Mixtape – Unwrapping the Emotive Anthology of a Breakup Ballad


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Brand New's Mixtape at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. Twenty-Dollar Bill of Contempt: Unpacking the Visual Verse
  5. Inked in Irony: The Resonance of Tattoos and Criticism
  6. An Acoustic Aversion: The Struggle for Authentic Connection
  7. The Golden Afternoons: Nostalgia’s Haunting Echo
  8. The Shadow in the Chorus: A Lurking Desire Unveiled

Lyrics

I got a twenty-dollar bill

That says no one’s ever seen you without makeup.

You’re always made up.

And I’m sick of your tattoos

and the way you always criticize the Smiths.

and Morrissey.

And I know that you’re a sucker for anything acoustic.

But when I say let’s keep in touch,

I really mean I wish that you’d grow up.

This is the first song for your mix tape.

It’s short just like your temper,

But somewhat golden like the afternoons

We used to spend before you got too cool.

I got a twenty-dollar bill

that says no one’s ever seen you without makeup.

You’re always made up.

And I’m sick of your tattoos

And the way you don’t appreciate Brand New

And me.

And I know that you’re a sucker for anything acoustic.

But when I say let’s keep in touch,

I hope you know I mean I wish that you’d grow up

This is the first song for your mix tape

And it’s short just like your temper

But somewhat golden like the afternoons

We used to spend before you got too cool.

Yeah, but I wish you were my shadow (repeat 4x)

Full Lyrics

Brand New’s ‘Mixtape’, a scathing and candid track, peels back the layers of post-relationship bitterness and youthful nostalgia. The raw emotion is palpable in each verse as listeners are taken on an angsty journey through remembrance and resentment.

As often with Brand New’s music, the lyrics are laced with personal narrative and cultural references that demand introspection. ‘Mixtape’ serves not only as a musical composition but as a vessel for decoding the sentiments that accompany a connection that has soured. What begins as a musical indictment unfolds into a broader commentary on growth, identity, and the aching notion of moving on.

Twenty-Dollar Bill of Contempt: Unpacking the Visual Verse

The opening line, brandishing a twenty-dollar bill, is a provocative bet against the authenticity of a former lover. It calls out the perceived superficiality of their existence — a life seemingly coated in makeup, ever obscured, never fully seen — which operates as a dual critique on surface-level living and on the facade individuals maintain in relationships.

The symbolism of the monetary wager speaks to the value, or lack thereof, that the speaker places on the genuineness of their former partner. It’s a bitter ode to the realization that what was once cherished could have been no more than an artfully crafted mirage.

Inked in Irony: The Resonance of Tattoos and Criticism

Tattoos, often a motif for permanence and self-expression, become sickening to the speaker in their repeated encounters. The song presents these markings not as emblems of individuality, but rather as symbols of pretentiousness. Coupled with the disdain for the critique of influential bands like the Smiths, the tattoos underscore a cultural divide — one that seems irreconcilable.

This perceived disregard for what is meaningful to the speaker reads as a microcosm for the relationship’s breakdown. It’s an indictment on the other’s priorities and values that no longer align, painted with broad strokes of frustration and alienation.

An Acoustic Aversion: The Struggle for Authentic Connection

The recurring allusion to ‘anything acoustic’ is an evocative metaphor for simplicity and rawness. Ironically, this affinity for stripped-down music contrasts with the apparent complexity of the ex-lover’s personality and the fragmented nature of their communication.

When the speaker expresses a desire to ‘keep in touch,’ it becomes clear that the sentiment is fraught with the wish for maturity — a plea for the ex-lover to peel back their layers of posturing, much like an acoustic version of a song would strip away the production to reveal its core.

The Golden Afternoons: Nostalgia’s Haunting Echo

Interspersed with the harsh words are strands of golden nostalgia. The afternoons of their past are likened to a time before the fall from grace, before the other became ‘too cool’. This analogy of golden times shines a light on the complexity of relationships — where moments once cherished can become painful reminders of what has been lost.

Such wistfulness surfaces throughout the song, painting a poignant contrast between the sweetness of memory and the bitterness of the present. The ‘golden’ descriptor does double duty, suggesting value and beauty, meanwhile reminding us of the transient nature of time and emotions.

The Shadow in the Chorus: A Lurking Desire Unveiled

The chorus echoes a haunting lament with the desire for the ex-lover to be the speaker’s ‘shadow.’ Repeated four times, like a mantra or a wish, it uncovers a deep-seated yearning for closeness, a closeness that is as constant and unshakeable as a shadow to its source.

This urge for the ex to become a shadow not only signifies a wish to never be alone but also reflects a darker, more possessive side to remembrance. It is a complex and jarring sentiment that underscores a painful paradox: the desperate need for detachment from a painful past, yet the inability to let go entirely.

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