Oh, pour me another drink
And punch me in the face
You can call me Nancy
Every man wears a symbol
And I know I have mine
I've got my right hand stamped
In the concentration camp where my organs scream "slow down, man"

Ooh, how was I to know
Milk and honey flowed
Just a couple states below

Ooh

Oh, hook me up to the tank
And roll me to the door
I'm going where my body leads me
I can fend for myself
With what looks I have left
I'll put away a few
And pretty soon I'll be breaking things like Howard Hughes

Ooh, how was I to know
Milk and honey flowed
Just a couple states below

Ooh, give me how it was
Our place under the sun
Before the devil made me run
Run boy, run boy

Ooh


Lyrics submitted by casiopt10, edited by CAJim

Nancy from Now On Lyrics as written by Joshua Tillman

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Nancy From Now On song meanings
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17 Comments

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  • +1
    General Comment

    "Just a couple states below"

    The singer's from Seattle and moved down to LA/Laurel Canyon. Quite literal there. Just like in his interviews he's basically saying compared to the Northwest and his depression that came from living there, it's like a land of milk and honey in comparison. "The devil" could be in reference to "sin" of being selfish. He left his old band, Fleet Foxes (heard of em?) and fled to California.

    seattlehipstershitbagon May 03, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    These tunes are way more my style than Fleet Foxes. Plus it's badass Tillman got bored being a drummer and was like "I'ma do my own thing" and it turned out pretty awesome.

    For this track I'm not hearing "flowers and bows/milk and honey flow" Sounds more like "How was I to know/milk and honey flow"

    Also it's: "And pretty soon I'll be breaking things like Howard Hughes" as noted in this review: cmj.com/reviews/father-john-misty-fear-fun/

    slimmyDon May 10, 2012   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning

    What Tillman told Matt Pinfield at MTV Hivecast about this song: "It's one of those things that I wrote in the first few months of basically blowing up my life and moving. It's breezy, but it has that 'punch me in the face' stuff. That's just how I felt. That song is just about destroying everything - destroying your identity, destroying your body, destroying your reputation - with casual looks back."

    My question is... what's his "symbol"? ;)

    prettybirdon November 18, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I think it's a guy who's drinking a lot and, at an aimless point in life, fixates on the idea that the grass is greener a few states south of where he's living.

    I think the "symbol" he's talking about is the thing that's easy to spot on everyone and speaks to who they are or where they are in life. For him, at least at the time because of heavy drinking, it's the stamp that the bar he's in (the "concentration camp") has put on his hand to indicate that his ID has been checked and he's allowed re-entry, something all bars do, at least in the U.S.

    Then again, the "symbol" may be the name Nancy which, as a somewhat antiquated term for a homosexual, which would fit in with his description of his alter ego Father John Misty (on TheVine's website) as a "homosexual... drifter."

    yapishkahilton December 03, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Drinking away depression. "How was I to know milk and honey flows just a couple states below?" Mental states. Fantastic song.

    Shark Caton April 29, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I'm most certainly not someone who is offended by anything and everything, like the rest of our society is these days in my opinion, but the concentration camp reference was really insensitive in my opinion. Perhaps because my family suffered so greatly and I know the incomparable impact that it had on their lives and the generations that followed.

    simpleloveon November 12, 2015   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation

    I just watched the "Official Video" of this --- he is being humiliated/dominated by a Dominatrix so now I'm really confused. But I suspect that's how he wants it.

    I read that when the Beatles found out there was a college class that discussed the meanings of Beatles' songs -- they wrote "I am the Walrus" not because it had ANY meaning but just to mess with the class - it had NO meaning. Ha ha. Hilarious.

    FLY2venuson November 17, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Great song. Tillman's transformation into Father John Misty has produced some awesome music. This song is very 1970s-LA, got a strong Harry Nilsson/Brian Wilson/Van Dyke Parks vibe. I think of FJM as hanging at the Troubador, partying with Harry, John Lennon and Ringo during the famous "Lost Weekend"; for Tillman, born in 1981, this is history, not reminiscence.

    Tillman is a clever lyricist. He admires Dylan and Cohen, and he's a student of high and low culture, past and present. He celebrates drying out from drugs and booze ("right hand stamped" -- as at a bar) and "where my organs scream slow down man" -- doesn't need a lot of interpretation.

    Two nice details-- "Nancy"? Does he just mean being a wuss and laying off the booze? I suspect that, keeping with the California 1970s theme, its a reference to Nancy Reagan's anti-drug campaign.

    Similarly, the "Howard Hughes" reference points you to a guy in a Hollywood bungalow, bearded and freaking out.

    So all in all, a very nice lyric, braiding something which is entirely personal with something which isn't at all. It has the feeling of a love letter to a new place, which has done him right . . . see Brian Wilson's late album "Orange Crate Art" for music with a very similar nostalgic feeling for California.

    Crocodilianon October 08, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I think it's about an effeminate man/trans woman being chased out of their state by 'the devil' or toxic masculinity

    eros107815on July 31, 2020   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Someone running from life and trying to forget someone through booze and other methods. I put this song on my blog; it's an excellent track.

    SillyCheekson March 14, 2012   Link

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