"The Pretender" as written by and Jackson Browne....
I'm going to rent myself a house
In the shade of the freeway
I'm going to pack my lunch in the morning
And go to work each day
And when the evening rolls around
I'll go on home and lay my body down
And when the morning light comes streaming in
I'll get up and do it again
Say it again

I want to know what became of the changes
We waited for love to bring
Were they only the fitful dreams
Of some greater awakening
I've been aware of the time going by
They say in the end it's the wink of an eye
And when the morning light comes streaming in
You'll get up and do it again

Caught between the longing for love
And the struggle for the legal tender
Where the sirens sing and the church bells ring
And the junk man pounds his fender
Where the veterans dream of the fight
Fast asleep at the traffic light
And the children solemnly wait
For the ice cream vendor
Out into the cool of the evening
Strolls the Pretender
He knows that all his hopes and dreams
Begin and end there

Ah the laughter of the lovers
As they run through the night
Leaving nothing for the others
But to choose off and fight
And tear at the world with all their might
While the ships bearing their dreams
Sail out of sight

I'm going to find myself a girl
Who can show me what laughter means
And we'll fill in the missing colors
In each other's paint-by-number dreams
And then we'll put out dark glasses on
And we'll make love until our strength is gone
And when the morning light comes streaming in
We'll get up and do it again
Get it up again

I'm going to be a happy idiot
And struggle for the legal tender
Where the ads take aim and lay their claim
To the heart and the soul of the spender
And believe in whatever may lie
In those things that money can buy
Thought true love could have been a contender
Are you there?
Say a prayer for the Pretender
Who started out so young and strong
Only to surrender

Lyrics submitted by szulc

The Pretender song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentWhat the song says to me is that everyone starts out with grand dreams about life and how it's supposed to be, but when we get older, it's so easy to fall into the mundane routine of getting a job to pay for all the crap we don't need.

    The line about the veterans, as I saw it, was probably referring to aging WWI and II veterans dreaming of past battles of their youth, while on the other end of the spectrum, children are concerned only with getting their ice cream.

    In the end, most people fall into that trap of working and buying, and although "love" wasn't the solution to all problems, and not much of a contender in the face of greed, it makes things bearable. We settle for love just as we settle for the daily grind.

    As for justicehawver's comment on the ability of someone to understand this song based on age, I'd have to disagree heartily. Yes, the song involves getting old, and some might argue that it speaks of a specific era, but come on, not everyone has to experience something to understand it.
    LivinLegendon April 13, 2008   Link

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