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Van Morrison – Madame George Lyrics 2 years ago
@[josh101586:20989] Van doesn't choose the names of his characters by accident, we're meant to infer something from them: no-one in Ireland is referred to as Madame, in the British Isles a Madame is a brothel-keeper. So we know she's an outsider. Nor is it an accident that she's given the name George, the sexual ambiguity is intended: Van's painting a picture of an outsider of indeterminate sexuality who draws enlisted British soldiers into a shabby house for drugs and whatever else is on offer.

The picture he paints for me is of a transvestite, the archetypal outsider - outside of society and outside of gender. If he's painting an outsider, why not?

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Van Morrison – Burning Ground Lyrics 3 years ago
One of Van's great songs. His Dad was an electrician on the Belfast docks and this song celebrates both father and son relationships and the expectation of working class life - hard physical work. The burning ground was just an area of the docks where they burnt rubbish.

I think the song's about knowing your place and belonging to somewhere. The song describes his Dad leaving the house early and returning late, working in all kinds of weather. His Dad takes Van down to his workplace and shows him the world of work. As a young lad this is where Van expects he will work when he gets older. Van has pride in his roots, he can "turn the tide" and look back at a secure childhood.

I think the song also goes into Van letting his Dad glimpse into his own world of work when he's much older, and here the burning ground is just a metaphor for a place of hard work. The song switches from the passionate remembrance of youth into a wonderful joke of musicians bitching about the 'hard labour' of studio work - slacking off from lugging jute sacks by dumping them on their burning ground.

And then it gets serious again as Van talks of his own father's passing, switching perspectives as he does so (I/you/he), remembering those days of his Belfast youth in the security of his father's company.

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Van Morrison – Burning Ground Lyrics 3 years ago
@[OntheHeath:6609]

Irish doesn't have the word "it", so the Irish may use he or she instead of "it" when speaking English, see here http://www.bitesize.irish/blog/i-me-he-him/

Similarly, people of Irish descent (including some Liverpudlian English folk) use "yous" to refer to the second person plural.

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Van Morrison – Fair Play Lyrics 4 years ago
I agree with twee!, it's about walking, but I think it's about walking with a child and enjoying their childish exclamations: "High-ho Silver!", "tit-for-tat", "Geronimo!",etc.

"Forever fair
And I'm touching your hair
I wish we could be dreamers
In this dream, oh
Let it dream"

Van's aware that the child's fair hair will grow darker as he/she ages and just wishes the walk could be held unchanging, as in a dream.

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Gregory Porter – Hey Laura Lyrics 5 years ago
I love this song, he has a beautiful voice, it settles into a comfortable groove and then he delivers some killer lines: he's perfectly willing to believe that rivers flow uphill if she says so. It's a song about a man desperately, foolishly in love with someone who's just stringing him along.

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Gregory Porter – Hey Laura Lyrics 5 years ago
Hey Laura it's me
Sorry but I had to ring your doorbell so late
But there's something bothering me
I really am sorry but it just couldn't wait
Is there someone else instead of me?
Go ahead and lie to me and I will believe
You're not in love with him and this fool can see
That the rivers of your love flow uphill to me

Hey Laura it's me
Sorry but I had to ring your doorbell so late
But there's something bothering me
I really am sorry but it just couldn't wait
With a healthy dose of make believe
Won't you lie to me and make me believe
That you're in love with me and this fool can see
That the rivers of your love flow uphill to me

Hey Laura it's me
Sorry but I had to ring your doorbell so late
But there's something bothering me
All night long I just couldn't wait
With a healthy dose of make believe
Go ahead and lie to me and make me believe
That you're in love with me and oh this fool can see
That the rivers of your love flow uphill to me

Hey Laura it's me
Hey Laura it's me
Hey Laura it's me

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Van Morrison – Madame George Lyrics 5 years ago
I guess it's set before the partition of Ireland, and therefore the narrator isn't Van Morrison, but a protestant schoolboy in Dublin. The song begins with his adult self in a reverie on Cyprus Avenue, remembering bygone days, seeing himself as a teenager, clutching history books, entranced by the sight of Madame George, a glamorous transvestite, leading a drunken soldier boy back to her flat.

The narrator finds himself in the flat, a sort of speakeasy, with gambling, drinking, drugs and dancing on offer - and perhaps sex. The narrator is captivated by this outré character and her Bohemian life. It's a place to which he returns again and again. The song tells of two episodes from the flat: a police raid which results in Madame George throwing the drugs out of the window; and the final tearful goodbye, as the narrator leaves for a new life in Belfast.

The song is about a juvenile infatuation with someone fearlessly living a life which breaks all the rules, and a wistful reflection of adolescent freedom and possibility.

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Van Morrison – Rough God Goes Riding Lyrics 5 years ago
It seems to be about being savaged by a hostile press ('gaping wounds that never heal') and yet those malicious attacks hurt the perpetrators as much as their victims ("now they're moaning like a dog in a manger") - a very Buddhist notion of karma.

The song says that we're all headed towards the same ending - death ("when that rough god comes riding in") - the implication is that we ought to spend what time we have well, rather than spitefully wounding others.

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Carter Tanton – Horrorscope Lyrics 6 years ago
I'm sure I've made a few mistakes in the lyrics, any corrections would be appreciated. I think the song's about struggling with fidelity when you find yourself alone (touring?), lonely and horny. The sense of urgency makes for a great song.

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Okkervil River – No Key, No Plan Lyrics 7 years ago
I can't believe this is about drug dealing, it's about Sheff himself: his life has no key, no plan, he's just doing what he loves, living life a day at a time. He criticises his song-writing for delving into other people's lives rather than his own (he's never earned his soul), and wonders whether he'll ever examine his own life properly (maybe when he's hosed and they're closing in - maybe at the end of his life).

A drug dealer doesn't do what he really likes - Sheff does, and he doesn't believe you'll find a happier man. He points to his band mate, a 'regal' man yet he travels with his bindle, an itinerant. They're living life exactly as they wish with no thought for tomorrow.

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Okkervil River – Yellow Lyrics 7 years ago
Gorgeous song. It's about comforting his brother during the break-up of his marriage; he tells him that the love was real but it didn't last. He contrasts the love in the marriage, which appeared conditional, with the unconditional love their dad had for them.

The song has a profound idea: that the good in the world is greater than the bad but that it's partially obscured by our personal shortcomings (selfishness, sickness, sadness). Then he recalls the pure goodness of their dad's love.

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Okkervil River – Seas Too Far to Reach Lyrics 7 years ago
I think it's a song about the limits that we can know someone, and the barriers we erect to prevent from being known fully. In the first verse he dreams of a paradise where one-dimensional women are there just to satisfy his needs. This is contrasted with the real woman he loves, who has her own life, her own needs and sorrows. She has a dying father, but she struggles to reach out to him; the couple take consolation in sexual intimacy, but as she sleeps he realises that he only knows her superficially and will probably never know her truly (her dreams are a sea too far to reach). But he's not deterred, in the morning he'll make love to her again, he'll continue to explore her.

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Radiohead – House of Cards Lyrics 11 years ago
It's about wife swapping. Married couples going to a party, the husbands put their car keys in a bowl and each woman picks out whichever key takes her fancy.

I think he's saying that people who engage in this this have a relationship like a house of cards, on the verge of toppling over.

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Radiohead – Faust Arp Lyrics 11 years ago
ainrehcn seems to have got the lyrics right (perhaps blackberry rather than blackbird?). I don't really understand the song, but one verse seems to be about feeling unjustly smug about recycling -

squeeze the tubes and empty bottles and
take a bow take a bow take a bow
it's what you feel now
what you ought to what you ought to
an elephant that's in the room is
tumbling tumbling tumbling
in duplicate and triplicate and
plastic bags and
duplicate and triplicate

- basically accusing people who say "I've done my bit" because it's not enough and they're kidding themselves if they think it is (there's an elephant in the room).

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Radiohead – All I Need Lyrics 11 years ago
I think the lyrics as originally posted are spot on. I wonder if the key to this song is -

I'm in the middle of your picture
Lying in the reeds

This made me think of the Millais painting of Ophelia. She dreamed of marrying Hamlet -

I'm the next act
Waiting in the wings

I'm a moth
Who just wants to share your light

Though he'd never shown any particular interst in her. After the death of his father Hamlet is mad with grief and treats Ophelia cruelly -

I'm an animal
Trapped in your hot car

Ophelia must have thought it predestined for her to marry Hamlet, her father Polonius was the king's advisor -

I only stick with you
Because there are no others

When Hamlet mistakenly kills Polonius Ophelia is driven mad with grief and drowns herself in a stream -

I'm in the middle your picture
Lying in the reeds

It's all wrong
It's all right
It's all wrong

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Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Are you ready to be heartbroken? Lyrics 12 years ago
It's Lloyd singing about a young adult (maybe an earlier version of himself) unscarred by life, full of untrammelled hope, optimism and joy; and telling them that failed love will come to them at some point, it will hit them hard and change their outlook forever. Another slice of joy from a great songwriter! :)

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Gillian Welch – I Dream A Highway Lyrics 12 years ago
Thanks for the background info tweedwolfscream :)

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Tori Amos – Mother Lyrics 12 years ago
I think the song is about a young girl on the threshold of adulthood who begins dating. She's nervous of leaving childhood behind and becoming an adult. Later in the song she becomes unexpectedly pregnant ("poison me against the moon"). In the last verse she prepares for married life but she still asks for reassurance from her mother, and a way back if the marriage doesn't succeed.

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Bob Dylan – Bob Dylan's 115th Dream Lyrics 13 years ago
ZoSo028, I think the joke is actually that the Europeans 'discovered a New World', conveniently ignoring the fact that had already been discovered and colonised for centuries. He's imagining what might happen if another adventurer landed in the USA in the 1960s and claimed it, ignoring the 'natives' (modern day Americans). They want to buy the place with beads :-)

That's how I see the song anyway. It's just a very silly idea while sniping at colonialism at the same time. Like the whole Arab/Ahab confusion, it's just played for laughs.

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Kate Bush – A Coral Room Lyrics 13 years ago
It's a beautiful mysterious song, although it offers glimpses it's really hard to see what's going on in detail, but the emotional effect is very strong. It's a song about remembering dear things have have been lost to us.

Here's my best shot at the lyrics...

Along the coast of the British Isles there are quite a few examples of towns that have been lost to the sea. In the first two verses Kate describes a particular place that has been inundated: once it was a thriving fishing town with hundreds of inhabitants and forests of masts in the harbour. During the war many planes crashed into the sea around the town, I guess these were bomber pilots trying to get back home and therefore this town was probably on the east/south coast, somewhere between Yorkshire and Sussex.

Nowadays it lies underwater, no more than a hazard for fishing boats who snag their nets on the old buildings. With the passage of time the nets cover more and more of the old town (Kate uses the metaphor of the 'spider of time' spinning its web). She imagines all the people in pleasure boats sailing over the old town, oblivious to what lies just under the water and wonders whether there remains any echo of the area's past: "Put your hand over the side of the boat. What do you feel?"

In the third verse she switches to the tangible and personal: her mother's milk jug which, when she holds it, reminds her of her mother.

The fourth verse ties together the lost town and the lost mother. It seems that the town was once her mother's home, although she might just be linking the memories of the lost town and the lost mother: "In a house draped in net, In a room filled with coral" might also apply to many homes of the time which were draped in net (curtains) and filled with coral (ornaments).

The third and fourth verses describe a particular memory: her mother singing a baby song to the jug (which I guess she's had since her own childhood) and laughing at herself. As the children come in she spies a spider in the jug and, in her shock, drops it, sending it crashing to the floor.

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Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited Lyrics 13 years ago
I wonder if this song is inspired in part by a town called Centralia that's on Highway 61? The town's basically built on top of a very rich coal seam which caught fire in 1962 and has been burning ever since. Gradually, people have given up and left it as a ghost town. Walking through the town, smoke pours through cracks in the ground and an acrid smell pervades.

I could imagine Dylan choosing this ghost town as the nexus between earth and hell, where bad deeds go unpunished and anything surplus to requirements may be dumped without questions being asked. He then goes on to describe a number of scenarios where this would prove invaluable:-

First off, God makes use of this handy location to test Abraham's faith (and thus avoiding the potential wrath of the FBI, I guess). Secondly, a government official (Paul?) Howard suggests to a tramp that he'd better off there rather than spoiling the nice city streets. Next up, a couple of spivs appear to decide on Highway 61 as a perfect place for a spot of fly tipping. In the penultimate verse, a deeply incestuous family seems to be using the Highway for a bit of 'privacy'. Finally, a power hungry world leader chooses the Highway as the perfect venue for a 'hush hush' world war.

It's a great song from what I think is possibly his best album and displays Dylan's insouciance, scorn, glee and exuberance all at the same time. I love the way it starts with God's & Abraham's slangy off-hand conversation :-)

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Bob Dylan – Isis Lyrics 13 years ago
I guess it's about losing his way in a relationship and finding a circuitous path back to it.

In the first verse he seems to feel hemmed in so he takes off to live freely (a wild country without rules). He finds a charlatan who convinces Dylan of a path to salvation (could this be religious salvation?) and they go on a wild goose chase.

Eventually Dylan realises it's all a fraud (but his last actions to the man are still respectful, he still feels fondness for him). He comes to his senses and returns to his true love, Isis.

I love the way that the outward journey is through the cold and dark, but when he returns to her it is to sunlit meadows.

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Gillian Welch – I Dream A Highway Lyrics 13 years ago
Hypnotic describes the song well, it has a woozy recurrent feeling about it as though the song is itself a dream. I think the song's about mourning a dead lover who appears to her as a ghost (a silver vision) that comes in turns to 'rest' (soothe), 'arrest' (capture), 'molest' (turn on), 'convalesce' (heal) and finally [twice] to 'bless' (protect? sanction?) her soul.

The song describes her despair, getting wasted on whiskey, contemplating suicide, sitting long into the night in front of a TV displaying white noise.

Then waking hung over with the soft (porcelain) glow of the morning light she heads to the diner. She feels comforted by the ghost and given permission (blessed) to continue her life.

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James Blunt – You're Beautiful Lyrics 13 years ago
His life is brilliant because a woman looked at him? He has a plan to win her over, but knows he'll never win her over. Even without the annoyingly shrill voice, this song is a disaster.

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The Smashing Pumpkins – Hummer Lyrics 13 years ago
Hmmm... ZEROPumpkins and TinfoilSally, both explanations are very convincing yet completely different.

"Faith lies in the ways of sin"

I suppose he's lived a bad life for so long that he trusts its wrong paths - he is comfortable with them.

"I chased the charmed but I don't want them anymore. And in their eyes I was alive a fool's disguise. Take me away from you."

This really does sound like he got in with the rich and famous and lived that lifestyle for a while, but it was false and now he wants to leave it.

"Shame my tongue, fat with promise all along. But when I woke up from that sleep I was happier than I'd ever been".

Fat with promise could mean ripe like a fruit. His [lyrical] tongue was fruitful all along but his bad life had masked that. It was like a bad dream, but now he's awoken [shed the celebrity friends].

Hmmm... maybe I was wrong, ZEROPumpkins' does sound the most plausible explanation. As I go through the song everything seems to fit.

So, though I don't admit to being a retard, I'll admit writer's block is perhaps a more plausible explanation. Though the gay theme would have made a more interesting song! :-p

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Bob Dylan – Bob Dylan's 115th Dream Lyrics 13 years ago
Fab song! I love the idea that they 'discover' 1960s America - Lol! Best bit:-

"Well, the last I heard of Arab
He was stuck on a whale
That was married to the deputy
Sheriff of the jail"

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Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Forest Fire Lyrics 13 years ago
As the song says: "It’s just a simple metaphor, it’s for a burning love". Two destructive personalities who fall giddily in love. It's fantastic how he describes a feeling that anything is possible:-

"cause we’re a forest fire believe you me, we’ll tear this place down. If we get caught in this wind, then we could burn the ocean".

A fantastic song!

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Coldplay – Yellow Lyrics 13 years ago
It's about taking a risk and trying to find love and then the rush you get when falling in love. He knows the feeling is indescribable so he picks the happiest and most optimistic thing he can think of and that's the colour yellow.

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Kathryn Williams – No one takes you home Lyrics 13 years ago
Sad but slyly humourous (calling in at the doctors, hehe). A great song.

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Kathryn Williams – Tradition Lyrics 13 years ago
This song has a wonderful sense of stillness. I imagine her driving back from the wedding, it's very late at night and the roads are empty as she contemplates the pressures of expectation (for her own marriage). The reference to the farmer is true: a man fought a bizaare campaign to have his farmhouse saved though it meant he'd be cut off from the rest of the world by a motorway on either side (except for bridge access). Having won, it must have made life hell for him, sitting in his house while everything rushed by.

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The Smiths – Girlfriend in a Coma Lyrics 13 years ago
I'm sure butterflykiss is right - actually I'd never thought of it like that before.

I've always enjoyed the song because it's got a great tune and he sings the words in such a carefree happy way! He keeps singing: "I know - it's serious" like he's hoping to convince himself - hehe.

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The Smiths – Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now Lyrics 13 years ago
Great song, I do end up smiling at the comic degree of self pity. But I've never been convinced that he was being funny on purpose :o

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The Smiths – Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want Lyrics 13 years ago
I adore this song and the wonderful way he sings it (great the way he manages to sing slightly off the beat at some points for extra emphasis). I'm not 100% convinced about the tremolo ending, but then I used to play it on repeat for hours on end, it gets a bit boring after a while. Nevermind, it's still one of my favourites.

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The Smiths – Hand in Glove Lyrics 13 years ago
The song's about Morrissey picking up a pretty guy for the night, showing him off in public and then regretting the transience of it all. How anyone can think this isn't about a gay couple is beyond me:-

"So hand in glove I stake my claim
I'll fight to the last breath
If they dare touch a hair on your head
I'll fight to the last breath

The good life is out there somewhere
so stay on my arm, you little charmer..."

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Coldplay – Amsterdam Lyrics 13 years ago
It's about someone searching for a soulmate and failing time and again until eventually losing all hope. And then, just at the point of despair, meeting the right person.

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Coldplay – A Rush of Blood to the Head Lyrics 13 years ago
Well put MIMA. I think that's spot on.

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Kate Bush – The Man with the Child in His Eyes Lyrics 13 years ago
I pretty much agree with Lici. I believe it's about Kate discovering her soulmate, only to find there is no sexual chemistry on his part. I believe this was written about an early relationship (her first love?), the young man grows up to discover he's gay.

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Kate Bush – Mrs. Bartolozzi Lyrics 13 years ago
I think this is a typical Kate Bush song in that it blends several different themes together. It starts off decribing a woman doing the domestic chores of the house but, watching the washing machine, she begins to daydream about a day on the beach and making love to her husband, the thoughts all entwined like the jumbled tumbling blouse and trousers.

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Kate Bush – Joanni Lyrics 13 years ago
It's about Joan of Arc.

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Kate Bush – This Woman's Work Lyrics 13 years ago
I think the song ties together her feelings on her dying mother and her own pregnancy. It's incredibly sad and beautiful :(

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Kate Bush – King of the Mountain Lyrics 13 years ago
The song's all about Elvis: his trashy house, women claiming to have had his children, stories that he's still alive, etc.

The Rosebud reference (from Citizen Kane) is just Kate imagining Elvis alive and carefree, playing like a child. I don't understand the wind whistling through the house, is that also a scene from C.K (a film I only vaguely remember)?

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R.E.M. – Nightswimming Lyrics 14 years ago
blue_meanie I agree it's a wistful rememberance of cruising in his youth, and "I forgot my shirt" and "recklessness" a reference to unprotected sex in the era before AIDS. It's why 'nightswimming' deserves a quiet night, somewhere away from the crowds for "fear of getting caught". The photo on the dashboard, illiminated by streetligts, shows him his younger self, causing him to remember his youth; "september's coming soon" is an acknowledgement that he's approaching middle-age.

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Bob Dylan – 4th Time Around Lyrics 14 years ago
It's a beautiful song. Dylan claimed it was a parody but, though there are similarities, it doesn't send up the Beatles song. I guess it's more likely that Dylan loved the song's melody and made something that chimed with it.

It contains a joke that's so well worked I smile every time I hear it: first she demands that he gives her some gum as a gift, then asks her to spit it out! I love the way this is woven into the song, leisurely spread over several verses.

It's just about a relationship breaking up really badly and he apparently feeling no remorse. The last verse hints that he found the woman too needy, it sounds like he was quite glad to be shot of her.

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Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator) Lyrics 14 years ago
I think it's about Gillian Welch coming to realise that most of her songs are about times and situations that she's not experienced herself. Therefore, though she's in love with the folk music of the '20s and '30s, she can't be considered an authentic voice ("I'm a pretender, I'm not what I'm supposed to be"). She hopes she is doing the music justice ("But who could know if I’m a traitor? Time’s the revelator.").

It is "They caught the Katy and left me a mule to ride". To catch the Katy is to jump onto one of the goods carriages of a moving train and hitch a free ride, common practice for those crossing the country looking for work duing the depression (the authentic voices). She's saying they experienced the real thing, she is left with only an echo of those times.

I think it's "and all the spindles white", i.e. the waggon wheels used as decoration on houses, which are generally painted white. They're meant as tokens of rural authenticity, but ("everyday it's getting straighter"), that they're equally pretenders. She's tired of the pretensions and sets off for California, she no longer feels the need to live the rural life to write songs. Time's the revelator :)

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Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator) Lyrics 14 years ago
I think it's about Gillian Welch coming to realise that most of her songs are about times and situations that she's not experienced herself. Therefore, though she's in love with the folk music of the '20s and '30s, she can't be considered an authentic voice ("I'm a pretender, I'm not what I'm supposed to be"). She hopes she is doing the music justice ("But who could know if I’m a traitor? Time’s the revelator.").

It is "They caught the Katy and left me a mule to ride". To catch the Katy is to jump onto one of the goods carriages of a moving train and hitch a free ride, common practice for those crossing the country looking for work duing the depression (the authentic voices). She's saying they experienced the real thing, she is left with only an echo of those times.

I think it's "and all the spindles white", i.e. the waggon wheels used as decoration on houses, which are generally painted white. They're meant as tokens of rural authenticity, but ("everyday it's getting straighter"), that they're equally pretenders. She's tired of the pretensions and sets off for California, she no longer feels the need to live the rural life to write songs. Time's the revelator :)

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Radiohead – Optimistic Lyrics 16 years ago
Beautiful song, I think it's anything but optimistic though! This is what it means to me...

Verse 1: it's a dog-eat-dog, selfish world. Right and wrong aren't important as long as you get your share.

Chorus: if you've got a conscience, follow it or ignore it. No one will judge you.

Verse 2: alludes to "This Little Piggy" and "Animal Farm". The pigs in Animal Farm seek to improve their lot at the expense of the other animals: all are equal but some are more equal than others. I think it refers to humanity in general, but particularly the political class (bombing often improves a leader's popularity rating).

Verse 3: no idea :-o

Verse 4: "Dinosaurs...", what should be extinct is still going strong. Not too sure what he's alluding to.

...I kind of lose the plot towards the end :-) I suppose the song can be interpreted in many ways.

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The Smashing Pumpkins – Hummer Lyrics 16 years ago
@ y2doggy "hummer" would be "mummer" for what you suggest to make sense. I think it's about a gay relationship (hummer = homo). It's about someone that's unfaithful in the beginning but then realises that they don't want that anymore. He sings "Life's a bummer / When you're a hummer / Life's a drag" and leaves it hanging ["When you're a fag"]. It's a sad song "Yeah I want something new / But what am I supposed to do about you" - he's got something but wants something more / different.

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Radiohead – Lucky Lyrics 16 years ago
I think the guy has just survived something awful - like an aircrash, or a war - and he's feeling so lucky, so alive. One of Radiohead's optimistic songs :-)

I don't even think he has a rocky relationship, just that he values it more now. One of the lines should read: "The head of state is calling my name but I, I don't have time for HIM"... He's got his priorities back in order, great song!

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Radiohead – Street Spirit (Fade Out) Lyrics 16 years ago
That's what it means to me too tru_antichrist. That humanity's doomed unless we end the nation state and all become world citizens - forget the nation state - and start doing something about the environmental mess we're causing.

This song's spine tingling, I leave it on repeat, listening to it over and over. The words are desolate but the music's beautiful. Much of Radiohead's music leaves me feeling sad, but strangely comforted too.

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Radiohead – Just Lyrics 16 years ago
I love Thom Yorke's lyrics, they're so oblique that they can be interpreted in many ways. But "Just" has always been about depression to me: "you've changed the locks 3 times, he still comes reeling through the door", he's saying that it's not something you can shake off; and with "you do it to yourself you do and that's what really hurts" that depression can hit you, without any reason.

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