"Tusk and Temper" as written by and Buckley Novac....
Bedeck your gown in bricks
There's leeches stealing across the stage
Come hell or ocean water I won't end up without
Applaud the gall of the black cloud groping a drunken teenage vow
As saline drips from her prom dress, damp hands are desiccated
There's a wolf at the window of the second floor who kidnaps your date with a new car
We both want the same thing
Bad poetry and assaults at the bar
Just try and stop me
We are the only one in the world
Prepare the ballroom
Quicksand in front of the coat check
Waltz with the scarecrow in the spotlight through the rye
I was born a wanted man
But I'll die a sailor's wife
God help me pick the lock to her room I have to make this right
Scream the hounds to sleep for me
I'm creeping around in your head like a vine
Your spit is the meat of the rose harvested by the dull
Let fly the doves, unhook their leather wings from the fog
Put your foot and mouth together for the sweethearts of Vietnam
In a photo taken of us, at the recpetion held at the jail
Loverboy is breaking up just off to the right side of me
I will stop at nothing
I am the siren that sings you home
Is that clear?
I will stop at nothing
I am the tooth in your jewelery box
Is that clear?
Let pry the crows
Unhinge their crooked beaks from the clock
Put your foot and mouth together for the sweethearts of Vietnam
Bolt the gate and head for ivory tower
Adoration is cutting the phone lines to your heart
Love is here
I am the snarling and starry-eyed
We both want the same thing
Better aim at the stranger in our yard
Just try to stop me
I am the blinding light of your life
Prepare the body
I've been better but thanks for asking
Wait with the scarecrow for the spotlight in the rye
I'll eat you alive
The calm will come again

Lyrics submitted by MizunoPunk

"Tusk and Temper" as written by Jordan Taylor Buckley Andrew John Williams

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Tusk and Temper song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentThis song is awesome, I fucking jam it while I drive.

    I like when Keith screams, "I was born a wanted man
    But I'll die a sailor's wife", but I dont understand what it means.
    Chhaya22on August 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgotta love the "is that clear? is that clear??" part... great rhythm, and the way he says it.
    whennitecomesdwnon February 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's rare that an ETID song makes sense.
    I love this song.

    Hence the username.
    TuskAndTemperon August 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIAWTC ^^

    Also Chhaya22 thats what I want to find out!
    trexarmsson March 13, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Loverboy is breaking up."

    Haha. Working For The Weekend
    metallic slayeron September 16, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTuskandTemper. How you could call you yourself and ETID fan and say their songs don't make sense is beyond me. Their lyrics are obviously far above your level of intelligence, which would contribute to the fact that you don't understand them. Try putting forth a little thought and unravelling the message rather than just taking everything at it's face value. I think you'll find Keith Buckley to be an amazing lyricist, even more so than you previously thought.
    HighAsAHorseon September 17, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI will openly admit i'm an idiot and dont understand these songs but still like them. I kind of come to a website called songmeanings so i can get a little bit of an idea what he is saying, i can form my own all day long but other peoples input may be better than what i was thinking, so can someone please give some useful info?
    useless006on December 23, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think what he's trying to get at with the lines "I was born a wanted man, but I'll die a sailor's wife" is the dichotomy of the subjects' relationship. Like in the beginning, she was chasing after him like there was a ransom for his capture, and by the end of the relationship, she'd already moved on and left him waiting around for her (sailors traditionally leave their wives and families to go on their little sea voyages, because the sea is their "true love" and even their family can't compensate for their love of the maritime) -- but that's just the thing. he's PLEDGING to die a sailor's wife, almost making it seem like he'd wait around until the death for her, whether she likes it or not...

    ...Keith is basically a genius, in my opinion.
    CUPCAKExninjaon March 16, 2009   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningBedeck your gown in bricks

    Adorn your dress with weights (to showcase an item that is worthless and weighs you down). To feel false pride as a vice, projected by the author unto the subject.

    There’s leeches stealing across the stage

    Leeches “stealing” across the stage, as in taking ground at a deliberate pace. Leeches representing an adversary intent upon feeding on you or some part of you. Also, they represent visceral addiction which is contextually significant since the author is a professional vocalist; the leeches are impending on him, possibly drawing him back to lesser self.

    Come hell or ocean water, I won’t end up without

    “Come hell or ocean water” or “Come hell or high water” Portrays resistance to the inevitable. The phrase is also a dare to higher powers, a thrown-down gauntlet of sorts. “I won’t end up without” can be interpreted to mean that he will fight to keep what he has established. This line has particular significance following the former; as a response to being tested and threatened by a part of himself.

    Applaud the gall of the black cloud groping a drunken teenage vow

    The “vow” or more significantly the “teenage vow” is a more-or-less empty promise seen to be unrealistic and singularly beneficial. Such as a “drunken teenage vow” is even more illaudable. The “black cloud” isn’t necessarily anything literal in this sense, usually representing trough or impending doom (black clouds being bad luck omens and the harbinger of rain and storms). This is where the plot thickens. Underneath the surface of the initial metaphor there is yet another metaphor. The “gall of the black cloud” is its [the black cloud’s] willingness to accept a vow of such unsound origins which would seem foolish, but this is not a reciprocal willingness; it’s a binding promise.

    As saline drips from her prom dress, damp hands are desiccated

    Saline being a sodium blood plasma rejuvenator (would imply that either the girl in question was recently exsanguinated or she expects others to be [a vampire with a virtue]). “damp hands” being “desiccated” refers to nervousness being overcome. One could rationalize this line to represent an acceptance of fate since the virtuous blood-letter has come prepared to replenish the humor. Since with ETID there must be another figurative mask before there can be a literal one, the super-metaphor is that this intimidating girl has presented herself as a “predator for good” or likely playing hard-to-get while being decidedly vulnerable, easing the nerves of her confederates.

    There’s a wolf at the window of the second floor who kidnaps your date with a new car

    If this is personal to Keith then the meaning is pretty clean-cut. The “wolf” being a predator of opportunity, representing a cunning character who seizes opportunities overlooked by others. The fact that the word “kidnapped” was used implies that the girl was taken unwillingly yet the “new car” would imply that she was lured. This can be interpreted to mean that she was coaxed under false pretences (at least in the opinion of the author)

    We both want the same thing, bad poetry and assaults at the bar

    The juxtaposition of “bad poetry” and “assaults at the bar” is elliptical wording for words vs. actions. With poetry (“bad” poetry being the interpretation of his own work, Keith ever playing the modestly masochistic English teacher) being the art of written word and “assaults at the bar” or brawling, being the representation of disorientated conflict (being the more liberal interpretation of war).

    Just try to stop me, we are the only one in the world

    “Just try and stop me” is another extended hand, a revolutionist testing authority. “We are the only one in the world” is either an enallage (the rhetorical name for an effective grammatical mistake) or the word “one” is the representation of many as a whole, the latter of which being the more interesting and likely. “One” used as a collective term could represent a couple; possibly the same couple referred to in the last line, especially considering the author purposely implied that such a dynamic was rare, “We both want the same thing” (as though others do not).

    Prepare the ballroom, quicksand at the coat check

    A ballroom usually being a salon of high society, one can naturally assume that the patrons and guests are wealthy. The rich are the most coveted class and even still the most hated, as the proverb goes ‘real wealth is made off the backs of the poor’. Therefore, it’s interesting when “quicksand at the coat check” is mentioned. Checking a coat is a transfer of burden, you are unburdening yourself at the expense of others. So quicksand being there implies that those who once burdened others are ultimately, burdened by themselves. It is their willingness to live a lavish life that would be their undoing.

    Waltz with the scarecrow in the spotlight through the rye

    The “waltz” is obviously referring to the style of ballroom dance, automatically tying this line to the former. The scarecrow is representative of a lifeless entity, a puppet of no moral or emotional consequence. “Through the spotlight” sounds like contempt or malign envy, as though the author is slandering the audacity of the dancing character. The act of dancing “through the rye” is extremely symbolic in this case. Rye, being a cheap whiskey, would not likely be served or ordered by high-society types. In that, the act of dancing though it would mean it’s pooled at their feet. So then you have the wealthy scarecrow and the faceless other dancing through a slosh of cheep whiskey in the “spotlight” which, to anyone familiar with Victorian/Romantic Theater, is a performance for the wealthy looking down and the proletariat looking up.

    I was born a wanted man, but I’ll die a sailor’s wife

    “I was born a wanted man” can go a few ways. The most obvious of which being born an outlaw, suggesting a troubled past. Also, saying that you were “born a wanted man” is a boast to proficiency more than a literal exclamation, so being a ‘natural’ outlaw/criminal. The variable here is the phrase “wanted man”. “Wanted” can either imply a crime or an obsession or both, the only one who really knows is the author. However, we can assume that since Keith Buckley is well versed in literature and literal structure, there must be an identifiable literal device here. The device is dichotomy since an outlaw (being a carefree renegade of crime, without doubt or worry) is a stark juxtaposition to a sailor’s wife (being inherently worrisome and anxious due to the nature of their husband’s profession). From this you can draw your own conclusions. Whether or not this refers to the earlier and later life at all is actually in question here. Is this just another subtle bid toward the afflictions of addiction? Unlikely.

    I could keep this up but my fingers are tired and I need a smoke.

    Pornogratherapyon February 09, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentseeing as Keith was an English teacher i take this song as what all goes on at the senior prom how we (men) get drunk and trick women into sex and other things.
    Bedeck your gown in bricks,i take that as keep your prom dresses down because to get them up is all we want

    Come hell or ocean water I won't end up without
    Applaud the gall of the black cloud groping a drunken teenage vow, this can be taken as that we wont give up until we get some pussy which could cause std or pregnancy which could happen a lot easier if you were drunk and not thinking.
    DeathOfTheParty2012on April 14, 2011   Link

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