I'm sick, you're tired, let's dance
Break to love make lust I know it isn't
I'm sick, you're tired, let's dance
Cold as numbers but let's dance

As though it were easy for you to lead me
I could be passive gracefully

Half the horizon's gone for a skyline of numbers
Half the horizon's gone we're working the numbers
'Till I'm sick

Sleep don't pacify us until
Daybreak sky lights up the grid we live in
Dizzy when we talk so fast
Fields of numbers streaming past

I wish we were farmers, I wish we knew how
To grow sweet potatoes and milk cows

I wish we were lovers, but its for the best

Tonight your ghost will ask my ghost
Where is the love?
Tonight your ghost will ask my ghost
Who here is in line for a raise?
Tonight your ghost will ask my ghost
Where is the love?
Tonight your ghost will ask my ghost
Who put these bodies between us?

Lyrics submitted by tine17, edited by ahluring

Calculation (Theme) Lyrics as written by James Shaw Emily Haines

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Calculation (Theme) song meanings
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  • +2
    General Commentyay Indignity! I thought "I wish we were lovers, but it's for the best" (the line after the farmers part) is really important to the meaning of the song and it was left out on every site that i looked for lyrics on. hmm... Anyway, I think this song is about the complexity of human interaction, and how so much is based on superficial or social things. It could be about two people who are in love (or think they are) but can't' be together because there's something in their way: ie race, religion, social standing etc. This "grid we live in" creates all these rules. Why couldn't we just be farmers? Things would be easier... maybe. The greatest line though, ,that I think sums everything up is "Who put these bodies between us?"
    SwedishFishon July 04, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe best line of this song isn't in this transcription.
    "I wish we were lovers, but it's for the best."
    I think that line explains the whole song. A couple that can't be together and a woman wonders how things could become less complicated for the both of them. It seems that there is a deep care for each other but the possibility of them to be together is minimal. She thinks how if they were farmers they would not have any care in the world for this "grid we live in" I do agree with Swedish Fish on that one.
    The "bodies between us" is everything and everyone standing in the way of them being together and they wonder where all the conflicts and the restrictions came from.
    This is an extremely emotionally touching song. I know this whole scenario much too well.
    mrs_chainsawon March 08, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI see this more as a song about alienation - a loss of meaning - and a weariness with existence. The line between reality and abstraction is being blurred by daily life in our highly artificial world, hence the references to "numbers", echoed by the synthetic, almost random/computer-generated theme melody (that is haunting with Emily's voice and the rest of the arrangement).. Even human relationships- passion- is muted, confused - weighed down by existence in this dizzying world.

    The poet wishes, briefly and in my view, half-heartedly, for a simpler, more obviously meaningful life - and for the passion to be real, and shared. But because it can't be, it's given up sadly as "for the best". To me, this is more profound than just unrequited love between two particular people- to me it's saying that the poet at this moment feels that it isn't really possible between any two people.

    As to the beautiful last verse - especially the last line - "Tonight your ghost will ask my ghost - who put these bodies between us?" - to me it is the spirit's yearning for transcendence - for a true communion of spirit between two people - and acknowledgement that it is, at least at this moment and in this life, impossible - almost absurd - and yet still something that we must seek out to be fulfilled.

    Don't get me wrong here- this has nothing to do with religion in my view, though it is about our spirit or essence. It has to do with our human search for meaning and for "communion" among us as human beings, and how wearying it can be to not find it and to be constantly distracted by the mechanics of life in our dizzying, complex and highly abstracted modern existence.
    moltenmetaon April 24, 2013   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretationfirst comment ever on this site so feel free to critique it.

    i think this song could possibly be about an office romance. i think even the very first line is significant because if she is sick and the other person is tired they shouldn't be dancing they should be resting, but instead they are taking the time to be together and dance! the second line she could be saying people think that their relationship isn't real, that they are just lusting after each other but emily is saying she knows this isn't lust. the repetition of the first line really shows the significance of it too.
    not really solid on this line but possibly they aren't in good condition to dance? or part of the relationship isn't fully love so it's cold and harsh like numbers. then in the next line when she says "as though it were easy for you to lead me" she could be referencing that the other person is her boss and the person has to show her what to do and that line is slightly a praise for them. and being passive gracefully by doing whatever the person wants but not in a spineless sort of way. in a way that is showing she respects the person and all of the decisions the person is making.
    in this song numbers could entirely represent harsh coldness because in the line where she says "half the horizons gone for skylines of numbers" she could definitely be talking about the cities skyline and cities are harsh and cold in perspective. and "half the horizons gone we're working the numbers till i'm sick" the day may be ending when she says half the horizons gone and she is working the numbers maybe in her job, until she really needs to be resting but she isn't. or till she is just sick of working.
    little weary on this line but "sleep don't pacify us" could be, don't make them need to sleep until morning because the two could be together and they want to enjoy the time they have. day break lighting up the grid they live in is the sun coming up showing a new day that they can't be together and the grid they live in would be the electrical grid, where city people live. dizzy when they talk as in she gets a rush of excitement or happiness when they speak. fields of numbers streaming past meaning the days, minutes, maybe years are just unhappily passing all too quickly by.
    "i wish we were farmers, i wish we knew how to grow sweet potatoes and milk cows" brings this song together. she wishes that they could live a simple but happy life together doing nothing on the grid and in the city. she wishes they could just live together and be happy.
    'i wish we were lovers but its for the best" she loves the person, and wants to be with them, but she knows the hard truth that is the fact that their lives are better when the two of them are not together.
    'your ghost" their true feelings inside, and what they are really wanting. "where is the love?" are they just doing this for fun? what is the point?
    "who here is in line for a raise?" back to business. we are not an item, work comes first, it's the harsh truth and they need to act like nothing ever happened.
    repetition, and finally, my favorite line.
    "who put these bodies between us?" who made is so that we can never be together even though we love each other? who made these rules? why did this have to be us and our love that cannot be? why did this have to happen.
    ahluringon December 26, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthas anyone seen metric live? they are so amazing i saw them at irving plaza, they were opening for the stills but after the concert it was like "who the hell are the stills"
    Ignis37on May 24, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about love, or lust more accurately in our over modernized world. She talks about how their "relcationship" is "cold as numbers", and such.

    later, she's wishing they could live in a simpler time, and be farmers.

    Who ever transcribed this left out: "I wish we were lovers, but it's for the best." Oh well.

    And I suppose the end is self explanitory. I might be wrong though... who knows.
    indignityon June 12, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe best line
    "Tonight your ghost will ask my ghost,
    Who put these bodies between us?"

    i must agree.
    e1ectricloveon January 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe synth backbeat gets annoying.. but you just can't resist Emily's sugar-sweet voice in this song while she's talking about this calculated overanalyzed lifestyle that so many people live. I love this song. "I’m sick, you’re tired, let’s dance. Cold as numbers but let’s dance." In my opinion, she wants to go back to a simplistic lifestyle where we didn't have such a one-track 9 to 5 life, and embrace the simple pleasures of just dancing and not having a care in the world.
    confinedinsanityon April 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFor one thing, I think you guys mostly nailed this song, right on the head. It's beautiful and brilliant, but I think you guys missed a couple of things.

    "As though it were easy for you to lead me"

    This line has kind of a double meaning in the context that other commentors have found. The first one, obviously, is about dancing, but the second meaning refers to being led away and leading the simpler life; it's easy to dream about it, and to dream about it being easy, but moving away from the constraints of modern society isn't easy at all.

    And mrs_chainsaw, I think that the "bodies between us" doesn't symbolize anybody but the two people in the song. The final lines revolve around their spirits wanting to meet, but being seperated by the constraints of this life - their bodies.
    johnnycon May 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe line, "Who put these bodies between us?" I think really sums up the grit of the song. These two people have become so mechanical in their lives and love-making that instead of some dynamic force, it's become a mathematical equation, cold and predictable. The "transcendant" feeling of love that might have once been such a strong point in their relationship has gone missing, and it leaves her asking, "Who put these bodies here between us?". I think Johnnyc was hitting close when he said that it was their "spirits" wanting to meet but being seperated by life. Perhaps it's boredom with one another, or perhaps it's something else, but I think the singer regrets that this cold seperation has become to prevalent and wishes it weren't so.
    Hippias_Rexon October 15, 2005   Link

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