0-9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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Vera Lynn
A popular singer (102 years old at the time of this posting!) whose outdoor concerts entertained British troops overseas during World War ii. An impressive figure, Ms. Lynn has spent much of her life in charitable works for veterans, disabled children, and the fight against breast cancer.

The narrator here refers to Lynn's 1939 recording of "We'll Meet Again, " a song that was hugely popular during the war, and which later famously played over the nuclear montage at the end of the film Dr. Strangelove.
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fridge
This word is often mistakenly shown as "fridge," when in fact it tells how the young male character "pulled (his car) in just behind the bridge," where he plans to have sex with the female character.
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the nazz
This is a multi-layered reference, evoking Todd Rundgren's band "Nazz" as well as the Yardbirds' song "The Nazz are Blue," from which Rundgren's band took its name. The latter is in turn a retelling of the story of Jesus of Nazareth.

The term also alludes to "The Nazz," a monologue by Lord Buckley (1906 - 1960) that tells of a supremely cool Christ-like "carpenter kitty" who worked miracles.

This last reference seems the most relevant in the context of the song, with Bowie describing Ziggy both as a "leper messiah" and a "cat from Japan."
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The crops of few, the cattle gun
A cattle gun is the an air-powered device for driving a metal shaft into the skull of an animal to be slaughtered. One version of the tool famously appeared in No Country For Old Men. Although this item certainly exists, it makes no sense in context here.

The actual phrase is "the crops are few, the cattle gone," and it is a statement of the impending famine due to vast overcrowding. This correct phrase is much more consistent with the tone and message of the overall song.
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a you. S. Marine
I keep seeing this as "saw a you. S. Marine" instead of the obviously correct "saw a U.S. Marine." I would love for someone to tell me what a you. S. Marine is.
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maggie what
This refers to Margaret Thatcher, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the Falkland conflict, the brief, undeclared war between Argentina and the UK lasting from April until June of 1982.

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nips
An ethnic slur referring to Japanese people, a derogatory shortened form of "Nippon," another name for Japan. It was in particular a deliberately insulting term for Japanese people during World War II.

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The yards would still be open on the clyde
Refers the shipbuilding yards along the River Clyde in Scotland. Of major industrial and strategic importance to the British Empire and navy, the yards saw a steep decline in the years following World War II, in part due to competition with Japanese ship manufacturers.
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[woman:] "When was it that you saw his name on the memorial?"
[Alf:] "Ah, when I was eighty-seven, that would be the year
This closing monologue, and this passage in particular, contrasts sharply with the overall theme of the album, which is a harsh criticism of the casual, arm's-length nature of war as fought by the west. In modern conflict, the viewer at home knows nothing of the horror faced on the battlefield or by civilians caught in the crossfire.

Razzell's account here reveals that he agonized for nearly his entire life over his decision he'd had to made seven decades before.

War is indeed hell, and there are no "great" wars, but Razzell's tale shows us how direct, personal involvement in war has changed and sanitized by the media's portrayal of it.
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Johnny
Can refer either to a bottle of Johnny Walker Red or else to an anonymous male whom the narrator takes to her motel room.
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Jezebeled
In biblical mythology, Jezebel drove her husband King Ahab away from the worship of Yahweh and persecuted his prophets. As punishment, she was thrown from a window and eaten alive by stray dogs.
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picked apart like Prometheus
Refers to Prometheus, a titan of Greek mythology, who stole fire from the gods and gave it to humans. As punishment, he was chained to a rock, where his his liver was torn out by an eagle. The liver would regenerate and the eagle would return again to tear it out each day for eternity.
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Well I've always had a deep respect, and I mean that most sincerely.
The band is just fantastic, that is really what I think.
Oh by the way, which one's Pink
This passage illustrates how superficial is the relationship between the band and their promoter. Despite the enthusiastic and flattering assurances, it's clear that the promoter has no interest in the band beyond its ability to make money for him.

He makes this clear when he ironically asks "Which one's Pink?" because he plainly doesn't really know the band or its members.
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Everybody else is just green
As in "green with envy", jealous of the band's successful chart performance.

It's amusing to ponder whether the speaker is being truthful here or is simply flattering the unnamed band member.
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afro-sheeners
This is often listed as the nonsense phrase "afro-sheilas," but in fact the term is "afro sheeners," referring to people with the Afro hairstyle popular at the time of the song. Afro Sheen is a Johnson & Johnson product for maintaining the Afro hairstyle.

With this in mind, the term here can either describe the woman blushing at people from a starkly different culture than is familiar to her, or more broadly it can be seen to imply an attraction between the song's female protagonist and the black men she meets during her young life's journey.
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be
Portions for
This line, and the title of the song, is a reference to Psalms 63:11:
"They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes."
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dans la maison
Dans la maison is French, translating to "in the house." Kind of ironic double-meaning here, pairing the pop culture declaration of "in the house" with the more mundane act of staying "in the house" to watch tv.
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Never really knowing it was always mesh and lace
For a long time I heard this line as "never really knowing it was always missionless," and I couldn't get over how dumb it sounded! What the heck does "missionless even mean?" I wondered.

Then one day I was like... Oh. Whoops!
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She's convinced she could hold back a glacier
But she couldn't keep Baby alive
Doubting if there's a woman in here somewhere
Here
The song was written after Tori had suffered a miscarriage, this verse in particular is a frank summation of complex and conflicting emotions.

The song features an interesting interplay between a narrator and an unnamed female character, each clearly a stand-in for Tori herself. The first line here means the narrator sees that the character's self-perception of strength is flawed or overstated. The second line works both as a criticism from the narrator and as a confession of the character's sense of guilt. The third line reveals the two women as one, and this unified character questions her womanhood, in effect blaming herself for the miscarriage and feeling that she's somehow less of a woman as a result.

This is especially poignant in light of the strong overall feminist theme of Tori's writing. Clearly pregnancy is not the entirety of a woman's identity, but it's also completely natural to feel guilt when a desired pregnancy is lost.

Tori's writing is often very dense with meaning, working simultaneously on many levels, and this is once again shown to be true in this verse.
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And burns his CDs
This likely refers to the actual destruction of CDs, rather than copying CDs. The song was released in 1994, long before consumer-end CD production was available for most people, and the phrase "I burned a CD" was still years in the future.
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Midnight, you come and pick me up, no headlights
The phrase "burning flames or paradise" clearly alludes to a "hell or heaven" outcome for the relationship. It's tempting (and easy) to connect this simply to Taylor's romantic history, but the song as a whole also works as a broader metaphor for temptation in general.

The theme is repeated throughout the song: in Verse 1 the male character (representing temptation) approaches stealthily in darkness, late at night. The female characer (representing innocence) has interacted with him before and knows the likely outcome, but she resigns herself to the inevitability of their involvement.

The man is likened to James Dean, the classic "bad boy" heartthrob who, as the figure of temptation, is drawn to "red lip, classic" aspect of the woman, as well as her "good girl faith" ripe for corruption. The song also repeats the idea that this happens again and again, a cycle in which she is tested and fails but then tries anew.

Verse 2 shows the characters returning home, again in darkness, where she confronts him about her involvement with (temptation of) other women, which he admits, but he insists that he's most drawn to her, either for her innocence or for her willingness to try again after faltering. She admits as much, having "been there, too, a few times."

The bridge shows her finally embracing temptation, or perhaps a recognition that her desires aren't wrong after all.

Sure, the song works as a boy/girl story, but Taylor's a sophisticated lyricist, and I'm not convinced that the story need be as simple as that.


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Show me the ways to get back to the garden
A clear allusion to the biblical Garden of Eden. To "get back to the garden" would be a return to paradise, but it would more broadly indicate a return to (or reclamation of) lost innocence.
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Tell me which hand I use
Double entendre suggesting two very different levels of intimacy. "Which hand I use" can, of course, describe one's general handedness (left or right) and implies only casual familiarity.

But in the larger context of Tori's work, it also evokes profound, intimate familiarity, if we read it as "which hand I use (to masturbate)." This meshes nicely with the lyrics of Icicle and with the recurring themes of sexuality in her writing.
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