We know of an ancient radiation
That haunts dismembered constellations
A faintly glimmering radio station
While Frank Sinatra sings Stormy Weather
The flies and spiders get along together
Cobwebs fall on an old skipping record

Beyond the suns that guard this roost
Beyond your flowers of flaming truth
Beyond your latest ad campaigns
An old man sits collecting stamps
In a room all filled with Chinese lamps

He saves what others throw away
He says that he'll be rich someday
We know of an ancient radiation
That haunts dismembered constellations
A faintly glimmering radio station
We know of an ancient radiation
That haunts dismembered constellations
A faintly glimmering radio station

While Frank Sinatra sings "Stormy Weather"
The flies and spiders get along together
Cobwebs fall on an old skipping record

Lyrics submitted by Ice, edited by ersatz13, jbone1

Frank Sinatra Lyrics as written by John Mccrea

Lyrics © Wixen Music Publishing, O/B/O CAPASSO

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Frank Sinatra song meanings
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  • +6
    General CommentThis song is about the long lost respect for the individual. That respect eminates from the nether reaches of our psyche reaching out to us, the dismembered constellations..ie the conflicted community. Beyond the nuclear weapons that protect us from each other, the burning convictions that keep us in check and the marketing that sells us out, our psyche reflects the ancient traditions of respect and wonders how they can be made valuable again.
    halfbakedon May 19, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI think it is sort of a song of hopelessness. The idea that an old man is still planning to "be rich someday" is kind of a sad statement.
    J.J.on April 10, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThe part about "an ancient radiation. that haunts dismembered constellations, a faintly glimmering radio station." Refers to radio signals that travel out into space just now reaching outer limits of space, where frank sinatra's music is still being heard(because its signals are just now arriving)
    sammohung999on April 23, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI think that he makes references to quasars. (ancient radiation in a constalation that's like a glimering radio station [quasars give off flickering radio waves]) the entire song he is refering to old things that most people forget about - things that most people "throw away" symbolically, just like they do with chinese lamps and stamps - the first time I heard this song I thought he was making out the old man to be fool, but I realize now that it is a lament for whorthwhile things that are ignored by our society - hence the sad, lament-like sound to the song.
    Venganceon February 22, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General Commentbobwronski has a really convincing interpretation but i always thought it had almost the exact opposite meaning. maybe im a glass half full kinda guy (either that or i am incapable of picking up on irony in lyrics).
    i think the song is a criticism of the 9 to 5 lifestyle. the old man is the result of a lifetime wasted chasing the american dream working at some mundane task (collecting stamps).
    on the other hand, musicians (like frank sinatra) can accomplish greatness far beyond mere wealth. hell, the beatles were bigger than jesus. popular music is appreciated by the entire world. it can make people forget their troubles and even make "flies and spiders get along".
    the significance of touching others with your art is greater than almost any other trivial endeavor of mankind.
    its bigger than the "ad campaigns" of men in suits trying to take over the world (or atleast their target market).
    its bigger than the "flaming truths" about the meaning of life on earth.
    its even bigger than this "roost" we call home, or the galaxy surrounding it.
    frank sinatras songs will be riding radio waves for millions of years, exploring "dismembered constilations" and 1000 years from now his legacy will live on on the planet omicron persei 8.
    goodropeon August 06, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI personally believe the song is about learning from the past and having hindsight, rather than just focusing on the present.

    The old man saving what others throw away could be a metaphor. He's learning from the past, or "saving what others throw away". Expanding on the metaphor, he'll be rich someday with knowledge.

    Without hindsight, history repeats itself.
    "Cobwebs fall on an old skipping record"

    Rather than believing the chorus is truly about ancient radiation and stars, I think this is another metaphor for the past. I believe it's about how the knowledge from the past is still out there, but as the song says, it "faintly glimmering."
    jfrenchon January 10, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentTo add on to myh comment, it also seems to be saying that the older generatoin won't accept anything new either. I guess its just about the general divide between generations.
    Wrapidon June 21, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentHeh, I'm repeating myself, but I simply love how many different (and perfectly sensible and valid) interpretations you can get from these songs.
    Here's an interesting and unusual one I came up with:

    This song could be about the effect of the media and the "Hollywood syndrome" on people. A more subtle "Californication," perhaps?

    A dismembered constellation would be a bunch of stars that are split apart and are off by themselves. They should be grouped together, but instead they alone. There are more kinds of stars than literal gaseous fireballs in the cosmos, such as movie stars or music stars.

    The radiation, which has been going on for years, is the unintended(?) message that Hollywood has been sending out for years about the magic of the movies and the glamorous lifestyle of celebrities. It contaminates people's minds; they are left with dreams concocted by an industry that they can never achieve.

    The stars from the dismembered constellation are the lonesome people who grew up in a western culture, who spent all their life idolizing movie stars and believing that the Hollywood lifestyle is what they truly want. The message is still, and always will be, reaching them, and plaguing or haunting them. They still feel that they can be rich and famous someday. They think they *really* belong among the Hollywood elite (a "constellation" or group of movie stars.) The gloomy and rainy sounding music and imagery of cobwebs falling on what these people bsaed their dreams on just illustrate what a sorry state they're in.

    "Beyond your... etc." When you look past what the industry does (entertains, makes a point, spreads ideas, and most of all, sells) you see the people it effects.

    The sad line about flies and spiders getting along together (really- brilliant writing.) shows the impossibility of these dreams. Flies and spiders could never get along, because spiders feed off of flies. Does Hollywood feed off of these people?

    Eh, it's just an idea.
    bobwronskion February 01, 2006   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationIt's great to read all of your comments, there are some excellent interpretations here and of course none are wrong. Even if CAKE had a certain intention for a specific message to be taken, if you take another it simply adds to the song's meaning.

    My interpretation is rather simple. The old man is collecting old artefacts in the knowledge that 'he'll be rich someday'. The old man has lived long enough to know that history repeats itself, akin to the 'old skipping record' , therefore his collections will one day be of high value. Cross reference with 'Sad Songs and Waltzes' in which CAKE tell of a cheating lover whose crimes won't be listened to because 'sad songs and waltzes aren't selling this year' and it's a warning that even if people try to hide the truth, in the end there will be a moment when someone will be listening the truth will out.

    I agree with the interpretations already made of the radio signal, but would like to add my own. The source of the signal, like a collapsed star, may have ceased long ago or may play completely new music at the same time that Frank Sinatra has reached stars far away. I apply this to the old man, who may die soon but he will leave a legacy. Summary: art/music/collections of fine things are a way to become immortal (this is of course partially self-referential on CAKE's behalf).
    aaldrich_ukon July 04, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentForgive me for my Tin Hat theory, but I've always thought this song was about time travel. So, in a future world, we are not doing well. The world is violent, aoverpolutted, etc and I guess you could so close to apocalypse/armageddon. So, one of the world's goverments manages to send a man back in time useing a terminator time machine ( one-way, no way back.) "...while Frank Sinatra plays stormy weather..." The man is sent back to approxmantly 30's-50's, a big time for Sinatra. Useing the objectives his govement gave him, he manages to fix many of the world's future problems by correct them as they first begin in the past, creating an almost butterfly effect. While thier, however, he manages to "collect some stamps" because he'll be "rich one day." He basically invests in things thought trivial during the 30's-50's and gains welath from them, knowing how they would be used in the future. Now, the "...flies and spiders getting along together, while cobwebs fall on an old spinning record." I'm pretty sure theirs a Biblical verse that roughly states " theirs a season for all things." Theirs been so many different kingdoms and empires throughout history, but even grand empires fall, and those who are left pick up and create a new empire in its place, starting the cycle over again. Now, a skip in a record is when the needle has reached an error in the disk, and goes backwords to a more durable part in the disc to continue playing ( I'm pretty sure it can also move forward during a skip, not sure though.) This means that with this new technology of time travel, their will never be another "fallen empire." and that we can just send another man back in time to correct our mistakes, thus breaking the "season for all things" cycle, and creating an almost, if not totally perfect, society.
    lalalacaloon August 27, 2012   Link

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