Interpretations:Long White Beard

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Heavy thoughts for a kids' song[edit]

The first verse on the surface describes a Rip Van Winkle-type situation, but the brief description of the narrator dreaming of her family really haunts me. She has either been living her life up to that point as if in dream, but now she has finally become conscious of her old age and mortality, or she has been aware of it for some time and briefly escapes into a dream to revisit family long since passed and relive the happy times, waking up again to her reality again, with a long face, her eyebrows sad and drooping. (And she needs a shave but I won't judge.) - Scarlet Swordfish

Oh my god, it's Four Of Two all over again - I totally missed that! I was blindsided to the implications of waking up old and not just waking up with a beard! I think the quiet political power of having Robin sing this song is not to be overlooked - of course her vocal is great, and it's pretty solid piece of music as far as Flans's kids songs go (one of his best on this record certainly!), but there was definitely a conscious moment when he thought "if a woman sings this, it'll hit a little harder and mean a little more" - I love it! Flans has plenty of shamelessly preachy moments in his kids' material (even Science Is Real I thought was a little too explicit but I do love him for it, And Mom And Kid is less so but not a very interesting song). This is the most effortlessly beautiful thing he could have done! -j2

Dealing with grief and age[edit]

I know this is a children's song, but this song is pretty depressing. It's about dealing with mortality. A major reference point is the lyric "I had a wonderful dream. My family was there". And then the character wakes up sees their long white beard.

I think that this means that this character's family had passed away, and they are getting up there in age. And they're feeling lots of grief over it, and the dream makes them the happiest they've been in a while ("I had a beautiful sleep, I had a wonderful dream")