[John spoken]
Hi, it's the Mountain Goats
It's the seventeenth of december
at nine thirty four in the morning
And this is called 'No, I Can't.'

You bought me some candy.
And you bought me some flowers.
And you bought me a sofa.
And you bought me a radio.

Thank you for the candy.
Thank you for the flowers.
Thank you for the sofa.
Thank you for the radio.

(Now I have everything I need.) x4

You brought me a puppy.
And you brought me a lamp.
And you brought me some books.
And you brought me a filing cabinet.

Thanks you for the puppy.
Thank you for the lamp.
Thanks for the books.
Thanks for the filing cabinet;
I don't know what I did without it.

(Now I have everything I need.) x4

You came by. And you came in.
And you let the wind in.
It must be cold outside.
We looked out, through the sliding glass door.
But I'd forgotten what we were looking for.

Thank you for coming by.
It's nice to see you once in a while.
Thank you for the coat I forgot to mention.
I've been freezing in here.
I've been freezing in here.

(Now I have everything I need.) x4

Lyrics submitted by sendthestars

No I Can't song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentTo me, this song always seems to be about those relationships where one person tries to buy the other person's affection by giving them all sorts of things. The receiver really appreciates everything he or she gets, but ultimately, that appreciation does not translate into affection for the giver.

    The receiver continues to attempt to transmit the message by saying "Now I have everything I need," which means that he or she is satisfied and does not need "you", the giver.
    distopiandreamguyon September 02, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI think the key to this song is going to be relating the title to the content.
    arturuson June 19, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI thought that the song was kind of bitter and sarcastic; like he says "now I have everything I need" because he's pissed that the person is trying to buy his love rather than actually show him their feelings. And then maybe there's some kind of resolution at the end and the last "now I have everything I need" is genuine because he didn't tell the person he needed a coat, but they kind of picked up on the clues and got it for him because they knew he was cold. I imagine the coat is metaphorical?

    I could be way off
    alannamcnallyon July 07, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThere are two different versions of this song on Bitter Melon Farm.
    kylexplosionon July 14, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song, to me, speaks from the perspective of a black sheep in the family being reached out to by someone else in the family. Like a wayward brother, who's sister is still trying to take care of him. "Thank you for coming by, it's nice to see you once in a while." He lives away from his family, and rarely sees them. At least that's what it says to me.
    Imalloutofideason October 17, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI've always thought this song talked about a superficial relationship/friendship. You can't really find anything to talk about besides material things, and conversation sometimes ends up just looking into space, pretending to be engrossed in something else. "thank you for coming by/it's nice to see you once in a while" seems so forced and formal when something like that should be natural and actually happy.
    darneeon March 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAre there multiple versions of this song? Because the one I have is extremely different.
    PureSophiston May 05, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI feel like this song is about someone addicted to amphetamines and has isolated themselves from either their lover or family. It sounds like they're basically living in an unfurnished apartment and unable to really take care of themselves. Perhaps the "you" in the song still has strong feelings for the addict so they bring them supplies, but can't be with them while they're still a drug user. It would make sense with the title of the song, "no I cant".
    ultralazeron October 06, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have read that JD wrote this song for his grandmother. That was quite nice of him if that's true.
    cbinghamon January 16, 2018   Link

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