Education – Unraveling the Labyrinth of Learning and Existence


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Modest Mouse's Education at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. Between the Lines – The Blurry Borders of Education
  5. Unkempt Symphonies – The Chaotic Dance of Life’s Lessons
  6. The Cryptic Nostradamus – Foreshadowing and Fate
  7. Distractions Dressed in Beauty – The Hidden Meaning
  8. Reciting the Creed of Modern Existence – Memorable Lines

Lyrics

Call it education

It was somewhere in between

You gave me some sound advice

But I wasn’t listening

After we had capsized

I could tell you how you thought

Well, I’m not sure

But laid to rest on the city on the wall

Not quite conversation

It was somewhere in between

You said everything is taught

And I listened patiently

All this talking pony

Still monkies the whole time

We could not help from flinging shit

In our modern suits and ties

Our instincts, they were cringing

About how we lived our lives

It didn’t seem we’d lived enough

To even get to die

All these diss distractions

So beautifully complex

Well, I loved life’s surprises so much

I don’t want to know what’s happened

Stubborn shouting, said

“I don’t do what you do”

I don’t know

Could it really hear highly if you highly care?

And you don’t

Stubborn beauty, stubborn beauty

I’ve been away

Hardly education

It was somewhere in between

Oh, I hit the roof but I had

Aimed for the ceiling

Hardly education

All them books I didn’t

They just sat there on my shelf

Looking much smarter than me

Good old Nostradamus

He knew the whole damn time

That always being east from west

Someone is there fighting

Stubborn shouting, said

“I don’t do what you do”

I don’t know

Could it really hear highly if you highly care?

And you don’t

Stubborn beauty, stubborn beauty

I’ve been away

Stubborn beauty, stubborn beauty

I don’t know anyway

Stubborn beauty, stubborn beauty

I don’t know

Could it really hear highly if you highly care?

And you don’t

Stubborn beauty, stubborn beauty

Uh.. I fell away

Stubborn beauty, stubborn beauty

Oh, very well, then

Stubborn beauty, stubborn beauty

Oh, very well, then

Stubborn beauty, stubborn beauty

Oh, very well, then

Oh, very well, then

Full Lyrics

When you hear the pulsing drumbeats and the unorthodox strains of Modest Mouse, you anticipate a journey through the unpredictable. The track ‘Education’ from their album ‘We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank’ is not an aberration to this anticipated journey. It is an introspective voyage, a dive into the ethos of the human condition and the trials of knowledge.

Beneath the deceptively simple rock infrastructure and the crackling vocals of Isaac Brock, lies a dense lyrical quilt, patchworked with existential quandaries and societal critiques. This lyrical dissection will delve into the song’s eclectic verses and discover the nuanced teachings ‘Education’ imparts.

Between the Lines – The Blurry Borders of Education

Modest Mouse starts off with an ambiguous statement, ‘It was somewhere in between,’ setting the tone for the entire song. This ‘in-betweenness’ resonates as a theme, juggling between advice given and advice taken (or ignored), between the intended and the actual teachings of life. Such haziness reflects the often uncertain and undefined path of learning, be it in an institutionalized setting or life’s informal curriculum.

The antithesis of the song’s title, ‘Education,’ with its lyrical content, paints a striking image of cognitive dissonance. Knowledge and wisdom are seen as not being purely derived from books and lectures, but from the experience of life’s unpredictability, a stark contrast to the traditional concept of education.

Unkempt Symphonies – The Chaotic Dance of Life’s Lessons

The vigorous ‘All this talking pony’ dismisses much of conversation as noise, paralleling the way we, as ‘modern suits and ties,’ often mindlessly contribute to the cacophony. Brock’s lyrics highlight a primal, instinctive aspect of human nature that seems to be at odds with the polished facade of civilized society, revealing an underlying critique of superficial communication.

Here, Modest Mouse taps into the core struggle of human sophistication versus inherent animalistic tendencies, a battle that often leaves us feeling as if we are ‘flinging shit’ despite our sophistications. Education is thus posited as not just about the accumulation of knowledge, but also about understanding and taming our basest instincts.

The Cryptic Nostradamus – Foreshadowing and Fate

There’s a sardonic nod to the prophet ‘Nostradamus,’ known for his cryptic predictions, which the song connects to the predictability of human conflict. Such references to historical figures suggest a cycle of knowledge and ignorance that humanity replays eternally. ‘Education’ in this sense becomes a historical loop from which we struggle to evolve.

These lines are an acknowledgement of the cyclic nature of human progress and setbacks – east will always clash with west, and despite our access to the wealth of knowledge, humanity still fails to break away from the patterns identified by seers like Nostradamus.

Distractions Dressed in Beauty – The Hidden Meaning

Labelling life’s complex distractions as ‘so beautifully complex’ reveals an intriguing facet of the song’s hidden meaning. Modest Mouse seems to marvel at the intricate distractions life offers, suggesting that there’s a certain allure to ignorance and the unexpected surprises it might unveil.

This paradoxical embrace of life’s unpredictable nature versus a desire for structured education is a tension that runs heavily throughout the song. It resonates as more of an acknowledgment of the complexity of life and the beauty found within it, rather than an outright rejection of knowledge.

Reciting the Creed of Modern Existence – Memorable Lines

The repeating declarations of ‘Stubborn beauty, stubborn beauty’ and the questioning of whether one can ‘hear highly if you highly care?’ resonate as a form of modern-day creed. These lines embody the struggle between apathy and passion, a declaration of the agony of caring in a world that seems indifferent.

In this existential chant, Modest Mouse is painting a portrait of the modern human condition – encapsulating our refusal to conform, the beauty of our stubbornness, and the pain that comes with deeply caring in a loud and indifferent universe.

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