Aerie and Twilight Double Leader... meaningless?

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Aerie and Twilight Double Leader... meaningless?

Postby PrayForPlagues on Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:26 pm

2 brilliant songs from LJS- probably my favorites from the album. I've wondered the meaning of these two songs for a long time. Grace has of course said that Twilight Double Leader 'has no meaning at all', but I find that difficult to believe. Two Heads and Hey Frederick both seem to be meaningless as well, but I can still pick meaning out of them (especially the latter; it's even explained to a degree in the biography by Rowes) .
As for Aerie... I have no idea. An aerie is the nest of a bird, such as an eagle, built on a cliff or other high place. I'm thinking maybe it is a reference to a person, maybe a friend of the band?
The final verse though, '...without a rifle on your shelf' puts me off. Any ideas?

Twilight Double Leader is equally strange, but I think it has something to do with calling to a new generation to take lead and pick up on political issues. ('have you heard about your brothers and sisters living in the mountains...')
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Re: Aerie and Twilight Double Leader... meaningless?

Postby EmbryonicRabbit68 on Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:50 pm

Meaningless? With songs as good as those, do they need to have a meaning? Aside from Eat Starch Mom, those are the best on LJS, and alone make they make the whole album worth it, although I love the whole album.

But as for a lot of those songs that people say are meaningless, I do find a lot of meaning in some of them. I'm not sure about Hey Fredrick, but I do find lot's of meaning through Two Heads, It'd probably take several long paragraphs to say how it makes total sense to me, but it does. For Aerie, I'm not sure what the "without a rifle on your shelf" line means exactly, but the rest of it sounds as if she had watched some eagles, or some birds, and felt creative. There could be some deep meaning, but it might just be her writing a song about birds, it all fits, and it's a cool song about them. But that final line does make it seem that it's about something else.

I see your point for Twilight Double Leader, about a call to the new generation to take action, but some of it also sounds like Paul talking about Grace. I think it's songs like those that only make sense to the writer, I've written a few that made no sense to anyone but me, it's about being in that time and place, and in that person's head. It's a psyche thing, I think. But when it comes to lyrics, I usually just think that the writer had something in mind, but it has no absolute meaning to everyone, and anyone can take it however they like.
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Re: Aerie and Twilight Double Leader... meaningless?

Postby plasticfantastic on Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:13 pm

I don't know, Aerie has always just struck me as a relatively simple lyric about freedom. The "dying master" part could just bring in something about an underdog (the eagle) achieving freedom from the effective "overlord."

Twilight Double Leader, I don't know. It may be talking about the period that many saw as a power exchange between the old and the young. And I'm not saying it actually happened, but just what the lyrics suggest to me. The queen mentioned in the lyrics, who knows. Maybe it's about a literal person, maybe it's about something less material, or maybe it's just words Kantner used because they sounded nice.

I'm always rather hesitant to think about things like this because I know that oftentimes, the meaning one gleans from a lyric has nothing to do with what the writer intended. The human brain is conditioned to see patterns though, and we nearly infallibly do.

I know though that when I show songs or poems of mine to other people, sometimes they will assume that it's about them. I'll sometimes get multiple people asking me about one lyric. The truth is, I don't think I've ever written a poem about anyone in particular. Not specifically, anyway, although sometimes incidents will inspire me to write. I'm saying all this though just to show that there's never any way to know for certain. Meaning can be found where there's no meaning at all.
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Re: Aerie and Twilight Double Leader... meaningless?

Postby usedtobebabson on Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:40 pm

Just in general, just me. Different times, different places, the same song will mean different things to me, or I'll hear something I've never caught before. :)
Where have all the young men gone? Long time passing
Where have all the young men gone? Long time ago
Where have all the young men gone? Gone for soldiers every one
When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?
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Re: Aerie and Twilight Double Leader... meaningless?

Postby EmbryonicRabbit68 on Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:33 pm

Well that's exactly it, it doesn't have to have a certain, complete meaning. It can mean whatever you want, whatever mood or memory the song sets you in. The Airplane's music is best for that, because of the imagery and moods, they perfect the way their music can fit certain feelings and moments. The whole album Crown of Creation reminds me of lone simple joy through impossible odds, because it was one of my only joys going through a time like that. Open interpretation, free meaning.
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Re: Aerie and Twilight Double Leader... meaningless?

Postby oldblue on Tue Jul 20, 2010 6:45 pm

Ultimately the success of a lyricist depends not on whether he can write like Shakespeare, but on how well he is able to make word and melody evoke an emotion or convey a message. As Jerry Garcia observed:

Songs are poetry, I guess, but it’s how a song works that’s most important, and that’s not always a function of what the content is, but the whole thing — the texture of it, the sound of it, the way it trips off the tongue, all that stuff. Sometimes it doesn’t have to mean anything and it can still evoke a great something. (Jackson 17)
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Re: Aerie and Twilight Double Leader... meaningless?

Postby PrayForPlagues on Tue Jul 20, 2010 7:50 pm

Hmm... I always enjoy reading the opinions on this board, you guys are all very interesting! :)

I guess I'm mostly curious not exactly about the meaning of songs, but the inspiration behind them. Many different things (infinitely) can certainly be pulled from Airplane songs.
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Re: Aerie and Twilight Double Leader... meaningless?

Postby Susan Butcher on Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:33 pm

Obscure lyrics are hit and miss. When they have effect, it's poetry. When they miss a connection with the listener it can be irritating. The only one of these songs that took on meaning for me was Hey Frederick. The other don't have enough resonance.
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Re: Aerie and Twilight Double Leader... meaningless?

Postby Dormouse on Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:29 am

I think the first part of Aerie refers to the true freedom that eagles, representing nature as a whole, has over the arbitrary rules that human societies create, which is exemplified in flight. The last lines concern humans trying to be masters over nature, and that these kinds of people can only attain their what they percieve as freedom and power through killing that which truely is free. Hence "you can't fly without a rifle on your shelf".

One of my favorite songs. It has that Nature vs Mankind dualism reminiscent of Eskimo Blue Day.
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Re: Aerie and Twilight Double Leader... meaningless?

Postby okeedoe on Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:21 am

There is no absolute freedom.No creature in this world is truly free not even that eagle.
Everything that lives is dependant or bound to something .At least to their methabolism.Don't you know that?The symbolism of the song is poor and cheap although it can be seductive because of the idea of freedom itself as an inspiring dream that is worth to live.

The song takes me high and gives me the thrills only because of Grace's singing and lovely harmonies.(and because of the fantasy of sweet illusion called the absolute freedom)

And there is no authentic dualism between human kind and the nature.There is only a temporary dialectic alienation that lead us to a total cognition of the nature and renewed, permanent integration of us to it.

You'' lousy little drug dealer''.Do you miss your buddy CD?lol
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Re: Aerie and Twilight Double Leader... meaningless?

Postby Susan Butcher on Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:28 am

At least we can dream of absolute freedom. It's a nice dream. Sometimes it seems realer than this reality it can't exist in. See, I'm not seduced! But I do spend a lot of time thinking about it.

Can I just take the opportunity to say that the lines "Nobody needs to baptise me, anytime I laugh I got religion, cross my forehead, cross my knees, I'll take any good sign, I'm a clay pigeon" are the greatest words Grace ever wrote? They make me grin, anyway.
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Re: Aerie and Twilight Double Leader... meaningless?

Postby okeedoe on Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:33 am

You make me smile every time you say something.
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Re: Aerie and Twilight Double Leader... meaningless?

Postby Susan Butcher on Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:39 am

Aw, you're sweet.
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Re: Aerie and Twilight Double Leader... meaningless?

Postby oldblue on Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:34 pm

Dormouse wrote:I think the first part of Aerie refers to the true freedom that eagles, representing nature as a whole, has over the arbitrary rules that human societies create, which is exemplified in flight. The last lines concern humans trying to be masters over nature, and that these kinds of people can only attain their what they percieve as freedom and power through killing that which truely is free. Hence "you can't fly without a rifle on your shelf".

One of my favorite songs. It has that Nature vs Mankind dualism reminiscent of Eskimo Blue Day.



Ah, my friends from the prison, they ask unto me
“How good, how good does it feel to be free?”
And I answer them most mysteriously
“Are birds free from the chains of the skyway?”

-- Bob Dylan
"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." — George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)
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Re: Aerie and Twilight Double Leader... meaningless?

Postby plasticfantastic on Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:34 pm

Hell, freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose...

And when coupled with either ignorance or ill-intention, it can be incredibly dangerous.
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But I won't be blue always
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Shine in my back door someday
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