Why are you here
Couldn't you tell him
Were you afraid he'd hear
You should have been thankful to be alone

You took off your shoes
Said anything further would be bad news
Because you'd already started to disappear
And he couldn't complain
Just looked at your lyric and crossed over to play
A record of quiet instrumentals
Said "I like what you wrote
But this is a record full of sour notes"
You should've been thankful to be alone

And I like what you wrote
But don't say you mean it
When you know you don't
You should have been thankful to be alone, you know
You should have been thankful to be alone, you know
You should have been thankful to be alone

Lyrics submitted by nomshybrides, edited by Jate

Antonio Carlos Jobim (Heatmiser cover) song meanings
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  • +1
    General Commentas far as I know, there's only one recorded performance of elliott playing this song solo. for a song about being alone, it makes all the more difference to hear him play it all alone. It's scary. And deafening, quiet. I sigh a lot listening to this song. You go through a lot of problems in any relationship; romantic, business or otherwise. I see two people, very familiar with eachother, working with eachother as a necesity. Everything's cold and nobody touches. And it's better this way, because, well, you just can't complain. It's music, but it's work. It's soul but, here we are, again, the two of us, each afraid of saying a word. just wanting to go home. sure, lonely turns me blue.. but it's a hell of a lot better than dealing with all the bullshit freaks in point B
    nomshybrideson March 18, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI have noticed that a lot of times in Elliott's writing, "you" and "I" both refer to himself, and "he or she" refer to others. He seems to switch back and forth between referring to himself as "you" as if he's talking to himself, or "I" for effect.

    So my take on this song is that Elliott has gone to visit someone he never expected himself to visit, to show them his lyrics and get their response to his music. I think this person features heavily in his lyrics, that that by writing the songs he was able to "tell him" something that he was unable to say otherwise [Why are you here?; Couldn't you tell him?; Were you afraid he'd hear?]. He takes off his shoes, but not his coat, or anything else because that "Would be bad news" (because he was leaving soon [disappearing] anyway?) So the man looks at his lyrics, "couldn't complain" and went and put on a different record, importantly a record without lyrics, a record "of quiet instrumentals" (presumably by Antonios Carlos Jobim). The man lies and tells him he liked his lyrics, his music, his collection of sour notes (painfull moments?). Elliott knows it's a lie, the man knows it's a lie.

    Knowing a little about Elliott's history, it's easy to think this is about him showing Roman Candle to his step-father, who did feature heavily in the lyrics of that album and it's B-sides. But who knows, and unlike the songs which actually mention his step-father by name (Some Song, No Confidence Man, Flowers for Charlie), I don't want to make too many assumptions in this case, but it makes sense to me.

    My one question: Who should have been thankful to be alone, the man or Elliott?
    frejaon June 13, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentactually, it is a heatmiser song, on the album 'cop and speeder' . so oyu can dabble in full quality is if you are down with heatmiser. i personally love it.
    cruxofthebiscuiton October 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAll instances of "And I like what you wrote" are actually "Said I like what you wrote" in the original version but I've never heard Elliott play this solo so he may have changed that one word.
    Cavauroon July 08, 2009   Link

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