Eighteen-man steel cage free-for-all
Through the noise I hear you call for help
You can't protect yourself

Frog mask and yellow cape
So desperate to escape
I came to you hands wrapped in adhesive tape

That was when we were young and green
In the dawning hours of our team

Some things you will remember
Some things stay sweet forever

Seen you backstage once or twice
Animal gimmick pops real nice
Elbows sweep and tiger dance
Little extra fighter's chance

"Hold on" I cried, "I'll be right there"
Pull your mask down through your hair
They won't see you
Not until you want them to

That was when we were green and young
Battle cry rising from your tongue

Some things you will remember
Some things stay sweet forever

Lyrics submitted by jtk1993, edited by discriminant

Animal Mask song meanings
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  • +3
    Song MeaningThat style of writing finds its most powerful expression in a song called “Animal Mask.” It’s a story song. One wrestler is in a battle royal, a chaotic brawl where there are 20 or more guys in the ring, all trying to throw each other out. He sees another wrestler in trouble. A bad guy is pulling at that wrestler’s mask, trying to reveal his face. Our hero goes to help, and a new tag team is born out of nothing: “I came to you, hands wrapped in adhesive tape. That was when we were young and green, in the dawning hours of our team. Some things you will remember. Some things stay sweet forever.”

    It sounds like a love song, and so I ask Darnielle if that’s what it is. Darnielle confirms my suspicions, but it really goes deeper than that. “It’s about the labor and delivery room,” he tells me. “It’s about seeing your son for the first time. I mean, this is the sort of thing I would usually be coy about, but I’m proud of that song. I wrote it with my son on my lap. It’s about how they’re about to show you your son’s face and you feel this profound instinct to protect — to say, ‘Nobody gets to see you.’ It’s very intense. That’s the understatement of the year, to say it’s intense to be in the delivery room. But that’s what it’s about, that bond that you are forming a tag team, you are forming an alliance. And if you believe in a tag team when you’re watching wrestling, a good one, they feel like brothers. Even more than brothers. They feel like partners. And the word partner gains a depth that you might not have had from before.” Since Darnielle told me about what the song means, I haven’t been able to hear it without crying.

    Nowahon April 06, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI saw him perform this at Newport Folk Fest! So excited for this new gem of a song. Basically he said it's about a battle royal (wrestling) and the labor/delivery room. Which I think is very clear when listening to the lyrics.
    ocatzzon August 06, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationJD introduced this song in a 2016 show, which you can watching on youtube. From what I gather he said that sometimes wrestlers would lose a match and they would not be allowed to wrestle in the arena for a while. But the wrestlers would come back anyway, under a different name and wearing animal masks so no one would know who they were.
    cbinghamon January 09, 2018   Link

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