Figuring out song meanings

From time to time, someone posts a question asking what a particular song means. I recently figured that maybe there should be one catch all thread for all “what does this song mean” questions.

I’ll start with two

  1. Elton John - Rocket Man. Huh? I’ve never understood this song. Is it to be taken literally? Does the “I’m gonna be high as a kite by then” a drug reference? I don’t have a clue.

  2. Talking Heads - Once in a Lifetime. I’ve never really been able to figure out this one either.

So, if anybody can help me figure out what these two songs mean, that would be great.
Also, if anybody has questions about the meaning or moral of a song, or what story it tells, please post those too.

Well, this would be a perfect thread to promote one of my favorite websites ever,…

…except that it’s, unsurprisingly, down again.

In any case, my favorite song to intepret is “Here Comes Your Man” by The Pixies. My favorite explanation is that it’s about the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki.

Rocket Man[/ur]
is inspired by a science fiction [url=] short story.

preview :smack:

I can sorta see that, but I think it’s stretching it. I wouldn’t try too hard to interpret Frank Black’s lyrics. I don’t think they’re meant to have any discernible meaning, but are rather there because the words sound good together and create interesting images, without talking about anything in particular. Some song writers work without concrete meaning.

Thanks, the link worked just fine.
Well, I have the answer to my first song meaning. Anybody know about the meaning of song #2?

It’s a commentry how most people ‘go with the flow’, never stopping to question where they find themselves or what they are doing in life. The flow you are going with is like water, underground, holding you down.

It suggests if people did stop and look around, many would suddenly ask themselves;

“Am I right? …am I wrong?
And you may tell yourself
My god!..what have I done?”

Yet life goes on for most… same as it ever was, because they don’t stop to consider these things.

Coo, thanks. Hearing the answer makes so much sence, but trying to figure it out on my own was pretty difficult. Thanks again. :cool:

Oddly enough, if you go see Elton John’s current show at Caesar’s in Las Vegas he seems to imply that this song is autobiographical. That he actually is the Rocket Man. Sure, that doesn’t really make any sense but if you watch the video that accompanies him while he sings that song it at least feels right.

Justin Timerberlake (!) plays a young 70’s era big glasses Elton John. Paul Reubens (aka Pee Week Herman plays his manager). I’m not making this up. Anyway, it shows a young sad Elton backstage before a show from that era surrounded by groupies and other freakish folks while he gets ready for the show. The lyrics actually seem to match the feel of the video.

But the song being based on the Ray Bradbury story makes a whole lot more sense.

He did have his own record label in the 70’s: Rocket Records.

The Rocket Record Company

When was Thomas the Tank Engine first published? :slight_smile:

Can anyone help me out with this song? My brother and I have fought constantly over the meaning, and we just can’t agree.

Of all the Talking Heads/David Byrne song, you picked the only one (save perhaps Psycho Killer, though that one’s not terribly complicated) that ISN’T confuggling as all hell. Others:

-Dance on Vaseline
-Girlfriend is Better
-Desconcido Soy (although this one ain’t in English, makin’ it hard to… y’know… understand)
-Tentative Decisions
-Born Under Punches

Not that I don’t get a GENERAL sentiment from Byrne’s work, but any specific message is kinda hard to discern.

That’s kind of hard to figure out. In my opinion, the song clearly seems to be talking about looking back at some sort of relationship he had with somebody. But beyond that, I’m lost.

Hey, a question for anyone. What’s the meaning, moral or story in this song (I think it has one) Silent Running

Our main argument is that he thinks it’s about love lost. I think it’s about longing for childhood. For some reason, he keeps wanting to argue with me, even though I don’t care. I’m just trying to get other’s opinion.