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I Can't Remember 1989

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Sort Of A Protest Song - 'god' takes the life of one and not the other


i can't remember 1989 - child is born

i can't remember what you look like - child is talking about mothers

cause I was dimmed - dimmed, a dime bag of weed or drugs because when a child is born the child is usually drugged

wasn't the whole world at the time? - whole world is the womb also drugged

a robot heart for my sleep in girl - child is born with complications, sleeping girl child is not breathing

she knows CPR so I can come back to life - doctor knows CPR

ya I can come back to life - girl lives


i had me a vision

i was a fireman in a time of fires

and I was paralyzed - fireman is called to duty and is injured in a fire

a robot heart for a theme park world - fireman has trained and trained but is still injured in a fire (it's not like the book)

whatever keeps us alive

whatever keeps claim to us being civilized


i can't remember 1989 - fireman admitted in ER

I try but I forget what you look like - fireman is trying to forget what his body looks like due to burns

baby I ain't dimmed - no drugs

but ya, it still keeps me up at night - still has memories of burned body

a Robot heart for a robot boy - fireman has complications, not berating

who dreamed he was a lion - gave his life to save another


our lives in these empty spaces aside

i'm tired of walking around with my hand on my gun

i'm tired of watching them wind you up to see if you'll run

tonight I'm going to go out and have me some fun

i'm tired of walking around here with my hand on my gun

baby, no pain, no gain


- not 100% sure of everything, can anyone else decode the song. matt's music is about him?

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The song's about fear.


"Robot heart" is a heart that can't feel. "A robot heart for theme park world" is a way for people to cope with the world - feel nothing, pretend everything's happy. The narrator can't live that way - he feels everything. He rejects the idea, scoffing that it just allows us to claim that we're civilized.


"Fireman, time of fires, paralyzed" - as a fireman, he was trained to deal with fires, but, when confronted with it, he was unable to act, paralyzed by fear.


I think the whole "I can't remember 1989" is that something happened since then that changed him to the point that he can't remember what life was like before he felt the fear. He didn't feel the fear back then, and equates it to being drugged. ("Robot heart for robot boy / who dreamed he was a lion" might relate to a youthful notion of believing you can fight off anything - the narrator might be talking about himself.)


It's about being afraid of the world, afraid of outside forces, feeling like you have to carry a gun to protect yourself. Other people seem to be able to turn off that fear, but he can't.


That's why Matt talked about how surprised he was at how relevant the song was after 9/11, even though it was written beforehand. We spent a great deal of time living in fear of those outside forces. It was hard not to read that line about "i'm tired of watching them wind you up to see if you'll run" in regard to the US government's constant attempts to scare the populace (through the color-coded warning system, etc).



No offense, but I'm kind of astonished by some of your interpretations. "when a child is born the child is usually drugged" - WHAT?!?!?

Edited by uglyredhonda
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I think we're looking too much into it. First of all remember artistic license. And the fact that this song could be a group of different but realated thoughts from matt that came together. I agree that it is about fear and that the robot heart is the unfeeling heart but clearly the fireman is not litteral and almost any song is not meant to interpreted line by line.

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