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Be like the water, people.

Folding Chair

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I love this song. it's one of my first hardcore Regina loves! Yet, ever since i started reading into Regina's lyrics, Folding Chair has left me with a question mark over my head. On the surface, it's a skippy story-song, but there's more to it than that.

The main character is on the brink of suicide, the beach isn't bright and sunny. instead there's a shadow so heavy you can't read her eyes. The beach is abandoned. In fact, i remember right off the bat, i assumed that she had buried her feet for the purpose of holding herself down once the water came close enough to drown her, just in case she had second thoughts. There's just always been an ominous undertone to this song for me.

At the same time, we're being invited to pull up a chair next to her, and then to rent/buy a trailer by the beach and have a kid together (not your typical parenting vision, but hey...). And then there're the dolphin noises. I always just took them to be a random answer to the "oo-oo-oo" part earlier in the song lol

"maybe one day, you will understand

that i want nothing from you

but to sweetly hold your hand

until that day, just

please don't be so down

don't make frowns

you silly clown."

Could this song be more of a two-person dialogue, rather than just one lonely woman on a beach? If so, who exactly is the other person? Because surely the suicidal woman isn't the one saying, "please don't be so sad. Cheer up!"

i guess the main conflict i have with this song is that 1. it sounds happy. Very telling in a Regina song (happy-sounding usually means sad/depressing/dangerous). and 2. there seem to be some very different views going on in this song. If you want a family, you want others to be happy, you have a perfect body simply because it's working properly, then why the attempted suicide? Why have you spent several years on a dreary, abandoned beach?

Last thought (sorry this is so long!): Could there be some undertones of marraige? the tide she's been afraid of for all these years represents settling down. Now she's sitting here alone. She still has feelings for him (that's the part where she's /still/ sitting on the beach), but won't throw herself into the relationship, or, rather, won't let marriage overcome her (like the ocean waves: "but every time the tide come in to take me home/ i get scared"). So, rather than being suicidal, she's a "free spirit", afraid to limit herself to being a wife. As a result, he left her. ("... now i'm sittin her alone, dreaming of the dolphin song")

So she'd rather rent a trailer, and raise the kids there! let's just live together all alone by the beach and have a baby boy!

(hence the happy vibe on that part of the album version, and the enthusiasm Regina sings with on the live rec.), but that's not enough for her. So i guess the song is sung from her end of things, to the man who left her because he wanted to get hitched and she refused. BAM! i believe they call that an epiphany. Wink

So what do you guys think of Folding Chair?

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I love this song. it's one of my first hardcore Regina loves! Yet, ever since i started reading into Regina's lyrics, Folding Chair has left me with a question mark over my head. On the surface, it's a skippy story-song, but there's more to it than that.

The main character is on the brink of suicide, the beach isn't bright and sunny. instead there's a shadow so heavy you can't read her eyes. The beach is abandoned. In fact, i remember right off the bat, i assumed that she had buried her feet for the purpose of holding herself down once the water came close enough to drown her, just in case she had second thoughts. There's just always been an ominous undertone to this song for me.

At the same time, we're being invited to pull up a chair next to her, and then to rent/buy a trailer by the beach and have a kid together (not your typical parenting vision, but hey...). And then there're the dolphin noises. I always just took them to be a random answer to the "oo-oo-oo" part earlier in the song lol

"maybe one day, you will understand

that i want nothing from you

but to sweetly hold your hand

until that day, just

please don't be so down

don't make frowns

you silly clown."

Could this song be more of a two-person dialogue, rather than just one lonely woman on a beach? If so, who exactly is the other person? Because surely the suicidal woman isn't the one saying, "please don't be so sad. Cheer up!"

i guess the main conflict i have with this song is that 1. it sounds happy. Very telling in a Regina song (happy-sounding usually means sad/depressing/dangerous). and 2. there seem to be some very different views going on in this song. If you want a family, you want others to be happy, you have a perfect body simply because it's working properly, then why the attempted suicide? Why have you spent several years on a dreary, abandoned beach?

Last thought (sorry this is so long!): Could there be some undertones of marraige? the tide she's been afraid of for all these years represents settling down. Now she's sitting here alone. She still has feelings for him (that's the part where she's /still/ sitting on the beach), but won't throw herself into the relationship, or, rather, won't let marriage overcome her (like the ocean waves: "but every time the tide come in to take me home/ i get scared"). So, rather than being suicidal, she's a "free spirit", afraid to limit herself to being a wife. As a result, he left her. ("... now i'm sittin her alone, dreaming of the dolphin song")

So she'd rather rent a trailer, and raise the kids there! let's just live together all alone by the beach and have a baby boy!

(hence the happy vibe on that part of the album version, and the enthusiasm Regina sings with on the live rec.), but that's not enough for her. So i guess the song is sung from her end of things, to the man who left her because he wanted to get hitched and she refused. BAM! i believe they call that an epiphany. Wink

So what do you guys think of Folding Chair?

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Congratulations, that's the longest post I've ever bothered to read.

Wow I've never thought anything like that about this song... But you've totally made the case for everything you're saying. You've completely changed the way I think about the song.

What grabs my attention about Folding Chair is the balance between bold sexuality and innocence. That's sort of what I see the song as being about... I'll explain from the beginning.

The image is created of a woman alone on a beach, trying to get a man to seat himself beside her. The forwardness with which she invites him is certainly enticing. The line "The sea is just a wetter version of the skies" reminds me of classic Carpe Diem poetry in which a the narrator (generally a man) seduces the reader with 'life is short, let's just live it' philosophy.

This kind of brazenness is then countered by the naive, gung-ho 'Let's get a silver bullet trailer!' This is a contrast between a woman looking for a fling, and one roping the man into (a somewhat peculiar) commitment.

She seemingly switches back to seduction mode: "I've got a perfect body..." This attitude is indicative of a woman who has 'been around the block' enough to gain a high level of confidence in herself. However, this is contradicted by the cutesy 'fun-fact' "My eyelashes catch my sweat."

The self-contradictory pattern of promiscuity versus youth and innocence is broken in the second verse. Here, the young woman explains that she has been sitting on this very fence for quite some time. She's "been on this abandoned beach for years," meaning he's not the first man whose folding chair she's wanted next to hers. However, despite the front of experience she puts up, she consistently finds herself "getting scared, and sitting here alone." She childishly ponders the dolphin's song while mulling over her once-again-failed romantic attempts.

In the third verse, she comes to terms with her own innocence, telling her beloved that all she really needs is to "sweetly hold his hand." Emphasizing the point, she affectionately calls him a 'silly clown,' and repeats the first verse.

I guess that's about as far from BLTW,P's interpretation as one could get. Lol.

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haha! agreed, TiHiW. i suppose we reached a kind of middle ground for the "sweetly hold your hand" part. and that she's not actually suicidal lol

that's an interresting take on the song. i never picked up on those contrasts before! the way Regina sings it always sounded a little sad to me, which would support both our theories. i'm still leaning toward mine (lol big surprise there), only because the man is sad. Unless there's some fairly obvious way that fits with yours as well that i'm totally missing (VERY plausible).

Oh, and i'm quite flattered that you bothered to read my ridiculous post! Razzer that makes me feel special and un-boring. i really should edit that...

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my interpretation is similar to yours, be like the water!

the song is so HAPPY. ridiculously so. and i think that's the point. i always thought that the narrator was not happy at all, even contemplating suicide like you said. but to the outside world, she is merely pretending to be happy. but right beneath the surface, there is a much darker emotion.

kind of like the song. the song itself is SO cheery and cheesy-but if you just stop and listen to what it's REALLY saying, you realize there is something wrong. it's like it is mirroring the narrator perfectly.

and i do think the narrator has contemplated suicide, but i don't think she actually wants to die. she is trying as hard as she can to turn things around, which is why she keeps inviting us to sit with her. and i always imagined (not even remotely related to the actual lyrics, haha) that she had put up an umbrella or something that is casting the shadow over her eyes- because she doesn't want us to see the pain right beneath the surface.

EDIT: oh man, i totally missed the entire part about marriage! how did i manage that? i love that! hehe, geez i need to read before posting. that is a great interpretation too. makes a lot of sense!

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Gaah! chills, good > perfect! your post gave me chills! i always pictured the umbrella, too! a darkish blue one, with fishes or flowers drawn in a kind of border around it. (irrelevant)

that's really deep, though, about the umbrella being purposely pitched so that others won't be able to read her emotions. very symbolic. Any thoughts on her feet being buried? Do you think she is/was involved with someone?

i got the same impression, about her trying to turn things around by inviting someone to join her. But if there really was a literal suicide attempt, or one being contemplated, where does that leave us on the "marraige" idea? And what about ThisIsHowItWorks's theory? can we piece this in there somehow, as an alternative?

oo! this is exciting! (lol i'm such a dork.)

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quote:
Originally posted by Be like the water, people.:

that's an interresting take on the song. i never picked up on those contrasts before! the way Regina sings it always sounded a little sad to me, which would support both our theories. i'm still leaning toward mine (lol big surprise there), only because the man is sad. Unless there's some fairly obvious way that fits with yours as well that i'm totally missing (VERY plausible).

I don't think the man is sad. I think the narrator is just coyly teasing him, perhaps suggesting that while he's not necessarily sad, he could stand to 'lighten up' just a tad in order to fully accept the narrator's feelings for him.

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Wow, you guys are so insightful!

I agree more with TiHiW though, I think. I've always pictured it as sort of an independent, brazen woman, who's as TiHiW put it "has been around the block a couple times" and has a bit of an attitude, but also pictures for herself this not-quite-fairy tale life that kind of fits her. But then, she's not quite so sure, and suddenly she's "sitting here alone, dreaming of the dolphin song."

I've never contemplated this being about a dark and depressed character, though it certainly makes sense. I always thought about it as a very strong woman slightly afraid of commitment, and enjoying flitting around from relationship to relationship, but also yearning for that stable life a little bit too.

So I don't know, you guys have raised a lot more good points/in a more eloquent fashion than I have... but I find it really fascinating, this song, especially now that I'm looking beneath the sort of sugary sweet surface.

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quote:
Originally posted by ThisIsHowItWorks:

I don't think the man is sad. I think the narrator is just coyly teasing him, perhaps suggesting that while he's not necessarily sad, he could stand to 'lighten up' just a tad in order to fully accept the narrator's feelings for him.

now that's a possibility.

So, wait, you're saying that this song is sungfrom the man to the woman:

quote:
: "The forwardness with which he invites her is certainly enticing. The line "The sea is just a wetter version of the skies" reminds me of classic Carpe Diem poetry in which a the narrator (generally a man) seduces the reader with 'life is short, let's just live it' philosophy."

What about the perfect body and all that? do you suppose the song is sung by two different parties?

Of course, looking at the structure, "..til that day, just please don't be so down. Don't make frowns, you sill clown. Just come and open up your folding chair next to me..."

The person saying "cheer up" is also the one saying "come sit by me". And we're assuming the woman is saying cheer up, so she is the one posing the invite.

Unless Reg just flips it on us in the end (plausible, i'm sure she's done this more obviously in other songs), so that at the beginning he's inviting her, then over the course of the song (which i don't have the time to mull over in this context at the moment), she becomes the one posing the invite to him (or i suppose it doesn't even really have to be the same guy as at the beginning. Or does it?)

quote:
Originally posted by almostspotless:

I always thought about it as a very strong woman slightly afraid of commitment, and enjoying flitting around from relationship to relationship, but also yearning for that stable life a little bit too.

this seems to be a common theme for every interp. so far. interresting, considering the few referrences to commitment are "let's get a silver bullet trailer and have a baby boy...", implying she wants to settle down, rather than being an independant-minded, free-sprited person.

am i posting too much in this thread? this is my first time creating one, so...

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quote:
Originally posted by Be like the water, people.:

quote:
Originally posted by ThisIsHowItWorks:

I don't think the man is sad. I think the narrator is just coyly teasing him, perhaps suggesting that while he's not necessarily sad, he could stand to 'lighten up' just a tad in order to fully accept the narrator's feelings for him.

now that's a possibility.

So, wait, you're saying that this song is sungfrom the man to the woman:

quote:
: "The forwardness with which he invites her is certainly enticing. The line "The sea is just a wetter version of the skies" reminds me of classic Carpe Diem poetry in which a the narrator (generally a man) seduces the reader with 'life is short, let's just live it' philosophy."

Oops that's a typo. My interpretation has the song sung entirely by the woman. I'll fix the mistake so as not to create confusion.

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