This song was originally written by a guy called Peter Gutteridge. He was one of the founders of the "Dunedin Sound" a musical scene in the south of New Zealand in the early 80s. From there it was covered by "The Clean" one of the early bands of that scene (he had originally been a member of in it's early days, writing a couple of their best early songs). The Dunedin sound, and the Clean became popular on american college radio in the mid to late 80s. I guess Yo La Tengo heard that version. Great version of a great song,
Responsibility, sensibility. How many things have escaped you? Could you try and show concern? Maybe help me understand. All your friendships are in trouble, you’re getting lost in the shuffle. But I’ll still be there, even though things aren’t the same. I’ll still be here when all is said and done. Your personality, it wears on me. How many times have I told you that you could be more than you try to be? How can you laugh at all your problems? Seems that they won’t go away. You think life’s a game and everything’s a joke. I’ll be there when you’re not, just like it’s always been. And I know you’ll come running back, like things are the same.
Lyrics submitted by HoneyBlyss
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Yo La Tengo
Yo La Tengo
Same ideas expressed in Fitter, Happier are expressed in this song. We're told to strive for some sort of ideal life, which includes getting a good job, being kind to everyone, finding a partner, getting married, having a couple kids, living in a quiet neighborhood in a nice big house, etc. But in Fitter, Happier the narrator(?) realizes that it's incredibly robotic to live this life. People are being used by those in power "like a pig in a cage on antibiotics"--being pacified with things like new phones and cool gadgets and houses while being sucked dry. On No Surprises, the narrator is realizing how this life is killing him slowly. In the video, his helmet is slowly filling up with water, drowning him. But he's so complacent with it. This is a good summary of the song. This boring, "perfect" life foisted upon us by some higher powers (not spiritual, but political, economic, etc. politicians and businessmen, perhaps) is not the way to live. But there is seemingly no way out but death. He'd rather die peacefully right now than live in this cage. While our lives are often shielded, we're in our own protective bubbles, or protective helmets like the one Thom wears, if we look a little harder we can see all the corruption, lies, manipulation, etc. that is going on in the world, often run by huge yet nearly invisible organizations, corporations, and 'leaders'. It's a very hopeless song because it reflects real life.
Ed Sheeran sings about missing his former partner and learning important life lessons in the process on “Punchline.” This track tells a story of battling to get rid of emotions for a former lover, whom he now realized might not have loved him the same way. He’s now caught between accepting that fact and learning life lessons from it and going back to beg her for another chance.
While the obvious connections with suicide or alcoholism could be drawn easily, more subtly this song could be about someone who views the world through a negative lens constantly and how as much as the writer tries to show the beauty in the world, this person refuses to see it. It's one or another between the rope and the bottle. There is no good option for this person. They can't see it. Skiba sings it in a kind of exasperated way like He's tired of hearing this negative view constantly and just allowing that person to continue feeling the way they feel knowing he can't do anything about it. You can hear it when he says maybe you're a vampire.
I think the meaning is pretty clear. This person got really burned in a previous relationship, and because of this is unable to love and show care in his present one, even though he so badly wants to. It's lovely song, and very sad. You can really feel how defeated and frustrated he is with himself.