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,
cast out in confidence. land locked or heaven sent. you went for broke till we were spent. rivaled by only all the snakes in your head. dropped out or braved the test. hands up or pay the debt. you went for throats till we were left dreaming about none of your charms. tell the world the devil wears a halo when the curtain's drawn. did it wear you down? being here? or is that just fear whoring at you for the first time? but it won't be the last cast out in silence and half-cocked in self defense. you wanted to know, no, this curse will never relent. did it wear you down? being here? or is that just fear lunging at you for the first time? the birds will kill you last cast out in a league with the blessed. always beautiful in circumspect. a sum lesser than the parts. a gain running at a deficit from the start. son you may have brains but you've got no heart. thinking out loud to do you harm. tell the nurse the angel hides his horns when the lights are on. the language. the blueprint. the second skin. the meaning. the divine math. the diagram. you were for broke till we were spent. rivaled only in your head. the sheriff. the reflex. a special word. a language unlearned. a light in the universe come to lift this curse. a language. a blueprint. a special word. you went for broke till we were spent. rivaled only in your head.
Lyrics submitted by PLANES
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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 shares a short story of reconnecting with an old flame on “American Town.” The track is about a holiday Ed Sheeran spends with his countrywoman who resides in America. The two are back together after a long period apart, and get around to enjoying a bunch of fun activities while rekindling the flames of their romance.
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.
Mel And Kim
Mel And Kim
Just listening for the 784,654th time....and it's just perfect in every way. Just incredible. The only reason it was remade was to scoop up a boatload of money from a more modern and accepting audience. But it is a completely different song than the other one that sounds slapped together in a few takes without a thought for the meaning. This song captivates me still, after 50+ years. Takes me to the deep South and the poverty of some who lived thru truly hard times. And the powerful spirit of a poor young girl being abandoned to her future with only a red dress and her wits to keep her alive. She not only stayed alive, she turned her hard beginnings around, became self sufficient, successful and someone with respect for herself. She didn't let the naysayers and judgers stop her. She's the one sitting in the drivers seat at the end. So, not a song about a poor girl, but a song of hope and how you can rise up no matter how far down you started. There is a huge difference between a singer who simply belts out a song that is on a page in front of them, and someone who can convey an entire experience with their voice. Telling not just a story with words, but taking you inside it and making you feel like you are there, with their interpretation.