Oh Mario, sit here by the window
Stay here till we reach Idaho
And when we go, hold my hand on take off
Tell me what I already know
That we can't talk about it
No, we can't talk about it

Because nobody knows that's how I nearly fell
Trading clothes and ringing Pavlov's bell
History shows there's not a chance in hell

But, oh, Mario, we're only to Ohio
It's kind of getting harder to breath
I won't let it show, I'm all about denial
But can't deny all that need belief
That we could talk about it
But we can't talk about it


Oh Mario, why if this is nothing
I'm finding it so hard to dismiss
If you're what I need then only you can save me
So come on baby give me the fix
And let's just talk about it
I've got to talk about it


That's how I nearly fell
By ringing Pavlov's bell
So baby show and tell

Oh Mario, Mario

Lyrics submitted by AgathaKavka, edited by ShootTheM14

Pavlov's Bell Lyrics as written by Aimee Mann

Lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing

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Pavlov's Bell song meanings
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  • +2
    General Commentwow. these lyrics are totally incorrect.

    1.) Because nobody knows
    That'S HOW I nearly fell

    2.) ALL of the Mariels should be MARIOs.

    3.) I won't let it show
    I'm all about denial
    But can't DENIAL let me believe

    4.) If you're what I need then only you can save me
    So come on baby give me the FIX

    ("give me the fist?" are you kidding me?)

    5.) History shows LIKE IT WAS SHOW AND TELL

    6.) and this:
    So tell me/ That someone nearly fell/ By ringing Pavlov's bell/ So then they sure as hell/ Oh Mariel
    is just laughable. it doesn't even exist in the song. the actual lyrics are:


    please correct this comedy of errors.
    jillycon March 13, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentHere's what I see,

    Mario is a married man or is in a permanent relationship. The singer is a woman who maybe is a colleague or a friend. They went away on a business trip or similar and she 'nearly fell' in love with him, possibly after sleeping with him.

    'Oh Mario, stay here by the window...till we reach Idaho'. She wants to be with him as long as possible, to still continue to be intimate-a one night stand that is tearing both of them apart.

    She 'traded clothes' that is changed roles - dressed up more/flirted with him, and she rang 'Pavlov's bell'.

    Correctly Pavlov showed the conditioning response in dogs - and so in animals in general. That you can get people to react in predictable ways even when they shouldn't, like when they are in a relationship. I think she was flirting with him as they were alone together, and maybe they had that one night, and then she ended up starting to feel so much more for him. 'why if this is nothing, then why am I finding it so hard to dismiss'.

    Where a woman turns on the heat, the conditioned response was for Mario to fall for her. Women, if only you knew what you do to us men when you turn up the heat! 'so that's how I nearly fell, by ringing Pavlov's bell'.

    Also, 'we can't talk talk about it' - but she WANTS SO BADLY to talk about it. 'Nobody knows', but she wants to bring it out in the open, the last thing Mario wants is to think about what happened, she assures him that 'I won't let it show, I'm all about denial.' Yet she also feels 'It's kinda getting harder to breathe' the longer she goes...

    'If you're what I need then only you can save me
    So come on baby give me the fix' but can or will Mario respond???

    A funny transcript error above: If you're what I need then only you can save me So come on baby give me the FIST.....sounds a bit violent to me...
    allusionon April 17, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHere's an interesting fact: Mariel Hemingway, actress and daughter of Ernest Hemingway, lived and lives in Idaho. Her life has been plagued by suicides: Her grandfather, her sister, and several others in the immediate family.

    Perhaps this song is the ghost of Ernest Hemingway, or someone else, asking Mariel to stop them from committing suicide, the habitual act that is like ringing pavlov's bell in her family, and to take them home instead? The clues are there:

    - "Hold my hand on takeoff" - Steady me as I contemplate suicide
    - "Someone nearly fell" - I almost offed myself
    - "History shows there's not a chance in hell"...that I'll make it; everyone in this family kills themselves.

    Yes? No? Maybe?
    EliWhoon March 01, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is totally fucked up...in a good way.
    takerzmuseon June 28, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have no concrete idea what this song means, but I'll speculate. Pavlov was a Russian psychologist who worked with conditioning dogs, and eventually got the dogs to salivate without feeding them by ringing a bell. I'm guessing that this song is about a couple in the Great Depression, and they're traveling to the West to find work (a la Grapes of Wrath). "Pavlov's bell" signals the call of fortune, that beckons everyone to come.

    Of course, I could be completely wrong. I just thought the references to Idaho and "trading clothes" might be about a time of the past. Anyhow, this song rocks!
    zeiton June 26, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's about control and how people can be deceptive just to get others to give them what they want. I think the song is about a relationship either professionally (Probably a record company person) or romantic and the metaphor is "driven home" by using a person named Mario as the protagonist in a mini drama who try's to get Aimee to be something she is not or do something against her better judgement in order to get what they want e.g. record sales, or a single, or in the romantic scenario...sex.
    Weinassocon March 28, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBy the way, the person who posted these lyrics changed the name to Mariel from Mario which is what it should be.
    Weinassocon March 28, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNow corrected
    AgathaKavkaon March 28, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think Allusion's interpretation of it is spot on ^
    citizenaimon September 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think Allusion's interpretation of it is spot on ^
    citizenaimon September 25, 2006   Link

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