Built To Spill   2 comments

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Built To Spill

There may be times
when your spirit is strong
and others will sense
that you can’t do no wrong
they’ll sit by your side
and map out your life
you must listen to them
let those others decide
for you are a fool
a babe in the woods
with the meat-eating trees
you can’t come to no good
you’ll tilt at a mill
cos you’re all built to spill
you will
you will
you will

This is a kind of ambiguous song. Often when I introduce it onstage I say that it encourages taking advice from others rather than thinking for yourself, which obviously goes against conventional rock attitudes and sometimes gets a laugh. The introduction may be tongue in cheek, but the song really is about the endless vulnerability of the human subject, and the potential impossibility of controlling one’s life in the pursuit of happiness and/or well-being. The world is portrayed as the dark forest of mythology, in which we are but helpless children. Our attempts to orient ourselves through this indifferently cruel and infinitely complicated reality are further thwarted by general human frailties, but also the various specific character flaws of particular individuals. Character is destiny, as they say. To believe otherwise is delusional, as tilting at windmills suggests.
However, this was a song I’d got half-finished when my computer gave up the ghost once, and, as it was one of those songs that seemed to suggest great promise and almost gave itself up to me fully-formed without a struggle of any kind, I mourned its potential loss with a heavy heart. Thus whilst the guy out of Animals On Wheels swapped motherboards video cards and ruled out potential gremlins one by one and generally ran the voodoo down I began to think of the song as having some kind of talismanic quality. If I could have saved any of the hundreds of unfinished songs that wait in utero on my various hard drives then it would have been this song. Happily, eventually Andy slew the voodoo and although we discovered that my drives had swapped their names in the trance of their possession, so that D became K and vice verse, I somehow got my song back. Therefore, to me at least, the song is a kind of prodigal son, even if it contains dark matter, and I think on it fondly. Also, since it has an upbeat feel I feel a little suspicious that this may represent a kind of duality in its nature, and I wonder if this hinted property may contradict what it says on the song’s tin (and inside) in the final analysis. Maybe, sometimes, things just do work out for the best, and that those who would act on their desires should screw their courage to the sticking point and take a leap into the void. Let’s fucking hope so, eh?

Posted July 30, 2008 by peteum2013 in pete um

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2 responses to “Built To Spill

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  1. A Doozer favourite.

  2. Thanks Doozerman.

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