Cigarettes, Wedding Bands by Band of Horses Lyrics Meaning – Unveiling the Essence of Life’s Duality

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Band of Horses's Cigarettes, Wedding Bands at
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning


Working man’s day wage, just piss it away
Leaves it out in the weather

Failure, he said, times two breeds contempt
Wash your hands of it forever

Violence it ripped through the old dogwood fence
See the hope, see it unravel

Drunk brother said he could reason with them
While they lied at night, they lied at night, ????
While they lied at night, they lied at night, ????

The picture was left on the front porch, well that’s it
I love you, don’t you ever become ????

My body knows there’s a hell with my soul
We don’t even know the difference

The dead folks in the clouds, for crying out loud
While they lied at night, they lied at night, ????
While they lied at night, they lied at night, ????

And why, did we live so long
So long
So long


The house is not the same since we left it that day
Old friends seem to wonder
Our parents had cigarettes, wedding bells
While they lied at night, they lied at night, ????
While they lied at night, they lied at night, ????

And why, did we live so long
So long
So long


While they lied at night, they lied at night, ????
While they lied at night, they lied at night, ????
While they lied at night, they lied at night, ????

Full Lyrics

Band of Horses have always had a knack for saddling up the ordinary and taking it on a deeply emotional journey, a talent that’s shimmering once again in ‘Cigarettes, Wedding Bands.’ The track is a mesmerizing concoction of alt-rock and indie folk, which, upon first listen, cloaks its profound insights within a gentle rhythm and indelible melodies.

Peeling back the layers of this poetically charged song reveals an exploration of life’s stark contrasts—joy and pain, love and loss, truth and deception—blended into the undercurrent of human existence. The song captures the essence of these existential opposites, painting a vivid picture of the human spirit grappling with the complexities of connection and the inevitability of change.

The Haunting Echo of a Working Man’s Lament

The opening lines of ‘Cigarettes, Wedding Bands’ set a somber stage, where a working man’s daily grind leads only to waste and despair. The song is a dirge for the blue-collar standstill—a lament for those whose lives leave an imperceptible mark on the tapestry of history.

This gripping narrative isn’t just about economic hardship; it’s a reflection on the human condition. The ‘day wage’ acts as a metaphor for the expended effort and passion that all too often dissipate into the void, unappreciated and weathered by time.

The Visceral Impact of Familial Missteps

With the stark imagery of a damaged dogwood fence, Band of Horses tackles the rippling effects of violence and family conflicts. The song underscores how the idealizations of family life clash with the realities of dysfunction, leading to a breakdown of hopes and dreams.

The protagonist’s ‘drunk brother’ and his futile attempt to negotiate with faceless deceivers embody the internal battles that families often face, reflecting the painful recognition that sometimes the ties that bind can also strangle.

Unearthing the Song’s Hidden Meaning

Beyond the literal interpretation lies a sea of subtext within ‘Cigarettes, Wedding Bands.’ The cryptic musings about ‘dead folks in the clouds’ hint at an existential questioning of life choices and the notion of legacy.

It signifies a gaze beyond the material realm, perhaps implying that our actions ripple through time, touching upon the mystical connection between the living and the dead. The song implies that truth is as transient as life itself, morphing and hiding within the shadows of our perception.

Memorable Lines: The Dichotomy of Innocence and Experience

There is a haunting duality in the juxtaposition of ‘cigarettes’ and ‘wedding bands.’ These elements epitomize the bittersweet blend of life’s moments—temporary pleasures versus lifelong commitments.

The contrast draws a line through generations, capturing an image of parental figures who, despite their love and ambitions, succumb to their own deceptions. These lines evoke a deep nostalgia, combined with a realization that every generation carries its own secrets and lies.

Why We Live So Long: A Reflection on Endurance

The song’s refrain, ‘And why, did we live so long,’ is a plaintive introspection on the purpose of longevity. It conveys a sense of weariness, a yearning to understand the point of enduring life’s seemingly endless cycle of hardship and mendacity.

Yet, implicit in this questioning is a profound resilience—the unspoken acknowledgment that despite the undeniable presence of suffering, there exists a stubborn will to persist, to find meaning, and to cling to the flickering lights of hope and connection amidst the darkness.

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