I wanna ride the hydraulics
Lit up like the North Star
I wanna wallow in the spoils before the crowd
I wanna play my guitar
Not gonna sit up and beg
Not gonna do tricks
Not gonna stand here on a sound stage
Tethered to a crucifix

The ride's over
I know
But I'm not ready to go

I wanna flash my pastel colors by the rail
On a windy day at Pimlico
Don't want to write songs with this clown they set me up with
In a Los Angeles rehearsal studio

Not gonna tour with Trent Reznor
Third of three, bottom of the bill
You can't pay me to make that kind of music
Not gonna swallow that pill

The ride's over
I know
But I'm not ready to go

Maybe dad is right
I'm still young
And I can write C++ just as good as anyone
I know this guy at Lucasarts
He says they're looking for hands
In fifteen years I'll be throwing back beers
With my feet in the sand

Lyrics submitted by Mellow_Harsher

Shelved Lyrics as written by Peter Hughes John Darnielle


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Shelved song meanings
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  • +1
    My InterpretationJD is singing from the perspective of a fictional old goth musician in the late 80's/early 90's. This musician and his band had released an album that was well-liked. So they recorded another album like it. But then the record company told them that their style of music is no longer popular, and the record company wanted them to do something that is more popular among modern audiences, like christian rock (hence the "tethered to a crucifix" line) or Nine In Nails-type music (Trent Reznor is the main man in Nine Inch Nails). The old goth musician doesn't want to do that. He wants to stick to his artistic vision. The record company laughs at him, and so they don't release his album. When a record company doesn't release an album, the album is said to be "Shelved." Since the artist can't one thing he loves anymore, he gives up music and moves onto the other thing he loved: computer programming. He gets a job at LucasArts (a major computer game company in the 80's and 90's) and stays there for 15 years.

    Fun fact: bassist Peter Hughes wrote the last verse. He also sang the last verse. If you're listening to this song and you get to the last verse and you think "Why does JD's voice sound so different here?" It's because that's not JD. That's Peter Hughes.
    cbinghamon January 09, 2018   Link

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