"Give It a Day" as written by and Stephen Malkmus....
Aych ay see two (half a canyon too)
Increase Mather told her dad, yeah
"I roundly disagree with you
You're vocal style's to preachy
All the yokels mock your teaching."
But Cotton, he was just so oblivious
To all their cutting pleas

Soon the townfolk took to it,
In every pew they looked to him
For guidance just like eyeless lambs
Awaiting that ol' kabob stand
The skeptics formed
The nation's born
They want to have it, Cotton's dream
But Increase had them mounted
And they burned on open fires
So the word spread just like small pox
In the Sudan

The gentry cried:
"Give it a day!"
"Give it a day!"
"Give it a day!"

"Give it a day!"
"Give it a day!"
"Give it a day!"

Years and years have passed
Since the puritans invaded our soul
Just like those Arab terrorists
You'll never know
But today the gods can't make us quake,
We see our lives as situations
Eyes are eyes and teeth are teeth,
Well mine are rotten underneath
I got two ways we can separate from the clan

If I could fly, I could fry

I hope you profited from this bulletin
And it stabilized your land
You're drenched, you're fired,
(You gentrified?)
Your Alzheim clan, but
Your father is another one of them
I don't want to mention him again, cause
I talked to him last night,
He hates my guts
We had a fight
And he called you a slut girl,
Why's that?
What did you do to him to make him think


Lyrics submitted by summerbabe

"Give It a Day" as written by Stephen Malkmus

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6 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentI love this song, and the lyrics are some of the best I've seen. At least part of the song is referring to organized religion in the U.S., but I'm still not sure about the "I hope you profited from this bulletin..." verse.
    aphekqson June 25, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentincrease mather was a minister in the 17th century during the salem witch trials who believed sexuality and witchcraft were linked. cotton mather was his more radical son.
    iamjustanoteon September 19, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJust have to say, I love this song, and it's probably the most well-constructed Pavement lyrics, up there with Shady Lane. Here are my thoughts:

    The first verse concerns the Salem Witch trials, and actually Increase was Cotton's father. This really makes the first few lines confusing. If you ignore the fact that Increase was insanely Puritan and believed in witches, he was a rad dude, because he protested that the witch-burners were burning innocent civilians, and tried to get them to cut it out; whereas his father Cotton was a bit more zealous. The "smallpox in the Sudan" parallels Cotton's surprisingly progressive support of the new-fangled smallpox inoculation, at a time when smallpox was spreading throughout Boston.

    The most annoying discrepancy in the lyrics as transcribed here completely alters the whole message. It should read: "But today the gods CAN'T make us quake" - the crux of the song is that man has less romantic notions, and everything is too real and un-magical nowadays... Times have changed, and we're far more scared of real things like terrorism, than evil spirits. That's not to say people aren't still evil, just a less exciting form of evil.

    The last verse is also confusing, but it rolls off the tongue really well, in typical Malkmus style. I think it's just going back to the real world with its petty squabbles; juxtaposed next to the historics of the first verse, it's supposed to seem banal. It tails off exasperatedly.
    prettyradon October 18, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is an anti-male chauvinism song. Malk changes the birth order and sex of Increase to assist his narrative. Basically, the first verse sets out a young Puritan girl uncomfortable with all the fire and brimstone talk for good reason...it could lead to her and a bunch of other young girls on the fire pit. Eventually, the town gets swept up in the hysteria.

    Later, the narrator indicates that he (we) are descendants of these Puritans and can't necessarily disown that heritage (see "the Puritans invaded our soul" and the bit about his rotten, i.e. English, teeth) even though it may be ugly.

    The last part about calling the girl a slut brings it all home. This girl's father is a jerk for calling her a slut and her boyfriend is an insecure douchenozzle for letting it bothering him and actually calling her on it. Thus men are pigs as they were in the Puritan days.
    supposablethumbson April 10, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about how certain ideas can circulate society through tactics of enforcement by the governing body, like "arab terrorists". Juts like in the 17th century innocent people were burnt because of accusations of witches it still happens today even though "Years and years have passed" nothing has changed. The mainstream media being a good example from where false blame and group categorisation can stem, like giving arab's the reputation of being "terrorists". This in turn has the "yokels" sending their offspring as soldiers to war and it keeps the west supporting western imperialism in the east.
    gazsafaon April 08, 2013   Link
  • -1
    General CommentWhat's with the "Aych ay see two (half a canyon too)" in the lyrics at the very beginning?
    gravearchitecton October 29, 2014   Link

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