Twenty miles left to the show
Hello, my old country, hello
Stars are just beginning to appear
And I have never in my life before been here

And it's my heart, not me, who cannot drive
At which conclusion you arrived
Watching me sit here bolt upright and cry
For no good reason at the Eastering sky

And the tilt of this strange nation
And the will to remain for the duration
Waving the flag
Feeling it drag

Like a bump on a bump on a log, baby
Like I'm in a fist fight with a fog, baby
Step-ball-change and a pirouette
And I regret, I regret

How I said to you, "honey, just open your heart"
When I've got trouble even opening a honey jar
And that right there is where we are...

And I been 'fessing double fast
Addressing questions nobody asked
I'll get this joy off of my chest at last
And I will love you 'til the noise has long since passed

And I did not mean to shout, just drive
Just get us out, dead or alive
A road too long to mention, lord, it's something to see!
Laid down by the good intentions paving company

All the way to the thing we've been playing at, darlin'
I can see that you're wearing your staying hat, darlin'
For the time being all is well
Won't you love me a spell?

This is blindness beyond all conceiving
Well, behind us the road is leaving, yeah, leaving
And falling back
Like a rope gone slack

Well, I saw straight away that the lay was steep
But I fell for you, honey, as easy as falling asleep
And that right there is the course I keep...

And no amount of talking
Is going to soften the fall
But, like after the rain, step out
Of the overhang, that's all

It had a nice a ring to it
When the ol' opry house rang
So with a solemn auld lang
Signed, sealed, delivered, I sang

And there is hesitation
And it always remains
Concerning you, me,
And the rest of the gang

And in our quiet hour
I feel I see everything
And am in love with the hook
Upon which everyone hangs

And I know you meant to show the extent
To which you gave a goddang
You ranged real hot and real cold but I'm sold
I am home on that range

And I do hate to fold
Right here at the top of my game
When I've been trying with my whole heart and soul
To stay right here in the right lane

But it can make you feel over and old
Lord, you know it's a shame
When I only want for you to pull over and hold me
'Til I can't remember my own name

Lyrics submitted by mutinyinheaven_x

Good Intentions Paving Company song meanings
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  • +6
    My InterpretationIn the relentlessly upbeat energy of the first half of the song, we see the narrator trying to ignore signs that all is not well in her relationship. There are themes of fog and blindness, and disconcerting shifts between what is well-known and entirely foreign: "Hello my old country / I have never in my life before been here"; and the chilling split of self: "It's my heart, not me." Through the joy, the exuberance, and the sense of aliveness, there runs an undercurrent of being swept along by something she cannot keep pace with and cannot redirect.

    After being "unable to drive" (a piece of her is resisting), she still believes when she cries it's "for no good reason"--she's cannot yet intergrate emotions that might separate her from her partner. Meanwhile, she tries hard to control her own internal confusion and his behavior, until she gives up and asks him to "just drive, just get us out..."

    The imagery of flags and nationhood, highways and pavement, introduces a larger theme--the disappointment of the American Dream. American patriotism believed the best in humanity could be expressed through our form of government, which promised freedom and equality; it is now clear to what disastrous ends those good intentions have led. Likewise, the romanticisim of the open road cannot conceal the reality of a country of cement and pavement, strip malls and unsustainable fuel. I don't think Newsom is writing propoganda here, but she does nod to the larger tragedies playing out all around us, all the roads paved with good intentions criss-crossing through a country that was once woods and prairies.

    And then we reach the second half of the song, where realization hits--and suddenly we aren't in this relationship alone anymore. There is "you, me, and the rest of the gang." Where there was once careening movement there is now hesitation, and waiting under an overhang for the rain to stop. The narrator cannot sustain the myth of couplehood as two people alone in the world, rocketing towards a brand-new country. Even so, she is "in love with the hook/ upon which everyone hangs." This is the moment when her heart must expand to include the other people her lover loves, and how these ties will always introduce uncertainty. Once she can face this, there's no more blindness or fog. She's able to see how hard she's been working against her own desires, and she's finally able to express one clearly: "When I only want for you to pull over and hold me / 'Til I can't remember my own name."
    entelechyon February 13, 2013   Link
  • +3
    General Commentthis song is a description of the narrator's relationship progressing, developing, and becoming stronger daily. the relationship is not, however, without its problems.

    after a period of peaceful, happy romance (see "'81"), the woman and her lover run into some trouble. she goes on to tell her lover that she regrets how she told him to open his heart (in "easy"), "when [she's] got trouble even opening a honey jar." when she says, "and that right there is where we are..." she is explaining that the problem at hand is one of her lover having finally let her in, only to find her unable to reciprocate fully. maybe this is why she's decided to take him home to meet the folks and see where she grew up? this indicates that he is, perhaps, not the one making the relationship difficult. here, in this song, we begin to see a picture of the narrator's unreliable emotional state unfolding: she may be someone that is simply hard to be in a relationship with, someone who is not easy to love because of her emotional fluctuations.

    anyhow, we now have our current scene: the two lovers taking a trip to the narrator's "old country," which she has presumably moved away from quite some time ago. she feels like she does not recognize the place that she once called home, probably because she has changed so much over the years. feelings of nervousness and anxiety begin to overwhelm her : "i did not mean to shout 'just drive! just get us out, dead or alive!'"

    now that she has taken this "leap" in an attempt to make him feel as if she's truly letting him in, she states that "for the time being all is well," and asks him to simply accept that and love her for a while. she convinces him that she fell for him "as easy as falling asleep." she knows that no amount of talking is going to make things better once they start to go bad (presumably she knows that they will because she knows his character and also her own), but for now she's going to try to make it work and enjoy the quiet, loving period of their romance.

    the mere idea of the trip is, for lack of better words, really freaking the narrator out. she knows that she's "at the top of [her] game" right now, taking him to her family and her hometown was a great idea for the relationship, but she doesn't want to go. perhaps it's a bad memory there, or perhaps she just isn't ready to take the relationship to that next level. she doesn't want to fold and turn around, and is trying with her "whole heart and soul to stay right here in the right lane." she ends this segment by stating that all she really wants is for her lover to pull over and hold her-- for a very, very long time, "'til [she] can't remember [her] own name."

    please remember that this is only my attempt to interpret the whole album, "chapter" by "chapter". i'm trying to not only make sense of each piece as an individual song, but fit them together to form the cohesive narrative that miss newsom intended them to be. i'm not saying my interpretation is as she intended it, but i figured i'd go ahead and share it with you lovely people since i've read your comments for so long without ever adding my own.
    ericaruthon September 20, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is so warm and the layered vocals so incredible I don't even care what it's saying. But then it seems to be saying a lot. The narrator is headed back home to a coastal city perhaps, certainly somewhere they consider home from somewhere they do not, contemplating their love interest, their faults, and the state of the nation to a lesser degree as a backdrop. It's a love song, as the last stanza clearly implies. The narrator is not sure why they feel how they do for their interest, trying to tie it down to words, overexplaining their feelings and thoughts. It ultimately comes down to wanting to forget what could be one's most prized and personal word, their name, for the sake of all the feelings that the narrator both rallies against, tries to tame and cannot control. It seems like a disservice to this song to try to explain it, a bit ironic even, but especially a disservice with my minimal analysis. This is a wonderful treat to chew on until the album comes out.
    tinylittlewordson February 04, 2010   Link
  • +1
    Lyric Correction"just get us out, get home alive" is "just get us out, dead or alive"
    iamsoupcombuston February 18, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love that she's channeling a bit of Dolly Parton in her new vocal stylings, much more controlled than I've heard before-"The'Ol Opry house rang..."
    I look forward to her long and impassioned career.
    twocenton February 20, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt's like Dolly Parton meets Syd Barrett, in the best possible way imaginable.
    Elegnaimon February 22, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe road to hell is paved with good intentions.
    fadingrippleon February 22, 2010   Link
  • +1
    Lyric Correction"20 miles left to the shore" is the correct lyric...
    buggyoon September 02, 2010   Link
  • +1
    MemoryThis song really, really resonates with me, in my current romantic situation. A lot of the lyrics fit perfectly with what I'm feeling about my now ex-boyfriend.
    "No amount of talking is going to soften the fall" was the first lyric I read, on a friend's facebook. It was absolutely perfect timing when it came to me.
    "How I said to you, "honey, just open your heart"
    When I've got trouble even opening a honey jar
    And that right there is where we are..."
    God. it's so true.

    So this song, for me, really feels like it talks about a relationship that could be so good, but just cannot work and has to be let go. It's perfectly somber.
    Especially the last two stanzas. It's like, "I am so tired, and I know this cannot work, but i just want it to so bad. i just want you to hold me."

    monolisaron March 28, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationIt seems fairly simple: "Honey, I know you care a whole lot about me, and I care about you too, but I don't know what's going to happen."
    ChazA3on November 01, 2011   Link

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