Interpretations:Don't Let's Start

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I also think its about a father and his daughter arguing, like Andrew said(maybe about going out at night)... he repeats in the chorus/too often "could you believe for all the world that you're my precious little girl" to be a brake up song... Also... when my father and sister are arguing is almost exactly the same... "dont do this to me, i dont need this torture!" Ups and downs "if i let you alone, you...!!!" "dont do this to me, i've got a weak heart", like a real father and daughter thing... Lilly


I think that someone asked the narrator out, and really, he is only trying to back out without hurting her feelings.

Don't, don't, don't let's start This is the worst part Could believe for all the world That you're my precious little girl But don't, don't, don't let's start I've got a weak heart And I don't get around how you get around.

  • He does not want to start a relationship with the girl, so explains that he can't love well, because of his "weak heart," and tries to soften the blow by saying he could see them together (Could believe for all the world, that you're my precious little girl).

When you are alone You are the cat, you are the phone You are an animal The words I'm singing now Mean nothing more than "meow" To an animal Wake up and smell the cat food In your bank account Don't try to stop the tail That wags the hound

  • He doesn't think the girl is paying attention, or that she does not grasp the meaning of his words: That they won't be together and that she should not try to stop him.

D, world destruction Over an overture N, do I need Apostrophe T, need this torture?

  • Does he need to be tortured by this girl's incessant nagging?

No one in the world Ever gets what they want And that is beautiful Everybody dies Frustrated and sad And that is beautiful They want what they're not And I wish they would stop Saying Deputy Dawg dog a ding dang depadepa Deputy Dawg dog a ding dang depadepa

  • He explains that no one ever gets what they want, including her, so they can't be together.

I don't want to live in this world anymore I don't want to live in this world

  • He would not want to live in a world where they were together.

Geo 20:22, 15 May 2007 (UTC)


I'm with the teenage girl theory minus the pregnancy part. I see the girl as kinda a hipster, who dresses "weird" and listens to bizarre music. At least that's how the dad sees it. He's tired of her loud music, and doesn't wanna listen to dooby-dooby-dooby-da-bow-wow, etc. He's sorta scared by her erratic behavior. --Andrew


"I'm with the folks who argue that this isn't a breakup song. There never *was* any relationship. The guy knows that the girl wants one, but also that she only wants one when she's alone. "When you're alone, you are the cat, you are the phone, you are an animal." The girl apparently has no commitment to the singer, she doesn't love him at all, and the singer knows it. He, on the other hand, does love her, but he knows what he'd be getting himself into, thus the "Don't start" business. He's tormented by the fact that whenever she is bored and lonely, she calls him up, but really doesn't care for him at all. "

I whole-heartedly agree with that interpretation =) and I painfully identify with it. That's probably why I love DLS more than any other song ever, except maybe Birdhouse. The thing about TMBG is they write deliberately ambiguous (at least I think so) lyrics so you can interpret them to match your own life and your mood. That's why TMBG are my favourite band. - Feyn


Hearing this song for the first time was my "I want to hold your hand" moment. I remember being shocked to the core with the melody and the dense clever clever lyrics about a couple breaking up. I didn't get to see the Giants until 1989 in Burberries Birmingham UK (don't try and find it, its not there anymore) but hearing this song and seeing the video started a love affair that's not over yet. (Mr Tuck) Just adding to my original post on this song due to it's anniversary. I remember thinking back in 87 that the Giants were like a modern Rolling Stones and that Linnell was like Jagger! Flans reminded me of a combination of a Buddy Holly and Hank Marvin the lead guitarist of Uk 60s band the Shadows. Linnell does look a bit like a young Mick, but the Giants were never really much like the Stones were they. What a song though! (Mr Tuck)



This is a song about not let's starting, according to Flansy.


It seems to me that most people believe this song to be about a breakup of some sort. There's a breakup in the song, but it's contained within the chorus and the first verse. I'm bored, so I'm gonna analyze this song verse-by-verse:

"Don't don't don't let's start

This is the worst part

Could believe for all the world

That you are my precious little girl

But don't don't don't let's start

I've got a weak heart

And I don't get around how you get around"

This girl's been playing the narrator for a fool, and yet he still loves her. Part of him wants to stop (don't don't don't), and part of him wants to keep the relationship up (let's start). Despite the love he still has for her, he manages to make himself breakup with her (the rest of the chorus). "I don't get around how you get around" refers to the fact that they have different lifestyles; he's a nice guy, and she's a cheater. This snippet of the song earns the position of the chorus because the narrrator refers to it as the inspiration for the realizations he has as the song progresses.

"When you are alone,

You are the cat, you are the phone

You are an animal"

We learn a bit more about this breakup. It's apparently happening over the phone. Thus, to him, the girl is nothing but a talking phone. In reality, she's more like a cat.

"The words I'm singin' now

Mean nothing more than "meow"

to an animal"

This experience has brought the singer to a higher level of understanding. The way he speaks now can't be comprehended by the dumber girl, so it may as well be nothing but the word "meow." This could also be referring to the fact that she can't comprehend how he caught her.

"Wake up and smell the cat food

In your bank account

Don't try to stop the tail

That wags the hound"

He gives a small attempt at trying to show her the things he now understands. Money is worthless. It's referred to as cat food to keep up with the cat metaphor. Cat food may be worthless, but without it, the cats would die. The "cats" of the world worship money because they believe that it's the only thing keeping him alive. However, without cat food, a cat will hunt on its own, and be fed real food. So, if the "cats" of the world moved aside the veil of money that blinds them, they would see the world for themselves, and truly live happy. This will never happen, but is a nice sentiment nonetheless. As for the "wags the hound" portion. If a large dog was wagging its tail near a cat, the cat would probably claw at it and try and play with it. Dogs are usually cast as the enemies of cats. The dog being attacked would probably retaliate and seriously injure the cat, while he will most likely have forgotten about the small scratches by the next day. The singer is comparing himself to a dog, which again shows that he is superior to the girl. That whole phrase is basically another way of saying "if you play with fire, you're gonna get burned." If she doesn't back off, she's going to regret it.

"D, world destruction

Over and overture

N, do I need

Apostrophe T, need this torture?"

Obviously if you put together the first letter of each line, you get the word "DON'T." This is just a reference to the chorus. If you remove the wordplay and just look at the words that make sense, the statement says "World destruction over and over. Do I need this torture?" The cats are destroying the world in their quest to fulfill their greed, and there's nothing he can do about it. All he can do is look on helplessly as the world he loves is destroyed by these horrible people. To him, this is torture.

"No one in the world

Ever gets what they want,

And that is beautiful.

Everybody dies frustrated and sad,

And that is beautiful"

In order to achieve this goal, the cats must give up everything they want, and work as one single being, slowly consuming the earth in their evil. Stripped of their morals and most of their friends, they die frustrated and sad, which is beautiful because it's what they deserve. They don't get what they want because the cats aren't wise enough to attain what they want. The dogs have such wisdom, but don't try to because they also understand that it's a pointless quest that will result in the destruction of mankind. However, the dogs never get what they want because they want the cats to stop, and the cats will surely do no such thing. Thus, the dogs also die frustrated and sad, knowing that they failed to stop the cats.

"They want what they're not

And I wish they would stop"

I think I've already explained this pretty well. The cats all want what they're not, and the dogs all wish that they would stop.

"Saying Deputy Dog dog a ding dang depadepa

Deputy Dog dog a ding dang depadepa"

Boy, now that's just gibberish. Almost as bad as "meow," hm? This is the inverse of the first verse. The words the cats are singing are nonsense to the dogs, because there's no good logic to it. Therefore, it may as well be crazy syllables randomly arranged. We can now begin to see why the cats and dogs hate each other. They don't understand each other. The cats can't comprehend the dogs' superior intelligence, and the dogs just don't listen to the cats, having prejudged them as selfish, disgusting beings.

"D, world destruction

Over an overture

N, do I need

Apostrophe T, need this torture?"

This phrase now carries a different meaning. Before, it was in reference to the cats' destruction of the world. Now, it is talking about the true reason the earth is flushing down the toilet. The cats and dogs are constantly at each other's necks, destroying their world rather than working together for a common, peaceful goal. This, on top of the cats, certainly spells doom for our little planet Earth.

"I don't want to live in this world anymore I don't want to live in this world"

We now shift gears back to this one specific dog. He understands the horrific gears turning behind human society and no longer wants anything to do with it. He doesn't want to live in this terrible place any longer. So, he kills himself. The chorus plays once more in rememberance of one of the few who were above even the dogs, and realized that the only freedom was to die frustrated and sad, beautifully. He seperates himself from the place he loves, because he understands that he can't be happy living there. This fits nicely with the explanation I gave for the chorus, if you replace "girl" with "Earth."

In short, this song is about how humans are slowly killing themselves, and hints that suicide is the only way out of this situation. Nice song. ^_^


That sounds pretty good to me.... that must have takin a lot of thought. ^_^-Dr Worm 818


The above interpretation said "Part of him wants to stop (don't don't don't), and part of him wants to keep the relationship up (let's start)." This is clearly wrong. "Don't let's start" is another way to say "Let's not start." There is no break between "Don't" and "let's start."


I recently heard the song "A Praise Chorus" by Jimmy Eat World, and I noticed that in the middle of the song, when the lyrics begin to layer on top of one another, the phrase "Don't don't don't let's start" is thrown in among a myriad of other song references. This has nothing to do with interpretation, but it made me feel all warm and fuzzy do know that the mainstream music world keeps a place in its heart for TMBG.


The expression "the tail wagging the dog" refers to any case where something of greater significance is driven by something lesser. Take this for whatever you can figure out, I'm stumped (referring to the lines "Don't try to stop the tail that wags the hound")


I always thought that this song was about a father realizing that his precious innocent little daughter was no longer a virgin. He is shocked and upset and really hurt. He starts to ask her how she is going to raise the baby with only the "cat food in your bank account." She isn't listening to him at all ("meow"). He tries to explain it to her (spelling it out). He gets mad, and when her boyfriend dumps her he is thinking that she got what she deserves. ("Nobody in the world... frustrated and sad.... and that is beautiful...") She starts contemplating suicide ("I don't want to live in this world anymore.") --ArAn 01:59, 23 Jan 2006 (EST)


Another homage to this song in other music can be found in "Uh-Oh" by The Refreshments, which was a B track on an Australian single. The very last line before "Let's Pretend" is "Everybody dies frustrated and sad and that is beautiful."

But then The Refreshments at least once went on stage in Seattle to the fanfare of Minimum Wage, so Roger Clyne is quite obviously a fan.


I don't agree with the interpretation saying that the line "The words I'm singin' now mean nothing more than "meow" to an animal" is about the singer's new level of understanding that the girl couldn't understand. It refers to the way that any of the singers words of love don't mean anything to her because she doesn't love him. The singer calls her an animal because of the way she has been stringing him on.


I think this song touches on the fact that ever and always around the world everywhere you go there will always be breakups and lost loves, and although those breakups can be heartwrenching and seemingly unbearable (well, I wouldn't know, but probably?), people suck it up, move on, and decide to stay on a wave that keeps crashing into hard rock just for the offchance that they'll find true love. In that way, I think it's really similar to Museum Of Idiots (I'm pretty sure that's about being aware you're in an environment where you know everything will burn down but you'll have no regrets and no bitterness about the relationship). But anyway:

Don't, don't, don't let's start This is the worst part Could believe for all the world That you're my precious little girl But don't, don't, don't let's start I've got a weak heart And I don't get around how you get around

He's saying "don't let's start" which in normal English looks like "do not let us start"-- so he doesn't want to get into a relationship. He's been through it all before, he knows he could believe that she's his "precious little girl," but he falls head over heels easily and can't handle break-ups. Plus, he knows she'll be trouble (she gets around). Like walking into a trap when you know it's there (I know that's not the expression, but I'm stupid at the moment).

When you are alone, you are the cat, you are the phone You are an animal The words I'm singing now mean nothing more than "meow" To an animal Wake up, smell the cat food in your bank account Don't try to stop the tail that wags the hound

Like whoever before said, this describes their relationship while they're together, and they talk on the phone a bunch (maybe predominately), and she's an animal. They're on different pages, and it's like they're speaking two completely different languages so communication isn't exactly their strong point all-in-all.

What good does cat food, apparently her necessity to living, do when it's sitting in your bank account? That's what my first guess on it would be, but since it connects in no way with the song, let's rephrase that to say that he's telling her to wake up and realize she's being absurd in her reasoning of everything. The next line says that she shouldn't mess with him or try to control him, 'cause he'd bite her (metaphorically or not).

D, world destruction Over an overture N, do I need Apostrophe T, need this torture?

His relationships always end up in some kind of nuclear holocaust, again and again to begin others (an overture's a prelude in a piece). Why, he asks himself, does he keep going back to relationships when he knows they'll end sourly?!

(Chorus) Again, he doesn't want to start, he knows he can't keep himself from getting attached in a relationship and that he won't be able to bear the eventual end of his relationship.

No one in the world ever gets what they want And that is beautiful Everybody dies frustrated and sad And that is beautiful They want what they're not and I wish they would stop Saying, "deputy dog..."

He acknowledges that he and everyone else never find a happy ending to their dismay. Linnell cynically smiles and realizes the beauty in the lifelong human struggle for the impossible dream (as such, it would be a finale of seem!) They're looking for someone who can "complete them" and never find a perfect piece next to them in That Great Big Jigsaw Puzzle of Lifeâ„¢. They just waste their time preoccupying themselves babbling on incoherently about imaginary, bogus things like "love" and "fulfillment."

Chorus and that thing that leads into it, except the other way around Again, oh why must we all suffer through heartbreak, etc.? I don't want to get in a relationship, but I will, and it'll end miserably, etc. etc.

"I don't want to live in this world anymore" This is some sucky predicament we got going on. Maybe happiness, since it doesn't exist on Earth, might be in heaven... Except it's really just him whining about how he gets tossed into this little relationship cycle and won't ever get out until the Grim Reaper tears him from it.

Conclusion of the interpretation of Mr. Linnell's message to us: Life sucks. -magbatz


Definitely a breakup song, and a great breakup song at it. =) The guy and girl are constantly fighting, as don't let's start un-contraction-ized would be "Do not let us start." So you know, he, the narrator is saying, "Oh c'mon, we've been in arguments like this before, don't let it start again!"

Ok, here comes the 1st verse. I'm thinking he's saying that whatever he says isn't important to her ("Words I'm singin' now mean nothing more than meow to an animal"), and the breakup is a long and agonizing phone conversation. When she's alone, she's a calm person, but when she's with him, she's horrid. "Wake up and smell the cat food..." is saying, "Hey, wake up, you're not always like this."

2nd verse! Simple-- the guy's telling her that nobody's ever gonna get what they want (she's gotta be self-centered). And "Everybody dies..." is basically the same thing. Everybody dies with something they've always wanted, or always wanted to do, and that's just life.

For "I don't want to live...", he's just saying he doesn't want to live like this anymore. He's not trying to kill himself, he just wants to break up with her.

Love the song. I love how it's upbeat, but angry. I feel it symbolizes the anger (I mean the pace of the song). Yay! I did a somewhat noteworthy interpretation! {dances} --Lemita 19:35, 15 Apr 2006 (CDT)


I believe that this song is not about a breakup, but the singer wants it to be. He's saying "Don't,Don't,Don't Let's Start" because he's tired of arguing with his spouse and dosn't want to anymore. This is again seen in in thew line N-Do I need [apostrophy] T-Need this torture? Meaning, of course, that he's being tortured in his relationship and wants out. The "Could belive, for all the world, that you're my precious little girl" Might suggest that he has some feelings for her, but he himself is surprised that they're together, suggesting that perhaps they got together in some strange way. The "I don't want to live in this world, etc,etc." might suggest that he's finally had enough. I don't want to bring suicide into this, so maybe he's just depressed. - Evilspleen


NOT A BREAK UP SONG. Before I even heard the song I read that TMBG created the music and then added words with fitting sylabols inthem. The only line I really take into context is "No one in the world Ever gets what they want, And that is beautiful. Everybody dies frustrated and sad, And that is beautiful"

 This means life is all about the struggle, and that if you get everything you want life is pointless.

-Nathan?


I'm with the folks who argue that this isn't a breakup song. There never *was* any relationship. The guy knows that the girl wants one, but also that she only wants one when she's alone. "When you're alone, you are the cat, you are the phone, you are an animal." The girl apparently has no commitment to the singer, she doesn't love him at all, and the singer knows it. He, on the other hand, does love her, but he knows what he'd be getting himself into, thus the "Don't start" business. He's tormented by the fact that whenever she is bored and lonely, she calls him up, but really doesn't care for him at all.


I think that it's about an aging father arguing with a teenage daughter. If the lyrics are taken literally, with the exception of the cat-and-phone verse, this works perfectly.

Line-by-line:

"Don't let's start - this is the worst part." -> Let's not start this again. "Could believe, for all the world, that you're my precious little girl." -> Narrator doesn't want to face that his daughter is growing up... "But don't let's start - I've got a weak heart, and I can't get around how you get around." -> Possibly literal - the narrator is too old to chase his daughter around. Alternatively, "I can't get around how you get around" could be double-entendre.

"When you are alone, you are the cat, you are the phone, you are an animal." -> As good a description of a sulky teenager as any; she sits alone in her room, calling friends. "The words I'm saying now mean nothing more than meow to an animal." -> You don't listen to me... "Wake up! Smell the cat food in your bank account!" -> ... but who keeps you fed? "Don't try to stop the tail that wags the hound." -> Okay, this line favors the break-up interp. Unless we're going Freudian, or else it's meant to be a more general comment on the impossiblity of living without earning your own way.

"D, world destruction - Over an overture" -> Endless drama over what's really just a prologue to adulthood "N, do I need apostrophe T, need this torture?" -> And what parent hasn't said this?

"No-one in the world ever gets what they want and that is beautiful. Everybody dies frustrated and sad, and that is beautiful." -> Father tries to help his daughter deal with disappointment (possibly what caused the World Destruction in the chorus) - but also tries to give her some kind of hope.

"They want what they're not, and I wish they would stop saying deputy dog-dog-a-ding-dang (etc.)" -> People want the impossible, he explains - and they try to sell their pipe dreams to you. I wish they would stop.

There might well be a break-up involved, but if so, it's that of the daughter with somebody else...


To me, as to many interpreters above, the most interesting line of this song is "No one in the world ever gets what they want, and that is beautiful. Everybody dies frustrated and sad, and that is beautiful."

What some of my fellow interpreters gloss over (IMO) is "...and that is beautiful". Why is it beautiful that no one ever gets what they want? Why is it beautiful that everybody dies frustrated and sad?

TMBG is saying here that it's impossible to get what you want in the long run, because the nature of people is to always want more. That's a beautiful thing because it keeps people striving and working for something more. Since no one is ever satisfied, "Everybody dies frustrated and sad." That is beautiful too, because it is a comfort to the dying - if this life is guaranteed to be sad and frustrating, then death can't be too much worse, can it?

There's a certain (beautiful) comfort in futility - if you know that life is futile, then you can't screw it up. Applejuicefool 20:44, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

---

As I recall, Linnell said he wrote the lyrics for the music. While he's said that about multiple songs (The End Of The Tour is the only one I can think of off the top of my head, but I'm fairly certain he's said it about other songs as well), I think it's pretty obvious in this one. For example, The End Of The Tour does seem to have a "storyline" of sorts, for lack of a better word; a plot, if you will. It tells a coherent story, as do a lot of TMBG songs. Ana Ng tells a story; Out Of Jail tells a story; They'll Need A Crane tells a story. Most of their songs tell stories, or at least have some sort of recurring theme, be it death, duality, or love gone wrong.

Don't Let's Start, however, is an exception. There are arguably some recurring themes in the song, but everything is, at best, only loosely connected. The lyrics seem to be random phrases that make some sense on their own, but when linked together with the other phrases form a semi-coherent string of thoughts. Though I'm not normally one to believe that a song was written solely for the music, I think that this is quite probably a rare exception to that rule.

(However, I would like to add that many of the lyrics are indeed extremely clever--"No one in the world ever gets what they want and that is beautiful; Everybody dies frustrated and sad and that is beautiful" is one of my favorite TMBG quotes!) ~Anna Ng hears your words.

--In reply to Anonymous #1 -- TMBG just lerve juxtaposing negative lyrics with happy-happy tunes. How much of this is just about trying to prove that if you've got a cute, jaunty riff you can sing anything and no-one's going to care? That bridge for instance, "I don't want to live in this world anymore," sung to that cheerful 80s mock-Asian tune - it's like a punchline.

The irony is that far from not caring, people have been psychoanalysing the words for 2 decades. :-P (Anonymous #2)


I disagree with a lot of this, here. There are those who see a meaning but I don't feel they see the proper meaning. And there are those that look at the fact that a lot of the words are simply placed in to fit the music, and insist that it means that there can't be a meaning at all – that it's art for the sake of art. But, you see, the randomness of the lyrics can still have a meaning.

The narrator is refusing advances from a girl. He acknowledges her as somebody of value, who has potential chemistry. There's a possibility for romance, it just scares the shit out of him. He's a lot more old fashioned than her and tired of being hurt by falling in love with people who might just be passing their time and using him to temporarily remedy their loneliness.

He, however, is ridiculously frustrated because she just won't listen. Her loneliness makes her as simple to get through to as a brick wall. Perhaps, if she were with somebody else, she may listen and understand, but her loneliness is making her too desperate and selfish to be rational. He feels his loyalty just might destroy him, because he's so dedicated to sorting it out and he feels better fit for another planet, plane or kingdom of animal existence. He's trying to convince her that the best thing they'll ever have in common is that they'll both die lonely, wanton and frustrated – that, in that respect, they'll always be together, somehow and there's at least a little beauty in that. For direct instance:

"Don't let start. This is the worst part"

He has to walk away, before anything happens, because he'll fall, head-over-heels, the moment he gets close.

"Could believe for all the world that you're my precious little girl."

He trusts they'd be a match, but . . .

"I've got a weak heart, and I don't get around how you get around."

He knows that, in spite of their compatibility, there's something fleeting about it. She's bound to leave, eventually, and break his heart. He's an old fashioned guy who doesn't jump date-to-date, like she does.

"When you are alone, you are the cat, you are the phone, you are an animal. The words I'm singing now mean nothing more than "meow" to an animal."

Alone probably doesn't mean "alone, in the room". Alone, more likely, means lonely/not in a meaningful relationship. She's so desperate that she's hearing what she wants. When he talks to her, on the phone, he may as well be talking to the phone, itself, because she isn't really listening. He's speaking to her, with words that aren't what she wants to hear, but she's diluting herself. It's as if he were trying to talk to a cat. All the words are the same; "meow, meow, meow".

"Wake up and smell the cat food, in your bank account. Don't try to stop the tail that wags the hound."

Somewhere, in the recesses of her mind/memory bank, she has a translation of what he's trying to say that she'll understand. She just needs to cut the crap and listen to it. She needs to take the time to recognize that it's there and that it's true. He wants her to realize that it's a pretty futile effort trying to change his mind.

"D, world destruction Over an overture N, do I need Apostrophe T, need this torture?"

This is driving him crazy, pretty clearly.

"No one in the world ever gets what they want and that is beautiful. Everybody dies frustrated and sad, and that is beautiful."

He's trying to explain that their situation isn't so unique. They aren't getting what they want, but neither does anybody else. They, and the rest of the world are united by their loneliness, want and ennui. Rather than see it as purely negative, he insists it is a beautiful, unifying part of life's tragedy.

"They want what they're not"

Opposites attract.

"And I wish they would stop saying Deputy Dawg"

She's not the first "cat, behind a phone line" to scare him away, with infatuation. He wishes they would stop calling out to him. He wishes they would find somebody more like themselves, so he can be free. He wishes they could find another "cat", but they keep calling out to him, their opposite; "Deputy Dog".

"I don't want to live in this world anymore."

He feels like he's stuck in a dimension opposite to what he was created for. Every girl he meets is just like this girl and he wishes he could live in a different universe or plane of existence (or, perhaps, in a different kingdom of animals, with other "dogs") That's what makes sense to me, anyway. But that's also because I've had the same experience, repeatedly.

There's nothing ironic about analyzing it. Especially considering the fact that calling it "ironic" would be using the word out of context.

-josh is UUAH


Well, I have a totally different take on this song from everyone else, as a middle-aged parent of toddlers: I think this song is about a parent trying to deal with a toddler's impending temper tantrum. If you've ever watched your "precious little girl" descend into a screaming mass of animal hysteria you can relate. Every line, to me at least, makes sense from this point of view - don't let's start this again, no you don't get what you want every time, spelling out the d - o - n - " - t, the deputy dawg, etc. Every parent asks if they need this torture! Even the synth part in the "I don't want to live in this world anymore" is nah nah nah nah nah (hard to replicate without audio, sorry). And have you watched the video lately? He's throwing the tantrum! I know this came out before they had kids of their own, but it just makes a little more sense to me in this context than some of the other (very well thought out) interpretations. One of things I've always liked about TMBG is the fact that they tackle different subjects for their songs from the mainstream.

Just my 2 cents - thanks for listening.


To call this a "breakup song" or ascribe a certain story to it seems awfully linear for TMBG


My first interpretation of this song completely ignored the 'you are my precious little girl' line, which felt out of place for me. "Don't let's start" combined with "everyone dies frustrated and sad" and "I don't want to live in this world anymore" plus all the strange nonsense being spouted by the narrator (cat food in the bank account) made me believe this song was about people living despite the fact they should simply give up. Why try when everyone dies frustrated and sad? Don't start. But the "let's" suggests that people don't and do want to live, and that's the worst part.

Of course, it COULD be about a break-up, since that same interpretation fits if you include the 'precious little girl' bit -- the the narrator could be in love with someone, but they don't act on it, and that in-turn causes them to start this catchy monologue. I agree though, this song can't simply be about a breakup (that's too traditional).


I think it's not a break up... though it could be! That's one thought of it...

theory number one: A single, middle aged man, had dated this woman before. He liked her before. Like when he's says, "you're my precious little girl" he's remenesing on old times when he used to go out when this woman. But when he says "you're an animal" or when he says "d, world destruction, over an overture, N, do i need, Apostrophe T, this torture" he's talking about how he was abused by the woman or he just couldn't stand her probab;y cause of her incessant blabber about how his face when he was 13, reminded her of swiss cheese. He sometimes wants to get back with her, but he can't with the thoughts of her from long ago... He wants to... And if you Remove the contraction words from the song, Don't Let's Start really means Do not let us start. so he really doesn't want her even though he does...

theory two: it's about a foster child. The child was with this older man about 54. and he got her when she was four. And she's now like 15 and he's in his sixties. and he can't afford to be with her because he has to keep working because he's poor. When he talks about "wake up and smell the cat food in your bank account" he's saying that he can't afford to feed her so she has to pay for her own food... He doesn't want to get rid of the child but he has no choice and with his weak heart, he thinks it would be better for her to find another home because he might die soon... sad...

It's though, a sad but happy song. and the music video is awesome... So you can look at it in any way.... But it probably a break up song... --Nerdy4ever95




This is definitly a father singing to his daughter. His daugter wants freedom. He does not want her to have freedom. This leads to many fights between them. Leading him to say "Don't Let's Start" fighting again. The line "No one in the world ever gets what they want and that is beautiful" means that if one where to get their way the other would suffer and so it is beautful that the way it works out is somewhere inbetween.


not to beat a dead horse...[edit | edit source]

I always think it's interesting how a discussion like this seems to reveal more about the interpretor than the interpreted, but at the risk of revealing too much about myself I'll throw my $.02 in. I agree with several of the reviews that the song could be about a couple with an on again/off again relationship, or a father daughter, or even a parent and toddler. Abstracting back a bit I think it's about some type of emotionally charged inter-personal relationship the singer has with someone. It seems clear to me from the first verse that the nature of the relationship is tempestuous, and that although, or perhaps because, he loves this person very much he feels that the volatile nature of it is killing him by inches.

I don't think the second verse is directed at this person, but is rather an aside of the singer to himself. He's making the point that those things we value as human beings are only valuable as they are reflected thru others. Without other people that which separates us from objects and animals is meaningless. For example, "the words I'm singing now", without someone to hear them, mean nothing. And in the second part of the same verse I think he's realizing that, even though he's facing potential heartache, that without this person the other things in his life are unsatisfying. The "cat food in your bank account" may keep you fed and alive, but it doesn't do anything to make your life more enjoyable. She may be only a small part of his life, but she is the "tail that wags the hound", and he is having trouble resisting going back to her again.

After the chorus we have a philisophical verse that's pretty straight forward. Life is about hope and striving and ambition. Achieving your dreams, as has been pointed out by many many people before, is ultimately less satisfying than hoping to achieve them. That's why it's good that "no one in the world ever gets what they want" because if they did then hope and poetry and inspiration would all die shortly thereafter. "They want what they're not" probably just refers to people generally not being able to accept that life is imperfect and flawed.

The last piece other than the chorus, the "I don't want to live in this world anymore", seen thru the lens of the preceding passages, seems to be less about giving up and more of a primal scream at his frustration over the whole situation. He hates getting hurt over and over again, having his hopes dashed and his heart stomped on, but ultimately he knows that he has no choice. This is simply what life is, for better or worse. Anywho, that's how I see the lyrics.



Re: Not to beat a dead horse[edit | edit source]

This is the only correct interpretation I've read of this song.


I really feel this song is about a man on his death bed, dying from some sort of heart disease or other problem with his heart.

We start with him asking his wife/daughter/etc. not to cry in front of him because he knows that death is imminant and that's not how he wants to go out- ...don't let's start (crying) This is the worst part (death)

He then mentions how he can't believe he was blessed with such a great wife/daughter/etc. Who'd believe for all the world That you are my precious little girl

And we're given a glimpse as to why he is dying I've got a weak heart And I don't get around how you get around (he is confined to a bed or wheel chair)

"No one in the world ever gets what they want and that is beautiful Everybody dies frustrated and sad and that is beautiful They want what they're not and I wish they would stop saying, Deputy dog dog a ding dang depadepa"

This verse is him telling the listener that he knows the world is a hard place, but that its ok because it prepares us for the life ahead. Everyone dying frustrated and sad but it being beautiful tells us that even though life is hard, death after a long life is a good release into the life beyond.

Finally, he confirms that he is ready to move on, telling us: "I don't want to live in this world anymore I don't want to live in this world"

[posted by 24.124.17.220]




The girl is a floozy.[edit | edit source]

I JUST CANT GET AROUND HOW YOU GET AROUND



One way I always interpreted the song was that it might be about talking about previous relationships, while in a current one.

Perhaps the singer is in a wonderful relationship with a beautiful woman, who has had quite a history of relationships. But every time his precious girl brings up something from her past, his weak heart can't take the implications and he can't get around them. He might be comparing himself to the people he is not, and he's trying to cope with wishing that she didn't have her track record.

Just another idea.



"World destruction, over an overture". At some point they watched Apocalypse Now.

The horror...

The horror...

It is actually about a cat[edit | edit source]

The song is a lot more silly, and a lot more sad than people are giving it credit for. It is about a former pet owner, who just had to put his previous cat to sleep, pondering the question of whether he should let a new kitten into his home. He is pondering this out loud in front of the new cat that he is considering adopting.

Don't don't don't let's start This is the worst part Could believe for all the world That you're my precious little girl But don't don't don't let's start I've got a weak heart And I don't get around how you get around

I imagine him pacing around the room, looking at his new "Precious Little Girl" a new cat that he wants to bring into his home to fill the hole left by the death of his previous pet, but for him the pain of that loss is too recent and he can't bring himself to love this kitten if it means that he has to eventually lose her too.

When you are alone you are the cat, you are the phone You are an animal The words I'm singing now Mean nothing more than meow to an animal Wake up and smell the cat food in your bank account But don't try to stop the tail that wags the hound

He continues to pontificate about the question aloud and realizes that this discussion he is having is a monologue. This kitten cannot understand him. Also cat food is super expensive... one more good reason why not to adopt this cat. Let's not start this again.

D, world destruction Over and overture N, do I need Apostrophe T, need this torture?

When his previous cat died it was catastrophic, like his world came to an end, and now he is pondering doing it again. It would be beautiful, like an overture, that ends in calamity over and over again. "We should absolutely not start this torture over again" He thinks to himself as he paces the floor.

No one in the world ever gets what they want and that is beautiful Everybody dies frustrated and sad and that is beautiful They want what they're not and I wish they would stop saying, Deputy dog dog a ding dang depadepa Deputy dog dog a ding dang depadepa

He just wants a thing to love, but he cannot have love without loss. He cannot experience the beauty of his new pet's life without experiencing the agony of it's eventual death. He bleakly realizes that there is no such thing as joy without pain and realizes that this dichotomy is beautiful. Also people really need to stop telling him that he should get a dog... he is more of a cat person.

I don't want to live in this world anymore I don't want to live in this world

This question has extended in his mind at this point to encompass every decision he is facing. There is no happiness, just a steady march toward a bleak end. He is sick of it. I imagine the cat is just looking at him like he is making a big deal out of nothing. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.191.109.43 (talk) 02:29, July 20, 2017‎