Once upon a time when the world was just a pancake
Fears would arise that if you went too far, you'd fall

But with the passage of time it all became more of a ball
We're as sure of that as we all once were when the world was flat

So I wonder this as life billows smoke inside my head
This little game where nothing is sure, oh,
Why would you play by the rules

Who did, you did, you
Who did, you did, you

When was it killed, the very last dodo bird
And was she aware she was the very last one

So I wonder this as life billows smoke inside my head
This little game where nothing is sure, oh,
Why would you play by the rules

Who did, you did, you
Who did, you did, you
You say who did, you did, you

If all the things that you are saying, love
Were true enough but still what is all the worrying about
We can work it out

We can work it,
Oh I wonder this as life billows smoke inside my head
This little game where nothing is sure, oh,
Why would you play by the rules

Who did, you did, you
Who did, you did, you
You say who did,
Well, you did
You


Lyrics submitted by planetearth

Dodo song meanings
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13 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentMainly this song is about being stubborn in the face of a need for change in one's life. The Dodo was once a creature of whom became extinct because it did not have what it took to survive in its particular environment at the time, and it refused to adapt to it's new surroundings. The word "Dodo" now is equated with being stupid, and would be most accurately used to describe somebody who stubbornly persists with the same stupid behavior even though the consequences of that behavior would influence any intelligent person to change their ways. Dave Matthews' lyrics are commonly addressing people who have lost their way in life, and this song is another take on that sentiment, great as it is.

    This song is also about perception. It acknowledges the limits of our perception, and given the fact that our perception has proven many times to be limited (and so also inaccurate) we should not put too much stock in, let's say, a perception of ourselves as being inadequate, hopelessly lost, etc. We thought the world was flat, we thought the earth was the center of the universe, we thought the gods were the direct cause of the spectacular thunder bolts come down from the sky; in each case (and in many more subtle and more personal ones) we were wrong, though at the time it really looked as though we were right. If we had not adapted our perception and understanding of the world over time then we as a civilization might've gone the way of the Dodo as well.

    What is apparent at any one moment is not necessarily an everlasting truth set in stone. We can change who we are no matter how abject our condition seems. That is generally what this song is about.


    Once upon a time
    When the world was just a pancake
    Fears would arise
    That if you went too far you’d fall
    But with the passage of time
    It all became more of a ball*
    We’re as sure of that
    As we all once were when the world was flat

    So I wonder this
    As life billows smoke inside my head
    This little game where nothing is sure, oh
    Why would you play by the rules?
    Who did, you did, you
    Who did, you did, you

    When was it killed
    The very last dodo bird
    And was she aware
    She was the very last one

    So I wonder this
    As life billows smoke inside my head
    This little game where nothing is sure, oh
    Why would you play by the rules?
    Who did, you did, you
    Who did, you did, you
    You say who did, well you did, you

    If all the things that you are saying love
    Were true enough but still
    What’s is all the worrying ‘bout
    We can work it out
    We can work it out

    Oh I wonder this
    As life billows smoke inside my head
    This little game where nothing is sure
    Why would you play by the rules?
    Who did, you did, you
    Who did, you did, you
    You say who did, well you did, it’s you
    Godinon August 27, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis was actually one of the first songs that i heard of Dave's and what is incredible is that i remember the first time i heard it. and i fell in love with not only Dave,,, but real music as well

    A M A Z I N G song
    peace
    Julliard14on January 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe lyrics indicate what I believe to reflect Dave's critical thinking style. Things aren't always what they seem.

    ----
    Once upon a time
    When the world was just a pancake
    Fears would arise
    That if you went too far you’d fall
    But with the passage of time
    It all became more of a ball*
    We’re as sure of that
    As we all once were when the world was flat
    ----

    As we were all convinced that the Earth used to be flat, now we are convinced it is round. Could it be square? Maybe a cylinder?

    ----
    So I wonder this
    As life billows smoke inside my head
    This little game where nothing is sure, oh
    Why would you play by the rules?
    Who did, you did, you
    Who did, you did, you
    ----

    As he learns more, the more he begins to find questions in the answers he's uncovered. Smoke in the head. Why would anything keep straight when you could be anything else? Why would you play by the rules, God?

    ----
    When was it killed
    The very last dodo bird
    And was she aware
    She was the very last one
    ----

    Interesting use of the dodo. Recalling that dodos are generally viewed as being dumb, Dave is drawing a parallel to human ignorance. We're so assured in knowing our being, how do we know that this is what we are?

    ----

    If all the things that you are saying love
    Were true enough but still
    What’s is all the worrying ‘bout
    We can work it out
    We can work it out

    ----
    Are you right? Is that the final answer? Why worry over something we can find no answer to individually and work together to illude and fool ourselves once more.

    ....

    Those are just my thoughts.
    JamSessionon April 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song. Its a great start to a wonderful first solo cd. I love the band together more, but Some Devil is a great cd and Dodo is a great song. Im not exactly sure what it means...but it is intriguing to me.
    chasingmoon888on December 10, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think it is about people being stubborn about what they beleive and how really to the wonder of life were actualley very stupid.
    americanbaby05on April 11, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the title Dodo fits the song wonderfuly. The Dodo birds lived on their little island playing by the rules and minding their own business..and look what happened to them. The sailors that proved the world was not flat landed on their island and did not play by the rules. It's an excellent opening to an album.
    HamiltonIncheson March 08, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me it's a tired mans statement that in this world, seeking of the truth will never outweight the crookedness of those who can bend the rules.
    Durang0on June 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Some years ago i was visiting a friend of mine on the coast of Maine. In his house, there was a collection of old National Geographic magazines, some as old as the nineteen-thirties. It was interesting to see how how popular American culture viewed Adolf Hitler before the full fury of World War II. The view was quite favorable. It's strange how things change."

    This is on the inside cover of the Some Devil CD
    dmb#41on August 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat an amazing song. Favorite DM song right now. I think he is talking about simpler times and that now life is a little more complicated now and he has to play by the rules, but doesnt want to.
    jba205on February 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthats a good point, i think to me it has to do with the fact that you can never be to sure of anything, dont take anything for granted...etc dont just follow along with everyone else dont follow rules because they might not be right like the rule dont sail to the end of the world cuz you might fall off. great underated song
    ggeigeron April 19, 2007   Link

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