"An Orphan of Fortune" as written by and Andrew Vanwyngarden Ben Goldwasser....
It can't stop now
The signs keep changing on me
Like a shimmering bell
Long waves enveloping me
And my plastic mind,
So chewed and shrieking all the time
Feels it whirling by
Morning, afternoon then night
And I can't get down

If I don't feel right
Polishing off the sand
Lay by me
And we'll erode
As gently as we can
Into twilight
Into twilight


Lyrics submitted by dissolutions

"An Orphan of Fortune" as written by Benjamin Nicholas Huner Goldwasser Andrew Wells Vanwyngarden

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An Orphan of Fortune song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentA lot of people tend to lean towards an interpretation of MGMT's lyrics as a description of a drug induced psychedelic event. If you really look at the direction they've been moving and listen to their descriptions of how they formed their albums and the stresses they were under, viewing these lyrics as a piece of a larger composition becomes a much more viable option for interpretation, and even lends itself to the idea that these boys are legitimate artists.

    I go the artist route.

    I love the interpretation of being on a doomed path, suggested earlier. The music dirges by, enveloping the listener with echoes of intersecting voices. A loud whine obscures a simple chord progression, as a melodica rings in the distance. Enveloping waves of sound grow, disorienting the listener.
    You are inside this worn, chewed and shrieking mind, and it is being subjected to this ringing bell, coming in waves, morning, noon and night.

    " And I can't get down," is sung as the music changes, and the chord progression that was once obscured moves along to a nice dance beat, and the melodica is given center stage. It's not that he's too high, as if down was implying sobriety. Getting down is a colloquialism for enjoying yourself. He is the melancholic melodica playing sweetly over the dance beat.

    He ends the song seeming weary about a constant fight for something unachievable, resolving to relinquish his existence, to erode into twilight, if he were to ever disapprove of the life he has chosen as the song slips away...

    But then it does some funky shit at the end, and it makes me think that the eroded corpse of the narrator kicks back into life a little bit.... Like, stay tuned for LP 4.
    And I will.
    fartknuckleson January 21, 2014   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationSounds like a trip to me.

    The first parts seem to describe a lot of things reminiscent of psychedelics to me.

    "Morning, afternoon then night
    And I can't get down"

    Seems to describe being awake a long time from a stimulating psychedelic, or maybe MDMA combined with it.

    "If I don't feel right
    Polishing off the sand
    Lay by me
    And we'll erode
    As gently as we can
    Into twilight
    Into twilight"

    The sensation of becoming one with reality, a feeling of interconnectedness.. erode gently into twilight..

    Pretty straightforward to me.

    I like the one instrument in the middle of the song, reminiscent of something I've heard in Gorillaz's songs. I like it. Very trippy song.
    FractalRealityon September 25, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is about being high off something.

    "Morning, afternoon then night
    And I can't get down
    If I don't feel right Lay by me
    And we'll erode
    As gently as we can
    Into twilight"

    Fucking beautiful song.
    Bearstronautson November 17, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song is about being on a doomed spiritual path which, like all spiritual paths, is self-propelling according to the spirit(s) that it is connected with.
    Sand has to do with a path that is doomed to failure. The song depicts movement through doomed spiritual actions and events which the singer sometimes doesn't feel good about. In this case, he suggests the abandoning of effort, and the complete acceptance of death.
    tophtehon November 23, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI think this song is about the passing of time, filled with all sorts of chaos, and eventual death. The waves, represent the chaos, just how there is so much going on all the time in your life, enveloping you, the questions you ask yourself, your doubts, your stress, it goes on, and it envelopes your "plastic mind" (plastic meaning like the plasticity of our mind, the way our mind can adapt), a mind which is "chewed" and "shrieking" - effects of the chaos and stress of life. it feels like it goes on forever, morning to afternoon to night, but "it can't stop now" it feels like it will never stop, like we'll never die, but we know that death is everyones dark eventual fate, but its times where it seems you escape the ticking clock of time, like on the threshold between one day and another, twilight, you can start to see the light, there is peace, and you can polish off the sand, the worries and the stress and the chaos, and simply become one with that feeling, and erode into the twilight
    meganthoon December 06, 2013   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI personally think this song is about drug addiction.

    It can't stop now
    -
    He can't stop using the drugs

    The signs keep changing on me
    -
    He's not sure if he's taking them just for creativity anymore?

    like a shimmering bell
    long waves enveloping me
    and my plastic mind
    so chewed and shrieking all the time
    -
    He's describing how the drugs make him feel as well as how he feels off them in this crazy society we live in

    Feels it whirling by
    Morning after noon and night
    And I can't get down
    -
    He's taking the drugs on a daily basis and can't stop

    If I don't feel right
    polishing off the sand
    -
    If he it's hard for him coming off the drugs

    Lay with me and we'll erode as gently as we can into twilight
    -
    He hopes someone will help him coming down from his addiction

    This is just my interpretation. Really beautiful song.
    Simplisticshiton February 09, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Commentits about a trip and the relation between the sitter and the drugs user,somewhat similiar to reed's heroine.
    twintailson February 27, 2014   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationTo me, this song shouts "bipolar disorder." I have a bipolar mom, and I myself am a very sensitive individual who's susceptible to similar disorders. Bipolar disorder is one's tendency to swing between melancholic (depressive) and manic (hyperactive) ends of the emotional spectrum. It depends of the severity of the disorder, but what most people don't realize is that the shift is not always acute; people can remain on either end of the spectrum for days, weeks, months, or years.

    I shouldn't imply that Andrew has bipolar disorder because I don't know him, but his lyrics lead me to believe that at the very least, he's a very sensitive person. In "Alien Days," he sings,

    "Today, find infinite ways it could be plenty worse,
    how it's a blessing but it's also a curse."

    To me, he's stating that he's fortunate to have the kind of mind he does, but at the same time, there's an added layer of difficulty for him. Kay Jamison, a psychologist with bipolar disorder, wrote a pretty influential book on the disease called, "Touched With Fire." She makes a very strong case for a link between the manic state of mind and heightened creativity. I think it's possible that Andrew is an example of this. And in An Orphan of Fortune, I think every line can be used to make this case.

    "It can't stop now
    The signs keep changing on me
    Like a shimmering bell
    Long waves enveloping me
    And my plastic mind,
    so chewed and shrieking all the time
    feels it whirling by
    Morning, afternoon then night,
    and I can't get down"

    Andrew has been in a manic state of mind for a while now, but his emotions are shifting for the nth time and he just doesn't know what to believe. These long waves and states of emotion have been consuming him for as long as he can remember, and every day they spin his mind around and grind it down. He wants to be even keeled, settled and balanced, but he can't get down.

    "If I don't feel right
    polishing off the sand,
    Lay by me
    and we'll erode
    as gently as we can,
    Into twilight"

    Medication can help smooth him out, but it doesn't feel right to lull and dull his emotions. It's not right to cover up our sorrowful hope; we would be hiding ourselves from reality. We must accept the fact that our society and our world are decaying and degrading, and we must feel with it and for it.
    RebornAgainAndon May 15, 2015   Link

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