Did you expect it all to stop
At the wave of your hand?
Like the sun's just gonna drop
If it's night you demand
Well, in the dark we're just air
So the house might dissolve
Once we're gone, who is gonna care
If we were ever here at all?

Well, summer is gonna come
it's Gonna cloud our eyes again
No need to focus
When there is nothing that's worth seeing

So we trade liquor for blood
And in an attempt to tip the scales
I think you lost what you loved
In that mess of details
They seemed so important at the time
Now you can't even recall
Any names, faces, or lines
It's more the feeling of it all

Well, winter is gonna end
I'm going to clean these veins again
So close to dying that I finally can start living
Oh, yeah

Hi, we're back This is Radio
And we're here with Conor Oberst of the band Bright Eyes
How are you doing Conor?
Fine, thanks
Just a little wet
Oh, it's still coming down out there?
Yeah, I sorta had to run from the car
Well, we are glad you made it
Now, your new album fevers and mirrors
Tell us a little bit about the title
I noticed there is a good deal of repeated imagery in the lyrics
Fevers, mirrors, scales, clocks
Could you discuss some of this?
Sure, let's see
The fever is (first)
First, let me say that this is a brilliant record, man
We're all really into it here at the station
We get lot's of calls, it's really good stuff
Thanks, thanks a lot
So, talk a little bit about some of the symbolism
The fever?
Well, the fever is basically whatever ails you or oppresses you
It could be anything
In my case it's my neurosis, my depression
But I don't want to be limited to that
It's certainly different for different people
It's whatever keeps you up at night
(I see)
And the mirror is like, as you might've guessed
Self-examination or reflection, whatever form
This could be vanity or self-loathing
I know I'm guilty of both
That's interesting, how about the scale?
The scale's essentially our attempt to solve our problems quantitatively
Through logic or rationalization
In my opinion, it's often fruitless but
Always, not always
And the clocks and calendars, it's just time
Our little measurements, it's like always chasing after us
It is, it is
Uh, how about this Arienette? How does she fit into all of this
I'd prefer not to talk about it, in case she's listening
Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize she's a real person
She's not, but I made her up
Oh, so she's not real?
Just as real as you or I
I don't think I understand
Neither do I, but after I grow up I will
You know what?
A lot of things are really unclear for me right now
That's interesting, now you mentioned your depression
No I didn't
You're from Nebraska right?
Yeah, so?
Now let me know if I'm getting to personal
But there seems to be a pretty dark past back there somewhere
What was it like for you growing up?
Dark? Not really
Um, actually I had a great childhood
My parents are wonderful, I went to Catholic school
They have, they had money, so
It was all easy
I basically had everything I wanted handed to me
So some of the references like babies in bathtubs are not biographical?
Well I did have a brother who died in a bathtub, drowned
Actually I had 5 brothers that died that way
No, I'm serious
My mother drowned one every year for 5 consecutive years
They were all named Patrick
So that's, they all got one song
It's kinda like walking out a door to discover it's a window
But your music is certainly very personal
Of course, I put my a lot of myself into what I do
But it's like being an author
You have to free yourself to use symbolism and allegory to reach your goal
And a part of that is compassion, empathy for other people and their situations
So what I sing about comes from other people experiences as well as my own
It shouldn't matter, the message is intended to be universal
I see what you mean
Can you make that sound stop please?
And your goal?
I don't know, uh, create feelings I guess?
A song, it never ends up the way you plan it
That's funny you would say that, do you think that
Do you ever hear things that aren't really there?
I'm sorry, what?
Never mind
How long have you worked at this station?
Just a few minutes
Uh, now you mentioned empathy for others
Would you say that is what motivates you to make the music that you make?
No, not really
It's more a need for sympathy (depression)
I want people to feel sorry for me
I like to feel the burn of the audiences eyes on me
When I'm whispering all my darkest secrets into the microphone
(Like we're a god damn fucking, hospital)
(But it's just a little fucking VJ radio bullshit show man)
When I was a kid I used to carry this safety pin around with me
Everywhere I went, in my pocket and
When people weren't paying enough attention to me (what the fuck do you think we are?)
I'd dig it into my arm until I started crying (are we recording artists or puppets?)
Everyone would stop what they were doing and ask me what was the matter
I guess, I kinda liked that
Really? You're telling me you're doing this all for attention? (this is bullshit dude)
No, I hate it when people look at me
I get nauseous
In fact, I could care less what people think about me
Do you feel well? Wanna dance?
No, I'm feeling sick
I really just wanna be warm yellow light that pours all over everyone I love
So you're going to play something for us now, is this a new song?
Yeah, but I haven't written it yet
It's one I've been meaning to write
Called, "A Song To Pass The Time" (yeah)
Oh that's a nice title
You should write your own script
Yeah, no (check the fucking mic)
(I kept singing today)

Lyrics submitted by PLANES, edited by Mellow_Harsher

An Attempt to Tip the Scales Lyrics as written by Conor Oberst

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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An Attempt to Tip the Scales song meanings
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  • +3
    General Comment

    right now this is my favorite bright eyes song. amazing

    damienthorntoon April 15, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    mmm...gotta love everything about bright eyes...i adore conor oberst. this song is phenomenal. "Did you expect it all to stop at the wave of your hand? Like the sun is just going to drop if its night you demand."...perfection. and ilikehubcaps..i tell people it real...but they dont care. my friends hate all the music i love. bah.

    .bright.eyed.girl.on March 06, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    The part at the end where the instruments kick in..... that's my favorite part... makes me feel good inside...


    Wezzulon July 08, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Yeh the instruments at the end are sooo amazing...the inteview just cracks me up though... :) its a crazy song....but so are all of the lyrics conor writes... ha!

    hopeless_completelyon October 05, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I dont understand i feel really stupid. The interview at the end of the song isn't real right? He is just doing it to look weird?

    SuGarCuLtCrZdon May 10, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    a attempt to tip the scales it so give the relationship a nudge in the right direction.

    dean415thebeanon September 02, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    the radio interview transcription, in case you're interested (dunno if it's completely correct):


    kexikon September 05, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I got the feeling of an addiction. Alcahol maybe because I heard he one almost died from alcahol poisioning. "So close to dying that I finally can start living". And also "Winters gonna end im gonna clean these veins again" might be his resolution not to drink again, because I also heard he swore never to drink again, but it didnt work out. I love the music to this song.

    CaptainObviouson December 12, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Although it is unclear what exactly this song means, I mean it means something different to everyone. To me, it speaks so clearly to my bulimia. I have dealt with this for so long, anyway that’s not the point. “Did you expect it all to stop at the wave of your hand? Like the sun is just going to drop if it’s night you demand” That is almost word for word what people tell me, when I talk about my eating disorder. And it speaks so true, anyone who has an obsession or an addiction can understand, because you did. You really didn’t think this monster would rule you. “Well, in the dark we are just air so the house might dissolve But once we are gone, who is gonna care if we were ever here at all? “ This might be the death of you, but you don’t care, and you’re pretty sure no one else should care either. You believe no one cares about you. It really seems that way. “Well, summer is going to come and it’s gonna cloud our eyes again” Summer is a time, for me at least when my ED is not so bad. I’m so distracted hat it’s almost gone. “There is no need to focus when there is nothing that it worth seeing” Who can focus on recover, I mean it’s won’t be worth t. “So we trade liquor for blood in an attempt to tip the scales” I DON’T do it personally, but online I have met plenty of people who drink to a lot so they puke to lose weight. “I think you lost what you loved in that mess of details” Obviously, it is so true. “They seemed so important at the time but now you can’t even recall” The reasons why you started all of this. “Any of the names, faces, or lines, it is more the feeling of it all Well, winter is going to end and I’m going to clean these veins again” Summer comes, it’s all over for a while. “So close to dying that I finally can start living” This defines eating disorders.

    LilyNicoleon February 20, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    yea its a fake interview. its funny as hell.. thats conors friend pretending to interview him.

    kittenfactoron April 27, 2002   Link

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