i let the car drift some
eye your uncomfortable pose in profile
the postures of long drives
that endless cycling
of your numb and near sleeping parts

and you lean much harder
than you need when the road curves
swerve through traffic and
the cracks in the ground
every gesture you require
of a drive like this night
when you fight now
you just head out of town

i let the wheel go
over the center lines
inside a place without time
a loop though history
eye you in periphery
now prone in the passenger seat
it's a mystery the ways you can sleep

i want to leave here
for where nobody goes
i want to breathe in the air
of all those sprawling ancient
spaces on earth
you said we're so scared of alone
and i knew what you meant
you want to go where it glows
all those places where
your watch doesn't work

you were riding those nights on the highway
always hiding out inside a songwriter's dream there
like a scene from a song, "born to run" or maybe
"running on empty"
ones where they would leave
certain nights when you'd fight you couldn't stick around

so you'd head out of town
just to hit the highway and drive
certain nights when you'd fight it was fine
but it shook you when the baby would cry
why did you always turn around in the end?
to hear the shattering of glass on the door again?
so loud the baby couldn't sleep anymore?
what didn't you find that you were looking for?

your mother called a hardware
set you up an interview
an answer to an ad
the bosses' daughter still remembers
dinner where her father said
he wouldn't stick his neck out
for trouble again
but they did then
and those days you'd wake up
and just decide you wouldn't show

he'd show up at your door
nights you'd skip town
he'd follow you out
pretty soon you started
falling for their daughter
and she fell for you

drive
roll every window down
let the desert enter heavy
and primitive in
drift till rumble strips sound
time moves so slow
but i know that you meant what you said
you want to go where it's frozen
all those places where the highways don't reach

you want to go where it glows
somewhere that time is irrelevant
you want to go where it glows
somewhere the spaces are infinite
you want to go where it glows
somewhere you don't feel the hours pass by
you identified the flowers on the road
i rolled the windows down
and shut off the radio

did you ever think you'd end up here
all those late nights you were driving alone?
you were riding to hide
or you were looking for a brand new life
did you ever think you'd find one back home?

did you even think you'd get out alive?
could you imagine then the love you now know?
I think history's a system of roads
and there's nowhere it doesn't go

i pulled over to the side and felt no time
off the highway with the landscape aglow
still not sure what we were trying to find
i only know we went home


Lyrics submitted by b3hr

Scenes from Highways 1981-2009 song meanings
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  • +1
    My InterpretationProbably the most confusing and also one of my favorite songs on the album. Jordan is in love with the pronouns "I" and "you" which always makes it difficult to figure out who he is talking to or about, but that's his style and it works.

    I reached the same conclusions as parttimelovah: The story jumps back and forth between 1) the narrator and his lover on their road trip(s) through the desert referenced in "For Mayor in Splitsville" and "Stay Happy There" in the present day (2009) and 2) the narrator's father driving alone trying to escape his crumbling marriage when the narrator was a baby (1981). Thus, this song connects the past to the present, and illustrates that through this family's history the open road has been as integral a setting as the rooms of the houses they lived in.

    I would like to point out that the couple in HUDSONVILLE, MI 1956 and THE CHILD WE LOST 1963 isn't the narrator's parents but his grandparents, and their children are the narrator's father/uncles/aunts. The album covers three generations.

    It's interesting that the narrator's father worked at a hardware store in his youth. Jordan has stated in interviews that he he and his cousin Brad (the drummer) work (or at least used to work) in a hardware store in Grand Rapids, a fact that made it into the song "Edward Benz, 27 Times" from Wildlife which is based on a true story.
    HarbingerKingon May 23, 2014   Link

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