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Elliott Smith – Waltz #2 lyrics

First the mic then a half cigarette
Singing cathy's clown
That's the man that she's married to now
That's the girl that he takes around town
She appears composed, so she is, I suppose
Who can really tell?
She shows no emotion at all
Stares into space like a dead china doll
I'm never gonna know you now, but I'm gonna love you anyhow
Now she's done and they're calling someone
Such a familiar name
I'm so glad that my memories remote
Cause I'm doing just fine hour to hour, note to note
Here it is the revenge to the tune
"you're no good,
You're no good you're no good you're no good"
Can't you tell that it's well understood
I'm never gonna know you now, but I'm gonna love you anyhow
I'm here today and expected to stay on and on and on
I'm tired
I'm tired
Looking out on the substitute scene
Still going strong
Xo, mom
It's ok, it's alright, nothing's wrong
Tell mr. Man with impossible plans to just leave me alone
In the place where I make no mistakes
In the place where I have what it takes
I'm never gonna know you now, but I'm gonna love you anyhow
I'm never gonna know you now, but I'm gonna love you anyhow
I'm never gonna know you now, but I'm gonna love you anyhow

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    Elliott Smith had said in interviews that this song was about his mother. The opening image is a very Visual memory, the woman on stage in the early '70s perhaps, a primitive version of karaoke or maybe she sand in a local band and she has her cigarette burning down in the ashtray as she sings and smokes the second half perhaps while bantering with the crowd or during an instrumental break and it juxtaposes from that vivid memory to "well no more memories because this is now the man that she takes around town that shes married to now." This is the usurper and you can interpret that in a Oedipal context if you must but I still use it as hey this is my mommy and it's me and her against the world and now here comes this personality that eclipses her so completely that she "stares into space like a dead china doll." notice that Elliot doesn't ever egg knowledge a relationship between himself and this man he is simply man that his mother quote is married to now. " The lines "now it's done and they're calling someone such a familiar name…" are perplexing to me as are the lines that follow them.
    So anyway those lines and the ones directly under them have me kind of confused and my interpretation is that his mother has died. Because now she's done and they're calling someone would point to da because now she's done and they're calling someone would point to a death. But whose name are they calling? Who's the familiar name: is it his own name? His mothers? Her husband's? Next I believe is a snippet of home life with said stepfather. He pounds into Elliot brain that he is no good and repeated and repeats it and I'm assuming that it's a stepfather talking and not the mother because she seems very removed. In the beginning she's animated she is singing and she is smoking and up on stage and then is Mary and then she is married to this man now and she become someone who just sits and stares into space either self-medicating or terribly abused and from there we go to just now she's done and then the [Refrain] that he's never going to know her now which also points to her death although I could also see this being a committal, a nervous break down meaning she's done now they're calling someone: she's done with the place that she's having to live either attempts suicide or just has a break and the person that they're calling could be her Doctor Who would be a familiar name her psychiatrist or whomever kind of like paging someone over the loudspeaker "now they're calling someone." So I have these two images juxtaposed in my mind: "I'm never going to know you now but I'm gonna love you anyhow." first we have the young Elliot having to deal with the stepfather and basically his mother is never the same after this tyrant comes in to their lives and she one dies with without him ever getting to say a proper goodbye or without her ever gaining her faculties back or without her ever releasing herself from the shackles of her husband and choosing her son and his love. The second image is of broken in a mental hospital staring into space "Like a dead china doll." let's not forget "I'm here today and expected to stay on and on and on and "which to me is either the marriage or a mental hospital. I'd be interested to know what you think or if any of you have read interviews with Elliot in which he expounds on this song meanings or his current relationship with his mother and/or past.
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