"Light Pollution" as written by and Conor Oberst....
John A. Hobson was a good man
He used to loan me books and mic stands
He even got me a subscription
To the Socialist Review
Listening to records in his basement
Old folk songs about the government
"It's love of money, not the market"
He said, "these fuckers push on you"

"And freedom yells, it don't cry
Whatever sells will decide
But there's no hell when you die
So don't look so worried"

He got a night life, lost his day job
Pushing papers, swinging pendulums
Anything to serve a function
Or to occupy some time

You gotta earn this living somehow
You're good as dead without a bank account
But it's funny how alive he felt down
In that unemployment line

With all that trash at his feet
The pools of piss in the street
All of that filthy empathy
For the way we're feeling

The billboards shade
The flags they wave
The anthem was playing loud
The baseball game was letting out

And all at once
He saw the dust
And heard every tiny sound
Got in his truck and turned around

Drove out through the crowd and the cops
Drove out past that center mall
Drove out past that sickening sprawl
Out past that fenced in gold

And maybe he lost control
Fucking with the radio
But I bet the stars seemed so close
At the end
At the end
At the end

Lyrics submitted by Mopnugget

"Light Pollution" as written by Conor Oberst Oberst

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Light Pollution song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentIn in extraordinary amount of press Conor has gotten lately, alot of the reviews of Digital Ash mention this song. They say this song is about the death of a friend in a car crash. I dont think think tragedy of a car crash is the topic of this song. It's more along the lines of his Desaparecidos work, with the metaphor of the car crash signifying the rising above the struggle of American capitalism and consumerism. The struggle hits its climax as the character is driving past the seemingly wretched classic american landscape of flags and baseball games, and disappears into somekind of restful peace.

    Also, it may be a bit of a stretch but the line of "fucking with the radio" for some reason didnt strike me at first as a car radio, but like some kind of rabid lashing out against American capitalism in form of the god awful trash that gets played on the radio.
    brian92287on January 26, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit's "johnny hopson" with an s.

    and "the billboard shades the flags - they wave. the anthem was playing loud."

    and "all at once you saw the dust and heard every ______ sound" - but i don't know what word goes there

    and "out past that fenced in gold" but the 'gold' wouldn't make much sense, but i can't come up with anything else.

    and "seemed SO close"
    apocalypse84on November 21, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentall at once you saw the dust and heard every TINY sound
    pap3r thin wallson November 25, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentfixed, thankyou
    Mopnuggeton December 02, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think this song is about a friend who was angry with the economy or something, and he didnt want to conform or do good, so he started partying all the time and never worked and what not, but then decided he wanted to change and quit being a low life, but he got in a car crash and died.... just my opinion... any other ideas?
    x2luvand2beluvdxon December 28, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song has an 80's twinge to it..good song.
    I think it is about how our society determines what we do and how we live our life, and the guy he's singing about (ive noticed that conor often tells stories through characters,but it could just as easily be about him that literally about his friend John Hobson)realized that and began living his life diffrently.But at the end, he dies just like everyone else.
    But then again,what the fuck do I know?
    promisexkepton January 18, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt should be John A. Hobson...He is a 1800s physicist who had a very distinct socialist/communist ideology....I agree with the 80s statement...I have listened to this one about 10 times since getting the album a few days ago.
    tiki_12on January 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentjust to add, the "fenced in gold" conor refers to is the various fields of wheat, barley, etc. surrounding Omaha.
    tiki_12on January 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenttiki_12: An 1800s physicist used to lend Conor Oberst books and mic stands?!
    plasticflowerson January 22, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentplasticflowers: of course not, but not all of conor's songs are about himself, and in the case of digital ash many of the songs are dream like references combining real and surreal life
    tiki_12on January 22, 2005   Link

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