Interpretations:Old Pine Box

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Slowly I turned...[edit | edit source]

Over the falls and into the drink
The barrel breaks and we slowly sink

Shades of Annie Edson Taylor... or perhaps one of the less successful Niagara Falls daredevils that followed her. --Octoflange 19:23, 29 April 2011 (UTC)


a has been burnt out?[edit | edit source]

The Giants have a long held dislike of songs too obvious and this song is layered in enough imagery to make it very open to any interpretation. That the song is about a has been, famous for something or other is that he/she once had a "fan club" but it's been disbanded is stated explicitly. That they've committed a crime and are unhinged is implic in the in the lyrics. So emotionally detached is Flans on the track that it's tough to really engage with the song. There is a hint of the Residents in the middle eight which is fun. This fits into what I have called "late period Flans" whereby he writes in a rather MOR radio friendly style (the worst examples being stuff like the Guitar or the slow version of First Kiss). I wish he'd go back to his more left field early style. Would have been better with an accordian (again, like more recent recordings, very underused again by Linnell) and maybe Flans wife singing. A slight song, it does not pack the punch of the single, "Can't Keep Johnny Down". (Mr Tuck)

See, what I like about this song (well, I like other things too) in the instrumentation and singing style is its super-embracement [spell check says this is not a word] of a campfire/Springsteen (ok certainly not Springsteen but this musical aesthetic is not my 'bag') style playfully turned on its head, a feeling I had from the first 10 seconds I listened the first time. Like I parenthesized though, what this aesthetic of the song is doing and whatever is in Old Pine Box, I'm still wrapping my earflaps around in my limited listens. The other reason I feel like the MOR-ish vibe is self-aware is because (though again my thoughts aren't fully formed) the song is about a guy being "too tired to stop", basically being a coffin running around wreaking playful, Nick-at-Nite havoc, too thick to be [f]azed, and of course the fan club that moved on and this hinted family who would just like to forget this furthering joke of a man was ever involved, or something. I'll get back to you and probably rewrite this when my thoughts have formed more and once those lines about percentage and drinks make sense to me. But basically, I guess I saying "yay MOR".~ magbatz

Can't get arrested[edit | edit source]

It sounds like a band ("with a head full of rocks") trying to prolong a career that's already over/as good as dead ("an old pine box" or coffin). The opening lines exaggeratedly dance around the idiom that they can't get arrested. Artist relations (i.e., the music label) and fans have lost interest. Their act is "old … hat," but the band insanely ("cracked," "skull full of bats") carries on because they can't bear to confront the truth and quit ("too tired to stop").

Tie-ins?[edit | edit source]

I think this could be a song about Johnny, but told from another person's point of view. My biggest reason for believing this is the fact that the lines "they tried the handcuffs, but they won't lock./Electrical courses, but they won't shock" seem to be describing someone they can't keep down. Johnny would see this as him being resilient, but a more sensible person (who sings this song) would see this as a sad lingering of former glory.


You old pine box...[edit | edit source]

I recently heard the term "Old Pine Box" as a euphemism for a coffin, and it made me wonder whether the subject of this song is already dead, and the singer is looking at the casket and reminiscing...

My interpretation: People too poor to afford proper funerals, or who have no burial plans and no one who cares enough to make those plans (and also John Does) are buried in pine box coffins that are little more than pieces of plywood slapped together. Probably a likely fate for a washed-up, mentally-ill, petty criminal with relations who are beyond dealing with him anymore. And the way he's living, he's probably careening towards an early/upcoming death. He's already about as good as an old pine box himself. - Novella

A question about "electrical courses"[edit | edit source]

Can anyone tell me what are those "electrical courses" mentioned? Are they literally courses for training electricians? But how could they "shock" then? Or is it some kind of electrical device I don't know about? Flute (talk) 15:25, 31 July 2013 (EDT)

I think in this case it means electrical currents. That is, electricity coursing through someone or something. -- CJSF (talk) 16:13, 31 July 2013 (EDT)
more specifically, i assumed it was the Chair, but now that i think of it, the lyric could refer instead to electroconvulsive shock therapy... -Apollo (colloquia!) 16:20, 31 July 2013 (EDT)

An immortal trying to die?[edit | edit source]

I always got the vibe that it was someone who can't die whose lived for a very long time, and after seeing countless loved ones die, they've completely snapped and are trying everything to die. The electric shocks are an electric chair, they are committing crimes to try and get sentenced to death.


An old person (immortal) wanting to die.[edit | edit source]

  • if I copied your interpretation, I agree, or it's coincidental.)

The "Old Pine Box" is the narrator calling the immortal stupid with a "head full of rocks" because he wants to die by committing crimes and trying to get a death sentence. An "Old Pine Box" is a word for a coffin, so the narrator thinks he should be dead already, which the immortal agrees with. The electric course is a electric chair, also the immortal trying to kill himself. Saskia16 (talk) 15:49, 3 December 2016 (EST)Saskia16