05 February 2010

America: Sandman

Today, Lyrics, Weakly delves into the deep cuts—we’ve got a song that was never released on its own, but it’s so…amazing that it just begs to be commented on here. (It showed up on a greatest hits album, though, and so that’s enough proof of popularity for me!) It doesn’t have much in the way of lyrics (the chorus gets repeated a lot), and therefore this will be a relatively short review, but that all makes it no less amazing.

This also marks the first time Lyrics, Weakly has returned to an artist that has been dealt with before—but let’s face it, if you go through the lyrics of the band America’s songs, it’s just a gift of amazingificness that keeps on giving for a blog like this one.

Anyway, today we have the song “Sandman”, which was the B–side (in the US—the Brits had to make do with a different song) to the huge hit “A Horse With No Name”. The A–side went to #1—i wonder how this one would have done?

Ain’t it foggy outside
All the planes have been grounded

This isn’t too bad—we’ve got a bit of a mood here with the fog and the planes, it makes me think of the end of Casablanca. Not bad at all, really.

Ain't the fire inside?


Never mind, i take back everything positive i just said.

Really, under what circumstances would anyone ever utter this sentence? I mean, “Where’s the fire?” is a sensible, if slightly weird, thing to ask—but “Ain’t the fire inside?” is just weird. And what would the answer be? “No, the fire’s outside. And what was the point of this conversation again?”

Let’s all go stand around it

Usually, indoor fires aren’t the sort of thing you stand around—they usually only have one side to stand in front of. This isn’t universally true, though, so i’ll let it slide for now, even though it’s pretty clear that it was phrased this way to provide a desperation rhyme for grounded.

Funny, i’ve been there
And you’ve been here
And we ain’t had no time to drink that beer

Okay, it’s been funny, sure. But why ain’t we had time? Oh, good, you’re gonna tell us.

’Cause i understand you’ve been running from a man
That goes by the name of the sandman
He flies the sky like an eagle in the eye
Of a hurricane that’s abandoned

Okay, right.

Yeah, i admit it—the real reason i chose this song for this week’s installment was because of the horrible awesomosity of the chorus. How is it awesome? Let me count the ways:

1. The rhyme of sandman with abandoned—and the singer sings it like like these words were truly meant to rhyme. I guess this is one of those where if you act like you know what you’re doing, people won’t question you. Act like those words rhyme, people’ll just go along with it. At least they will if they’re stoned enough.

B. The narrator makes this sound like there’s a life-and-death cat-and-mouse game going on, and yet it only comes up as a reason for not sharing a beer. There’s something to be said for having your priorities straight, i suppose.

Spleen. The possibility of a Logan’s Run reference. I don’t know if running from the sandman really was a reference to that novel (the movie hadn’t been made yet when the song was released), but if it isn’t it should have been.

π/2. A hurricane that’s abandoned?!? This is as opposed to, what? A hurricane that the deedholder has kept in good repair? It’s completely and utterly nonsensical, and yet it sounds like it ought to make perfect sense. That’s either incredibly clever or incredibly stupid, and you know what? I don’t care.

Ain’t the years gone by fast
I suppose you have missed them
Oh, i almost forgot to ask
Did you hear of my enlistment?

Once again, we have a truly horrible rhyme: missed them with enlistment. (This may be an even more egregious pair that sandman and abandoned, though i admit i’m unable to decide which one’s more amazing.)

Also, much praise for the offhand “Oh, by the way, i almost forgot to tell you i joined the army” news, since that’s a completely realistic portrayal of the way people usually announce that sort of thing. Right?

And, believe it or not, that’s it—all we get after that is several more repetitions of the chorus. To be honest, this leaves me disappointed—a band as talented at coming up with horrible rhymes as America, and they stop here? They could have given us at least three more bad rhyme pairs, i’m sure.

But, because it’s so amazing, i’ll leave you with the chorus one more time, just so that you can bask in the wonderfulisticness that is America in full-on desperation for a rhyme mode:

’Cause i understand you’ve been running from a man
That goes by the name of the sandman
He flies the sky like an eagle in the eye
Of a hurricane that’s abandoned


  1. Songs just lose everything when you pick them apart lol

  2. Others, like this one, don’t even need to be picked apart, though.