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Be like the water, people.

Back of a Truck

5 posts in this topic

Lyrics, as originally posted to the Stix by the lovely Regina:

3. Back of a truck

Posted: Sun Jan 05, 2003 1:31 am Post subject: Back of a truck

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3. Back of a truck

She lifted the monument in her monumental arms

She was the mother superior with carry-on luggage charms

She was this androgynous powder nosed girl next door

She had eaten her dog and he was back for more back for more

Her gym teacher thought himself a sweat sock demi god

Her geraniums thought themselves an alien pod

Her front porch gave way beneath classified weight

And when the ambulance came they said it's much too late oh it's much too late

Now the people of New Guinea and the people of LA

Have been pen pals for years cause they both hate ballet

Only the pandas and bears have made a clean getaway

But the news bulletin claims it's gonna be ok

Now Miss Lucy had a sweatshop where the immigrants worked

Problem was they all turned to pumpkins at the twelve o'clock stroke

Promptly confiscated by police precinct number X

That was when the alien geraniums demanded the facts

No violence off course no violence off course hey no violence off course. Off course? Why yes, of course

Here the story gets hazy and the hair gets too long

The TV gets quiet as we hear a real bad song

The mothers get whiskey and the girlfriends get tongue

And there's a back of a truck selling smoke free lungs

There's a back of a truck selling alien pods

There's a back of a truck selling game show hosts

There's a back of a truck selling the souls of the dead

There's a back of a truck selling crumb free bread

This is New York

There's a back of a truck selling the back of a car

There's a back of a car selling roadway maps

There are roadway maps selling the back of a head

Hey how much for that back of a head, man?

Hey wait a minute that's my back of a head

Hey you can't sell that man.

That's mine.

Hey sell it back to me man.

Hey sell it back to me It's mine!'

She lifted the monument in her monumental arms

She was the mother superior with carry-on luggage charms She was this androgynous powder nosed girl next door

She had eaten her dog and he was back for more...

-------

I think this song is a mix of whimsy and realism on purpose: we have impossible, seemingly magical images painted right alongside glaringly realistic ones; everything from alien geraniums to new york maps selling the back of a person's head!

This is just a representation of new york in so many words; magical on the one hand and impossible, yet gray, mundane, and everyday typical on the other.

I've always loved regina's depictions of new york in her songs, and i think beteen this and soho, she does a fantastic job of conveying her impression of the city Smiler

I'm interested in what you guys think of it! i thought there was already a discussion on the song, but i did a search and looked through. No other thread about it! Such a crime, this is one of the most distinctive songs i know!

also, i think it's great how the roadway maps apprear to be giving the narrator a hard time about buying her head back, and that only a moment before the narrator was just realizing that it was missing! xD

here the marrator was giving us this tour of the city and the people, and the world from a NYC perspective, and then was unpleasantly surprised that she wasn't above it all, and that it had stolen a part of her

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Lyrics, as originally posted to the Stix by the lovely Regina:

3. Back of a truck

Posted: Sun Jan 05, 2003 1:31 am Post subject: Back of a truck

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3. Back of a truck

She lifted the monument in her monumental arms

She was the mother superior with carry-on luggage charms

She was this androgynous powder nosed girl next door

She had eaten her dog and he was back for more back for more

Her gym teacher thought himself a sweat sock demi god

Her geraniums thought themselves an alien pod

Her front porch gave way beneath classified weight

And when the ambulance came they said it's much too late oh it's much too late

Now the people of New Guinea and the people of LA

Have been pen pals for years cause they both hate ballet

Only the pandas and bears have made a clean getaway

But the news bulletin claims it's gonna be ok

Now Miss Lucy had a sweatshop where the immigrants worked

Problem was they all turned to pumpkins at the twelve o'clock stroke

Promptly confiscated by police precinct number X

That was when the alien geraniums demanded the facts

No violence off course no violence off course hey no violence off course. Off course? Why yes, of course

Here the story gets hazy and the hair gets too long

The TV gets quiet as we hear a real bad song

The mothers get whiskey and the girlfriends get tongue

And there's a back of a truck selling smoke free lungs

There's a back of a truck selling alien pods

There's a back of a truck selling game show hosts

There's a back of a truck selling the souls of the dead

There's a back of a truck selling crumb free bread

This is New York

There's a back of a truck selling the back of a car

There's a back of a car selling roadway maps

There are roadway maps selling the back of a head

Hey how much for that back of a head, man?

Hey wait a minute that's my back of a head

Hey you can't sell that man.

That's mine.

Hey sell it back to me man.

Hey sell it back to me It's mine!'

She lifted the monument in her monumental arms

She was the mother superior with carry-on luggage charms She was this androgynous powder nosed girl next door

She had eaten her dog and he was back for more...

-------

I think this song is a mix of whimsy and realism on purpose: we have impossible, seemingly magical images painted right alongside glaringly realistic ones; everything from alien geraniums to new york maps selling the back of a person's head!

This is just a representation of new york in so many words; magical on the one hand and impossible, yet gray, mundane, and everyday typical on the other.

I've always loved regina's depictions of new york in her songs, and i think beteen this and soho, she does a fantastic job of conveying her impression of the city Smiler

I'm interested in what you guys think of it! i thought there was already a discussion on the song, but i did a search and looked through. No other thread about it! Such a crime, this is one of the most distinctive songs i know!

also, i think it's great how the roadway maps apprear to be giving the narrator a hard time about buying her head back, and that only a moment before the narrator was just realizing that it was missing! xD

here the marrator was giving us this tour of the city and the people, and the world from a NYC perspective, and then was unpleasantly surprised that she wasn't above it all, and that it had stolen a part of her

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There's a reason why 11:11 has that special place in my heart, out of all of Regina's albums--something about all of the songs give me a very magical realism feel. That's not to say any of her work after that doesn't have the same feel, but 11:11's a special case.

Back of a Truck sort of gives me the chaotic life in the city, with all the things happening in the song, and how someone from the country's trying to adjust to it. Mix this in with the melody, and it's quite an unapologetic, somber affair.

[Just a small nitpick, but you forgot the "this is New York!" part after "back of a truck selling crumb-free bread". That was one of the best parts of the song]

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I believe that “Back of a Truck” is about an obese woman who suffers a terrible fate when her porch balcony collapses under her enormous weight, down onto a Bronx sidewalk below.  The "dowg" / "monument" was the hot dog she ate just before the accident.   

 
As she lies there, badly injured, she has streams of consciousness and visions of some of the things she has seen from her porch over the years (street commerce, immigrant sweat shop workers walking home, police brutality, etc) .  Meanwhile, numerous virtually useless factoids of information that she has apparently heard on the news  continue to cloud her mind.
 
As “the story gets hazy” and the “bad song” (i.e. the end of her life)  begins to play out, she starts to lose consciousness.  She has the realization that she has suffered a very serious head injury (“the hair gets  too long” is a metaphor for the stream of blood coming from the back of her head).  During this portion of the song, her subconscious pleads that the back of her head be made whole again, but it really is "much too late", just as the paramedics had said earlier in the song.  The final moments of the song are the woman passing away, with a rather sensual groan.
 
In the anti-folk music tradition, there is some social commentary about life's problems.....such as New York City's failed educational system and the self-centeredness of people, in general ( i.e., people putting their own egos ahead of their important professional responsibilities), like the woman’s former gym teacher who apparently did a very poor job of teaching her about good nutrition and physical fitness when she was in school, because he was too caught up in himself.  
 
Also, “geraniums", when portrayed in art and literature, often imply that their owner is a rather unsophisticated person.  Yet, it's ironic, that even the geraniums in New York City fancy themselves to be out of this world (i.e., "alien pods").
 
Anyway, that is what I got out of this song.  It happens to be one of my favorite songs of any genre.  This song is the epitome of right-brain creativity by one of the most gifted artists I know.  It is absolutely brilliant and still brings tears to my eyes when I listen to it.
RJLupin2 and briansal like this

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