Jesus Christ, girl
What are people gonna think
When I show up to one of several funerals
I've attended for grandpa this week
With you
With me

Someone's gotta help me dig
Someone's gotta help me dig

Jesus Christ, girl
It hasn't been long so it seems
Since I was picking out an island and a tomb for you
At the Hollywood Cemetery
You kiss
On me

We should let this dead guy sleep
We should let this dead guy sleep

Jesus Christ, girl
I laid up for hours in a daze
Retracing the expanse of your American back
With Adderall and weed in my veins
You came
I think
'Cause the marble made my cheeks look pink
But I'm unsure of so many things
Ooh

Someone's gotta help me dig
Someone's gotta help me dig
Someone's gotta help me dig


Lyrics submitted by casiopt10

Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings Lyrics as written by Joshua Michael Tillman

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings song meanings
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  • +7
    General Comment

    Tillman's stated in plenty of interviews that his dad kind of summoned him to his grandpa's funeral, after having missed all the other grandparents' funerals, and how he was kind of sickened by how funerals commemorate people's lives in such a shitty, lifeless way. Later, he was making out with a girl (the blogger from imboycrazy, which they both stated personally on her podcast) in a graveyard on Halloween and how he thought to himself, "This is such a better way to commemorate someone's life. My grandpa's favorite thing was probably fucking my grandma, anyway." So this song IS about sex, really, and he's stated that this album is a conscious effort to NOT make the "sexless male fantasy" album that every other artist is making, and how he intends to be upfront about liking sex and drugs and mischief. (All of which appear in this song, so it makes sense that he would release this track first.)

    I remember in an interview a few years back, as J. Tillman, the interviewer asked him what themes he saw running through the album he was touring, and he said, "Just, you know... death." And the people in the room laughed, and the interviewer joked about how that was so uplifting (sarcastically, of course) and Josh shrugged and said, "I think it is." He went on to talk about how the idea of the afterlife kind of substantiates our lives in a figurative sense, not a literal sense. It was an interesting little speech he gave, but it really does go to show that death is that one red thread running through everything he writes, whether in an uplifting way (like Year in the Kingdom) or a macabre way (like this). So his writing style has changed, and the sound of his music has changed, but the thoughts that stand behind all of his work still rings true. (To me, at least.)

    prettybirdon June 04, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General Comment

    Here I thought the "Someone's gotta help me dig" line was "Someone's gotta healthy dick"

    quickmikeon May 28, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    Perhaps it's just me, but I feel that there are some good explanations/interpretations for this song that seem to seamlessly incorporate all the elements of sex, love, death and loss present here. First off, while there are lines that hint at his lover being dead in a real, corporeal way--"It hasn't been long so it seems/since I was picking out an island and tomb for you/at the Hollywood cemetery" being the most obvious--there are also hints that she is still alive, but is the sort of reckless, socially defiant personality that allows the singer to indulge in his own death wish and feed his current ambivalance about living by following her into the destructive storm of her personality.

    Whichever is the case, he is still committing to being with her, alive or dead, even as he fears her intensity and the way he can't seem to separate himself from her influence. He is unnerved by her manic behavior and disregard for the distinctions between the mores of the living or the death--ie, "What are people gonna think?" and "We should let this dead guy sleep"--but at the same time it exhilarates him. Furthermore, when he sings, "Jesus Christ/I laid up for hours in a daze/retracing the expanse of your American back/with Adderal and weed in my veins", to me he seems to be attempting to articulate that push/pull, love/hate, life/death tug of war within himself, especially since his tone and inflection suggest a mixture of reverence and uneasy self-loathing. In being with her, he's ridden and possibly still is riding the rollercoasters of her emotions and indulges(ed?) her in her craziness both because it's sexually stimulating and because it allows him to stand on the edge and stare down into his own personal oblivion without quite tipping over into it...yet.

    Whether or not the woman he pines for has passed away in the literal sense or whether he simply knows that at some point he's going to have to make a difficult choice between saving himself at her expense in order to live a less confusing life, or embracing his own death in order to be closer to her now that she's gone, I feel like the essence of the song is the same. It's fitting that the French call orgasms "la petit mort", or "the little death", and it certainly seems to apply here. It's possible he is truly mourning her loss after she has passed on, dealing with his grief by writhing against and jacking off on tombstones in the cemetery where she is buried in spite of the humiliation of people seeing him there so often he can no longer easily explain away his presence. If she's alive, he is simply a troubled man distracting himself with a woman whose problems far outweigh his own.

    Either way, sex and the physical indulgence of his body are the only things that bring him comfort as he stumbles through his life wondering what, if anything, to do next. Finally, I love that for me, the line "someone's gotta help me dig" can be interpreted to mean any of the following: 1) That he wants to continue to dig the two of them deeper into his/their own dark, twisted hole so that they can be free of the prying looks of people that don't understand them; 2) that he is literally so crazed with grief over losing her that he wants to dig up her body and hopes other people will leave him alone with her corpse and his memories; or 3) he views her as the perfect partner even as she frightens him, because she is the only one willing to dig with him down into the darkest, dirtiest recesses inside him and then soothe and protect him from them with the comfort of her body.

    So, yeah. I could be way off, but that's what I get out of it so far. It may be about sex in graveyards, death, and/or obsessive love or grief, or it could be that the past and present are so overlapping and intertwining for him that he simply can't tell the difference, and subsequently neither can we. I think that's what makes the song so arresting and worthy of many, many listens.

    carpeomniachicaon June 02, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    great song, thanks for the lyrics! I wonder what's the meaning of "you came, i think, cause the marble made my cheeks look pink" though. Does anybody know?

    david90on February 07, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I think this song might be about having sex on people's graves.

    Sorry.

    FishesWillLaughon April 15, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Yep excellent song. My 2c it's about people who act like they love you only to desert you when you really need them. They're really just not worth it are they?

    hcnonpluson June 02, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Holy Hell, people, you are way over thinking this. J. Tillman (aka Father John Misty) has been very up front in interviews that he wanted to make an album about his actual experience instead of trying to be some overly poetic alter-ego. He revealed that this song is about flying to Baltimore for his grandfather's funeral and shortly thereafter having a tryst at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

    ladeephyfeon July 19, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    The part that really really gets me:

    "But I'm unsure of so many things

    Someone's got to help me dig"

    It's simple language, but it adds such a powerful dimension to the song.

    Sex has no definite state like death and a cemetery is the perfect place to expose yourself to the anxieties surrounding the big D. Sex in this setting amplifies its archaeology of the soul. When I die I might request an orgy in my honor, atop my tombstone. Father John Misty will preside hopefully.

    garthheon August 23, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    This seems to be a pretty straightforward song. He said in interviews that it was about real experiences with Alexi Wasser, the blogger from Imboycrazy.

    "You came, I think, because the marble made my cheeks look pink" In crass terms he was, uh, pressing his face up against the marble floor for so long while burying it into her uh, thang, that his cheeks looked pink from the pressure of the floor afterwards. But he's unsure of so many things, because he was effed up and perhaps, you know, she was uh, faking it... etc....

    jjhnrkon December 15, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    he needs someone to help him dig! are you down, girl?

    elizabethgon December 05, 2013   Link

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