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Making sense of Cedric Bixler-Zavala's lyrics

SamSam Registered User regular
edited December 2006 in Debate and/or Discourse
There with them is error
We are sacrosanct
A taunting of ravens to you
My swarms have fit the holster
My faith burnt every house
Like no other manger
I am emptier with doubt

Bare them
Sevens
Three to a pall
Marks the
Venom
Lush and terminal

When I became your larvae
You fed me from your plates
Now my slouch is nervous
Sinking by the face
Wrinkled by this gravel
Skinless trace of time
Wear your cobwebs proudly
In your cheap and brittle sight
My glands emit this carnage
These pews bend back your knees

That uniform it wears you
When the ultimatum pleads

Bare them
Sevens
Three to a pall
Marks the
Venom
Lush and terminal

That cesspool it becomes you
Just north of the eyebrows
Squat the hole for a pucker
When the rations go blonde
The salted stitch is patient
Waiting to engulf
There is plasma from this hoax
Pretending to be us

Embalming all the fluids I must I must
I prefer to burn it I must I must



All I can glean thus far is that some worms have a shitty day in front of them...

Sam on
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    GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    What the shit Sam, you drunk?

    Goumindong on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Looks like a fairly typical Anti-TheMan thing.

    Incenjucar on
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    flamebroiledchickenflamebroiledchicken Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    I am pretty sure that he has said in interviews that most of it is pretty much nonsense.

    Like I am 95% sure that "A necklace of follicles with sabertooth monocles" and "the kiosk in my temporal lobe is shaped like Rosalyn Carter" don't mean anything.

    Sometimes he purposely says things in a convoluted way. Instead of "eavesdropping" he will say "dropping on the eve".

    Ever since De-Loused, their lyrics have gotten sillier and sillier. Some of them were pretty cool in a weird way (I particularly like "One day this chalk outline will circle this city"), but by now they are just completely ridiculous.

    flamebroiledchicken on
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    SamSam Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    I find his lyrics to really be more...evocative in general, prodding you in certain directions without explicitly stating anything...that and savage imagery.

    Sam on
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    Casual EddyCasual Eddy The Astral PlaneRegistered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Reminds me a bit of Nick Drake. I love his music, but some of his songs I have no idea what the fuck he's talking about.

    Casual Eddy on
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    Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Many songs have lyrics that are written in a deliberately vague or disjointed manner, in order to sound like they are more profound than they are by leaving a bit of mystery. I am fairly certain this is one such song.

    Evil Multifarious on
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    IncenjucarIncenjucar VChatter Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited December 2006
    I could probably get some of my old English profs to call this "Literature."

    First, however, we'd have to claim that he wrote letters to gay lovers, and killed himself over booze crying about his abusive father.

    Incenjucar on
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    ClevingerClevinger Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    TMV has the most pretentious lyrics I've ever heard. They're also written by a former crack-head.

    Clevinger on
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    AneurhythmiaAneurhythmia Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Incenjucar wrote:
    I could probably get some of my old English profs to call this "Literature."

    First, however, we'd have to claim that he wrote letters to gay lovers, and killed himself over booze crying about his abusive father.
    You wouldn't have to claim anything about intent. The trend in contemporary poetry is to eschew meaning in favor of sonic or visual valuation or patterning in the vein of serialist music.

    Aneurhythmia on
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    SuperunknownSuperunknown Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    The quote of Cedric stating that his lyrics don't make sense is only true for Amputechture just because of the way the album was done in general, the music was done first and the lyrics were written after, the album was really made just to get rid of old melodies and riffs so they couldn't be used again to pave way for Omar's so called "New Mars Volta".

    Amputechtures lyrics, while he tried to make sensical lyrics to fit the music, he says he failed alot (Perfect example on Tetragammaton with "Just you wait till I get my hands on you, I can't Eeee-errrgh-aaah") and Vermicide is another example. While there is an underlying meaning of contrasting a sort of Mass to Religion related wars, it would be impossible to go through all of Amputechture line by line and find literal meanings. This could be done with De-Loused or Frances.

    I am way too much of a Mars Volta nerd.

    Superunknown on
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    Dublo7Dublo7 Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Many songs have lyrics that are written in a deliberately vague or disjointed manner, in order to sound like they are more profound than they are by leaving a bit of mystery. I am fairly certain this is one such song.
    That's what I was thinking.

    "What the hell did that mean?"
    "I... I dunno man, but it seemed really deep!"

    Dublo7 on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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    Nite-ManNite-Man Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Does anyone think that At the Drive-In's lyrics made any sense? Because I wouldn't say so.

    Nite-Man on
    The first significant thing living here taught me is conformity costs money, and everybody pays.
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    flamebroiledchickenflamebroiledchicken Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Incenjucar wrote:
    I could probably get some of my old English profs to call this "Literature."

    First, however, we'd have to claim that he wrote letters to gay lovers, and killed himself over booze crying about his abusive father.
    You wouldn't have to claim anything about intent. The trend in contemporary poetry is to eschew meaning in favor of sonic or visual valuation or patterning in the vein of serialist music.

    Dude, that hasn't been the "trend" in poetry since the 1970s.

    flamebroiledchicken on
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    SnorkSnork word Jamaica Plain, MARegistered User regular
    edited December 2006
    I think Cedric's goofy stream-of-consciousness lyrics are part of the experimental and improvisational nature of the music. I mean it's not like they just jam and songs come out, but while they do really long jams onstage sometimes Cedric just sits there with a typewriter and makes shit up.

    Also, DITC and FTM make more sense because they have a story to be about, and therefore have forced direction. Amputechture doesn't really have a unifying narrative, so a lot of it is just made up. The kiosk in my temporal lobe is shaped like Rosayln Carter.

    Snork on
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    RainOPainRainOPain Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Nite-Man wrote:
    Does anyone think that At the Drive-In's lyrics made any sense? Because I wouldn't say so.

    Agreed.

    "Trick ourselves in portable stanzas.
    Black russian throated on this guillotine cancer."

    "Black and white TV with the sound turned down.
    Like breathing blood through the lungs of a czar's child."


    W- ...what?

    RainOPain on
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    flamebroiledchickenflamebroiledchicken Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    RainOPain wrote:
    Nite-Man wrote:
    Does anyone think that At the Drive-In's lyrics made any sense? Because I wouldn't say so.

    Agreed.

    "Trick ourselves in portable stanzas.
    Black russian throated on this guillotine cancer."

    "Black and white TV with the sound turned down.
    Like breathing blood through the lungs of a czar's child."


    W- ...what?

    The czar's child thing is probably some kind of bizarre reference to Nikolai II's son, who had hemophilia, although as far as I know, hemophilia doesn't make you breathe blood.

    Anyways, even if the lyrics for, say, Frances the Mute, can be made sense of because they are telling a story, I still think it is pretty stupid to say "dropping on the eve" instead of "eavesdropping". What the hell is the point in intentionally convoluting meaning?

    flamebroiledchicken on
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    SithDrummerSithDrummer Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    I didn't recognize the guy's name, but after reading the first verse I knew it was the lead from The Mars Volta.

    The creepy speech from Cassanda Gemini is my favorite:
    There was a frail syrup dripping off
    His lap danced lapel, punctuated by her
    Decrepit prowl she washed down the hatching
    Gizzard soft as a mane of needles
    His orifice icicles hemmoraged
    By combing her torso to a pile
    Perspired the trophy shelves made room for his collapse
    She was a mink handjob in sarcophagus heels

    SithDrummer on
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    Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    What the hell is the point in intentionally convoluting meaning?

    What's the point of writing a poem instead of an essay? What's the point of writing Heart of Darkness instead of a treatise on imperialism?

    Evil Multifarious on
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    SnorkSnork word Jamaica Plain, MARegistered User regular
    edited December 2006
    What the hell is the point in intentionally convoluting meaning?

    What's the point of writing a poem instead of an essay? What's the point of writing Heart of Darkness instead of a treatise on imperialism?
    Word.

    Snork on
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    coma whitecoma white Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Clevinger wrote:
    TMV has the most pretentious lyrics I've ever heard. They're also written by a former crack-head.
    former drug-addicts making music? heaven forbid!

    coma white on
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    Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Snork wrote:
    What the hell is the point in intentionally convoluting meaning?

    What's the point of writing a poem instead of an essay? What's the point of writing Heart of Darkness instead of a treatise on imperialism?
    Word.

    I don't actually have a good answer to my own question, even though I'm an english major. :P

    Evil Multifarious on
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    TubeTube Registered User admin
    edited December 2006
    I don't think there's sense to make of it. It's nonsense aimed at pretentious wankers who think that because something is hard to understand it must be intelligent or deep.

    Tube on
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    SnorkSnork word Jamaica Plain, MARegistered User regular
    edited December 2006
    When you consider that almost every song title on the record has some kind of religious implication and then you add that to Cedric and Omar's known (if you follow the band at all) negative opinion of the church (Catholic especially), it's pretty obviously a dismissal of religious zealotry. Don't ask me to do a line by line, because that's impossible. Cedric's lyrics never really seem to make sense by themselves, but when put into a context you can get the general picture even if you'll never really understand certain lines. But he himself has admitted to basically just making shit up a lot of the time. That isn't to say that the lyrics don't have meaning though.

    Snork on
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    KealohaKealoha Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Unsurprisingly, I didn't pay much attention to the lyrics on Amputechture. I did on De-loused and FTM, but for some reason I just didn't attempt it on the newest one. I still enjoy it, though.

    Kealoha on
    !! ! ! !!
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    SnorkSnork word Jamaica Plain, MARegistered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Kealoha wrote:
    Unsurprisingly, I didn't pay much attention to the lyrics on Amputechture. I did on De-loused and FTM, but for some reason I just didn't attempt it on the newest one. I still enjoy it, though.
    I paid attention to the lyrics because the vocal melodies were so fucking ace. Cedric made Amputechture a million times better than it should have been.

    Snork on
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    flamebroiledchickenflamebroiledchicken Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    What the hell is the point in intentionally convoluting meaning?

    What's the point of writing a poem instead of an essay? What's the point of writing Heart of Darkness instead of a treatise on imperialism?

    What? Poetry doesn't intentionally convolute and obfuscate meaning. Well, some of it does, and that is bad poetry. Some of the greatest poets speak in conversational, straightforward tones (like William Carlos Williams).

    Or take T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land". It's a pretty difficult poem about, among other things, the decline of civilization and Eliot's apocalyptic vision. However, Eliot didn't just sit down and say "Hmm...how can I take my thoughts about the downfall of civilization and make them more confusing?"

    On the other hand, when Cedric writes "I never knew how to talk without walls dropping on the eve" instead of "I never knew how to talk without the walls eavesdropping" I get the feeling that he is just purposely trying to making it more confusing than it has to be.

    That is not what poetry does, and it astounds me that you think it is.

    flamebroiledchicken on
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    Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    What the hell is the point in intentionally convoluting meaning?

    What's the point of writing a poem instead of an essay? What's the point of writing Heart of Darkness instead of a treatise on imperialism?

    What? Poetry doesn't intentionally convolute and obfuscate meaning. Well, some of it does, and that is bad poetry. Some of the greatest poets speak in conversational, straightforward tones (like William Carlos Williams).

    Or take T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land". It's a pretty difficult poem about, among other things, the decline of civilization and Eliot's apocalyptic vision. However, Eliot didn't just sit down and say "Hmm...how can I take my thoughts about the downfall of civilization and make them more confusing?"

    On the other hand, when Cedric writes "I never knew how to talk without walls dropping on the eve" instead of "I never knew how to talk without the walls eavesdropping" I get the feeling that he is just purposely trying to making it more confusing than it has to be.

    That is not what poetry does, and it astounds me that you think it is.

    Eliot deliberately obfuscates meaning. His footnotes for The Waste Land are deliberately arcane in order to force the reader to investigate the anthropological and literary fragments he assembled in writing the poem. His references and allusions are there to force that act of assembly. The whole point of The Waste Land is, among other things, that meaning is not a solid, fixed element; the poem is an expression of longing for a time when meaning was (supposedly) still whole, instead of in its current fragmented state. The diffusion of meaning through convolution or abstraction is a pretty strong theme in Eliot's poetry and a lot of modern poetry overall.

    I like the line "dropping on the eve." It disassembles a word and makes you synthesize the meaning again yourself from its constituent parts, instead of taking the word for granted as a whole. I think the song itself is, as a whole, meaningless and pretentious, but I do like that line.

    Evil Multifarious on
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    flamebroiledchickenflamebroiledchicken Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    The footnotes for the The Waste Land are mostly nonsense to piss off his publishers, because they wanted footnotes but he felt like he didn't have to explain himself.

    You are absolutely right that there is a great sense of fragmentation in The Waste Land created in a large part by all the different sources and traditions that Eliot pulls from, but I don't think Eliot ever thought of it in terms of "I'm going to write this next stanza in German, just to confuse the fuck out of people and force them to piece it together". Of course we can never know for sure, but I think that the sense of fragmentation was going on in Eliot's own mind, and he was pulling from all these different myths, texts, languages, and other sources to try and convey that fragmentation, but not to purposely confuse the reader.

    Besides, there is a difference between making something fragmented and confusing to make a point, and doing it just for the hell of it.

    (incidentally, if you want to talk about a Modernist poet who intentionally obfuscates meaning, I would probably talk about Wallace Stevens, a poet who I sometimes enjoy, but also sometimes have issues with)

    Another example would be Nabokov. A lot of Nabokov's prose kind of wanders around in a daze: sentences that start in one place start to get complicated and they end up somewhere you didn't expect. Time frames are jumbled around, and the progression of events is vague. A character can be on a plateau with his friends, then on a ship in the ocean, then in a hotel room in Greece, then walking on the beach, and the transition between these events is blurry. But Nabokov doesn't do this just to make you confused, it reflects the mental state of the character, or the overall confusion of a situation.

    What you call disassembling and re-synthesizing, I call busywork, because it serves no purpose. I don't think it illuminates anything or reflects on anything, it's just confusing for no reason. It all reminds me of Gertrude Stein- I can't fucking stand Gertrude Stein because her poetry is total nonsense, but some people love the shit out of her because she forces you to disassemble and reassemble and reconsider and re-evaluate and re-synthesize and all that fun stuff. Fuck that shit, I don't like poetry that creates busywork for the reader. Hey, you removed meaning from a word and forced me to consider it sonically. Whoop de fucking doo, now write something that makes me feel.

    Now, I don't think there is necessarily something wrong with nonsensical or abstract or surrealistic lyrics. It can be done well, and like I said, sometimes The Mars Volta stumble upon some pretty interesting imagery This happened mostly on De-Loused where it made SENSE because it was about someone's drug-addled coma fantasy, so somehow it was appropriate to tell the story in a bizarre, ambiguous way. However, Frances the Mute is, from what I've read, about a person searching for their mother, and somehow the Catholic church and prostitutes are involved. The story gains nothing from being told through surrealistic imagery.

    I guess the point is that ever since Frances the Mute, I haven't liked Cedric's lyrics because, much like Gertrude Stein's poetry, they feel cold and calculated, emotionless, more like a math equation than a poem.

    flamebroiledchicken on
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    AneurhythmiaAneurhythmia Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Incenjucar wrote:
    I could probably get some of my old English profs to call this "Literature."

    First, however, we'd have to claim that he wrote letters to gay lovers, and killed himself over booze crying about his abusive father.
    You wouldn't have to claim anything about intent. The trend in contemporary poetry is to eschew meaning in favor of sonic or visual valuation or patterning in the vein of serialist music.

    Dude, that hasn't been the "trend" in poetry since the 1970s.
    Oh, I know they've been doing it that long, but that's still the mainstay of publication at this point.

    Aneurhythmia on
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    AneurhythmiaAneurhythmia Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Or take T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land". It's a pretty difficult poem about, among other things, the decline of civilization and Eliot's apocalyptic vision. However, Eliot didn't just sit down and say "Hmm...how can I take my thoughts about the downfall of civilization and make them more confusing?"
    Confusing, no, but certainly esoteric...

    Aneurhythmia on
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    flamebroiledchickenflamebroiledchicken Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Incenjucar wrote:
    I could probably get some of my old English profs to call this "Literature."

    First, however, we'd have to claim that he wrote letters to gay lovers, and killed himself over booze crying about his abusive father.
    You wouldn't have to claim anything about intent. The trend in contemporary poetry is to eschew meaning in favor of sonic or visual valuation or patterning in the vein of serialist music.

    Dude, that hasn't been the "trend" in poetry since the 1970s.
    Oh, I know they've been doing it that long, but that's still the mainstay of publication at this point.

    What you're talking about is probably Language Poetry (eschewing meaning in favor of sonic valuation), which was huge during the 70s but hasn't really been popular since. Poetry that favors a visual evaluation has been around since the 20s and Cummings, and I wouldn't say it's necessarily more popular now than it was then.

    I mean, I am sure there are poets out there who are still doing that type of stuff, but I wouldn't say that's "the trend" nowadays. People are doing all sorts of different stuff.

    flamebroiledchicken on
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    AneurhythmiaAneurhythmia Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Incenjucar wrote:
    I could probably get some of my old English profs to call this "Literature."

    First, however, we'd have to claim that he wrote letters to gay lovers, and killed himself over booze crying about his abusive father.
    You wouldn't have to claim anything about intent. The trend in contemporary poetry is to eschew meaning in favor of sonic or visual valuation or patterning in the vein of serialist music.

    Dude, that hasn't been the "trend" in poetry since the 1970s.
    Oh, I know they've been doing it that long, but that's still the mainstay of publication at this point.

    What you're talking about is probably Language Poetry (eschewing meaning in favor of sonic valuation), which was huge during the 70s but hasn't really been popular since. Poetry that favors a visual evaluation has been around since the 20s and Cummings, and I wouldn't say it's necessarily more popular now than it was then.

    I mean, I am sure there are poets out there who are still doing that type of stuff, but I wouldn't say that's "the trend" nowadays. People are doing all sorts of different stuff.
    I was referring to language poetry, and I swear it's still the only thing I see getting published. I mean, not the only, but it's still so prevalent. And I didn't mean visual in that sense. More in the sense of serialist patterning with the character elements.

    Aneurhythmia on
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    flamebroiledchickenflamebroiledchicken Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Well of course the Language poets are still around and they're still doing their thing, but poetry as a whole has moved away from that. Maybe you're just picking up the wrong books?

    Serialist pattering I can't comment on since I don't even know what serialism is. Some kind of music theory?

    flamebroiledchicken on
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    AneurhythmiaAneurhythmia Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Well of course the Language poets are still around and they're still doing their thing, but poetry as a whole has moved away from that. Maybe you're just picking up the wrong books?

    Serialist pattering I can't comment on since I don't even know what serialism is. Some kind of music theory?
    Well, most of my exposure is by way of academic journals and reviews. I know it's a limited slice of the publishing world, but in other fields it tends to be the outlook for the trend. My old roommate is teaching poetry at Johns Hopkins now, and every time we look at new shit, we're both just like, "ugh." There are clearly people doing new things, but it doesn't seem like there's a coherent trend in that. Not that there needs to be a trend at all, but the bulk of the work we see is still more language crap.

    Aneurhythmia on
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    flamebroiledchickenflamebroiledchicken Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    the bulk of the work we see is still more language crap.

    I am so sorry.

    flamebroiledchicken on
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    Torso BoyTorso Boy Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    I don't try. I don't doubt there's meaning, and I don't doubt it's reasonably accessible for those who care, but I'm content just tapping my foot.

    I think L'via L'viaquez is my favourite song that I don't understand, at all.

    Torso Boy on
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    SnorkSnork word Jamaica Plain, MARegistered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Are you trying to tell me you don't think 'dropping on the eve' is a cool way of saying eavesdropping? You obviously got what he meant, and so did a lot of other people, so I don't think it's about intentionally obfuscating it, he just wanted to make it sound cooler, and he did.

    Snork on
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    flamebroiledchickenflamebroiledchicken Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Snork wrote:
    Are you trying to tell me you don't think 'dropping on the eve' is a cool way of saying eavesdropping?

    Exactly.

    Edit: And no, I didn't get it. I read on some TMV forum that that's what it meant. When I first heard it I figured it was just Cedric talking nonsense as usual. I didn't even try to pull meaning out of it.

    flamebroiledchicken on
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    Dublo7Dublo7 Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Snork wrote:
    Are you trying to tell me you don't think 'dropping on the eve' is a cool way of saying eavesdropping?

    Gandalf and Sam said that same shit back in Fellowship. Cedric ain't nothing.

    "I wasn't dropping no eaves, sir!"

    Dublo7 on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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    VBakesVBakes Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Amputechture was also about the whole mexican immigrant thing.

    PErsonally I love The Mars Volta I think they're really talented musicians whole happen to shine during improv jam sessions(of which they did an hour long one when I saw them). To me, the cryptic lyrics are part of their appeal, thogu I admit in previous albums it was easier to get some semblance of what he was talknig about, if anything at all. I dont know, I love the way their music sounds, but thats just my opinion.

    VBakes on
    Therman Murman?......Jesus.
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