Spring was never waiting for us, girl
It ran one step ahead
As we followed in the dance
Between the parted pages and were pressed
In love's hot, fevered iron
Like a striped pair of pants

MacArthur's Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it
'Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again
Oh no!

I recall the yellow cotton dress
Foaming like a wave
On the ground around your knees
The birds, like tender babies in your hands
And the old men playing checkers by the trees

MacArthur's Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it
'Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again
Oh no!

There will be another song for me
For I will sing it
There will be another dream for me
Someone will bring it
I will drink the wine while it is warm
And never let you catch me looking at the sun
And after all the loves of my life
After all the loves of my life
You'll still be the one

I will take my life into my hands and I will use it
I will win the worship in their eyes and I will lose it
I will have the things that I desire
And my passion flow like rivers through the sky
And after all the loves of my life
Oh, after all the loves of my life
I'll be thinking of you
And wondering why

MacArthur's Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it
'Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again
Oh no!

Oh no
Oh no!

Lyrics submitted by Jeffyhash, edited by xmidix

MacArthur Park Lyrics as written by Jimmy Webb

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

MacArthur Park song meanings
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  • +4
    General Commentpossibly the best melody to ever be ruined by such awful lyrics...the thing is, even some of the lyrics are good, but as so often happens, a few bad ones totally ruin it...especially when the horrible lyrics are in the form of a juvenile, english homework metaphor in the chorus which is supposed to be deep and meaningful but turn out sounding like a pillsbury commercial

    it's just so sad...the melody is beautifully haunting...the stage is being set beautifully from "Spring was never waiting for us, girl" to "love's hot, fevered iron" but then there has got to be that simile -- being pressed like a pair of striped pants???

    Anyhow, "Macarthur Park is melting in the dark" might be the most heartbreaking lyric ever written...and the mood of the song is perfect for it...then the very next line -- THE VERY FUCKING NEXT LINE!!! -- is about green icing flowing down...then cake???? ABSOLUTELY FUCKING INEPT AND ABSOLUTELY NO FUCKING EXCUSE!!!!!!!!!!!

    anyhow, it still manages to be a great song...except that it's a great in that cheezy, "u don't hav to take it seriously" kinda way instead of the "great classic song" kinda way...i think it's about a guy who loves a girl but she runs off to be w/ some rich guy and now the dude doesn't wanna love again b/c no love will ever be like the one he lost...the cake reference could be a literal wedding cake (it's still a terrible fucking lyric) or it's symbolic of their love (which is even worse) or it could be both (which is the superlative form of terrible or worst)

    what a shame...good song to sing in the shower though
    ZinbobDanon November 16, 2004   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI liked reading others' impression of this song. For myself, the "Sweet green icing flowing down" had this meaning, and (I thought) fit the scenario well: A person had a wonderful love affair and the park was the site for idyllic memories. The loved one leaves him, and when he returns to the park alone he is seeing it through tears. Hence, the green seems to be melting and flowing down.
    KathKayon March 04, 2006   Link
  • +4
    My Interpretation Personally, I've always heard this song with the lyrics "sweet 'cream' icing flowing down," but it really doesn't matter. Green, cream, it still works. "Spring . . . ran one step ahead . . " What does "spring" mean when you have a guy and girl in the same sentence? Love, of course. Running "one step ahead /As we followed in the dance," seems to be a clear reference to Shakespeare, maybe "A Mid-Summer's Night Dream."
    The rest of the first stanza and the third stanza seem to be about the wedding of our unlucky couple. The "parted pages" could be the wedding album and the striped pants certainly remind us of a groom's tuxedo.
    If that wedding were held on the grounds of McArthur Park, with the admittedly unconventional bride wearing a flowing "yellow cotton dress" (think Marilyn Monroe in that sexy scene where she passes over a sidewalk vent and her dress "foams like a wave"), then the day could easily end with the park "melting in the dark."
    What are the scenes that he remembers on that fateful wedding day in the park? He could easily deify his lady and imagine her in a goddess-like pose with birds in her hands, or even in a more realistic scene with doves being released as a symbol of their love. Not everyone in that huge park, however, was celebrating their wedding: our luckless singer was probably struck by the people on the periphery doing what they normally do in the park, namely the "old men playing checkers by the trees."
    But, as is so tragically common, the marriage dissolved and our jilted lover imagined his wedding cake melting in the rain of his depression. Is that so hard to fathom? I don't think so. Rain and depression go together; wedding cake as a representation of that delightful day in the park when they were married--it seems natural to melt the cake in that rain as their union melted.
    "I don't think that I can take it," . .. well, who hasn't felt that at the initial stages of loving breaking? And since we are using the metaphor of a cake to represent the marriage, then how do we represent all the time, effort, expense, and mental stirrings of the courtship? Well, we say that we "baked" that wedding cake. And what if we can never imagine going through this courtship/love/marriage/divorce trauma again? We say that we will "never have that recipe again." "Oh, no!" he cries in grief--the universal grief of the brokenhearted.
    Then there is the instrumental break and that break represents time . .. time to reflect, time to heal, time to see a more optimistic viewpoint of life and love---but, not too much time. Just enough time to imagine another woman (another "song") and to have some optimism (another dream) about the future.
    But, our hero is not healed yet, for he is still drinking the wine while it is warm and not aged, and he will still "never let you catch me looking at the sun," which is to say, "you will never see me blinded to the wiles of a woman again." Because, through it all he is still in love with the girl in McArthur's Park and "You'll still be the one."
    He will throw off the depression and take charge of his life ("I will take my life into my hands and I will use it"), but he is still a scarred man who is going to punish womanhood by using and abusing the image of the woman who cast him off ("I will win the worship in their eyes and I will lose it
    /I will have the things that I desire
    /And my passion flow like rivers through the sky"). And then we are reminded that all the troubles he creates for her sisters is because of her: "I'll be thinking of you /And wondering why."
    The song ends with the lament of the vampire with a conscience, "Oh, no! /Oh, no /No, no /Oh no!!"
    Is it a dark song? Maybe, but perhaps just the initial stages of a lover in the process of healing. We can hope so, but if nothing else, we can all identify.

    ChristopherBrunoon April 17, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General CommentGet over it, Zinbob. I agree with you that this song has some absolutely beautiful imagery (my passion flow like rivers through the sky!), but I totally disagree that the use of bizarre domestic imagery (cake and a pair of pants) ruins it. It's not unusual during tragic times for the mind of make particularly bizarre associations or for a person to suddenly see their situation with a bizarre humour, and that's what going on here. Plus it's just a song, and there's no need for it to be totally serious. The cake image does work, especially with the melting icing, and silly as it is, I think it all works great with the song.
    justdigon March 29, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThis will date me, but when this song came out, my girlfriend broke up with me, for no apparent reason. She was the love of my life, and I couldn't understand why she broke up with me. I asked her, and all she could say was "Listen to Macarthur Park, that will explain everything". I must have listened to that song a hundred times, and still couldn't understand. Here it is, 40 years later, and I STILL don't know why she broke up with me. Can anyone explain why, in the context of this song, she broke up with me?? We were young, still in high school, she in a Catholic School and me in a Public School, and she went into the Air Force and I never heard from her again. I still think of her often. Chris, if you are reading this, will you FINALLY explain this to me?!?!?!
    bulldog14224on January 09, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI read somewhere that it was about an actual chick that Jimmy Webb had sex with in a park.
    DJacques75on July 26, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentMunglai and justdig I agree with you guys...I don't think this so was written with no real meaning....if so the guys a damn genius and I'd love to hear songs he wrote that did have a meaning!!!!This song is incredible and as to the guy still wondering why his girl left him......did she ever marry??
    crombiegirl00on March 27, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI'm surprised and yet not surprised that there seem to be two camps of people: Those who detest and ridicule this song as being the stupidest, weirdest thing they've ever heard, and those who see divinity in the beauty of the melody and the poetic parts of the lyrics.

    I fall into the second group. I think the tune is romantic, and the orchestration gorgeous, especially the little 6- to 8-note quadrilles. At first hearing they sound alike, but in fact each is slightly different. And I am willing to overlook the striped pants and the cake in the rain in favor of love's hot, fevered iron, drinking the wine while it is still warm, and passion flowing like rivers through the sky. No matter whether it was written as a joke or not, it surmounts all efforts to make it silly and remains halcyon and glorious.

    I always thought the icing melting was in reference to his memories of the girl and the park fading with time. Memories that were built up over a long time and cannot be recreated, even for all the passion he still feels.
    law4on November 12, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment* sweet green icing

    Eamonon October 17, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSorry, fixed the mistake.
    Jeffyhashon December 05, 2004   Link

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