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It's all about the moon

Buildings

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Lyrics:

Buildings

he was a husband who drove his wife home drunk from the parties

he was a husband who drove his wife home

and in the car he would gently lean her head on the side door window

and in the bathroom he would hold her hair back and hope, saying;

they build buildings oh they build buildings oh they build buildings

so tall these days

and in the morning she'd wake up and crouch recollections all day

but she would always always wake up the next morning

and he'd take one look at her a say baby that's ok

and her conscience would issue yet another last warning, saying;

they build buildings oh they build buildings oh they build buildings

so tall these days

and she would ask for time and she'd ask for time and she would ask for time and she would beg for time, and she would beg for time and beg for time and call it a gift

and he would give her time and he'd give her time and he would give her time and he'd give her time-

but time is not given and time is not taken

it just sifts through its sift

and it was coffee and coffee and coffee and coffee and coffee and coffee some more

he'd go to work and she'd take a sick day and rot at the core

and by the time he came back she'd scrub the bathroom and make it smell like pine

it would be almost as if nothing had happened and he'd give her time, saying;

they build buildings, oh they build buildings, oh they build buildings, oh don't they build buildings, oh they build buildings, they build buildings so tall these days

and she would ask for time and shed ask for time and she would ask for time and she would beg for time, and she would beg for time and beg for time and call it a gift

and he would give her time and he'd give her time and he would give her time and he'd give her time-

but time is not given and time is not taken

it just sifts through its sift

he was a husband drove time home pine scrub bathroom window don't they build buildings so tall these days...

Since there is a little discussion about this track in an other thread, I thought that it is time for an own thread to discuss the lyrics Smiler

Posts about Buildings so far from the other thread:

By myself:""Building" is - personally - a song which is kind of disturbing : The happy melody collides with the melancholic voice and the lyrics about depression(?). At first I was like "what a nice song about a caring husband", but later on I realized why he says that the buildings are so tall these days..."

By almostspotless: "Oh my, I did not make that connection until you pointed that out. I will definitely listen to that song differently now. How dark and depressing."

By kaoir: "Oh. I've always thought the part when the husband says that the buildings are tall was a metaphor to show how much he is overtaken by events."

By IDontCare: "I had always envisioned the last verse of Buildings, where she jumbles up lines from the earlier verses, to represent the alcoholic wife jumping off a building to kill herself, and those lines representing her life, her past flashing before her eyes as she plunges down, her last living thought to herself being about how tall buildings are these days..."

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Lyrics:

Buildings

he was a husband who drove his wife home drunk from the parties

he was a husband who drove his wife home

and in the car he would gently lean her head on the side door window

and in the bathroom he would hold her hair back and hope, saying;

they build buildings oh they build buildings oh they build buildings

so tall these days

and in the morning she'd wake up and crouch recollections all day

but she would always always wake up the next morning

and he'd take one look at her a say baby that's ok

and her conscience would issue yet another last warning, saying;

they build buildings oh they build buildings oh they build buildings

so tall these days

and she would ask for time and she'd ask for time and she would ask for time and she would beg for time, and she would beg for time and beg for time and call it a gift

and he would give her time and he'd give her time and he would give her time and he'd give her time-

but time is not given and time is not taken

it just sifts through its sift

and it was coffee and coffee and coffee and coffee and coffee and coffee some more

he'd go to work and she'd take a sick day and rot at the core

and by the time he came back she'd scrub the bathroom and make it smell like pine

it would be almost as if nothing had happened and he'd give her time, saying;

they build buildings, oh they build buildings, oh they build buildings, oh don't they build buildings, oh they build buildings, they build buildings so tall these days

and she would ask for time and shed ask for time and she would ask for time and she would beg for time, and she would beg for time and beg for time and call it a gift

and he would give her time and he'd give her time and he would give her time and he'd give her time-

but time is not given and time is not taken

it just sifts through its sift

he was a husband drove time home pine scrub bathroom window don't they build buildings so tall these days...

Since there is a little discussion about this track in an other thread, I thought that it is time for an own thread to discuss the lyrics Smiler

Posts about Buildings so far from the other thread:

By myself:""Building" is - personally - a song which is kind of disturbing : The happy melody collides with the melancholic voice and the lyrics about depression(?). At first I was like "what a nice song about a caring husband", but later on I realized why he says that the buildings are so tall these days..."

By almostspotless: "Oh my, I did not make that connection until you pointed that out. I will definitely listen to that song differently now. How dark and depressing."

By kaoir: "Oh. I've always thought the part when the husband says that the buildings are tall was a metaphor to show how much he is overtaken by events."

By IDontCare: "I had always envisioned the last verse of Buildings, where she jumbles up lines from the earlier verses, to represent the alcoholic wife jumping off a building to kill herself, and those lines representing her life, her past flashing before her eyes as she plunges down, her last living thought to herself being about how tall buildings are these days..."

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Hold the phone!!! I get it, 100%, i understand this song, thanks to you, It's All About the Moon...

The husband hopes the wife will just kill herself already. Eeker oy oy oy, 11:11-era regina! there are, in my opinion, allusions to suicide in School is Out, and a malaise or something worse behind braille, and even wasteside is apathetic about life, such distance. But buildings is the most morbid of these, as i understand it. It seems obvious now! IDontCare seems to have caught on to this interpretation, as well, but i want to explain how i'm understanding it and hopefully discussion will proceed!

"he was a husband who drove his wife home drunk from the parties

he was a husband who drove his wife home

and in the car he would gently lean her head on the side door window

and in the bathroom he would hold her hair back and hope, saying; they build buildings oh they build buildings oh they build buildings

so tall these days

I thought he was hoping she'd get better, but really it's for her to end her own life, because his hope is explained as saying, "they build buildings so tall these days." What else would he be hoping for relating his wife with the height of buildings? This sets up a darker tone for the husband's mindset than i had originally imagined. I was assuming that setting him up as a "husband" meant "cheerful, loving caregiver." But i can't find that sentiment in the lyrics now that i look for it.

and in the morning she'd wake up and crouch recollections all day

but she would always always wake up the next morning

The term, "always, always" points to a frustration: why should we need to comment on the fact that she wakes up? Because we're waiting for it to stop happening. Maybe this time she'll stay asleep for good.

and he'd take one look at her a say baby that's ok

he's not expressing enthusiasm as i used to imagine, only resigned patience. He's putting up with her, but if you look, he gives her nothing more. He hardly has to say or do anything, yet her conscience kicks in. This means that he is not the one she needs to be concerned with--her problem is with something outside of simply her relationship with her husband.

and her conscience would issue yet another last warning, saying; they build buildings so tall these days

this tears it for me, that the song is about her suicide. She's not "hoping" like i used to think the husband was. She's guilty, and receiving a "last warning" from her conscience about buildings. This is a play on words, because her problem is drinking too much, and because she is feeling pressure from her conscience to end it. Her last warning because she'll be dead before she could receive another warning. "Another last-" anything denotes a feeling of prolonged life, but death is closing in. Like a last meal for a prisoner.

and she would ask for time and she would beg for time, and call it a gift

I used to think she wanted another chance to change her ways. But with the overtones in the second chorus, i now think she's just clinging to every shred of patience her husband will allot her before her inevitable suicide. She's begging for time, but it seems that he's given no indication of wanting to leave. He's patient and resigned. She's begging him because he's the closest thing she has to an executioner.

and he would give her time-

he comforts her with unconditional promises of what she seeks in desperation. But...

but time is not given and time is not taken

it just sifts through its sift

...Regina corrects this: she says time isn't his to give. In other words the deadline of her suicide is set like fate, no matter what either of them says or does. Time has a path of its own, and the couple is just waiting for it to end her life, even though it will be at her own hand.

and it was coffee and coffee and coffee and coffee and coffee and coffee some more

everything normal about life is monotonous, and this line gives the impression of speeding through stagnation: so many coffees, but no change to speak of. Again, like we're waiting for something.

he'd go to work and she'd take a sick day and rot at the core

the fact that her sick days are a habit speak to this feeling of something impending: can she take a day off every time she goes partying? Eventually her lack of productivity should jeopardize her working career, especially if she has a boss.

and by the time he came back she'd scrub the bathroom and make it smell like pine

it would be almost as if nothing had happened and he'd give her time, saying; they build buildings so tall these days

they have nothing to look forward to except her death. That's what comes with the time he "gives" her: more anticipation and waiting and turmoil. They're just biding their time, working, sick days, coffee, and cleaning the bathroom in the meantime.

he was a husband drove time home pine scrub bathroom window don't they build buildings so tall these days...

i adopt IDontCare's interpretation that this is her suicide. It always gave me the feeling that the song was flashing back, and saying that it represents her life seems to fit perfectly. So here we have the conclusion: the main event to which the entire song has been alluding, referring, and building (no pun intended)

this is super-long, sorry for that. but i want to point out that the ending words aren't random. It starts with the beginning words and consists of words previously mentioned in the song. But notice the progression:

he was a husband

(this is our setup: "we've heard that before." The prominence of repetition in the song might even encourage us to think of these words as the start of the first verse to be sung again, as we see in many of regina's songs (CoS, Folding Chair, etc.) But then the "random" words come:

drove time they've been playing with the illusion that her death was in his hands, so the husband "drove (that is, controlled) time" as he drove his wife home.

home now we're told the setting is "home"

pine we know this situation, as well: she's scrubbing and feeling guilty, trying to do penance and buy time.

scrub she's scrubbing

bathroom window this is what caught my attention: a combination of words. It's not just the bathroom, it's the bathroom window.

don't they build buildings so tall these days

the ending plays out as follows: the husband is out, she's at home, scrubbing and guilting when she stops scrubbing, goes to the window and throws herself out.

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Originally posted by Be like the water, people.:

and in the morning she'd wake up and crouch recollections all day

but she would always always wake up the next morning

The term, "always, always" points to a frustration: why should we need to comment on the fact that she wakes up? Because we're waiting for it to stop happening. Maybe this time she'll stay asleep for good.

First of all : Ilike love your interpretation! To underline the quoted part of the interpretation, Regina sings the word "morning" very harsh and angry, which really shows the husband's frustration.

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^^Thanks! Smiler It's not really an original interpretation, i just put other people's ideas together as best i could Smiler

Something has really stayed with me about this song since i made that post, and i think it's the same thing that got me about Riot Gear. We (i, and it seems to me, most others who discuss her work!) tend to think of regina's songs as having this element of "random," "stream of consciousness" and other aspects which would allow phrases or even entire songs to be, effectively, meaningless. I always imagined that her songs were pieced together according to intuition. Between the fact that they flow so naturally, and the fact that she never ever talks about the meaning or process, my assumption went unquestioned.

But Buildings strikes me because there's not a wasted syllable in the whole song! Even the ending which i took to be a clever way to end it, seems to be quite carefully written--and i'm not the first person to think so. It's been observed over at songmeanings dot net!

Riot gear struck me the same way a couple of summers ago: like a ton of bricks. It just clicked and made sense. And that makes me wonder if her other songs aren't every bit as focused. I mean, she never says an interpretation is wrong, but she never says it's right. I'm pretty sure if i suggested that Fidelity was about Armageddon, she wouldn't correct that. But i wonder if she's not more focused in her songwriting than i tend to give her credit for.

I don't know. That's been on my mind. Because the more i think about buildings, the more of a masterpiece it seems--how it's written, how it's performed, etc. It's one cohesive unit, and i've loved it for years without ever picking up on it. I think regina's work tends to go over my head, if she's got other songs as superb as this one!

It makes me want to understand every song she's written this clearly. But maybe they're not all this great..

But then, maybe they are.

and i don't want to come off as thinking i understand everything about this song, because i don't think i do. Riot gear either. It's just that i feel i have a good idea of the intended meaning of the song, and seeing how superior the execution is, makes me respect her that much more as an artist. Not just intuitive and intriguing, but analytically brilliant and crafty, even! This reminds me of Dostoevsky's work, the way it's done. I think her refusal to acknowledge intent is 1: to maintain interest in her work and 2: she's being humble. Rather than "i wrote a song about this or that" she just lets the songs speak for themselves. Maybe people get them or maybe they don't. But does anyone remember in a fairly recent interview, where she talked about her early shows?

She said that when people walked in late, she'd get anxious, because there might be some part of the song that was played before they came in, and now they won't "get" it. But now she's more laid-back about that kind of thing.. Maybe i'll find it sometime. Anyway, doesn't that kind of point to a level of cohesiveness to her songwriting? They're not just pieced together as dreams and mental wanderings, but there are things to be "gotten," connections to be made through careful listening. I don't know. I'm positive people think i'm overthinking this, and being too concrete about interpretations and so on.. I'm really just thinking out loud, though.

Bah. Time for bed.

I've gotta lay off the english.

До свидания! Razzer

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quote:
Even the ending which i took to be a clever way to end it, seems to be quite carefully written

I hope you don't feel like I'm being negative towards you with this little comment I have. I really should have read the entire discussion and written a long post about all the great points and all the things I disagree with, but...

I just wonder if you mean the "rambling" part at the end? "He was a husband drove by home car core sickday core coffee core warning last warning" (freely remembered just from my mind, surely not correct)

Because I really feel that that part is mainly improvised. It's a fast forward of the whole song and the parts get mixed up symbolizing that it just starts over again and continues and never ends and the time just sifts through its sift.

I'm just basing this on other live performances of the song where the ending is very very different from the 11:11 version.

I love discussing songs and I know you do too. Maybe you didn't even mean this part. I'm just saying that I wouldn't describe it specifically as "carefully written". Ok? Smiler

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^^no, please, feel free to correct/disagree with anything i say!

I listened to some live recordings, and you're right that the order isn't strict. So maybe i was off for thinking that there was a logic to it. But i still hear the progression, even when she repeats the words more, she tends to stick with the same ones, except for throwing in "last warning" which fits my original theory quite well. I was actually surprised when i had looked the words up and found that last warning wasn't included.

So, after a week of thought on this, i'll probably come back and decide that the "progression" i'm still hearing is mainly wishful thinking and the words really are totally random. But at the moment, i'd still call it a toss-up Smiler

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