Dancing Choose – Unraveling the Anthem of Modern Anxieties

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for TV on the Radio's Dancing Choose at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. A Labyrinth of Media: Interpreting the Newsstand Metaphor
  5. The Hidden Meaning: Consumerism and Its Discontents
  6. Memorable Lines: The Exasperated Cry of the Information Age
  7. Anatomy of Rebellion: The Song’s Punk Backbone
  8. Dance or Be Defined: The Call to Action


He’s a WHAT? he’s a WHAT?
He’s a newspaper man
And he gets his best ideas
From a newspaper stand;
From his boots to his pants
To his comments and his rants
He knows that any little article will do!

Though he expresses some confusion
Bout his part in the plan,
And he can’t understand
That he’s not in command;
The decisions underwritten
By the cash in his hand
Bought a sweater for
His weimariner too

Now I’m no mad man,
But that’s insanity
Feast before famine,
And more before family
Goes and shows up with
More bowls and more
Cups and the riot for the
Last hot meal erupts
Corrupts his hard drive
Through the leanest months
Shells out the hard cash
For the sickest stunts;
On aftershave, on gasoline
He flips the page and turns
The scene

In my mind I’m drowning butterflies
Broken dreams and alibis;
That’s fine.
I’ve seen my palette blown
To monochrome-
Hollow heart
Clicks hollowtone,
It’s time.

Eye on authority,
Thumb prints a forgery
Boy, ain’t it crazy what the
Lights can do
For counterfeit community;
Every opportunity
Wasted as the space
Between the flash tattoo

And the half-hearted hologram,
Posed for the party
Now he gloss full bleed
On a deaf dumb tree
Cod liver dollar signs,
Credit card autograph
Down for the record
But not for freedom

Angry young mannequin
American, apparently
Still to the rhythm
Better get to the back of me
Can’t stand the vision,
Better tongue the anatomy
Gold plated overhead,
Blank transparency
In the days of old,
You were a nut
Now you need three bumps
Before you cut
Not that I should care about,
Nothing I ain’t scared of, but
I guess you had

In my mind I’m breeding butterflies,
Broken dreams, and alibis
That’s fine.
I’ve seen my palette
Blown to monochrome
Hollow heart
Clicks hollowtone
In time.

I see you figured in your action pose
Foam-injected axl rose,
Life size
Should something shake you
And you drop the news,
Lord, just keep your dancing shoes
Off mine

Full Lyrics

TV on the Radio’s ‘Dancing Choose’ is not just a song, it’s a coded manifesto set to an indie rock beat. The kaleidoscopic lyrics offer a dense collage of images that reflect on contemporary life’s cacophony of media noise, consumerism, and the distorted sense of identity it breeds.

The 2008 single from their acclaimed album ‘Dear Science,’ ‘Dancing Choose’ holds up a mirror to the often overlooked struggles intrinsic to the daily grind. We’ll dissect this snapshot of urban existence and discover how, beneath the surface, these words channel the zeitgeist of the late 2000s and reverberate with relevance today.

A Labyrinth of Media: Interpreting the Newsstand Metaphor

The song opens with a character who garners his ‘best ideas from a newspaper stand,’ which itself serves as a symbol for the overflow of information shaping public thought. This ‘newspaper man’ is a stand-in for the everyday person, inundated by a continuous stream of content, shaping his worldview as much as his own personal thoughts.

TV on the Radio confronts us with the daunting reality that what we consume inevitably becomes part of our intellectual fabric. This opening salvo teases apart the dissonance between individual agency and the systemic influences that guide our hands and minds without us even realizing.

The Hidden Meaning: Consumerism and Its Discontents

Amidst the veil of poetic imagery, ‘Dancing Choose’ delves into the darker side of consumer culture. The character spends extravagantly on ‘aftershave, on gasoline,’ and absurdities for ‘his weimariner too,’ illustrating a disconnect between value and values, where material excess supersedes fundamental necessities like ‘feast before famine.’

It’s a critique of our misplaced priorities and how they are manipulated by the economic streams that govern society. By highlighting these ironic expenditures, TV on the Radio paints a picture of a society preoccupied with the superficial, even as it stands on the brink of collapse.

Memorable Lines: The Exasperated Cry of the Information Age

In ‘I see you figured in your action pose / Foam-injected Axl Rose,’ there’s a powerful accusation directed at the falsity of image over substance. The comparison to a rock icon, known for his larger-than-life persona, underscores a culture obsessed with the veneer of importance and the desire for recognition.

Furthermore, phrases like ‘broken dreams and alibis’ and ‘hollow heart clicks hollowtone’ resonate as a modern lament, capturing the essence of personal detachment amidst the digital buzz. These poignant lyrics become a collective sigh for authenticity lost in the pixels of our polished online lives.

Anatomy of Rebellion: The Song’s Punk Backbone

Drenched in the rich tradition of punk ethos, ‘Dancing Choose’ doesn’t just criticize; it rebels. Phrases like ‘Angry young mannequin / American, apparently’ evoke the disaffection and non-conformity punk celebrated. Our protagonist is the embittered everyman, railing against a conveyor belt lifestyle predetermined by unseen hands.

The beauty in these lyrics lies in their power to provoke. A call to arms, the song beckons listeners to challenge the ordered chaos, to recognize the ‘counterfeit community,’ and to find solace not in complacency but in the active quest for truth and purpose.

Dance or Be Defined: The Call to Action

Amidst the seething critique of societal woes, ‘Dancing Choose’ offers a redemptive narrative: the act of dancing itself. This isn’t just about moving to the rhythm; it’s a metaphor for personal freedom, a refusal to be defined by the noise. It urges the audience to retain autonomy, symbolized by keeping ‘your dancing shoes off mine.’

Ultimately, the song is a dance of defiance, an encouragement to be more than just a ‘half-hearted hologram.’ Dancing, here, is the pure expression of individuality that survives and thrives outside the clutches of a manufactured existence.

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