"Marla" as written by and Marla Forbes Edward Droste....
I've looked everywhere, Mr. Forbes
But I can't find the cello or yet the french horn
And I can't find the harp
I don't know where it's gone
And of course, you can't go without that

I've looked everywhere, Mr. Forbes
But I can't find your clamshells
Your file or your drill
And your sheepskin-lined coat is eluding me still
And of course, you can't go without that

I've looked in the attic, the cellar and hall
I've looked in the studio, study and all
I've looked in the chest where I thought it should be
I've looked in the greenhouses, one, two and three

I've looked everywhere, Mr. Forbes
But I can't find the dagger and oh why oh why
Can't I think what I did with that ol' skill and dye
And of course, you can't go without that
You can't possibly go without that

Lyrics submitted by Fauxhat

"Marla" as written by Marla Forbes Edward Droste

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Marla song meanings
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  • +5
    My InterpretationTo me, it seems like this song is narrated from the perspective of the ghost of a servant who continually wanders around this abandoned (or maybe not?) house looking for the objects described in the song despite the fact that decades or even centuries have passed and his master and all his possessions have long since gone. But still, he can't stop his search.

    Judging from the previous comments, this may not be what Grizzly Bear intended but it's how the song strikes me. It's truly haunting. (And yes, Adscititious! The lyrics, especially "I've looked in the greenhouses one, two and three" remind me somehow of Dr. Seus)
    greed22on January 29, 2010   Link
  • +3
    My Interpretation@greed22 AWESOME interpretation.

    Here's mine.

    The singer is this Mr. Forbes' housekeeper, assistant, mistress, or even wife - a woman who lives with him/under his roof [and is in love with him, whether overtly or secretly]. He wants to move away/leave her, so she resorts to hiding/discarding/destroying some of his belongings, in order to detain him [seeing as: 1) if she lives there and must know her way around the house; 2) the likes of a cello or harp aren't easily misplaced]. While this sounds like an impishly funny act of mischief, its utter conspicuousness actually denotes a sad sense of despair - she is basically admitting her inferiority to a bunch of inanimate objects - he could well go without her, but he "can't go without that". So we get an ironic mix of childish denial and resignation, of hopelessness and the bittersweet empty gratification of petty revenge.

    Hope that makes sense.
    leechuon September 12, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentto me this song reminds me of dr seuss literature
    Adscititiouson August 17, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment----I can't find it at the moment, but I read an interview with Dan and Ed and they said that this song was originally entirely written by his aunt Marla, they just slowed it down and changed it a little bit. They said that the lyrics and the tune were the same as the original.
    everythinginitsrightplaceon December 27, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIs anyone else reminded of the TV show "Dexter" whenever they hear this song?
    Cilogyon April 19, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song reminds of me of a horror film, one that's particularly atmospheric and maybe a little experimentally symbolic. the instrumental of it is chilling and there's something about that line "i've looked everywhere, mr. forbes" that just creeps me out
    jjjonatronon October 27, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit's "sheepskin-lined coat" and i have no idea what (?) is either.
    bbr420on November 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti've done a tiny bit of research (=google)
    and found that this song is about edward droste's aunt, marla forbes, who was an aspiring musician. yellow house is the droste family estate where they recorded the album so they tried making it sound like a haunted house. if i remember well.
    Jvrson December 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentps it was originally called 'mr forbes' but it was re-titled 'marla'
    Jvrson December 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe (?) is "gavel".

    I've looked everywhere, Mr. Forbes
    but I can't find the gavel
    and oh why oh why ...
    peacelovemorganon July 06, 2008   Link

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