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City And Colour – The Grand Optimist lyrics

I fear I'll die from complications
Complications due to things that I've left undone
That all my debts will be left unpaid
Feel like a cripple without a cane
I'm like a jack of all trades
Who's a master of none

Then there's my father
He's always looking on the bright side
Saying things like "Son, life just ain't that hard."
He is the grand optimist
I am the world's poor pessimist
You give him burdensome times
And he will escape unscarred

I guess I take after my mother

But I used to be quite resilient
Gained no strength from counting the beads on a rosary
Now the wound has begun to turn
Another lesson that has gone unlearned
But this is not a cry for pity or for sympathy

I guess I take after my mother

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Corrected bymatchu23


  • u
    Absolutely brilliant, haunting lyrics and melody. He's older, his resilience has fled. He's had help in the past, but he can't repay them as he's in a bad place, and he feels the pain of life and mortality. His eyes have been opened and he no longer believes in god. It didn't help him at any rate. He hasn't learned anything from life, just started things that he couldn't finish. It's just a statement. He doesn't want anyone to feel bad for him. He's just limping along, trying to get through.
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    I think the title the grand optimist refers to his father. I think the cripple without a cane line is referring to the helplessness he feels from all of the complications in his life. The line about burdens not scarring his father seems to imply (for me anyway) that his burdens are scarring him greatly, despite them not seeming to effect his father. I don't believe, however, that the father necessarily left or treated the family roughly, but something definitely happened between his childhood and now to make him lose faith. Maybe (and this is just speculation), but I kind of got the feeling his dad was the guy who could handle any problem with ease, and he's talking about struggling with the complications in his life while constantly comparing himself to his mother, so I kind of felt like his mother was the one who was struggling and she eventually succumbed to the complications in her life. For me, I think that was the catalyst for whatever happened to make him lose his faith and resiliency, but I may be way off. Just a thought.
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  • u
    He's writing about his father. He said in an interview how his father was always such an optimistic person and he always said one day he would write a song about him. I believe dallas writes about how he wishes he were like his father in some respects. He seems to believe he has a rather 'pessimistic' outlook on life and wants to be strong like he sees his father to be.
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  • u
    I think that this song is about a guy that was greatly effected by his dad. The dad is an optimist, he doesn't see anything difficult in life. Yet, dallas makes a point of saying I guess I take after my mother. The mother is probably a pessimist and sees how life truly is because of hat the dad made her feel. To me the entire title of the song is sarcasm. The grand optimist. Maybe that he escapes unscarred is because he escapes period. Life isn't about escaping, its about facing and learning. Maybe his dad just escaped. And now he is the after math of those actions. He doesn't believe in himself or what hes doing, hes losing faith.
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