Interpretations:All The Lazy Boyfriends

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A sharp indictment of male entitlement[edit]

This is a very scornful song about a particular type of guy who relies heavily on other people (living in other people's "basements, attics, garages... sheds", sponging off girlfriends until they feel "buyer's remorse") while doing nothing to help himself or anyone else. He has no plans and takes no action. He promises that he's going to change any day now, but he only prepares to change--he never takes a concrete step toward fixing his life or himself. It's basically a prequel to "Take Out the Trash". --Rosefox (talk) 18:03, 17 Apr 2015 (EST)

It makes a good companion to their cover of Destiny's Child's "Bills, Bills, Bills", come to think of it. -- 20:36, 6 September 2015 (EDT)

If it's a particular type of guy, it's hardly male entitlement, is it? Just regular entitlement being practiced by some males. -Someone

I don't think this relates to the guy in "Take Out the Trash" – that guy was a "go-getter", the opposite of the slackers described in this song. Also, after "everything" the Trash guy "said and did", he seems much worse than some man-child who doesn't bother to do chores. -- Thread Bomb (talk) 04:31, 25 February 2020 (EST)

Completely Random Thought[edit]

Okay, this *probably* isn't it, but part of me wonders if this isn't a reference to the late-but-not-forgotten band LCD Soundsystem. For one thing, this song borders on dancepunk, but more than that is the chorus:

Did you say out loud that you think you've lost your edge?/Man, you never lost your edge/All the lazy boyfriends are preparing to change

That has two (very hypothetical) connections to LCD Soundsystem songs -- "I'm Losing My Edge" and "I Can Change," the latter of which is about someone declaring that he "can change, if it helps you fall in love."

All right, I admit, it's not very likely. But hey, there are stranger interpretations of songs on here. Jkfecke (talk) 03:42, 1 May 2015 (EDT)

Flans is a big fan of LCD Soundsystem though, so maybe... (Mr Tuck)

Upbeat Pep Talk[edit]

I don't agree that this is in any way an indictment of male entitlement. I don't think that the positive pop tune is being ironic. This is not a song condemning dirtbags. It is a call to action for guys whose main flaw is laziness (at least according to their girlfriends).

The first verse describes a guy who is literally preparing to change. He went out and bought himself a brand new day planner and made up a weekly to-do list that is just waiting to be written on. This is a very hopeful scene, like the first week of January after the New Year's resolutions have been made. His intentions are good and he's made the first steps. And the intro and chorus are encouraging: you can begin again! You haven't lost your edge and you're going to prove that you're not good for nothing! (Maybe this is the pep talk he is giving himself after too many fights with his girlfriend, or after she has threatened to leave if he doesn't change.)

The second verse is maybe not as hopeful. There are projects that need doing in the basement, the attic, the garage and the shed. He's making big plans in his head, but maybe our guy is biting off more than he can chew which will lead to him feeling overwhelmed and then to failure. The projects are so hard to finish (or begin), but he is planning to dive in and try to erase his girlfriend's buyer's remorse.

The song is about men trying to change to save a relationship. It's not called lazy men, but laze boyfriends. The catalyst for wanting to change is to please a girlfriend. He may or may not actually change. He may or may not save the relationship. But at the point where he is just preparing his next move, anything is possible.

A losing battle against the forces of entropy[edit]

This song is about nothing changing. The lazy boyfriends never succeed at improving and they never will, just like the system that keeps them there never will. The story of the boyfriends, of society, isn't worth telling, because nothing changes. We can begin again as much as we want, but we may as well start at the end.

Any other Hadestown fans in the audience? Just me? Oh well. Even if it were true that nothing could change, we should sing the song anyway, and, well, if any artist really believed otherwise, they wouldn't be singing. Besides, the lazy boyfriends are still preparing to change. Imagine what could happen if they did.

Grinnace (talk) 17:11, 12 July 2021 (EDT)

Laziness, procrastination, and passivity: an almost-line-by-line analysis[edit]

Of the interpretations already posted here, I agree most with Rosefox's, but I thought it was worth going into more detail. So, here we go:

Begin again, begin again
Wake up the lazy boyfriends

It's a new day, and the boyfriends need to be woken up. Because, of course, you can't rely on them to get out of bed by themselves.

Begin again, begin again
We can start at the end

What does it mean to "start at the end"? It means the boyfriends haven't actually gone anywhere or done anything. They just skipped over the entire process. Very lazy.

Push your hands in your pockets,

Because they're not using those hands for anything.

spaced out and sleepless


Put yourself on the docket,

What is a "docket", in this context? I'm going with Merriam-Webster 2b: "a list of legal causes to be tried; also: the caseload of a court or judge", or "a calendar of business matters to be acted on; agenda". In other words, the lazy boyfriends are so far from doing anything for themselves, that they have made themselves into a task or problem on someone else's list of things-to-do.

get ready to go

This is subtle. The boyfriends are always getting ready to go, but there is no mention of them actually going anywhere. It's a form of procrastination. We'll see this again later.

Got a brand-new day planner still snug in the wrapper
And the weekly to-do list as white as the snow

The boyfriends have no concrete plans to do anything. Did they buy the day planners themselves, in a moment of good intentions that quickly faded to nothing? Or were they a gift from someone else?

So who's good for nothing?

I'm not sure if this qualifies as a pun or not, but I think there are two shades of meaning here. First, the boyfriends are obviously "good-for-nothing", that is, "of no use or value". Second, "good for" is an idiom all by itself, meaning "able to provide or produce (something)", or "able to pay, repay, or give". So if you're looking for someone to provide you with a steady supply of nothingness, the boyfriends are the guys for you.

After you've run through your personal time

Of course the boyfriends have used up ALL their time off from work. Of course.

You've still got some Wite-Out
Enough to erase all the previous line

The boyfriends are so lazy, they have moved beyond simply NOT doing things, and are now actively UN-doing things that they have already done.

Did you say out loud that you think you've lost your edge?
Man, you never lost your edge

The boyfriends never had an edge in the first place, so how could they possibly lose it?

All the lazy boyfriends are preparing to change

"Preparing to change" is like "get[ting] ready to go": a form of procrastination that never results in action.

They're standing in the kitchen and preparing to change

Standing in the kitchen, not moving, is an example of this procrastination. And it implies that the boyfriends are gluttonous on top of being lazy.

All the lazy boyfriends are preparing to change

Repeating the line emphasizes the lack of movement or change.

This American splendor spreads out before you
From basements to attics, garages to sheds

Referring to these marginal spaces as "splendor" is obviously ironic. Are these the spaces where the boyfriends go to hide from the people who might ask them to do things, i.e. bosses and girlfriends? Or spaces where they can live without paying rent? Or both?

Who needs a vacation? Who needs a direction?
Who needs motivation when you live in your head?

The "Who needs a vacation?" part obviously suggests that the boyfriends' lives are already a kind of perpetual vacation, but on top of that, it implies that the boyfriends are too lazy to even put effort into having a good time. The rest is self-explanatory.

So who's good for nothing?

Already covered.

So hard to finish, there's nothing to force

The boyfriends are so lacking in substance that they can't even be FORCED to finish a task—by themselves, or by anyone else. "There's no there there."

You've still got some Wite-Out

Already covered.

And all of the girlfriends' buyer's remorse

I get it. I wouldn't want to be the girlfriend of one of these guys either.

Did you say out loud that you think you've lost your edge?
Man, you never lost your edge

Already covered.

All the lazy boyfriends are preparing to change
They're staring at the ceiling and preparing to change
All the lazy boyfriends are preparing

"Staring at the ceiling" is another non-action like "standing in the kitchen", and also another example of how the boyfriends are "liv[ing] in [their] head[s]". Also note that the last line cuts off early, as though the boyfriends neglected to finish it.

Begin again, begin again
Wake up the lazy boyfriends
Begin again, begin again
We can start at the end

"Begin again" and "We can start at the end" take on new meanings here, as the song itself ends where it started and begins again. The boyfriends need waking up again, just like yesterday. Nothing has changed. Nothing has been accomplished. An endless, lazy cycle.

TiltingThings (talk) 23:36, 28 April 2022 (EDT)