The "explain what this song means, please" thread. All songs welcome.

I’ll start off. Suzanne Vega has a song called “Blood Sings” that is just beautiful. But I really don’t understand what it’s about. It has some imagery that obviously means something but I’m at a loss to what it is.

All I can glean from the lyrics is some vague sense of the loss of innocence or perhaps the unfairness of the world… or something? Anybody?

And what songs mystify you, that the rest of the board might be able to shed light on?

If you just want members interpretations, please disregard the following, but Suzanne Vega’s own various comments on the song can be found here.

MacArthur’s Park - I was a kid when I first heard this and I’ve thought it had to do with a love affair gone wrong. The relationship was fragile and will never be fixed.

Tell me what it really means, please.

It’s about an ugly cake, as best I can figure.

I’ve considered starting this very thread, but was too embarrassed to admit that I’m still the same idiot who couldn’t pick up on any of the symbolism in Lord of the Flies. Of course, now I can’t think of most of the songs that have been puzzling me.

Please explain Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In the Name Of” to me. Or the Thrill Kill Kult’s “Hour of Zero” (which I believe is midnight(?), but the rest eludes me). Or Pearl Jam’s “Alive”. Or especially Smog’s “Cold Blooded Old Times”. All songs that I love but I have no idea what they’re talking about.

[]Jackie]( [url) Blue, by Ozark Mountain Daredevils. Well, it’s evidently about this chick Jackie, but I can’t tell from the lyrics whether the singer admires her, pities her, distrusts her, or what. Also, is the singer male or female, and what is the nature of their relationship? Every time I start to form a theory, some other lyric blows it out of the water.

American Pie

Panic at the Disco have a song called “Nine in the Afternoon”. I’m still trying to figure out when/where that occurs? Maybe at the Arctic Circle?

Robert Johnson’s Hellhound On My Trail.

“If today was Christmas Eve
and tomorrow was Christmas Day”

Are particularly confusing lines to this little White boy.

My theory was that it was about being really, really high.

Either than or it’s frickin’ nonsense.

I once read an interview where Eddie Vedder explained it. It’s not pleasant, and parts of it are autobiographical.
A woman reveals to her teenage son that his biological father wasn’t “Dad”, it was a recently-deceased friend of the family, who she had an affair with. In the middle verse, the woman attempts to seduce her son, who’s looking more and more like his biological father as he matures… and he’s still alive. “The look” that he remembers isn’t the look on either face, it’s him looking at her crotch.

Big Yellow Taxi. Throughout the song, Joni is complaining about the footprint modern man is leaving on the planet.

Until the last verse, when her husband walks out on her. What is the message there? Don’t let your concern for social activism consume your attention to the point where you don’t take care of your relationships?

Or what, exactly?

I think the failed relationship falls under the ‘don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’ rubric.

Elvis Costello’s Kinder Murder has always puzzled me. I get the general idea – soldier rapes a girl and she becomes pregnant – but I’m unsure of what the “kinder murder” is. Is it an abortion? Because, if so, then what does this verse refer to?

What child? Is this verse just there to illustrate Jimmy’s rotten character? Does the second “he” in the third line refer to the child or to Jimmy?

Is the “kinder murder” the rape? Alluding to a fate worse than death, yet one that leaves the victim alive?

And then what’s going on in the last verse:

Is he committing suicide and these are his last thoughts? (It’s the “in a flash” that makes me think this way. Although Costello’s phrasing when he sings makes it unclear whether “in a flash” connects with the first line or the second line.)

Throw me a bone here, people.

gallows fodder - This is the first exposure I’ve ever had to the song so I’m just flailing around in the dark here, but is it “Kinder Murder” as in a kind act or as the German noun Kinder, meaning children? Could there be a play on words going on that might explain some of it?

Do you think the “child” could have been the teenage girl? I agree that Jimmy gets her to have an abortion, which is the “kinder murder” in the first part of the song, but it could also be referring to the abrupt missing status of the girl.

In that case, the “photo” could be a suspect photo put out by the police. Jimmy, who was staying with his best friend, takes his pal’s car and scrams.

I’ve puzzled over this one too. I think “kinder murder” is a play on “a kind’a murder”, ie “a kind of murder”.

Here’s my take on it: the child is the girl who got raped, and she’s gone missing because she’s been murdered by the others in the guilty soldier’s regiment to protect their regimental honour. The photo that fit his face was an identikit-type image that someone recognised. Dishonoured Jimmy is the rapist; the first he knew about the murder is when he read it in the papers, and realises what’s been done in his name and by whom. He takes his friend’s car and kills himself (as he’s just taking up space, ie has no future), perhaps by driving off the road. The knickers in the handbag and the one false eyelash I think were clues to the rape found by the police, that might have led them to him.

So while he didn’t kill her, it’s his fault - so he murdered her, kinda. I think the German Kinder idea is interesting, but a stretch given how differently the two are pronounced.

What I’ve always wanted to know is, was it based on real events?

According to Richard Harris, the cake was a wedding cake. They were close enough to the wedding day when they broke up that they actually had a cake delivered.

Context. In the early 70s, after the success of “Delta Dawn,” there were a whole bunch of songs about insane, spooky misfit women who dabbled in drugs or the occult or both, like “Leave Me Alone,” “Angie Baby” and “Witchy Woman.” They were monstrously popular and for a while a lot of artists jumped on the bandwagon. “Jackie Blue” is just another. Move along, nothing to see here…