Boats ease into the harbor bearing real suspicious cargo
And the sunlight on the water
Sets a switch off in your brain
The things that you've got coming will consume you
There's someone waiting out there in an alley with a chain

The ghosts that haunt your building are prepared to take on substance
And the dull pain that you live with isn't getting any duller
There's a closet full of almost-pristine videotape
Documenting sordid little scenes in living color

Here they come
The young thousands
Here they come
The young thousands

You drive east from the ocean with both hands tied on the wheel
And you go past Garden Grove
As the pleasure index rises
The things that you've got coming will do things that you're afraid to
There is someone waiting out there with a mouthful of surprises

The ghosts that haunt your building have been learning how to breathe
They scan the hallways nightly vainly searching for a sign
There must be diamonds somewhere in a place that stinks this bad
There are brighter things than diamonds coming down the line

Here they come
The young thousands
Here they come
The young thousands

Lyrics submitted by I'm a Pirate

The Young Thousands song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentAll the songs on the album "We Shall All Be Healed" are about John Darnielle's youth. Apparently he was pretty big into drugs.

    I think that in the first stanza, the line "things that you've got coming will consume you" refers to the drugs he is about to acquire. Then the person "waiting out there in an alley with a chain" is either the police (waiting to jail him) or a drug dealer (whose drugs are a metaphorical chain on the user).

    The "Dull pain" in the second stanza refers to the pain that you get any time your addicted to something and have to go without it for a while.

    Later on, I think the narrator desperately needs to have his drugs, and so he drives (past Garden Grove) and as he gets closer to acquiring the drugs he gets excited (the pleasure index rises).

    Diamonds are a metaphor for the drugs as well, I think, while "the ghosts that haunt your building" are the feelings of addiction that come from withdrawal from a substance he is addicted to.

    I have no idea what the chorus means. Who or what are the Young Thousands?
    Raving Lunaticon March 30, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"The things that you've got coming will do things that you're afraid to / There is someone waiting out there with a mouthful of surprises." God damn is that an ominous and terrifying line.
    valruson April 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe young thousands are the people that have the same problem of what the narrorator has. Drug addiction, at least that's what I got from it.
    Mistar_Glasson June 12, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit's an album about speed users. Speed is also known as methamphetamine, "Meth" or "Crystal Method", or "Glass". The crystal/glass part comes from the fact that it is sold as a crystalline powder, kinda like tiny diamonds. get it? that's where the diamonds reference comes from
    kozmikon August 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI really like the line "And the dull pain that you live with isn't getting any duller". I am pretty sure that this is the reason the narrator does drugs. His existence has been marked with a dull pain that he tries to make duller with drugs.
    Cool Cozon July 03, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't understand how everyone seems to think that the narrator is complicit in the drug addiction? Where is the first person? Or do you all mean the protagonist of the story? In that case, there is a character with that drug addiction, but not the narrator - he is only describing the circumstances. Please, enlighten me if I've missed something.
    ALackofColorHereon May 31, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about how life chews up young people into old people, full of regret.

    Life is full of evils, and when we meet them we are transformed. We can't return, but we can take solace in the fact that youth lives on.
    proginoskeson November 18, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIMO, "closet full of almost-pristine videotape / documenting sordid little scenes in living color" refers to memories that you don't want to confront, so you push them in the back of your mind (the closet) and don't think about them. I think that "ghosts that haunt your building" also refers to memories that haunt you but that you're not quite consciously aware of.

    The use of the second person in this song is great because it underscores how universal the tendency is, in people who've survived trauma, to reach for anything (often, drugs) that distracts from these memories. I think that's one of the things this whole album is about.

    Background: the wtfpod link that some other people gave, but here's an actually correct link:…
    obsequiousleafon April 10, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI could be wrong, but I don't think the young thousands are people. Are think they are drugs. Thousands and thousands of drugs.
    cbinghamon January 21, 2018   Link

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