Radio (Lyrics)

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roofboy179
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Radio (Lyrics)

Postby roofboy179 » Thu Feb 05, 2009 9:46 am

It's just the radio, darling,
Just the radio, just the radio
In your run away imagination
Just the radio, darling,
Just the radio, just the radio
We could turn away to another station

It came from nowhere, on the 38 Geary*
Girl with a backpack of shrapnel and wire
The spiderweb windows
Of blood stained glass
A pagoda's shadow in a cruel sunny sky (?)
Oh, the flash, then the silence
Shouldn't there be screaming, praying, crying?
Oh, anything at all
Tell me, where are the sirens?
Fire's getting closer, but I've got to stay calm

It's just the radio, darling,
Just the radio, just the radio
In your run away imagination
Just the radio, darling,
Just the radio, just the radio
We could turn away to another station

Outside they're handing out
Fate to the wounded (?)
Little ties (?) in black, red, yellow, and green
It's now my 25th hour, with a scalpel in the hand
If I stop moving I will sleep on my feet (?)
And the rumours of sealing (?)
Gunfire on freeway exits, bridges mid-barricade
I can feel the fog creeping, gone was the morphine
The sweet light it came

It's just the radio, darling,
Just the radio, just the radio
In your run away imagination
Just the radio, darling,
Just the radio, just the radio
We could turn away to another station

[I think Vienna is making siren noises O:]

Sing me a love song, dear
What good is the news, now tell me (?)
Come on, it'll never happen here,
Oh no, we are not some third-world country
This is not some third-world country

I'm sorry, Mama,
I held on for as long as I could
I'm sorry, Papa,
There was nothing more I could do

It's just the radio, darling,
Just the radio, just the radio
In your run away imagination
Just the radio, darling,
Just the radio, just the radio
We could turn away to another station

It's just the radio, darling,
Just the radio, just the radio
In your run away imagination
Just the radio, darling,
Just the radio, just the radio
Ah, ah, ah, ah



.. As always, please correct my errors.

Wow. This song is really.. creepy. Like Shasta, a really sad song disguised as a happy poppy one.

Alya
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Re: Radio (Lyrics)

Postby Alya » Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:59 pm

From the album's liner notes:

Radio

it came from nowhere
on the 38 Geary
a girl with a backpack of shrapnel and wire
through spiderweb windows
of blood stained glass
a pagoda's shadow and a cruel sunny sky
oh the flash then the silence
shouldn't there be screaming praying crying
oh anything at all
tell me where are the sirens
fire's getting closer but I've got to stay calm

it's just the radio darling,
just the radio and your runaway imagination
just the radio darling
we can turn away to another station

outside they're handing out
fate to the wounded
little tags in black red yellow, and green
it's now my twenty-fith hour
with a scalpel in hand
if I stop moving I will sleep on my feet
and the rumors are seething
gunfire at freeway exits, bridges mid-barricades
I can feel the fog creeping
god where is the morphine, the sweet lidocaine

it's just the radio

sing me a love song dear
what good has the news ever done me
come on it'll never happen here, oh no
we are not some third world country
this is not some third world country

I'm sorry Mama
I held on for as long as I could
I'm sorry Papa
there was nothing more I could do

it's just the radio
Image

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Postby Samantha » Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:58 am

Wow, I've really come to love this song... It's more than just a Shasta-esque song, where it's a sad song disguised as a happy one--I think the main theme here is ignorance. There are so many terrible things that happen within our own developed countries, but we distance ourselves from them and think of terrorism and acts of violence as something that's far away, beyond our concern. It's just the radio, it's just the news, and if we hear something unpleasant then we can just change the channel and go on with our merry, selfish little lives.

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Postby murlough23 » Fri Apr 10, 2009 8:56 pm

Does anyone else, upon hearing the line "Outside they're handing out...", immediately expect Vienna to sing "donuts and pizza pie?" Just me? Okay, then.

If this is intentional, then it's interesting how "Radio" and "City Hall" contrast such drastically different events (one celebratory, one shockingly violent and sad) happening in the same city.

(And what would you get if you combined those two songs? "Radio City Music Hall"?)

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Postby roofboy179 » Fri Apr 10, 2009 9:59 pm

You guys have any idea what shes whispering in between verses? Or am I just hearing things?

like after "This is not some third world country..."

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Postby Reileen » Fri Apr 10, 2009 11:04 pm

roofboy179 wrote:You guys have any idea what shes whispering in between verses? Or am I just hearing things?

like after "This is not some third world country..."

In the part after she finishes singing that radio ballad-y part and before she begins singing "I'm sorry, Mama...", it sounds like she's whispering "black, red, yellow, green".
"You've made us swear our souls to you
And blamed us for your poisoned grace."


Reileen van Kaile
http://www.voxgraphicastudio.com

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Postby Ferrard Carson » Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:17 am

Yeah, she whispers in two places: Before verse 2 (Outside they're handing out / fate to the wounded) and before "I'm sorry Mama." The first time, I haven't a clue what she's whispering - it might just be representative of static, but after hearing the second set of whispers, I'm wondering about the first set too.

And yeah Reileen; you're right about what she's whispering:

"Black Yellow Red Red Green Yellow Black Blue Green Green Red Green Black..." (after this, she starts reciting numbers on top of the stream and I lose it. Among the numbers are 14, 7, 13, and 6) Obviously, the colors refer back to the start of Verse 2 and are the breathless words of a first-responder performing triage on scores of victims. The different colors mean different things:

Green - victim has minor wounds, sometimes referred to as "walking wounded"
Yellow - victim has severe injuries (e.g. fractures, lacerations, minor amputations) and needs medical treatment within a few hours
Red - victim needs immediate treatment for life-threatening injuries such as a severed artery.
Black - victim is deceased.
Blue - the most chilling whisper of them all which I didn't think I heard the first time I listened for them, but Blue is a fifth level of triage almost never used because of its ethical complexity: Victim will die regardless, so should not receive treatment.

I've no idea what the numbers mean - maybe scoring the patients to figure out what level they are? Is someone on the forums a real first-responder who can enlighten us more?

Anyways. Perfect chilling touch - like taking Shasta to an extra dimension of meaning.

~ Teddy

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Postby tanthalas » Tue Apr 14, 2009 1:28 am

Or maybe they're about the right color wire you're supposed to cut to defuse the bomb! :twisted:

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Postby Scot » Mon Apr 20, 2009 3:01 am

I was going to guess resistor values! :)

s
My little attempt at a Vienna Teng WWW page (Set lists, song info., and more...)

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Postby roofboy179 » Fri Aug 07, 2009 2:52 am

And I love the key changes in this song :)

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Postby tanthalas » Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:35 pm

So I may be a bit slow in realizing this now (as in, coming to this realization on Tuesday night - when she started looping in the whispered numbers as well), but I think the numbers actually refer to the death count in different cities/places. She's often told the story about how the NPR news person is seemingly nonchalantly listing off the number of people killed in each city/place, so that's probably how they're connected to the song.

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Postby Michele » Fri Aug 20, 2010 6:33 am

tanthalas wrote:on Tuesday night - when she started looping in the whispered numbers as well)


Yay finally!

I was at the Fillmore on Tuesday night, and I think someone should Photoshop up a visual of this song, with the MUNI bus and the pagoda...

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Re: Radio (Lyrics)

Postby fireflower413 » Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:42 pm

What does it mean, "bridges mid-barricades"? The first time I heard it I thought she said, "bridges made barricades" which made sense to me at the time...as in, they took down a bridge and made a barricade out of it. What does the real version mean?

Also, I had to Google the 38 Geary to figure out where this was taking place...was this a real event reference? And what is the pagoda doing there?

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Re: Radio (Lyrics)

Postby Michele » Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:40 pm

I rechecked the liner notes and the lyrics we have posted here on the site - it says made. I'm guessing it was just a copy and paste error.

This isn't a real life event that happened - the 38 Geary bus drives through Japantown, which has a Peace Pagoda. The idea of the song is what if this situation, that is a daily reality for people on the other side of the world, happened in San Francisco.

It's funny how you can think you know something inside out and then it turns out you don't. Until I was formatting the lyrics for the current version of the site earlier this year, the full implication of the last verse hadn't hit me. I was just talking to Vienna's brother on Friday, and he mentioned that some of Inland Territory freaks him out. I immediately knew what he meant.

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Re: Radio (Lyrics)

Postby cmooreNC » Thu Jan 02, 2014 4:38 pm

I often have difficulty disconnecting the songwriter/performer from the person in the song, so I totally understand what you mean. She has an amazing ability to write things in the first person that are so detailed that they seem like they have to be autobiographical, but of course they are totally fictional and therefore are not. A gift of many good writers, but hers is pretty incredible.

Passage was the first song of hers that moved me in a similar manner. It was just so real, how could she have possibly not actually experienced it somehow? Or at least that's what I thought (and felt) when I first heard it. My wife was perhaps even more convinced, as she had an older sister die in an auto accident at the age of 16. Then she sang this song at the first Vienna concert she (my wife) attended and of course it led to a post concert conversation the two had that went something like "How did you know what it's like?" "I just imagined it." "Well, you totally nailed it. You've described the healing process that occurs over time with tremendous accuracy, at least based on what I personally went through." I think Vienna was quite pleased to hear that.
Chris


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