"Battery Kinzie" as written by and Robin Pecknold....
I woke up one morning
All my fingers rotten
I woke up a dying man without a chance

I came to your window
Threw a stone and waited
At the door a stranger stood
The stranger's voice said nothing good
I turned to walk the frozen ground alone
All the way home

Wide-eyed walker
Do not wander
Do not wander
Through the dawn

Both my eyes are fading
No light in the evening
Planted like a seed in sand and drowned in rain

Watch you for an hour
He kept you beneath him
He kept you on lock and key
He paid the wage you sent to me
And waste the day so idly alone
All the way home

Wide-eyed walker
Do not wander
Do not wander
Through the dawn
Wide-eyed walker
Do not wander
Do not wander
Through the dawn

Lyrics submitted by casiopt10

"Battery Kinzie" as written by Robin Pecknold

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Battery Kinzie song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentI thought this song was about a man who lived or was supported by a woman he loved, but who was a prostitute. I thought that it maybe even could have been his sister, but the lyrics sound much more like a romantic love song, so it's probably a lover or something like that. That's what the "he paid the wage you sent to me", and "he kept you on lock and key" could possibly mean.

    Also maybe in my top 3 Fleet Foxes songs :) Don't think I can wait another month for that album.
    phishn37on April 03, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentBattery Kinzie is a concrete Battery located on Fort Worden, Washington (fortwiki.com/…). A battery is a group of artillery.

    Ok, so this is all out of order, but I get the impression that the singer really liked this girl who was very innocent ("wide--eyed"). He warns her about wandering in the dawn for fear that she'd be caught by someone. She does get caught. He tries to help her escape, but is caught. He can then only watch from a distance.

    This probably isn't supposed to be literal though. It's like he loves this girl, but can see that she is vulnerable. She ends up in a terrible relationship and is trapped there. The verses about dying and death indicate how helpless he is to stop this and how it affects him.

    Perhaps Battery Kinzie is, to the singer, an indomitable force.
    clovuson May 04, 2011   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis might be a continuation of the narrative from the song Sim Sala Bim which plays just prior to this one on their album Helpless Blues.

    But, even if it doesn't I feel the message here is that a man realizes he's forsaken the love a girl gave him. He now realizes how much he wants that love but has to live with the fact that she is moving on. He feels as if the new man, is bad for her and that she is embarking on a terrible journey because she is naive having never known what love is.
    poetogethron August 07, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this about a man who has somehow lost the woman he loves. He wakes up and realizes what a screw-up he is and tries to get her back, only to find her with someone else. He then spends his days very sad, knowing that she is not happy either, but she still walks, hurt and complacent
    clearwaterlabon March 28, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is my favorite FF song. I have loved it since Robin performed an early version at one of his concerts. I only have two questions. First, what does the title mean (originally the title was Lorelai)? Also, what does "He paid the wage you sent to me" mean?
    goddesscarolineon April 01, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis could be completely wrong, but it could be worth noting this line could potentially be a pun...

    "The stranger's voice said nothing good"

    As in...

    "The Stranger's voice said nothing good"

    The Stranger is one of Seattle's alternative newspapers. Robin Pecknold doesn't seem to be too big of a fan, judging by some recent going ons.
    pnw13on May 01, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI believe this is a fictional story and there could be a child involved. That could explain the line "He paid the wage you sent to me." He could be living with the child and go to look for the mother of the child who is now with another man who keeps a very tight leash on her. This man also pays the child support. He tries to win the child's mother back but it is no use. Any thoughts?
    timmywnolanon December 03, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFor some reason, I took the intro verse literally. I thought this was kind of like a folk tale of a guy who woke up a dying man; maybe already dead for years. He goes to his old flame's house, to see her, not realizing any time has passed, and she's with another man. It doesn't fit at all with the later verses, but for some reason, that interpretation has stuck with me; I thought it made for an interesting story, at least.
    Swudgeon February 13, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI strongly believe that the songs in this album MUST be analized in the context of the album. The whole album is telling a story, everything is related. Therefore, I find it necessary to take a look at the previous song in the album, "Sim Sala Bim" (songmeanings.net/songs/view/3530822107858864342/). There, we find that this "fictional" character is suddenly the same one as in Montezuma, Bedouin Dress and the rest of the album. In Sim Sala Bim, he left his wife, the woman who is singing the song.

    "He was so kind, such a gentleman tied to the oceanside
    Lighting a match on the suitcase's latch in the fading of night
    Ruffle the fur of the collie 'neath the table
    Ran out the door through the dark
    Carved out his initials in the bark
    Then the Earth shook, that was all that it took for the dream to break
    All the loose ends would surround me again, in the shape of your face" (Sim Sala Bim)

    He left her, he went around reciting incantations, etc etc etc... He might or might not have found another woman. But now, he woke up one morning, realizing that his fingers are rotting, he's lost the life he used to have. He came to look for this woman(the narrator in Sim Sala Bim), but she was with someone else. The "Wide-eyed walker" line may have something to do with being surprised, amazed... the thing is that the line will be used again in "Grown Ocean", the strongest song in the album, if you ask me. The meaning of that phrase is still to be worked out throughout the album.
    This song is a key song, cause he might refer to this person in other songs ("Someone YOU'd Admire", for example).
    aliagajoon February 29, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJust looked up wide-eyed - which was defined as naive, innocent, he is basically starstruck that a stranger is at his lovers door, and he is forced to leave by the stranger. "The stranger's voice said nothing good"

    I like
    "I woke up one morning
    All my fingers rotting
    I woke up a dying man, without a chance"

    As said above I believe it means he feels like he is beginning to fall apart, he is rotting and becoming disgusted in himself,
    "a dying man"

    "Watch you for an hour
    He kept you beneath him
    He kept you on lock and key"

    He is forced to watch his lover being locked away with a stranger.

    "He paid the wage you send to me
    And waste the day so idly alone
    All the way home"

    I believe wage means love, he gave the love that she gave to him. That he is forced to return home alone, again.
    What a spectacular song.
    jstahleyon April 26, 2012   Link

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