Mainly Genius

Lyrics of the Week #2: The Boxer Rebellion – Flashing Red Light Means Go
May 13, 2010, 12:06 am
Filed under: Lyrics of the Week | Tags: , , ,

Yep, week two has arrived already and I’ve not got bored of this series just yet. This week’s entry comes from Mainly Genius favourites The Boxer Rebellion. They’re the band that words such as “spacious” and “really fucking massive area-sized rock” were made for (as my review of 2nd album Union will attest).

So why this song? Well for a start, the song itself is corker. Starting with tumbling drums and Nathan Nicholson’s instantly graceful vocals, an acoustic guitar slowly builds into a frantic and busy chorus before the song ends with another soaring crescendo and is bookended by Piers Hewitt’s excellent, jumpy drums.

However, the lyrics are the reason why we’re here though and it’s the opening two verses that I wanted focus my attention on. They’re about love (and the loss thereof) there’s no doubting that, but what sets them apart is the view of love that the lyrics suggest:

“What’s the use in my advice that you just turn down?
Swaying to a serenade, you never hear a sound.
But I know you know now.

Generate the false alarms; the verdict: counterfeit.
Flashing lights to bring you back from who you’re running with.
But I know you know now”

The narrator isn’t longing for a lost love or expressing his feelings about a broken relationship. It seems that he longs to protect more than anything else.
Beginning by bemoaning the fact that he is never listened to, he then proceeds to suggest that the former love is crying for help by generating “false alarms” and that only “flashing lights”, presumably those of a police car or similar, can bring her back and enable his protection.
The final line of each verse is interesting and as well as telling us of the relationship that once was, also contains a hint of the feelings that are still present. In saying that “I know you now”, it suggests that he sees through any charade that may be occurring and is only interested in protecting and helping.

So all in all, an interesting and clever set of words and in a style that really sums up the album well. The Boxer Rebellion aren’t happy with straightforward lyrics and the alternative angle and clever wording really help to enhance what is already a fantastic record.

Below is Flashing Red Light Means Go in it’s entirety and don’t forget to purchase Union, the fantastic album from which it is taken.

The Boxer Rebellion – Flashing Red Light Means Go


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