"The World at Large" as written by Isaac Brock, Eric Judy and Dann Gallucci....
Ice age, heat wave, can't complain
If the world's at large, why should I remain?
Walked away to another planet
Gonna find another place, maybe one I can stand
I move on to another day
To a whole new town with a whole new way
Went to the porch to have a thought
Got to the door and, again, I couldn't stop
You don't know where and you don't know when
But you still got your words and you got your friends
Walk along to another day
Work a little harder work another way
Well uh-uh, baby, I ain't got no plan
Well I float on, maybe would you understand?
Gonna float on, maybe would you understand?
Well I float on, maybe would you understand?

The days get shorter and the nights get cold
I like the autumn but this place is getting old
I pack up my belongings and I head for the coast
It might not be a lot but I feel like I'm making the most
The days get longer and the nights smell green
I guess it's not surprising but it's spring and I should leave

I like songs about drifters, books about the same
They both seem to make me feel a little less insane
Walked on off to another spot
I still haven't gotten anywhere that I want
Did I want love? Did I need to know?
Why does it always feel like I'm caught in an undertow?

The moths beat themselves to death against the lights
Adding their breeze to the summer nights
Outside water like air was gray
I didn't know what I had that day
Walk a little farther to another plan
You said that you did, but you didn't understand

I know that starting over's not what life's about
But my thoughts were so loud I couldn't hear my mouth
My thoughts were so loud, I couldn't hear my mouth
My thoughts were so loud, ah

Lyrics submitted by RebeccaSaxon, edited by ftpk, LymonLemon, camila521

"The World at Large" as written by Eric Judy Dann Gallucci

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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The World at Large song meanings
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  • +16
    General CommentI'm surprised more people haven't noticed the connection between this song and Float On. The World At Large literally flows right into Float On. They even have the same chords. The guitar part in the chorus of Float On is played on a loop in this song at a slower speed. I think the two sentiments in each song are connected. Maybe he's a drifter and he's not sure what he wants, but deep down he knows everything will be alright.
    Tosunon May 09, 2012   Link
  • +9
    General CommentI feel like this very often. Drifters seem to have a rough life, but they may also epitomize freedom. As I have aged, I found that I became a slave to my possessions. I worked a job to afford better possessions; considered staying someplace instead of pursuing an excellent opportunity out of fear that all of my possessions would either have to be moved or stored. I've many a time thought about just taking my guitars and motorcycle and leaving everything behind. I wish I could float on, but my wife wouldn't understand, and I think she is more attached to our belongings than I am.

    This song is about expressing a wanderlust; a restlessness that never goes away. It is about leaving old connections and belongings behind in favor of freedom from the traps of modern life. It is wondering about the sanity of having a wanderlust, and taking comfort in books and songs about drifters.

    I understand. To quote an earlier Modest Mouse song: The Universe is shaped exactly like the Earth: If you go straight long enough, you'll end up where you were.
    suzukijayon January 03, 2012   Link
  • +7
    General CommentJust about living on a whim and living freely, but not in the tone it is usually spoken about with. A dark undertone is there saying how he almost is just searching for something, and will keep floating and drifting. I love the line "The moths beat themselves to death against the lights." because he knows that he is just searching for something he will never get to and something he thinks will bring happiness, but he'll never get it. However he doesnt really care, he'd rather go on killing himself looking for bliss.
    dhelmon April 15, 2004   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThis song makes me feel like I'm ok in the world. Its very reassuring, thank you MM.
    iikoizyon June 14, 2004   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThis song is about feeling like you haven't met your potential in life, and no matter where you go or what you do, you never meet or fulfill it. It is about having so many choices in life and not knowing what choices you are here for or which are best for you.

    The world is chaotic, and nothing is 100% for sure, even if it seems to be. That is where the line "The moths beat themselves to death against the lights, adding their breeze to the summer nights." comes in.

    He realizes that no matter how much he tries to make the right choice or plan, there are always outside problems where you can't make a difference. They happen naturally and sometimes unannounced to you.

    "Outside, water, like air was great. I didn't know what I had that day." Was one of the only times he felt right in the world. Be it in air, or water, he felt like it was great. Yet the next line...

    "Walk a little farther to another plan, you said that you did but you didn't understand." Seems like he can't find someone who understands him, even though they said they did. Maybe it is a self-reference. Maybe he thought he understood his problem, but really didn't.

    Like others have said, this song can be interpreted many different ways line by line. All in all, it is a sad song about not knowing where you are or where you are going.

    - MM Fan for Life
    Someone Nooneon January 30, 2007   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThis song reminds me of "Into the Wild" and that boy, Chris McCandless, who was going to find unbridled freedom or die trying. In actuality, he just couldn't conform to society's expectations. We all have that desire/thought to some extent.
    bawhite125on May 08, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthis song to me means, basically the type of life he lives. any band is constantly touring "I guess it's not surprising but it's spring and I should leave"- usually when bands start touring. they have no stablilty. he is a drifter "to a whole new town with a whole new way" and never stays anywhere long enough to enjoy it "I still haven't gotten anywhere that I want." he keeps moving on because that is what is expected of him with their success, and he can not get used to settling in one place anymore "I know that starting over is not what life's about. But my thoughts were so loud I couldn't hear my mouth."
    meesahunton May 28, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti think meesahunt made a really good point. the last quote, "but my thoughts were so loud I couldn't hear my mouth," for example could mean that when he is performing he is either deafened by the speakers or he has ear plugs and he can't hear what is coming out of his mouth, which are his thoughts expressed through his songs.

    also, he mentions how he's barely in one place long enough to go "to the porch to have a thought" before he's off to the next town. however, "you still got your words [songs] and you got your friends [band members]."

    then "moths beat themselves to death against the lights / Adding their breeze to the summer nights" much like his band repeatedly plays the same songs over and over in order to share their art with the everyone, even if it's only a little 'breeze' in the world of music.
    mellowdoodon June 04, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI can just say one thing, Modest Mouse is the masters of writing lyrics. I mean they got like 100 different metaphors in each song and every metaphor stands on its own and have endless meaning.I have not heard one single song that I could not relate to. And this song reminds me of so much.
    Best band ever.
    NeverDieNeverGrowOldon May 17, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentsuch an amazing song
    neuroticon April 11, 2004   Link

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