This is tiger the Lion
gimme the Knuckles of Frisco
- if there's danger in the language,
I suggest no further use of
the two-way radio.
'John Cage had come to feel
that art in our time
was far less important
than our daily lives,
to which so many'd become
more or less inclined.
The purpose of it's not unique.
Not to build masterpieces
for a delectative elite
but simply to wake to your life.'

You'll be serving the song
when you find out you won't change
serving the song
walking the range.

'John Cage had come to feel
that art in our time
was much less important
than our daily life
If there's a perpetual plan
for discovery days
where everyone can take part
in what he called
purposeless play
and there's a sign of life in this play
not to get order from chaos
tell you how to create
but simply to wake to your life.

You'll be serving the song
when we find out you won't change
serving the song
bombing the range.

This is Tiger the Lion
get me Into the Pillows
- If you're painted by radar, gentlemen,
There'll be no further use of
the two-way radio

Lyrics submitted by black_cow_of_death

Tiger The Lion song meanings
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  • +3
    General Comment

    John Cage was an experimental music composer who attempted to put Zen Buddhist beleifs into practice through the music he composed. John Cage is actualy quoted as describing his music as "purposeless play" which is where Downie gets this lyric. Cage is also quoted as saying that the purpose of his music is "not an attempt to bring order out of chaos" which Downie also touches on. Cage also stated that his music is meant to "simply to wake up to the very life we are living, which is so excellent once one gets one's mind mind and desires out of the way and lets it act of its own accord.".

    This last point is what I think Gord is really trying to get at, the fact that Cage didn't make music to create masterpices, but simply to get people to realize how beautiful the world around them is when we actualy stop to apreciate it.

    However, I think downie tries to go deeper with this by using the military analogy. In the first chours, Downie is talking about "serving the song" (which I assume is refering to buying in to what the theory that Cage had about the beauty of life if we let it happen on it's own) and follows this by saying "walking the range". In the second chorus however, Downie changes "walking the range" to "bombing the range". I think what Downie is trying to get at here is that while it can sometimes be good to "serve the song", as he puts it, (meaning to let the mind act of it's own accord) at other times, leting our mind act of its own accord and not questioning where it might lead us can be dangerous. But thats just one man's opinion.

    Wilkson March 02, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    We humans demand structure and control, and try to force everything into some systematic hierarchy so we can "understand" it. Gord is saying that, for the most part, we can't change and live in the moment and sit for 4 minutes and listen to the ambient noises and be happy with that. We are almost incapable of letting anything, a song in this case, simply be what it is without trying to force our will on it in some way. This entire website exists solely for people to paste their experiences and meanings on pieces of art, to make it their own in some way. The opposite of simply waking to your life.

    danszon May 01, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Nobody commented on this? Awesome song. Can't claim to be too familiar with John Cage, but the way Downie sings on this track is quite disturbing, and it's gotta be the hardest song I've ever heard from The Hip.

    MadShangi2003on July 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    First off, I am not a huge Hip fan. I have always found them to be overrated and academic, but still able to craft a catchy melody or two. Tiger The Lion is BY FAR the absolute best thing they have EVER done. In my opinion the rest of the Music@Work album was boring as all hell, but this song salvaged it for me and is really the only song (maybe next to Nautical Disaster) that is worth mentioning in their catalog! If they wrote more songs like this, I would probably own more of their CDs. Gord Downie and company should probably follow a bit of the advice they liberally quote from John Cage and make their music more 'purposeless play' than radio-friendly and marketable.

    mercmcguirkon December 17, 2010   Link
  • -1
    General Comment

    This is one of the hardest songs of all time to listen to. There's no catchy riff to pull you in and maybe that's the point of the song and the entire album even. I really got into the last tracks on Music At Work, and they follow a more standard formula of musical creation but they are hard songs to get into as well. All in all, this is a Hip Song so it's worth a listen.

    OpinionHeadon October 28, 2006   Link

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