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Teddy's rolling now most every night
Skatin' backwards at the speed of light
He's changed in a thousand little ways
He's changed yes indeed
You know he's movin' on metal yes he's
Hanging tight with the Jack of Speed

Sheena's party there's a case in point
That right wing hooey sure stunk up the joint
He's gone he walks through the old routines
But he's gone guaranteed
He may be sittin' in the kitchen, but he's
Steppin' out with the Jack of Speed

You maybe got lucky for a few good years
But there's no way back from there to here
He's a one way rider
On the shriek express
And his new best friend is at the throttle more or less

He can't hear you honey, that's alright
Pack some things and head up into the light
Don't stop, he'll be callin' out your name
But don't stop when you hear him plead
You better move now little darlin' or you'll be
Trading fours with the Jack of Speed

Lyrics submitted by blackiswhite

Jack of Speed Lyrics as written by Walter Becker Donald Fagen

Lyrics © Wixen Music Publishing

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Jack of Speed song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentThe "Jack of Speed" is an addict under the influence of speed, meth, crystal, etc. Very popular these days, and the downfall of many a good man and woman. Unlike many other drugs which are anti-social right from the beginning, speed seems to fool people into thinking they are productive, initially. Then, one day they're at a party, and spewing political hogwash (speed addicts often come across as arrogant, pompous blow-hards), or intimidating their loved-ones, or simply skating backwards at the speed of light socially, losing friends, property and time in the process. The shreik express represents the swift and unwavering progression of one's demise when under the drug's spell, as fast and predicatable as a speeding locomotive, and with his "new best friend at the throttle", Jack won't be the one deciding when the ride is over .

    The last verse is a warning to the loved ones to save yourselves, before it's too late. The attraction as well as the sure destruction of the drugs are so strong and bewitching, that anyone wishing to make it had better just plug their ears and run, as fast as you can, in the other direction.
    thedurable1on October 12, 2006   Link
  • +3
    Song Meaning"Teddy's rolling now most every night" - this is just straight up, no metaphors or anything. rolling is slang for on MDMA or uppers.

    "Skating backward at the speed of light" - I would guess this is talking about devolving socially as a result of a drug habit.

    "He's changed - in a thousand little ways
    He's changed - yes indeed
    You know he's movin' on metal, yes he's
    Hanging tight with the Jack of Speed"
    The addiction has changed him subtly, and hugely. Moving on metal just kinda reminds me of someone who's wired. Jack of Speed = drug

    "one way rider" theres no coming back
    "new best friend is at the throttle more or less" the drugs has control

    "don't stop, he'll be calling out your name but dont stop" -he will try to convince or reason with you but you can't trust a word of it.

    Nerodesignon November 23, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthedurable1 is right
    JudeJadedon March 24, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentits a friend telling a woman to move on from her junkie ex-boyfriend.
    chaos99972on January 24, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Trading fours" is a music slang for when two soloists battle on stage, taking turns playing short, improvised, four measure solos each, attempting to get one up on the other performer every time. It's a frenetic, competitive point in the concert. Conversely, there is usually a time during the concert for relaxing or playing ballads. Using a performance metaphor, if you are going to leave an addict, it's best to get out during the ballads (quiet times), than to "trade fours" or battle with the addict.
    thedurable1on April 20, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Commentmoving on metal means moving on rails like a train car.
    he's on a set course that can't be altered
    milhous451on August 05, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentRepublicans? Drugs?

    I loved when Walter sang this on the 90's tours.
    GreyBlueEyeson August 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLike so many of Steely Dan lyrics, I have no clue what this means. There is an interesting poker metaphore. What's the jack of speed? What's the shriek express? This is the best song on the Two Against Nature CD.
    norderon August 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is simply about Ted Kennedy and the Chappaquiddick incident-Sheena's Party
    jenks1amon March 19, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"That right-wing hooey sure stunk up the joint" - that's another brick in a basket.
    I think close enough to thedurable1' version.
    Is metal=meth?
    vigilant earon April 05, 2008   Link

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