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Lyrics submitted by The_Jackal, edited by kellylugosisdead

Georgia, Georgia song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentNow the "note to note" interpretation...

    "Georgia, Georgia
    It's been many miles
    Since I've seen your foggy smile
    Close up and personal"

    It's been a long time since his ex-girlfriend passed away.
    (note, this part is present tense and first person)

    "Your arsenal of excuses
    You never told her
    When you walked out on the Savannah shoulder
    With your veins all full of beer
    Thinking, "Well, at least now everything is clear""

    Back when she died, he found her where it happened- she careened off the shoulder of the road. (if you don't know, Savannah is a city in Georgia, playing off her name I assume). He was drunk and overwhelmed with emotion, wanting to tell her all the things he never got to say. "excuses" tells me he probably didn't think he was good enough for her, wanted to explain himself.
    (note, this part is second person and in the past-- I think he's talking to himself or his past self)

    "But, oh man
    What plan
    It's just not that much different from my own affair
    Always cussing and crying"
    **I think that lyric is incorrect and should be "what a plan" rather than "what plan".**

    In a way this speaks for itself. He feels he's got problems too, and heavy emotions-- he doesn't understand her depression or why she did it. He's just shocked, dumbfounded, you can hear that in the way Elliott sings the word "suicide" and the brief quiet following it. Part of him is asking why he himself is still around, still dealing with his problems, he might feel she took an "easy way out" and made it harder for him. (note, now we're in first person... on paper it is present tense but in context it might be present or past)

    "How about if you
    Tell me something new
    Tell me what will make you happy
    Oh, you
    So deserve to be"

    He's thinking back to before her suicide, back in their troubled relationship. He loved her and wanted to be happy, but he was frustrated that she couldn't provide him an easy answer on how he could make her depression go away (because there is no easy answer for that). It's second person and present tense on paper, but he's talking to her, and in the past.

    "There were protests and contests
    Attitudes to cop
    I want it all to stop"

    While she was alive, they fought and argued. He felt there was some posturing going on on both sides. He also seems to blame her for not getting well-- she was "protesting" his suggestions on how to become happy. "It" is ambiguous- what did he want to stop? The arguments? Her depression? The whole relationship?

    "Three weeks ago you were all grace and charm
    And now I know it was just a false alarm"

    I think this part speaks for itself. Either three weeks before her death, or three weeks before the present, she seemed fine and possibly happy-- but sudden happiness following a long depression can actually be a warning sign for suicide according to some. The person might find happiness in the finality of their decision to go through with it, or it might be the first time they have the energy to act on their feelings. He thought she was finally rid of the depression, so her death was a shock to him.

    "Georgia, Georgia
    I can't understand your sickness
    You have no forgiveness
    No attention left to pay
    The quiet way you leave
    And just forget it all
    Just takes my breath away"

    He's in the present, after her death, just trying to understand and deal with her death. He didn't understand her depression. He wanted to be forgiven for being a less-than-perfect boyfriend (note: I say that as in all of us guys are imperfect as boyfriends, Elliott once said perfection is an offense to the gods...). For his drinking, for the arguments, etc. He also feels like her choice to end her life was also in some way breaking up with him-- "the quiet way you leave and it all". He doesn't know what to say or think or feel, and almost can't believe she's gone.

    "How's that supposed to make me feel?
    Yeah, well, how am I supposed to feel?"

    In the context of the rest of the song this has so many meanings. If you go back to his own "cussing and crying", he's trying to figure out why he should live and endure pain when she died and ended her pain. He's been shifting through sadness, care for her, frustration, anger... they might have been in a rough patch when she died, so he feels there's something unresolved. He'll never get to make it up to her, he'll never get to reconcile. It's a complicated mess of feelings and he's demanding, from her and from God, some answers, some kind of compass to get through it.

    Does anyone else notice how often cars, relationships, and death seem to tie together in his lyrics? Condor Ave. and Happiness immediately spring to mind for me, I'm sure there are others. Dancing on the Highway, possibly. I think he uses it in general as a metaphor for the feelings of loss and unresolved issues after a serious relationship ends. Again, that's all just my take. I encourage all to buy his albums and donate to the Elliott Smith Memorial Fund (google it)-- it goes to the good causes he supported during his life.
    yesteryear_soonon November 15, 2008   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI disagree I don't think that this song it's about a girlfriend because in the beginning it says "your arsenal of excuses/you never told her."(5-6) The fact that it's saying "her" makes me think that a friend was the one that killed himself, and her is his friends girlfiend and perhaps his friend as well. Also I don't think that they ran their car off the side of the road but walked into on coming traffic, probably a highway "when you walked out on the savannah shoulder."(7) And then when he says "it's just not that much different from my own affair/always cussing and crying" makes me think that he's comparing this situation to his own relationship.(13-14). That's just my take on it but of course like every elliott smith song it has it's own meaning to me, regardless of what the true meaning is I LOVE this song.
    ohitsjustsusernameon December 16, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentJust before my mum died she got really into Elliott Smith, particularly Waltz #2.

    It's years since she died, and I spent 4-5 years just listening to Waltz #2 before I branched out.

    I always saw a message in it, "I'm never gonna know you now, but I'm gonna love you anyhow" felt like a goodbye to me.

    About a year ago, I discovered this one. My name is Georgia, and I've suffered from a lot of the problems this song tackles.

    I feel like my mum left me Elliott, for all the times it was tough. As though she's still here, still speaking to me through Elliott's music. It makes it all so much more powerful.

    georgiadon February 17, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis is my take, I don't claim to be an authority on this brilliant songwriter's thoughts.

    about the song as a whole:
    This guy (the character in the song) was with a girl who had depression. He wanted to help her, felt guilty he couldn't make her happy, got angry and they fought a lot. Eventually she ran her car off the side of the road and ended it (suicide). This song is about his emotions dealing with that loss, even long after learning about her death ("many miles since..."). There is frustration and sadness and confusion and rage at different points, but ultimately he can't shake the feeling that he should have been able to "save" her, and at the song he demands of her (or her ghost or her memory:) "How am I supposed to feel?"-- he just doesn't know how to deal with all those intense emotions or how he can ever move on.
    yesteryear_soonon November 15, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI know I seem nuts for posting all this. But it seems from this in other songs that Elliott obviously knew how much other people suffer when a loved one commits suicide. It breaks my heart sometimes that on top of everything else he was dealing with, he probably felt guilty about that when it came to his own. I don't know that I'll ever completely cope with his passing.

    Rest In Peace...
    yesteryear_soonon November 15, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"always cussing and crying"

    loud anger and quiet sadness......well that's life i guess and he got it
    lost_in_twlighton April 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"well that's life i guess and he got it "

    thats an understatment.

    this is probably one of my favorite songs by elliott. it sort of has the same tone as 'roman candle' filled with anger but its sung in almost mono-tone. it just feels so empty...i think thats why this song is so powerful.
    RomanCandleon May 04, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentRoman Candle, i know what you mean, sometimes when you seem serene or numb on the outside, you can be dying on the inside. reminds me of no name #5. both beautiful and heartrending.
    lost_in_twlighton May 13, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song gets me off
    MusicIsMyCrackon February 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentabout a guy in a relationship with a suicidal girl...pretty sad..but I love the notes he hits..and in the minor key makes it that much more creepy
    Heather200408on February 12, 2006   Link

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