"Cool Song No. 2" as written by and Ben Goldwasser Andrew Vanwyngarden....
Whenever I drift by the unknown
Feign like I notice a fundamental tone
The fine pedals open and close offended
More explanation and nothing shown

Kind of like if a friend exits without a sign
Glimmering like a precious stone
Maybe we share the dream for 20 nights in a row
I would feel better knowing that I was alone

Wherever scientists turn lead to birds,
Torment ignites essence, delights from the earth
What you find shocking
They find amusing,
Something else to soften a sadistic urge
When they tell you the extent of the vice
Then the prime time mission is to choke the statistician,
And like the senses that you're lurking behind
While it gnaws right through to your core,
Oh I'd twist it more

If you think that you're free (Free like a kite)
Watching as it flies by (Spy the unknown)
Focus on the quiet oars
Tell me how far you'd go (Go where you like)
Knowing your air won't last (Last one to know)
Would you feel better holding the stars up?

What if the beast escapes (Apes have it good)
And separates like a cloud (Loud like a fault),
Seeps into the hollow bones?
Wouldn't its eyes expand
And zero in like a scope?
I might feel better
Knowing I wasn't alone

Lyrics submitted by dissolutions

"Cool Song No. 2" as written by Benjamin Nicholas Huner Goldwasser Andrew Wells Vanwyngarden

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

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Cool Song No. 2 song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentI'm going to give this song a shot. I have no idea what it's really about for certain, but here's my interpretation for what it's worth.

    To me this song is about dealing with both sides of negative emotions. On one hand, sometimes you wish you was alone because you're tired of the pressure of the world and stress that comes with being a human. The world is overloaded with science, "facts", statistics, loss of loved ones or friends and whatnot. Maybe it would be better if you were alone or maybe even dead because then you wouldn't have to deal with that pain or emotion.

    On the other hand, it also talks about wanting to be alive again. How you wish for death or to be alone sometimes but when it really comes down to the wire and death is imminent or "a beast is unleashed...zeroing in on you" then maybe it'd be better if you weren't alone and you regret feeling like you felt before.

    This song generally encompasses the ups and downs of emotion.
    leesaenzon October 10, 2013   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningOk I am going to take a stab at this. Let's begin with the subject of the song and make an assumption that it is about LSD/Acid. In the first verse Andrew is literally talking about when he goes into the unknown whether that be through meditation or through the use of psychedelics he hears/sees or at least he thinks he does a fundamental foundation of our universe. The fine petals of the lotus flower shows him love and peace and he is comfortable in his life. This could be the greatest feeling he has ever felt knowing he is alone discovering the lies that this world gives us. He truly feels enlightened even almost on a cocky level. He closes all the negative vibes of the world while he is in a deep meditation/trip. Yet his vision dosent give him a true explanation to his deepest questions when he wakes back up. Which is kind of how you are friends with somebody one day and you think you got your life all figured out and then that friend just leaves your life which goes against your thought on how your life should be. That vision is Andrews friend in the metaphoric sense it was a precious stone that he cherished who he thought defined him but it just left him. He doesent care anyways because he rather be alone.

    Ok now for the next part: Wherever scientists turn lead to birds,
    torment ignites essence, delights from the earth
    What you find shocking
    they find amusing,
    something else to soften a sadistic urge
    When they tell you the extent of the vice
    then the prime time mission is to choke the statistician,
    and like the senses that you’re lurking behind
    while it gnaws right through to your core,
    oh I’d twist it more......

    What this part of the song is talking about Lysergic acid diethylamide or LSD.
    LSD was created by scientist its a man made creation almost a poison if you will like lead is a poison. Yet this poison becomes something beautiful like birds are. This creation is to help you discover the true meaning of life. Through your pain you linking into the essence of the earth and using its wonders like pot, acid, shrooms, ex...You start to become shocked at what these drugs are showing/revealing to you yet the ones who controlls it like the government and the manipulators/scientist, finds your confusion amusing. Andrew wants to take that concept and twist your fear and confusion even more. Which leads to the best part of the song.

    If you think that you’re free (free like a kite)
    watching as it goes by (spy the unknown),
    focus on the quiet oars
    Tell me how far you’d go (go where you like)
    knowing your air won’t last (last one to know)
    Would you feel better holding the stars up?

    Let's start with the first sentence in the breakdown: If you think that you’re free (free like a kite)
    watching as it goes by (spy the unknown),
    focus on the quiet oars.

    What Andrew is talking about is if you think you are really in control of your life/destiny you are not because you are like a kite. Let's think about that for a moment a kite with a handler/master can do amazing works but without a master it is a runaway kite flying/heading towards the abyss. Your life is literally flashing before your eyes. You must focus on the quiet oars. An oar is something that you use to control a boat. Let's say the boat represents you and the oars are the real thing that shape/control your path/movement in life. We must confront and understand our oars to truly control our ship. Then Andrew says tell me, "how far you go knowing your air wont last." What he means by this statement once you think you figured out the oars of your life you still are on a collision course with death just like the kite without a master is doomed to fly to space/the abyss. Then Andrew tells you almost sarcastically would you feel better holding the stars up. Which he means the truth and the universe is smacked right upon your consciousness.

    The last part of the song: What if the beast escapes (apes have it good)
    and separates like a cloud (loud like a fault),
    seeps into the hollow bones?
    Wouldn’t its eyes expand
    and zero in like a scope?
    I might feel better
    knowing I wasn't alone

    Andrew is talking about sin/evil itself. Once you truly discover that the universe is a, excuse my french, fucked up place you think back to lotus flower and the beauty of the universe. You find GOD does not matter which religious god you believe in but this the true GOD you find through meditation/prayer/acid trip and you thank that GOD you are not alone in this universe.
    DarthWeiji88on May 04, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOnce upon a time back in 2007/008? when mgmt came out with oracular spectacular I was going through this really um... horrible period in my life and was sleeping constantly. Day and night. For days in a row and I really only woke up to listen to music in a trance/daze. But I listened to that cd a lot. Well later I was watching interviews of mgmt. and heard the singer refer to dreams about "those big old swamp houses down south" or something of the sort... Like marsh houses? Anyway when I was in aforementioned "period" I had these dreams- about my old house in Florida except it was big and really swampy and I got really nostalgic about it. Sad... etc. I even told my roommate... basically very sad I couldn't go back. But those dreams were so powerful so when the lead singer said "big house/south/swamp" etc in the interview the coincidence seemed... shocking? But anyway I just had to share that since I got voted down. I thought maybe the dreams were connected. Thank goodness this is anonymous. Hahaha

    Oh yes and to further relate... I think science is... well as *person* described it: can be used for good or evil but I think it's kind of evil (have you seen the movie ET? where they release the frogs?) anyway... Here's to world peace, clean consciousness and sweet dreams. (Miss my clean conscious)
    username111111on November 12, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"apes have it good"

    They're built like humans, but they may not be self-aware like humans are. They don't have to be aware of all the bad things that are really going on.
    Crane42on June 17, 2014   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThis song has been looping in my head for weeks, and I've just got to put it out there, it's an under appreciated musical masterpiece. The pulsating rhythms, the sexy as hell bass line, the "often purposely hitting the wrong notes" piano part, and Andrew's subtle vocals make this an incredible listening experience. "I might feel better, knowing I wasn't alone." That line alone comes to the forefront of my brain at least five times a day and I don't know why. It's mostly because I have a crush on someone, and in the midst of our chaotic live I'm trying to debate the best way to go about things and this line keeps reminding me that I'm currently lonely and need to seek protection in others. The song exempts no human emotions. There's sadness, despair, loneliness, a touch of happiness, it's got the works. The video makes me feel this is about someone trying to help someone or themselves out of a drug addiction, but I also feel this could apply to almost any situation that has strong emotions, since it's at its root a very human song. I just absolutely love it, and it's a masterpiece. If you haven't checked out MGMT's new album, I suggest you do.
    Excalibur7on October 21, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI believe this song to be about some very deepening psychedelic manners, like everything, literally everything is in a constant form of contradiction, for example the meaning in the symbolism of the yin and yang. Andrew has definitely had some life altering experiences happen to him since Congratulations, this is a very transcendental song, reminds a lot of Jim Morrison and the Doors and it brings me to the conclusion that this song is basically about the Unknown and all the things in front of our faces that we have not analytically broken down yet and come to realize. Andrew Vanwyngarden has definitely broken through some barrier and raised his consciousness to completely new levels, I think he's getting information from other worldly manifestations and writing songs about it, I could always be wrong though. MGMT is a hell of a band but I think only "weirdos" can really understand some of the subjects they talk about in their songs
    livinlife94on November 19, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn a sentence, this song is about confronting the unknown and the nature of knowing -- or rather the lack of knowing. Two of the versus are straightforeward, and the other three are rather vague. But they all stick with the theme.

    The very first line sets up the meaning for the entire song, so it bears repeating: "Whenever i drift by the unknown, feign like I notice a fundamental tone." This is a statement of reluctant self-admission. The author is acknowledging that, when faced with the unknown, the unfamiliar, or strange, the natural response is to "feign" like you immediately know and understand it. Like you catch "fundamental tone", even though you don't. The last line, "more explanation and nothing shown," means to say that, regardless of how many times and ways you explain that you understand, nothing is truly "shown" about what you saw.

    The next verse plays directly on the first verse. A "friend exiting without a sign" is something unexpected happening, like a friend dying unexpectedly. It glimmers more precious than a fine stone because it was one aspect of reality that you thought you could control. But, clearly, you can't.

    The third verse is where the song gets interesting. In this verse MGMT reveals that they are not merely talking about confronting the "unknown," in the sense that people try to explain away ghosts, UFOs, religious experiences with rationalizations. Rather, they mean to say that the whole basis of human knowledge, or what we think we know, is merely an emotional reaction to the lack of ability to truly explain, well, anything. The verse tells all and attacks one of the strongest connections to reality we think we have: science.

    Science has led to birds (meaning led to nothing)
    Torment igniting essence is the torment of unknowing, which ignites our finding "essence" in things, meaning faulty understanding.
    When the "extent of the vice," meaning the extent to which we make up for our lack of real knowledge with foe understanding, is revealed, it is a visceral, upsetting reaction. We want to choke something, and this truth gnaws at our core, further twisting us, increasing our need to understand but furthering us from the truth.

    The fourth verse is rather clear. It merely states that freedom is a comforting illusion. The line, "would you feel better holding the stars up?" is a clever reference to ancient astronomy. It means to compare human thought and emotion to how ancient cultures would "draw," more or less, people and scenes on the night's stars to explain the way the world was, like Orion and the Big Dipper, etc. The line is more of a sarcastic comment really. I feel like MGMT is saying, "oh, yeah? You think you're in control? Well would you feel better being a grand constellation that stretched the night sky, holding up the entire universe?" The joke is, of course, that Orion and the big dipper never move and actually have no power whatsoever. They were merely drawn on the sky.

    The last verse is the most cryptic. It means to say that apes like people but are presumably not very self aware and don't need to create foe understandings of the world to comfort them to sleep at night. However, MGMT surmises, what if, in an instant, we injected apes with the same self awarness that we have? They would be shocked and horrified "eyes expanding, zeroing in like a scope on the horror of knowing how much we dont know." Then, as the last line in the song, MGMT comes up with the first thought the ape might have after this terrible realization; that they might feel better knowing they werent alone. Thus the creation of religion, myth, society, science, everything.

    To sum it up in a quick tidbit, this song is about how humans really have very little grasp on the true nature of reality and we compensate for this by claiming that we know everything, creating grand theories that attempt to explain away all uncertainties in the world (science, religion, etc.)
    TheWildabeaston October 20, 2014   Link
  • -1
    General CommentDreams
    username111111on September 19, 2013   Link

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