Truly, with his thorn in your side
And you don't know why
Julie dips her toe in the tide
And she don't know why
No, she don't know why she got
All dolled up for a suicide
And when the stage lights dimmed on the fading scrim,
It was morning before the cheering died

Is it too late to tell you that I don't mind?

King George in imperial robe
And a lazy eye
Knelt down as the semaphore broke
On his tawdry bride
But we don't know why he got
All stressed out on the motherland
With his T.V. sets and his fighter jets
And the royal ubiquitous handycam

Is it too late to tell you that I don't mind?

Here's you with your mom on your back
Going into the woods
She's so proud that you're staying on track
Like a good son should
But you don't know why you got
All choked up when you said goodbye
And you can hear her still when the nights are still
All crying out for calamine

Is it too late to tell you that I don't mind?

Is it too late to tell you that I don't mind?

Lyrics submitted by sendthestars

I Don't Mind Lyrics as written by Colin Meloy

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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I Don't Mind song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentAt any rate, I know there's this folktale the last verse might be referring to. In this folk tale, a king orders that all old people of such an advanced age must be taken into the mountains/forest to die, as not to be a burden on the rest of the populous. So a son, obeying the king, carries his mother on his back into the forest to leave her. As he is walking he notices that his mother is breaking branches above them. When he asks her why she replies that it is so he does not loose his way on the way back home and assures her son that she is not bitter at him for leaving her to die because he is only doing his duty to the king. The son is overcome by his mother's concern and kindness and instead of killing her, hides her. I can't remember what happens next, I probably heard this story when I was seven or so.
    little sisteron February 19, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI see the first verse as portraying an actress who feels jaded about her art - e.g. "getting dolled up for a suicide" as getting dressed up for a performance that will fail, even though the crowd seems to love it and applauds 'til morning. I do also like TheSFletcher's interpretation about the girl killing herself to get attention and the applause meaning others are happy to see her die (or at least, she sees others as being happy to see her die).

    Verse two is pretty confusing, mainly because of the unknown historical references and the general anachronism of semaphores vs. TV's and video recorders. I really haven't got a clue there.

    Verse three seems to me about a boy who's recently become an adult, going out into the world without his parents to guide him anymore. "Carrying his mom on his back" means carrying the memory of her, the things she taught him, etc. "The woods" refers to the uncertainty of adult life, but she's proud of him because he's "staying on track" and managing well for himself. However, the son still feels bad about leaving the mom, as when he imagines her crying out for calamine - I'm guessing the son used to nurse her when he still lived with her. Therefore the son is left with guilt that he can't care for her anymore. I guess it doesn't make sense that he WOULDN'T know why he was sad to say goodbye, but I guess it's because becoming independent is supposed to be seen as a generally happy event.

    The common thread holding these tales together is that all the characters "don't know why" they feel a certain way, or else others don't know why someone else feels a certain way, whether it be pursuing a career one sees as failing, becoming upset over a war(?), or becoming sad to leave a parent. However, the speaker "doesn't mind" these feelings, which connotes an attitude of acceptance. So maybe Colin is saying that everyone experiences feelings that are inexplicable or inappropriate for a situation, but ultimately it doesn't matter, because these unexplainable feelings are felt by all at one point or another. Basically, it's alright. He doesn't mind.

    That's my $.02, anyway.
    mister care-too-muchon October 02, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIT MEANS IT IS BEAUTIFUL TO ME. haha. This, and all Decemberists songs, are wonderfully amazing high quality hand crafted (insert better adjectives here) BEAUTIFUL IMAGERY AND STORYLINES AND STUFF. I love the last prt about the mom and son.
    EyesSoBrighton October 16, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhat the heck does it mean?
    Bryia_026on March 30, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit means i don't mind.
    everthelifestyleon June 15, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti don't what he doesn't mind, but i do know i like this song.
    AGuyNamedDanon September 29, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is so beautiful
    my favorite part :"With his T.V. sets and his fighter jets
    and the royal ubiquitous handycam"
    WriterOfFictionson February 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhat is anybody's take on the last chunk, with the boy and the mother?
    did he leave her in the woods, and for what?
    ecstacyveeon March 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhat is anybody's take on the last chunk, with the boy and the mother?
    did he leave her in the woods, and for what?
    ecstacyveeon March 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwell at the very least, we know there is a son, taking his mother into the "woods", which is typically connotated as a dangerous, vulnerable place to be. she obviously trusts him, and seems to be oblivious to the fact that someone she adores so completely is taking her into such a disparaging place. actually she might know , but doesnt even care

    i think its irrelevant why he leaves her there, thats not the point of the song. its not attempting to tell a story, but typically colin uses pieces of images to display emotions that wouldnt be satisfied if he spoonfed specific words to you. take this pathetic situation. how it makes you feel.... thats all it means. most of the time people dont write music for people to pick it apart and find right and wrong answers as to what it means. its supposed to make you feeeeel a certain way and the decemberists manipulate this amazingly well because we all feel a little bit the same way listening to each song and we can relate, but its hard to put it into words. he just gives us the senario its up to you to filter that into useable emotion. and if this particular section of a song is unsettling to you, i think its intentional, partly because the charactor is unsettled.

    it doesnt matter why he planned on metaphorically abandoning his own mother in a place he knew she would be unsafe, what is important is that he didnt plan on feeling guilty about it. except he does feel guilty and cant shake the thought of her helplessly crying out to him for relief of the iching plants.

    although these three separte stories seem to have not much to do with eachother, they all tie to a running theme of pathetic self-absorbed people catching a glimpse of outside perspective. one does it through glorified fantasy, one displays it in frustration, and out last is guilt-ridden. However, the chorus serves to further trivialize their self absorbancy by forgiving it and melodically soothing it away. like drowing for julie, like defeat for king george, and like guilt for the son (who actually is intimated as you). you could take this a step further in saying colin is trying to bring you out of your arrogance and realize the things in life you are doing like this. but its okay :)
    jewlocksson March 31, 2006   Link

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