"Memories Can't Wait" as written by and David/harrison Byrne....
Do you remember anyone here?
No you don't remember anything at all
I'm sleeping, I'm flat on my back
Never woke up, had no regrets

There's a party in my mind
And I hope it never stops
There's a party up there all the time
And they'll party till they drop

Other people can go home
Everybody else can split
I'll be here all the time
No, I can never quit

Take a walk through the land of shadows
Take a walk through the peaceful meadows
Don't look so disappointed
It isn't what you hoped for, is it?

There's a party in my mind
And I hope it never stops
I'm stuck here in this seat
I might not stand up

Other people can go home
Other people they will split
I'll be here all the time
No, I can never quit

Everything is very quiet
Everyone has gone to sleep
I'm wide awake on memories
These memories can't wait

These memories can't wait
These memories can't wait
These memories can't wait

These memories can't wait
These memories can't wait
These memories can't wait


Lyrics submitted by Chris_Gough

"Memories Can't Wait" as written by Jerry Harrison David Byrne

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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Memories Can't Wait song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentActually, I think this is a song about dying: one of a short list of things good songs are allowed to be about. It is a song by a young man who is self conscious enough to be thinking about dying, and what it means, and also what being alive means.

    We die alone, yet not really alone. and we live that way too. There's a party in our heads, which we can never leave, never truly witness or experience the end of. "Other people can go home...everyone else will split", as perhaps will we, too - into all the bits and pieces bouncing around together that we called ourselves. But like so many of the phenomena of consciousness, that probably looks very different on the inside than on the out. There are many uncertainties involved in the final Unknown, and some of the possibilities may be fearful, and not just the melodramatic ones. Fear of disappointment with the emptiness and aloneness that we may hope doesn't await us at or near the closing parenthesis might be enough to make many millions of people unconsciously wish for fire and brimstone as more interesting alternatives.

    In the end, though, although we may lose the memories that make up our selves as we know them, whether there is a "true" end or not, we as we know ourselves may not be there to witness it, which is practically the same thing as eternity, the same eternity available to the living, as well, in every moment, for those who look for it tenaciously.
    mikeelikeson May 30, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with mikeelikes. I see it as only peripherally about death though, more about consciousness. Not to get over pretentious but I always think of "Nausea" by Sartre. Ok, I guess I got over pretentious after all. But anyways it's about the horror of being eternally trapped within one's own consciousness.

    OTOH, I also think it could just be about a bad acid trip.
    thitheron July 28, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe way he screams the last verse it's just chilling, the best moment of the entire Fear Of Music album.
    As for the meaning, I'm not so sure, although I can see something about being isolated from the others... Yeah self-consciousness is a good shot.
    Santiagofon May 11, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI take this song to be both metaphorical and completely literal. My mind runs constantly, and I am completely unable to shut it off, ever. Incessant thoughts become distractions; they keep me awake at night... It literally feels like there's a party going on in my skull, that will never stop until I'm dead. But, as the third stanza mentions, none of the thoughts are as good as might be hoped.
    RealityRippleon July 21, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"
    There's a party in my mind...
    And it never stops
    There's a party up there all the time...
    They'll party till they drop
    Other people can go home...
    Other people they can split
    I'll be here all the time...
    I can never quit"

    I am so sorry. Sounds like Hell.
    EnduringChillon January 30, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis song is about drug addiction.
    JoeDon May 28, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDo you remember anyone here?
    No you don't remember anything at all
    I'm sleeping, I'm flat on my back
    Never woke up, had no regrets

    Death / Morpheus vs. waking/resurrection.The soul wiped clean of memory -- and yet the singer is also tormented my intensities of memory. This is a powerful dialectic tension within the song. The song is tragic and disturbing at its core.

    Elysian Fields: Classical Greek notions of death-as-sleep, Hades & Sheol:

    Take a walk through the land of shadows
    Take a walk through the peaceful meadows
    Don't look so disappointed
    It isn't what you hoped for, is it?

    The pastoral promises of Psalm 23
    (He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me...) have vanished and there is a profound disturbance within the singer's soul.

    There is a menace here - the peaceful Elysian grave can implode into a vision of hell and its torments. Maybe you have been lied to about the afterlife.

    In the end, the singer is in an existential crisis of intensified nostalgia, worsened by insomnia, perhaps augmented by psychotropic substances (?)
    NomadMonadon January 31, 2017   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningWhen Talking Heads came to prominence, everything they loved about rock 'n' roll had seemingly died or was being dropped. This song's about keeping what they held dear in a state of constant remembrance.
    Hellwyckon February 21, 2018   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI`ve read all your comments, they sound both convincing and rather depressing. Thank you for all of them.
    But, in my private opinion:

    How come you are all wrong? :-)

    This song is about the insatiable lust for life.

    "There is a party in my mind" - I am alive and vital.
    "And I HOPE it never stops" - I consider it a good thing. I like it. I hope it stays this way.

    "Other people can go home" - I don`t care if you feel the same. I know I`m right.

    "I`m wide awake on memories" - My experiences are important to me. I`m eager to live my life fully.
    "These memories can`t wait" - It`s about the future that starts now. Life with its experiences and adventures awaits us.
    The author is eager to earn new experiences, to be later referred to as memories.
    If you don`t live your life, you don`t get many memories.

    And the music at the end of this song is rather uplifting.
    It cheers you up.
    The song is about the beauty of being alive.

    Leszek
    leszy77on July 12, 2018   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about Frontman's experiences as an intelligence asset. He is describing a debriefing. During this period field assets were often debriefed using combination of hypnotherapy and psychotropic drugs. This is why at the end of the "Do you remember anyone here?" line, Eno added a sound effect of a reel-to-reel machine being run backwards, as if to "re-cue the prompt".

    Frontman is literally laying on a gurney, in an institutional medical setting, reliving the party over and over again. His employers are concerned with retrieving useful information from the party in his mind (a clever play on words- a political party is intended also).

    Frontman is an "alter": an artificial personality embedded within the subject's unconsciousness. Frontman is able to observe things and create intelligence for his handlers while David Byrne is the "active" consciousness. Later, what Frontman saw is extracted through drug assisted hypnosis. With the sole exception of I Zimbra, every song on Remain in Light describes aspects of Frontman's relationship and activities with British and American intelligence.

    "Don't look so disappointed
    It isn't what you hoped for, is it?"
    dblentendron September 13, 2019   Link

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