"Back of a Truck" as written by and Regina Spektor....
She lifted the monument in her monumental arms
She was the mother superior with carry-on luggage charms
She was this androgynous powder nosed girl next door
She had eaten her dog and he was back for more back for more

Her gym teacher thought himself a sweat sock demi god
Her geraniums thought themselves an alien pod
Her front porch gave way beneath classified weight
And when the ambulance came they said it's much too late oh it's much too late

Now the people of New Guinea and the people of LA
Have been pen pals for years cause they both hate ballet
Only the pandas and bears have made a clean getaway
But the news bulletin claims it's gonna be OK
Now Miss Lucy had a sweatshop where the immigrants worked
Problem was they all turned to pumpkins at the twelve o'clock stroke
Promptly confiscated by police precinct number X
That was when the alien geraniums demanded the facts
No violence of course; no violence of course; hey no violence of course. Of course? Why yes, of course!

Here the story gets hazy and the hair gets too long
The TV gets quiet as we hear a real bad song
The mothers get whiskey, and the girlfriends get tongue
And there's a back of a truck selling smoke free lungs
There's a back of a truck selling alien pods
There's a back of a truck selling game show hosts
There's a back of a truck selling the souls of the dead
There's a back of a truck selling crumb free bread....This is New York!
There's a back of a truck selling the back of a car
There's a back of a car selling roadway maps
There are roadway maps selling the back of a head
Hey how much for that back of a head, man?
Hey wait a minute that's my back of a head
Hey you can't sell that man
That's mine
Hey sell it back to me man
Hey sell it back to me
It's mine!

She lifted the monument in her monumental arms
She was the mother superior with carry-on luggage charms
She was this androgynous powder nosed girl next door
She had eaten her dog and he was back for more
Back for more, back for more.

Lyrics submitted by geekusa, edited by brian10002

Back of a Truck song meanings
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  • +5
    General CommentI instantly thought of this poor, suburban "androgynous Girl Next Door" who decides to run away to the city. She can't stand her old life with her disgusting gym teacher (I felt like there was some sexual connotation there) and her obese mother (who falls through the porch). All she has at home are geraniums, who seem so exceptional (like "alien pods") compared to the rest of her dreary life. She hears about the city through a friend, and she's eaten up the glorified image of it ("she had eaten her dog, and she was back for more").

    She hits New York City. There's people from New Guinea and L.A., there's violence, and sweatshops. "The story gets hazy and the hair gets too long" as she falls in with a bad lot, so to speak. "The mothers get whiskey" (drunk) and "the girlfriends get tongue" (fall into prostitution). Everyone sells everything out of a cart or the "back of a truck." They'll sell anything just for a little cash to live, from their own body parts ("smoke free lungs"), to farcical sensationalist nonsense ("alien pods"), to sex and slavery ("the souls of the dead"). They sell ways out of the city too (backs of cars and roadway maps). But at one point, Girl Next Door goes too far. She sells something too valuable, too personal (represented by "the back of a head"). She tries and tries to get it back, but "this is New York," and the people are harsh and hard-hearted.

    In the end, she's stuck in New York City with nothing. She's still waiting around, trying to get somewhere. But things look very bleak in this cruel, yet glamorous city...
    TheAwkwardSwanon October 24, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is a song which explains the NY culture.
    From the beginning its all about NY, and its confirmed by the line: This is New York!

    She had eaten her DOG--I Believe she's talking about a Hot Dog.
    The alien pods...well, everybody in NY thinks themselves better than the others, something out of this world.
    When she says the monumental arms part, i believe its talking about the Statue of Liberty
    The back of a truck selling everything....well, i guess you can buy anythingin the back of a truck in NY, even your back of a head, cause i guess that she's talking about stolen merchandise or something like that, then you can get it from the back of a truck in NY. Sorry, my english is not good, but i hope you get it.
    Yukyingon August 08, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI doubt I'm close but this song reminds me heaps of the movie, What'S Eating Gilbert Grape. This is just because of the image of a massive women on her front porch, and the scene when it's too late to save her. Then there is the whole mention of the back of a truck which was a bit recurring in the movie. It just brings it to mind. Either way it's an amaaaazing song!
    EllEmEnOPeeon November 21, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI have no freaking idea what this song is about really... although I like to think that is it the story, as well as the hallucinogenic final thoughts of a psychologically damaged woman who dies on her front porch. (Which kinda explains the trying to buy the back of her head from its thief!) She is unable to cope with living, as reality and fantasy are intertwined in her broken mind - thus "the story gets hazy and the hair gets too long".

    Despite any attempt of interpretation, it's still an absolute epic and brilliantly brilliant song. I
    auxocromeon October 29, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentRegina sounds a little like Bonnie Raitt in this one. I love the lyrics everyone mentions above---also "no violence, of course, why yes, of course." I also wondered if Miss Lucy was in any way related to Lucille from Pavolv's Daughter, another song with intriguing lyrics.
    milomooon January 13, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti get a whole little shop of horror image in this song. and it makes me think of my old gym teacher who also thought he was infallible.
    envirohodgeson April 30, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think the song is about a fat girl who dies on her porch (monumental arms, her front porch gave way beneith her classified weight, she had eaten her dog and she was back for more). i think she is probably mexican (mother superior with carry on luggage charms refering to a catholic and the whole immigrant thing). i think she worked for miss lucy and was in danger of being deported by the cops. i think the things being sold in the truck are about how people think money can solve all problems... like if u have money u can buy smoke free lungs. i think the back of a head is possibly refering to a brain... because when people buy things they r really trying to buy themselves. we buy the best things and we think that makes us the best. i think regina is saying that the immigrants are here to find a better life but when the girl gets too much of a good things (food-- she gets fat) and she dies. i think the alien pods are drugs... maybe... although maybe regina was taking some drugs when she wrote this song haha... i'm sure she is laughing at this site trying to explain her songs.
    philaphobicon June 19, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment{This song is one of my ultimate FAVORITES. It's so trippy.}
    The main themes i can get out of this song are: Immigrants, New York, and corporate America.
    But really, i think this song is about immigration to NY (regina went from Russia to NY). The culture shock of corporate-america, vendors selling things, all things, from the back of their cars. Maybe her first day in NY she saw a lot of vendors in backs of trucks or something.
    "She lifted the monument in her monumental arms
    She was the mother superior with the carry-on luggage charms" -this is definitely about flying to NY and seeing the statue of liberty.

    But there are definetely deeper levels about fictional characters like the overweight girl who ate hot dogs (she had eaten her dog and was back for more), with the demi god gym teacher and geraniums who thought they were alien pods... which is what throws me off. But i think she was on something when she wrote this song, so the parts that don't fit in like that are some manufestation of regina's imagination. I read in an interview that a lot of her songs (Mary-ann, Sailor Song, Poor Little Rich Boy) are about fictional characters she makes up and sings about. I think this song def. is partly about characters of her imagination.
    "Now Miss Lucy had a sweatshop where the immigrants worked
    Problem was they all turned to pumpkins at the twelve o'clock stroke"
    Turning to pumpkins = getting caught as illegal in this country and getting shipped back, like cinderella turning back to what she was at 12, her horses turning to pumpkins.
    Alien pods = places for illegal aliens to dwell/live.
    There's such an intense theme about New York in it because she was hit with such a new environment; it was culture shock. And she realized how consumer-driven the streets of NY are, and how everything can be sold, and that a lot of people define themselves by what they buy, even if what they're buying is ridiculous. Everything can be solved by their purchases (crumb-free bread, smoke-free lungs, game show hosts).
    That's my take. This song definetley makes you think!
    love_is_freeon November 15, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentmy favorite part is the "this is new york!"
    lauralee17on March 25, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti agree with philaphobic (love the name).

    it's about GLUTTONY!

    the girl gets so fat she dies

    and then it talks about the gluttony of America; new york is a metonym for america

    people become such gluttons that they kind of become monsters, as she ate her dog and had aliens for flowers and people are selling other people's heads

    think of matilda blowing up the tv with the greedy people on it

    god some of Regina's songs freak me out so much
    chelswildfloweron May 26, 2008   Link

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