We can talk about it now
It's that same old riddle, only starting from the middle
I'd fix it but I don't know how
Well, we could try to reason, but you might think it treason
One voice for all, echoing along the hall (echoing along the hall)
Don't give up on Father Clock
We can talk about it now

Come, let me show you how
To keep the wheels turning, you've got to keep the engines churning
Well, did you ever milk a cow?
I had the chance one day, but I was all dressed up for Sunday
Everybody, everywhere, do you really care?
Well then, pick up your heads and walk
We can talk about it now

It seems to me, we've been holding something
Underneath our tongues
I'm afraid if you ever got a pat on the back
It would likely burst your lungs, oh
Stop me if I should sound kinda down in the mouth
But I'd rather be burned in Canada than to freeze here in the South

Pulling that eternal plough
We've got to find a sharper blade, or have a new one made
Rest a while and cool your brow
Don't you see there's no need to slave, the whip is in the grave
No salt, no trance, you know it's safe now to take a backward glance
Because the flames have turned to chalk
We can talk about it now
We can talk about it now


Lyrics submitted by CharlatanSin

We Can Talk Lyrics as written by Richard Manuel

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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We Can Talk song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • +1
    Song MeaningI'm not really sure about the lyrics but I think it might be about racism? I think The Band are saying that even though slavery has ended - "there's no need to slave, the whip is in the grave" - racism still needs to be overcome in the U.S.

    They highlight a reluctance to talk about racism - "It seems to me we've been holding something underneath our tongues" and point towards the south of America as a epicentre of racism - "I'd rather be burned in Canada than to freeze here in the south." Despite this, The Band urges everyone to "talk about it now."

    But anyways, this song is irrelevant now. Obama has been elected, so racism is over, right? :P
    raphon April 05, 2009   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningFrom Levon's autobiography, "This Wheel's On Fire":
    "It's a funny song that really capture the way we spoke to one another; lots of outrageous rhymes and corny puns. Richard just got up one morning, sat down at the piano, and started playing this gospel music that became this song..."
    AllHailDioon January 19, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"'dontcha see' he shouts, in an extraordinary flash of vision, that seems to reveal the secret America holds, even as it hints at deeper secrets, 'there's no need to slave.'
    'The whip,' he sings, 'is in the grave.'

    Those lines, I think, deserve a pause -- there is no bottom to them. Nothing I know captures with such mystery and clarity the circle traced by American optimism, and by the dread that optimism leaves behind and inevitably meets again. You couldn't ask for a more perfect statement of the conviction that America is blessed, or of the lingering suspicion that it is cursed. When the two ideas come together -- in a story, a voice or a group -- all things seem possible. The lines touch both sides of the country's soul at once; the tension they create can push out the limits of what an artist can accomplish, for just so long as the spirit of the lines can support their contradictions." --Greil Marcus, "Mystery Train"
    chowfun18on January 01, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is proof that The Band have the greatest harmonies in Rock and Roll. The way they carry a conversation. Rick's in one ear, Levon's in the other and Richard holds it steady in the brain
    nrt4on November 18, 2009   Link
  • -1
    Song MeaningFrom Levon's autobiography, "This Wheel's On Fire":
    "It's a funny song that really capture the way we spoke to one another; lots of outrageous rhymes and corny puns. Richard just got up one morning, sat down at the piano, and started playing this gospel music that became this song..."
    AllHailDioon January 19, 2014   Link

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