Any World (That I'm Welcome To) Lyrics

If I had my way
I would move to another lifetime
I'd quit my job
Ride the train through the misty night-time
I'll be ready when my feet touch ground
Wherever I come down
And if the folks will have me
Then they'll have me

Any world that I'm welcome to
Is better than the one I come from

I can hear your words
When you speak of what you are and have seen
I can see your hand
Reaching out through a shining daydream
Where the days and nights are not the same
Captured happy in a picture frame
Honey I will be there
Yes I'll be there


I got this thing inside me
That's got to find a place to hide me
I only know I must obey
This feeling I can't explain away

I think I'll go to the park
Watch the children playing
Perhaps I'll find in my head
What my heart is saying
A vision of a child returning
A kingdom where the sky is burning
Honey I will be there
Yes I'll be there

Song Info
Submitted by
Submitted on
May 21, 2002
15 Meanings
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I think this song is a rarity for SD - a straightforward song (or there's a double meaning which I don't get). Basically the singer is longing for a better place and a new start in life. Perhaps he wants to return to an imaginary family or community that he was never part of.

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Beautiful song about searching for meaning in the face of alienation. The singer is determined to find happiness and believes it is possible, even though he has suffered. Maybe existentialist.

@tewnetnet Yes, yes and yes. I agree with everything you wrote. There's also some confort in the second verse "I can hear your words /When you speak of what you are and have seen..." and a coping strategy "I think I'll go to the park/Watch the children playing". This song has lately become very dear to me.

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It's probably been thirty years since I first heard this music. I did not understand or pay much attention to the lyrics then. I just enjoyed the soothing communality of the music. And today the same music paints my memory of that time with color, and the lyrics have more meaning with the perspective that comes from living. No, things are never perfect or without pain, but it helps to get with the relativity of things. The larger picture's been definitely worth it for me, in many many ways.

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the words of this song strike me to the very core; it makes me wonder why I'm still alive

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Perhaps it was a song written earlier in his youth that was too painful to sing at the time. The Wikipedia page on DF talks about a traumatic family move from Passaic to Fair Lawn, NJ, which he hated. Definitely has an element of teen angst to it, certainly that I recall from those years...

Song Meaning
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I agree this is a very straight forward and poignant lyric

But It is so straight forward that I still think you guys are missing the thrust...this is a person despondent over the loss of their child

That’s why they have a vision of a child returning...that why their memory is contained as a vision in a picture frame...that’s why he wants to watch children playing to understand his feelings

I think this is really clear

My Interpretation
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The meaning is straightforward, a lonely man has a meaningless job and there is no fulfillment to be had for him anywhere in the area. He really doesn't have anywhere else special to go and starts out tentative, "if I had my way" and "if the folks will have me" yet we listen as he becomes resolved: "Honey I will be there" - and who's that? An unknown (or mythical) honey and friendly folks who are (maybe) out there. "I can see your hands reaching out through a shining daydream" is how come he knows. And he knows that's a totally flimsy reason to believe, but even though still "I must obey this feeling i can't explain away." Me, I believe he is now resolved to act but there could be a cynical interpretation here that he's deluded on so many levels. Why do I believe? Because the ending seems so sincere, in the unknown place he knows is out there, and with the unknown people he longs to have kinship with, his daydream is "a vision of a child returning". Not a return to anywhere he's been but a spiritual homecoming (that he also wrote about in the words to Sun Mountain - but in that song, by then when he's already made his move, it is "all the things I left behind" that if he needs them "they will be there" line emphasized right there! "a part of my mind").

Hipsters might be entirely justified if they see the singer moving back to his parent's place in Arizona. But that doesn't fit with the back story. It's recorded by the time Fagen's 23, maybe well earlier. He'd spent almost his whole life within 100 miles of NYC up to then and is at that point barking up all the wrong trees in Manhattan's fading music industry. He had to see a move to LA coming when he wrote this, or some part of him did. "A kingdom where the sky is burning."

Sure, most Steely Dan songs contain hella obscure references and in the end half of them are anyone's guess really, there are so many conflicting myths about them, and sure it's unusual but it's not unknown for them to just have a straightforward story line. I mean, there's no great mystery about Reeling in the Years either. More to the point relating to Any World - so is Fagen perfectly frank and straightforward about another personal crisis in his solo number On the Dunes maybe 20 years later.

Song Meaning
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I gotta get outta here....

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If this song had somehow magically materialized in the discography of some sincere plodder like, oh, Bruce Springsteen, or Bob Seger, or Southside Johnny, or Bon Jovi, it would have reached iconic anthem status, the kind where a song is trotted out and sung along to for particular occasions like, um, graduations for people who didn't attend the graduation? Or, uh, the party kids throw the night before they run away from home? Hmm, maybe, uh, mass suicides? Ah, never mind. Great song, though, taken on its face, which nobody wants to do because nobody trusts the Dan.

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I really like Steely Dan - this is a wonderful band, and this is one of their best songs. for a change, I think this song has more optimistic point of view. the singer is presenting his place in life( not necessarily a bad place) and say that whatever he is going to do, its going to be better. There is nothing more optimistic then that. Every choice that he is going that he is going to take, will be better choice than before, every move will be better than before - the writer is getting better, any reality that he is going choose by his decesion("any world that i am welcome too"), will make him a stronger, more experience man. Loooooove this song

Song Meaning
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