery on a hill really drives this point, this meaning, home. She's celebrating in her mortality and she is celebrating mortality in general.

Whether you agree with Gibbard's apparent atheistic tendencies is your own decision to make (I don't, I dig Jesus), but to me it's clear in this song that Gibbard, through illustrating the horrid reality of the fires in San Diego as a metaphor, is giving us his two cents on the biggest question in life.

What Made Milwaukee Famous – Self-Destruct Lyrics 10 years ago
i was joking about the shout-out thing...of course an indie rock band called "what made milwaukee famous" wouldn't do a "shout-out" to a baroque pop/indie pop band called "the clientele". i was being "ironic" and making a "joke" i am here with all the "quotations" (if we were having this conversation in person i would be waving both my index fingers and middle fingers like the quotation sign right now, a lot)

What Made Milwaukee Famous – Self-Destruct Lyrics 11 years ago
I'm pretty sure instead of "love the cry and tell", it's a shoutout to the band The Clientele, "we love the Clientele"...cry and tell probably makes more sense, but clientele might make sense if that's a band he likes to listen to when he's down...

Sea Wolf – You're A Wolf Lyrics 11 years ago
There have been a lot of allusions to wolves in indie-rock of late. Beside all those wolf bands (Wolf Parade, Sea Wolf, Patrick Wolf, etc.), there was also Josh Ritter's album "The Animal Years", in which he had several allusions to wolf. I think it's because the wolf is such a fresh image that can mean so many things. There's obviously the "lone wolf" thing as a symbol for loneliness. Josh Ritter uses the ferocious diligence of wolves to symbolize the nature of his demons, which always come back to haunt him. I think in this song, though, Sea Wolf might be using a wolf not only to describe his "lone wolf" nature, but also to describe his place in society. It's been said that one is either a sheep or a wolf. I'm not sure of Alex Brown Church's upbringing, but he or the character he has created in this song may have grown up in a small town, only to realize that the town just was not big enough for his talents, thus "You're a wolf, boy, get out of this town." The old gypsy woman is giving him advice on how to handle his songwriting (or otherwise) talent. The fact that he refers to himself as a stream running to the river as fast as he can could indicate that his life has flowed towards and lead him to bigger cities and bigger things. I'm curious where ABC lived before he went to NYU and moved to LA (that's a lot of acronyms in one sentence).

Sufjan Stevens – Romulus Lyrics 11 years ago
There is an author, Raimond Gaita. He wrote a memoir about his father, entitled "Romulus, My Father", about which a movie was recently made. I have not read the book or seen the movie, but, supposedly, it tells the story of a depressive, cheating, neglectful mother, and the father's struggle to raise his son. Romulus is a city in Michigan, but it is entirely possible that Sufjan employed this title for this song as a double entendre of sorts, as the song is clearly about a (Sufjan's?) derelict mother.

Louis XIV – Air Traffic Control Lyrics 11 years ago
This song blatantly rips off the lyrics of David Bowie's "Space Oddity", the chord progression of Radiohead's "Karma Police" (especially at the beginning), and the violin parts of the Beatles' "A Day in the Life" and "Eleanor Rigby". Oh well, at least it's a decent song.

Death Cab for Cutie – Brothers on a Hotel Bed Lyrics 11 years ago
I think this song can be interpreted literally in two ways.

1-This couple is growing old and while one of them is encountering a mid-life crisis of sorts and trying to retrieve his youth, the other is not going through the same, and a chasm is growing between them. This would explain the protagonist's dismay as he catches his reflection by accident, and how the wrinkles "masterfully disguise the youthful boy below". This would also explain his joy ride on the motorbike, as he is trying to get back to enjoying life. However, no matter how fast he rides this motorcycle, he cannot escape his life, his reality, the fact that he is now an old man ("But even at our swiftest speed/We couldn't break from the concrete/And the city where we still reside").

2-The less obvious explanation, but my personal favorite. I think there is a possibility that the protagonist actually still is young, and that he actually got in a motorcycle accident that disfigured him, and his lover is having trouble loving him the way she used to, as he doesn't look like the man she loved. The line "catches his reflection on accident" could be a double meaning-that is, he accidentally caught his reflection, and he caught his accident-altered reflection. This theory would seem to support the words used in the second verse. He outstretches his arms (not hanging, quite a risky maneuver on the back of a speeding motorcycle); we couldn't break from the concrete (possibly subtly telling of a collision with the concrete).

Either way, both literal interpretations point to a grander symbolic theme-the theme of change in life, and how we deal with that change. This relationship seems to be on crutches because of the changes one of its parts seems to be undergoing, whether physical or mental.

Immaculate Machine – Jarhand Lyrics 11 years ago
the song is about a rebellious albeit scattered and confused young man whom trouble finds rather easily, who thinks he is owed everything, and who wants to dip his hand in every cookie jar he crosses pathes with. The irony, of course, is that he gets caught with his hand in the jar- and, the jar gets caught on his hand. It's a play on words, really. But, of course, all the conceived problems are all in our hero's head.

Immaculate Machine – Jarhand Lyrics 11 years ago
the song is about a rebellious albeit scattered and confused young man whom trouble finds rather easily, who thinks he is owed everything, and who wants to dip his hand in every cookie jar he crosses pathes with. The irony, of course, is that he gets caught with his hand in the jar- and, the jar gets caught on his hand. It's a play on words, really. But, of course, all the conceived problems are all in our hero's head.

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