Broke – Unraveling the Layers of Regret and Resilience

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Modest Mouse's Broke at
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. Fiscal Frustration or Emotional Bankruptcy?
  5. The Carousel of Conversations: Round and Round We Go
  6. The Alchemy of Excuses: Bronzing the Classic Defenses
  7. Memorable Lines: The Lingering Taste of Turpentine
  8. Uncovering the Song’s Hidden Meaning: The Art of Being Broke


Broke account so I broke a sweat
I’ve bought some things that I sort of regret about now
Broke your glasses, but it broke the ice
You said that I was an asshole and I paid the price
Broken hearts want broken necks

I’ve done some things that I want to forget but I can’t
Broke my pace and ran out of time
Sometimes I’m so full of shit that it should be a crime
Broke a promise cause my car broke down

Such a classic excuse it should be bronze by now
Broke up, and I’m relieved somehow
It’s the end of the discussions that just go round and round
And round, and round, and round, and round,
And round, and round it shouldn’t have been anyway
No way, no way, no way, that’s right

Uh oh, uh oh, uh oh, uh no
Uh oh, uh oh, uh oh, uh no
It was like everything was evidence of broken (time?)
You’re living on fancy wine
You’ll drink that turpentine
You’re starting conversations
You don’t even know the topic

Full Lyrics

Modest Mouse’s ‘Broke’ is a track that reverberates with the sting of regret and the clinking of change in empty pockets. As the song’s rueful lyrics wash over the listener, it’s clear that this is more than a simple narrative about financial poverty; it digs into a rich soil of emotional insolvency and the costs of living that tally up beyond the ledger.

Wrapped in Isaac Brock’s raw vocal delivery and the band’s distinctive melodic approach, ‘Broke’ weaves a tapestry of personal failings and hard-learned lessons. It stands as an anthem for the perennial underdog, the down-and-out figures who find poetry in the debris of their own lives.

Fiscal Frustration or Emotional Bankruptcy?

At first glance, ‘Broke’ might sound like an anthem reflecting the era’s economic angst, but it plunges deeper, symbolizing the personal toll of life’s missteps. Modest Mouse confronts the idea of being ‘broke’ not just in the material sense but as a state of being, scratching at the walls of purpose and self-worth.

The lyrics paint vignettes of shattered expectations and the disillusionment that comes with the realization that money isn’t the only currency that matters. From the broken glasses described as a conversation starter to the archetypical broken promises, Modest Mouse treats the concept of brokenness as a multifaceted experience.

The Carousel of Conversations: Round and Round We Go

The cyclical nature of the chorus, with its relentless ’round and round’, mirrors the inescapability of certain troubles, whether it’s the same old arguments or the repetitive patterns of one’s own mistakes. Brock’s lyrics capture that dizzying sensation of being trapped on a merry-go-round of mishaps, each revolution offering a blurred past and an uncertain future.

Beyond the weariness of repetition, this section also highlights the inevitability of confronting ourselves. It suggests that life’s loops are not just a product of external forces but also the orbits we’ve unwittingly plotted, setting up the gravitational pull of our own downfalls.

The Alchemy of Excuses: Bronzing the Classic Defenses

Every ‘classic excuse’ receives a nod in ‘Broke’, suggesting a tongue-in-cheek recognition of their use. Yet, there is an undercurrent of self-awareness, a sense that these excuses have not only lost their luster but have been transformed into something more permanent, as enduring as a bronze statue. It’s an ironic celebration of the mediocrity of our defense mechanisms.

The line is a clever indictment of the way we often justify our failures. Modest Mouse skewers the banality of these excuses, framing them not as transient missteps but as fixtures in the museum of our foibles.

Memorable Lines: The Lingering Taste of Turpentine

One cannot discuss ‘Broke’ without savoring the bitter tang of the line ‘You’ll drink that turpentine’. It’s a sharp metaphor that slices through the song, encapsulating the self-destructive tendencies we exhibit when trying to cleanse the palate of past mistakes with even harsher remedies.

This line stands out for its visceral punch, illustrating how sometimes, in our quest for redemption or escape, we ingest poisons that do more harm than good. It’s a haunting reminder of the lengths we’ll go to in our desperation to feel something other than broken.

Uncovering the Song’s Hidden Meaning: The Art of Being Broke

There is a fine art to being ‘broke’ as Modest Mouse portrays it, an acknowledgment that our fragments, whether of heart or finance, accumulate over time, shaping who we are. ‘Broke’ is not a lament but a raw acknowledgment of a universal condition. It’s a testament to the beauty that can emerge from the acknowledgment of our flaws, and the wisdom that often comes hand-in-hand with our most dire straits.

This song is a mosaic created from the pieces of a life lived in the pursuit of something more, even when faced with relentless defeat. Each lyric serves as a mirror, reflecting pieces of the human experience that resonate with anyone who has ever felt the weight of brokenness, yet, despite it all, remains standing – imperfect but unbowed.

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