An Attempt To Tip The Scales Lyrics by Bright Eyes

August 03 Comments Off on An Attempt To Tip The Scales Lyrics by Bright Eyes Category: Bright Eyes

Cover of the album Fevers & Mirrors

Artist: Bright Eyes
Album: Fevers & Mirrors
Manufacturer: Saddle Creek
Original Release: 2000-05-30

Did you expect it all to stop at the wave of your hand, like the sun’s just gonna drop ,if it’s night you demand? Well in the dark we’re just air, so the house might dissolve, once we’re gone, who’s gonna care, if we were ever here at all? Well summer’s gonna come, it’s gonna cloud our eyes again, no need to focus when there’s nothing that’s worth seeing.
So we trade liquor for blood in an attempt to tip the scales, I think you lost what you loved in that mess of details. They seemed so important at the time. Now you can’t even recall any names, faces or lines, it’s more the feeling of it all. Well winter’s gonna end, I’m gonna clean these veins again. So close to dying that I finally can start living.

“Hi, we’re back. This is Radio [beep] and we’re here with Conor Oberst of the band Bright Eyes. How are you doing, Conor?”

“Fine, thanks…just a little wet.”

“Oh, it’s still coming down out there?”

“Yeah, I sort of had to run from the car.”

“Well, we are glad you made it. Now, your new album Fevers and Mirrors, tell us a little bit about the title. I notice there is a good deal of repeated imagery in the lyrics. Fevers, mirrors… scales, clocks… Could you discuss some of this?”

“Sure, let’s see… The fever is…”

“First, let me say that this is a brilliant record man. We’re all really into it here at the station, we get lots of calls. It’s really good stuff.”

“Thanks, thanks a lot.”

“So talk a little bit about some of the symbolism.”

“The fever?”


“Well, the fever is basically whatever ails you or oppresses you. It could be anything. In my case, it’s my neurosis, my depression… but I don’t want it to be limited to that, it’s certainly different for different people. It’s whatever keeps you up at night.”

“I see!”

“And the mirror is, as you might have guessed, self examination or reflection in whatever form. It could be vanity or self loathing. I know, I’m guilty of both.”

“That’s interesting. How about the scale?”

“The scale is essentially our attempt to solve our problems quantitatively, through logic or rationalization. In my opinion, it’s often fruitless, but always… well, not always. The clocks and calendars, it’s just… time. Our little measurements. It’s always chasing after us.”

“It is, it is… How about this Arienette? How does she fit into all of this?”

“I’d prefer not talk about it, in case she’s listening.”

“Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t realize she was a real person.”

“She’s not. I made her up.”

“Oh, so she’s not real?”

“Just as real as you or I.”

“I don’t think I understand.”

“Neither do I, but after I grow up I will. I mean, a lot of things are really unclear for me right now.”

“That’s interesting. Now you mentioned your depression.”

“No, I didn’t.”

“You’re from Nebraska, right?”

“Yeah, so?”

“Now let me know, if I’m getting too personal but there seems to be a pretty dark past back there somewhere. What was it like for you growing up?”

“Dark? Not really. Actually I had a great childhood, my parents were wonderful. I went to a Catholic school. They had one, so it… was all easy. Basically I had everything I wanted, anytime.”

“Really? So some of the references like babies in bathtubs are not biographical?”

“Well, I did have a brother who died in a bathtub… drowned. Actually, I had five brothers who died that way. No, I’m serious. My mother drowned one every year for five consecutive years. They were all named Padraic. So they all got one song. It’s kind of like walking out a door to discover it’s a window.”

“But a lot of your music is certainly very personal.”

“Of course, I put a lot of myself into what I do. But it’s like being an author, you have to free yourself to use symbolism and allegory to reach your goal. And a part of that is compassion and empathy for other people and their situations. Some of what I sing about comes from other people’s experiences as well as my own. It shouldn’t matter, the message is intended to be universal.”

“I see what you mean.”

“Can you make that sound stop please?”

“Yes. And your goal?”

“I don’t know… Er, create feelings, I guess. A song, it never ends up the way you planned it.”

“It’s funny you would say that, do you think that…?”

“Do you ever hear things that aren’t really there?”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“Never mind. How long have you worked at this station?”

“Just a few minutes. Now, you mentioned empathy for others, would you say that is what motivates you to make the music that you make?”

“No, not really. It’s more a need for sympathy. I want people to feel sorry for me. I like to feel the burn of the audiences eyes on me, when I’m whispering all my darkest secrets into the microphone. When I was a kid, I used to carry this safety pin around with me, everywhere I went in my pocket and when people weren’t paying enough attention to me, I’d dig it into my arm until I started to cry. Everyone would stop what they were doing and ask me what was the matter. I guess I kind of liked that.”

“Really? You’re telling me you’re doing all this for attention?”

“No, I hate it when people look at me. I get nauseous. In fact I could care less what people think about me. Do you feel that way?”

“No, I’m feeling sick.”

“I really just want to be warm yellow light that pours all over everyone I love.”

“So, you’re going to play something for us now. Is this a new song?”

“Yeah, but I haven’t written it yet. It’s one I’ve been meaning to write… called A Song to Pass the Time.”

“Oh, that’s a nice title.”

“No, it’s not. You should write your own scripts.”

“Yeah, I know…”

You can buy Fevers & Mirrors by Bright Eyes on Amazon!

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