If you walk away I walk away
First tell me which road you will take
I don't want to risk our paths crossing someday
So you walk that way I'll walk this way

And the future hangs over our heads
And it moves with each current event
Until it falls all around like a cold steady rain
Just stay in when it's lookin' this way

And the moon's laying low in the sky
Forcing everything metal to shine
And the sidewalk holds diamonds like a jewelry store case
They argue "Walk this way", "No, walk this way"

And Laura's asleep in my bed
As I'm leaving she wakes up and says
"I dreamed you were carried away on the crest of a wave
Baby, don't go away, come here"

And there's kids playing guns in the street
And one's pointing his tree branch at me
So I put my hands up I say
"Enough is enough, if you walk away I walk away"
(And he shot me dead)

I found a liquid cure
For my landlocked blues
It will pass away like a slow parade
It's leaving but I don't know how soon

And the world's got me dizzy again
You'd think after twenty-two years I'd be used to the spin
And it only feels worse when I stay in one place
So I'm always pacing around or walking away

I keep drinking the ink from my pen
And I'm balancing history books up on my head
But it all boils down to one quotable phrase
If you love something give it away

A good woman will pick you apart
A box full of suggestions for your possible heart
But you may be offended and you may be afraid
But don't walk away, don't walk away

We made love on the living room floor
With the noise in the background from a televised war
And in the deafening pleasure I thought I heard someone say
If we walk away, they'll walk away

But greed is a bottomless pit
And our freedom's a joke we're just taking a piss
And the whole world must watch the sad comic display
If you're still free start runnin' away
'Cause we're comin' for ya

I've grown tired of holding this pose
I feel more like a stranger each time I come home
So I'm making a deal with the devils of fame
Sayin' let me walk away, please

You'll be free child once you have died
From the shackles of language and measurable time
And then we can trade places, play musical graves
Till then walk away, walk away, walk away, walk away

So I'm up at dawn, putting on my shoes
I just want to make a clean escape
I'm leaving but I don't know where to
I know I'm leaving but I don't know where to


Lyrics submitted by lazydesert

Landlocked Blues Lyrics as written by Conor Oberst

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Landlocked Blues song meanings
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122 Comments

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  • +5
    My Interpretation

    This song is about being landlocked, so to speak, in your own personal and necessarily self-serving existence so long as you are alive. To breach your little island would be to be free; free of the need to maintain your ego and physical safety; free of defending yourself, both physically and emotionally, at the expense of others. However, the island is the only thing keeping you alive, and leaving the island can only happen in death. Hence, the desire for true freedom can only be attained in death. It is the desire for more than this cage of human form and mind that we have been given. To reach the water is to attain a kind of spiritual freedom that we are as of now incapable of. Along with the unfulfulling nature of this island, even the things we can enjoy are all only permanent, and it can be no other way. So we long for something permanent, the only thing of which we know is death. All we can do in life when we need to get away from our self-serving yet impermanent existence is just walk away, walk away, walk away...

    ratpoisonfordinneron February 24, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    fuck yeah

    j.acobon January 15, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    I suppose it's about surrender. Like people have mentioned before this song appeals on a personal and political level. Conor's from the midwest and for a californian like me that sucks. No oceans to remind you of different ways to approach conflict. At the end of a relationship you're not quite sure which direction to go. Do you walk together or away from eachother? Do you leave amicably or go to war? The U.S. isn't adored much these days, but we keep making enemies because we're not willing to let go. People younger than us are dying in countries they read about when they were in school playing "guns in the street." And it seems there's alot of conflict with Conor because maybe he grew up just as patriotic as me, but then soon learned that patriotism isn't always a virtue. Maybe he feels it behooves him to sing about these things when all he wants to do is sing about love and happiness. But the devils of fame keep him singing. So he surrenders to that fact and keeps writing these great songs. Like LongforBlueSkies said, there's too much to talk about in the small amount of space that a message board offers. Does anyone know what that liquid cure is? My friend thinks its about drugs. Lame.

    souldieron May 21, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    i like this version, emmylou harris's vocals are cool, i wish people were better able to appreciate the rough-hewn harmony. both versions are interesting in their own right.

    BorrowedTuneon December 29, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    i dont care what anyone says this is the best song on the new one and emmylou is just beautiful masterpiece best bright eyes besides perfect sonnet and it's cool we can still be friends

    Viddy76on February 01, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Quote: "The woman doing the backing vocals". haha!

    candysayson May 22, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    yeah,i love this song, conor and emmylou really complement each other because their range and tone is so different, so few colaberations manage that

    bluedreemron July 20, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I think people missed what the song is really about. I think it's really simple. It sums up how people are constantly just walking away...not from anything specific (or really everything in specific) but just in general throughout life, people are always in motion, ending one thing and beginning another, and its unescapeable, even in death (hence the musical graves paragraph)

    wheresmyknomeon July 14, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    To me this song is about feeling trapped or 'landlocked' Never being content with where you are, and never really knowing what the future will hold for you

    Lyrically, this is my favorite Bright Eyes song.

    Tashmajon March 20, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    yes the trumpet solo it is Taps, note by note. but for me there is another association: the sound of hunting horns which fits perfectly to "cause we're coming for you!".

    if you want a bit of musical theory (wikipedia):

    "The melody of "Taps" is composed entirely from the written notes of the C major triad (i.e. C, E, and G, with the G used in the lower and higher octaves). This is because the bugle, for which it is written, can play only the notes of the harmonic series; "Taps" uses the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th members of this series."

    Which is the case with traditional hunting horns, too. Like this: youtu.be/0PZYITcd-ms So maybe it's not about the exact meaning of "Taps" but just the idea of galloping troups or hunters and being chased.

    vabeneon May 27, 2011   Link

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