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MGMT – Cool Song No. 2 Lyrics 4 years ago
In a sentence, this song is about confronting the unknown and the nature of knowing -- or rather the lack of knowing. Two of the versus are straightforeward, and the other three are rather vague. But they all stick with the theme.

The very first line sets up the meaning for the entire song, so it bears repeating: "Whenever i drift by the unknown, feign like I notice a fundamental tone." This is a statement of reluctant self-admission. The author is acknowledging that, when faced with the unknown, the unfamiliar, or strange, the natural response is to "feign" like you immediately know and understand it. Like you catch "fundamental tone", even though you don't. The last line, "more explanation and nothing shown," means to say that, regardless of how many times and ways you explain that you understand, nothing is truly "shown" about what you saw.

The next verse plays directly on the first verse. A "friend exiting without a sign" is something unexpected happening, like a friend dying unexpectedly. It glimmers more precious than a fine stone because it was one aspect of reality that you thought you could control. But, clearly, you can't.

The third verse is where the song gets interesting. In this verse MGMT reveals that they are not merely talking about confronting the "unknown," in the sense that people try to explain away ghosts, UFOs, religious experiences with rationalizations. Rather, they mean to say that the whole basis of human knowledge, or what we think we know, is merely an emotional reaction to the lack of ability to truly explain, well, anything. The verse tells all and attacks one of the strongest connections to reality we think we have: science.

Science has led to birds (meaning led to nothing)
Torment igniting essence is the torment of unknowing, which ignites our finding "essence" in things, meaning faulty understanding.
When the "extent of the vice," meaning the extent to which we make up for our lack of real knowledge with foe understanding, is revealed, it is a visceral, upsetting reaction. We want to choke something, and this truth gnaws at our core, further twisting us, increasing our need to understand but furthering us from the truth.

The fourth verse is rather clear. It merely states that freedom is a comforting illusion. The line, "would you feel better holding the stars up?" is a clever reference to ancient astronomy. It means to compare human thought and emotion to how ancient cultures would "draw," more or less, people and scenes on the night's stars to explain the way the world was, like Orion and the Big Dipper, etc. The line is more of a sarcastic comment really. I feel like MGMT is saying, "oh, yeah? You think you're in control? Well would you feel better being a grand constellation that stretched the night sky, holding up the entire universe?" The joke is, of course, that Orion and the big dipper never move and actually have no power whatsoever. They were merely drawn on the sky.

The last verse is the most cryptic. It means to say that apes like people but are presumably not very self aware and don't need to create foe understandings of the world to comfort them to sleep at night. However, MGMT surmises, what if, in an instant, we injected apes with the same self awarness that we have? They would be shocked and horrified "eyes expanding, zeroing in like a scope on the horror of knowing how much we dont know." Then, as the last line in the song, MGMT comes up with the first thought the ape might have after this terrible realization; that they might feel better knowing they werent alone. Thus the creation of religion, myth, society, science, everything.

To sum it up in a quick tidbit, this song is about how humans really have very little grasp on the true nature of reality and we compensate for this by claiming that we know everything, creating grand theories that attempt to explain away all uncertainties in the world (science, religion, etc.)

The Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1 Lyrics 5 years ago
It's a love song. He is begging Yoshimi to "save him" from the "evil robots" in a metaphorical sense. The "evil robot" is the mechanized, bureaucratic, soul-crushing nature of modern life, and he wants Yoshimi to "save him" from the disillusionment this has caused him through her love.

Amy Winehouse – Rehab Lyrics 5 years ago
As some others have said, the song will be a classic. It will epitomize the age the age of drug use. Foucault could write a fucking novel about it. In one-hundred years, drug users will be understood. They will look at us like we, today, look at the sexual inquisitions of the 1800's. "The poor saps," they'll say. "If only they'd been born a hundred years later."

Pixies – Monkey Gone to Heaven Lyrics 5 years ago
This song, at first ambiguous, is actually — in my opinion — quite clear as to its meaning.

The first stanza refers to the Roman god Neptune. Neptune has been feebly killed by man’s waste and pollution. Notice how Neptune is referred to as “a guy.” In the next stanza, the chorus, Neptune’s death is referred to as a “monkey gone to heaven.” These traits — mortality, weakness, insignificance, and the ability to go to a heaven — are not usually assigned to gods. In fact, these traits are usually assigned to men; the mortals who are usually everything gods are not.

The “creature in the sky” again refers to the gods. Whether one sticks with Roman gods, as the first verse establishes, or interprets “the creature” as the Christian god doesn’t really matter. What matters is that the god/s are being killed.

So far, two gods have been killed. I interpret this as meaning that man no longer finds meaning or power in the concept of worshiping gods. I don’t interpret this killing as the faltering of faith and triumph of reason, however. More so, man has deliberately killed the gods, or, rather, finds them insignificant and unpowerful in relation to himself. Either way, he intends to take their place now that they are gone.

The next stanza informs us that man himself is now a god. The reference to the “ground not being cold” means the physical emergence of a once metaphorical hell. Man himself has become godly, or thinks himself as such, and now must deal with the problems of being a god. And for gods, hell is not just a concept. Heavy lies the crown.

The chorus takes on new meaning after that stanza. I interpret it as the “monkey,” man, has now “gone to heaven,” meaning he has elevated himself to the positions that the gods once formerly inhabited. And if you are familiar with Roman and Greek mythology, you’d know that when there are a lot of gods there is a lot of death and destruction. Actually, even when there’s one god, and I’m referencing Christian theology now, there is massive destruction: the flood, the rapture, the countless wars fought in the bible, etc. Hence the line “everything is gonna burn, we’ll all take turns.”

The next stanza simply re-states the main point. In Christian theology, the god and his angels are assigned numbers. God is seven and the devil is six. Man now has a number among these gods because he himself is a god. One could also interpret man’s placement in the numerical order as relevant. God is five, which is even below Satan. Of all the gods, man is the worst.

The chorus’s meaning sticks with what it was beforehand: that man the monkey is now a god in his own heaven.

In a sentence, this song is about how man has stopped worshiping the gods but, instead of abandoning the concept of worship, instead worships himself and thinks himself godly.

David Bowie – Life on Mars? Lyrics 6 years ago
This song is all about how our entertainment, movies, music, TV, has become so all-encompassing and important that our very lives have begun to mimic it.

The first verse focuses on “the girl with the mousy hair.” She’s got drama, and it’s a big surprise with who; her parents. This song came out in ’71, so the whole baby-boomer rebellion thing was popular. Now, to deal with her drama, she seeks entertainment, escape. But it’s a “bore”. She rejects it, or should, thus setting up the youth as valiant, righteous rebels.

But wait. Is her rebellion original? (She’s lived it ten times or more) Is it what she truly thinks, what she feels deep down, or is this rebellion merely an expression of values that the media has taught her to value? Bowie deliberately chooses not to answer this.

The chorus again treats our theme. At the beginning, you think Bowie is describing entertainment in general, things actors do in movies, and cavemen, something that could only exist in a movie. But by the end of the chorus, one line throws us off completely: “Wonder if he’ll ever know he’s in the best selling show.” Why would an actor not know he or she was in a movie? By bestselling show, it seems he means the “movie” that is our life, the drama that takes up our daily lives. This is deliberately confusing. He chose to talk about two things at the same time on purpose.

The last line in the chorus, “Is there life on Mars,” can be seen as a very clever reference to Orson Welles’s broadcast of War of the Worlds. The show was made famous for causing an actual public panic because of its realistic newscasts describing an alien invasion. Although it was a radio show, people actually thought there was an alien invasion, fitting perfectly with our theme.

The next verse moves on to more general commentary but sticks with the theme. Mickey Mouse, a popular figure in children’s entertainment, is personified as having grown up, and it’s not pretty. He’s a “cow,” a decidedly negative adjective. Metaphors congruent with the main theme are boundless here, but I think Bowie meant to contrast the image (the entertainment ideal, the perfect actors with their perfect makeup, Mickey’s happy adventures) with the reality behind the image (our lives can mimic, but never achieve the perfection that the plot of a movie has) by personifying Mickey. The simile is genius because, in reality, people grow old, but Mickey looks the same every time you re-watch an episode of Mickey’s playhouse. If Mickey can grow old, then he is “real.” But that can’t be true, as he’s a cartoon. The lines between entertainment and reality are again blurred.
The next line is the clearest Bowie gets in the song. He says, “The workers have struck for fame because Lennon’s on sale again.” He obviously means to say that the working class is only invigorated in their struggle because the entertainment industry (John Lennon, but Lenin works just the same) has sold them entertainment telling them that they’ve been wronged, exploited, etc, which is ironic because they prop up the same system that exploits them by consuming its products. The next few lines go on to describe the extent of the problem: the whole of the westernized world (From America to Ibiza, an island off of Spain, to the Norfolk Broads, in England).

Bowie’s song is a post-modern critique of pop culture. He is saying that the westernized, capitalist democracies of the 20th century have produced entertainment and consumables that have eclipsed the very life they were spawned from, leading one to question whether it is entertainment that comes from reality or reality that mimics entertainment. Is there even a difference anymore?

And for the crowing piece of this metaphorical masterpiece: Where does this critique appear but in the very popular culture it is critiquing? Surely it is intentional -- it represents Bowie’s acknowledgment of the complete annexation of reality by entertainment. The irony is palpable, and we can answer the question posed it the end of the previous paragraph: No.

The Presidents of the United States of America – Lump Lyrics 7 years ago
To me this song is obviously about a girl who is in a coma.
"Lump sat alone in a boggy marsh
Totally motionless except for her heart
Mud flowed up into Lump's pajamas
She totally confused all the passing piranhas"
Totally motionless except for her heart and "mud flowed into lumps pajamas" meaning she shits herself. Sounds like a coma to me.
"Lump lingered last in line for brains
And the one she got was sort of rotten and insane
Small thing's so sad that birds could land
Is Lump fast asleep or rocking out with the band?"
The brain is what causes a coma to occur, this girl got one that was "rotten and insane" putting her in a coma and making her only able to live inside her dreams hence the "Is Lump fast asleep or rocking out with the band?".
"Lump was limp and lonely and needed a shove
Lump slipped on a kiss and tumbled into love
She spent her twenties between the sheets
Life limped along at subsonic speeds"
The writer of the song is apparently attracted to this girl. "Lump was limp and lonely and needed a shove" Limp coincides with being in a coma as well as needing a shove. "Slipped on a kiss" Normal people don't "slip" into a kiss, in a coma however all your movements are involuntary if your lucky enough to have any at all. "She spent her twenties between the sheets" A reference to the fact that being in a coma you are bed ridden. "Life limped along at subsonic speeds" She lives in her dreams and has no sense of time or place, life is passing her by without her knowing it.

Pink Floyd – Time Lyrics 7 years ago
When your 40 and you look back at your life and see what you could have been, you get a song like TIME. The first portion of the song (the first 9 lines) are about how he, or us, or whomever the song is about wasted childhood away, didnt take initiative to follow ones dreams and failed to make something of ones self until "ten years had got behind you". The lines " no one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun" perfectly describe the feeling of a failed opportunity at life.

"And you run, and you run to catch up with the sun,but its sinking" The midlife crisis hits. Upon the realization that you've wasted your entire life you try to make up, to "catch up with the sun" and force a respectable existence out of the relatively short amount of years you have left.

"Plans that either come to nought, or half a page of scribbled lines" The short burst of energy that is the midlife crisis has failed to procure any meaningful gains in ones life and you return to the normalcy of "hanging on in quite desperation". At this age "the time is gone, the song is over", you had your chance and you failed. There is nothing left to do but wallow in your depression and waste what time you have left at home, "warming my bones beside the fire"

Time has slipped away from your control and now controls you. You wait for death while
"Far away across the field The tolling of the iron bell Calls the faithful to their knees To hear the softly spoken magic spells " The faithful are all the other people who let themselves be controlled by time, and they are in their graves (i.e. across the field, in the cemetery by the church)

This song is about the midlife crisis that many of us will go through when we hit old age, and how futile it is to attempt to reverse time. If any form of advice could be etched from this song it would be to make something of yourself while you still can, while your young.

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