"Plus Ones" as written by and Will Robinson Sheff....
No one wants to hear about your 97th tear
So dry your eyes or let it go uncried, my dear
I am all out of love to mouth and to your ear
And not above letting a love song disappear
Before it's written

And no one wants a tune about the 100th luftballoon
That was seen shooting from the window of your room
To be a spot against the sky's colossal gloom
And land deflated in some neighbor's state that's strewn
With ninety-nine others

Eight Chinese brothers
Well, there's a reason why the last is smiling wide
And sitting higher than the others
Swinging his arms

You would probably die before you shot up nine miles high
Your eyes dilated as light played upon the sight
Of TVC16 as it sings you goodnight
Relaxed as hell and locked up in cell forty-five
Well, I hope you're feeling better

51st way to leave your lover
Admittedly, it doesn't seem to be as gentle
Or as clean as all the others
Even a scars all in the after hours of some Greenpoint bar

I told you, I can't listen, baby, 'bout the 4th time you were a lady
And how your forthrightness betrayed a secret shyness
Stripped away by days of being hailed as your highness
And what's new pussycat as you were once a lioness
They cut your claws out

Kitten, not everyone's keen on lighting candle 17
The party's done, the cake's all gone, the plates are clean
The chauffeur's near and full of cheerless mezzanine
And in just one year, this straight world could pay to see
What they have been missing

You were caught kissing eight Chinese brothers
Well, there's a reason why the last is smiling wide
And sitting higher than the others
Staking with charm

And he says, lets get lost, let them send out alarms
He says, lets get crossed out and come to harm
Lets make the world's stupidest stand and truly mean it
Lets hit the limit of loss over lover's arms
No, lets exceed it

Lyrics submitted by smileforthecamera

"Plus Ones" as written by Will Robinson Sheff


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  • +1
    Song MeaningPerhaps the most ingenious part of this song is in its title. It has not one, but three meanings that are prevalent throughout the song. As a whole, The Stage Names (and its spiritual successor, The Stand Ins) permeate with criticism of pop culture, and the lives of those who fall victim to its celebrity. Plus Ones is no exception. In guest lists (and, more specifically, rock concert guest lists), a plus one is an extra person allowed on an invitation.
    Sheff also writes quite a bit in detail about his own personal love life, and this song is no exception. Most likely, Sheff's speaker is addressing a "plus one", or a woman he meets at some social event (again, probably a rock concert), and takes home with the express purpose of participating in a sexual rendezvous. This woman may symbolize pop culture icons, or may very well be the pornographic actress, Shanon Wisley (otherwise known as Savannah) whom Sheff mentions several times elsewhere in the album.
    Finally, perhaps the most genius part of this song is the third meaning of the title. The song is riddled with references to famous pop songs with numerical titles. However, Sheff "plus ones" each of the titles so that Nena's "99 Luftbaloons" becomes a reference to the addressee's 100th luftbaloon, and so on.(Full list on bottom, credit to Wikipedia)
    This is one of my personal favorite songs, and debatedably the best song on the album. And, oh what an album it is. In my view, Black Sheep Boy is Sheff's best work, but Stage Names takes a close second. Though still wonderful in its own ways, Stand Ins pales in comparison to its father album. I do hope to hear more of Sheff's lilting prosetry after Okkervil's "I Am Very Far" tour. If you're reading this, it means you have fantastic taste in music, and I do so hope you maintain that.

    ? and the Mysterians' "96 Tears," Nena's" 99 Luftballons," Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover," The Byrds' "Eight Miles High," R.E.M.'s "Seven Chinese Brothers," David Bowie's "TVC15," The Zombies' "Care of Cell 44," Commodore's "Three Times a Lady," and The Crests' "Sixteen Candles."
    MushyCrayonon April 30, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJust a correction on a few of the lyrics...

    The song is called "Plus Ones" because it references several songs with numerical titles, except with one added number ("plus ones").


    "100th left balloon" should be "100th luftballon," in reference to Nina's "99 Luftballons"

    "TBC 1-6" should be "TVC16," in reference to David Bowie's "TVC15"

    "(Cindy?) first when you leave your lover" should be "Fifty-first way to leave your lover," in reference to Paul Simon's "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover"

    "lighting candles, 17" should be "lighting candle 17," in reference to Roy Orbison's "16 Candles"

    That's all I've got as far as corrections go. As far as I know, these are the other songs that are referenced:

    ? and the Mysterians - 96 Tears
    R.E.M. - 7 Chinese Brothers
    The Zombies - Care of Cell 44
    The Commodores - Three Times a Lady
    kevin111on June 24, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAh, yes. Thank you. I submitted a request so those can be changed. :)
    smileforthecameraon June 25, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think will actually says fifty first way
    sidelineson June 25, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhoa shit nevermind read that wrong
    sidelineson June 25, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is a minor correction: instead of "green point bar," I think it's actually "Greenpoint bar." Greenpoint is a neighborhood in Brooklyn.

    I could, of course, be missing some other reference. My apologies if that's the case.
    shake_it_looseon July 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Staking with charm"

    I hear "Stinking with charm"
    jeconneron July 25, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentKevin111, you forgot "shot up 9 miles high", which refers to the Byrds "Eight Miles High".
    graskingon August 11, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnd also Tom Jones' "What's New Pussycat?"
    sad-violin-musicon August 16, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAh, yeah, the Byrds one was just something I forgot to type, but I overlooked the Jones reference. Though in my defense, it's not a "plus one" so to say.
    kevin111on August 18, 2007   Link

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