Couples vs Jobless Mid 30s

Lyrics

(1)

Relevant in your leisure...
Jet lag...
At his come down
Composite set year
The green jelly
Green jelly envy  (2)

No, nevermore (3)
Gargoyle legs
Are droopy
C quality
Next, they jet
Upwardly B.T. rancid
Laughter

His grin is elf
Makes 10 copies
To his mother spouts
She tortures him in big house
Don't forget that
Birthday
Look at me, kids
Is irrelevant to your latent sex
and shock your lizard

(Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho) (4)

And your lookalikey tears is relevant in your
His grin is elf
Makes 10 copies
His blonde mother spouts
Tortures him in his big house

Get rid, you need more sackings
Order up his toast
His grin is elf
Advertising
And makes 10 copies
His blonde mother spouts
Tortures him, in big house
Says we need more seconds
(Eagles of Death Metal)  (5)
His grin is elf
Aids joke
CD Antipodian, upside down
Percussionist rests
Grin is elf
Percussionist retched
She yells, at every morn,
(message:) Get a job!

Dreaming
The dream: gargoyles and drummers, awkwardly descend to great terror
Get a job

Waiting

The works down in every town
He's a nice man to have around,
He implodes on shelf, with someone else,
He's elf 
But just watch him
He is
He's raised elf on shelf (6)

Compulsive on the side
Like the 15 marrows
The ja volks
With Gene Kelly
Say through the clotted breath
How the clouds of synthetic
And overpriced Herr Burgoman

Couples vs. must stay jobless
King of couples and closures
Must stay jobless
King of closures,
Couples vs. jobless

Couple 30-ish

vs. jobless

(7)
 

Notes

1.  MES, in an interview published in the September 2017 issue of Uncut magazine (from Dan, quoted from p.56):
 


The centrepiece of New Facts... is the nine-minute “Couples Vs Jobless Mid-30s,” an unhinged multi-part suite that veers from lumbering rock grooves complete with manic laughter to sections of chanting and detuned Mellotron. “We went to a studio in Castleford, Yorkshire,” says Smith, explaining the song’s creation, “which funnily enough is where we did Your Future Our Clutter. It’s a big, fuck-off heavy metal studio. I left them in there for a week or so.”

You just left the group there and went away? 

"No, not off on holiday! Stuff like 'Couples...,' that’s them having fun. So we got about seven songs out of it [at Castleford]. 'Couples...' is like three or four of their tunes savaged! They were trying to do something about Eagles Of Death Metal, and about heavy metal groups. I said, “That’s not on”, because they were the group in Paris, weren’t they? So I changed it to all this. I enjoy it...."

Eagles of Death Metal are mentioned in the backing vocals (see note 5). On November 13, 2015 90 fans were killed in a terorrist bombing at an Eagles of Death Metal concert in Paris at the Bataclan theatre. This is interesting insofar as it seems to imply the band would have had input into the lyrics or subject matter of a song they were writing...

"Victoria Train Station Massacre" unfortunately reminded people of another bombing, as Clash magazine wrote that it "eerily echoes the suicide bombing in Manchester last week [5/22/2017, at an Ariana Grande concert at nearby Manchester Arena]." In this case, MES did not change the title due to the (perceived, somewhat tenuous) connection, insisting that the song was written prior to the events in question.

Also from Dan, Pete Greenway, quoted p.57 of the same Uncut feature:
 


“Couples Vs Jobless Mid-30s” was conceived in a hotel room. Mark came up with the idea to do this long, operatic thing with chanting, and we took him at his word and did it. A very odd song.

^

2. TheorySwine on the Fall online forum:

Here's what I think the green jelly reference in Couples... might allude to. 

(i) - Smith is reminding us of the faux-metal 3 Little Pigs by Green Jelly of some years back, a tune that was a deliberate pastiche and maybe the style MES was aiming for in his musical homage to that song. So, a piss-take of a piss-take, and nothing more.

(ii) - He's commenting on his medical ailment. Perhaps he excreted some green jellyish substance from some orifice. I'm not taking the mickey - I once coughed up a phlegm-ball of perfect circular proportions and repulsive texture/appearance/size that it had me straight down the doctor's. I can only speculate that maybe he has passed something he'd rather not have.

(iii) - He had some nice green jelly for pudding.

^

3. It's hard to hear this word in a lyric without thinking of Poe's "The Raven." It's hard to go any further with this thought, however.

^

4. The backing vocals here seem to quote "Heigh Ho," from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (thanks be to gizmoman).

^

5. Eagles of Death Metal are an American rock band (see note 1). These two passages in the backing vocals appear in condensed form in the lyrics of "Fol de Rol" as "Heigh Ho metal!"

^

6. This may well be a reference to what Ted calls "the recent obnoxious Christmas tradition of having a stuffed elf on a shelf somewhere in the house to essentially report back to Santa on who's been naughty or nice. Based on a 2005 kids book, you could see it as a way to introduce the young'uns to a surveillance society.

^

7. Tempertantrum on the Fall online forum suggests that the last few seconds are a quote of the beginning of "Decades" by Joy Division. It seems possible this is a coincidence.

^

Comments (32)

bzfgt
  • 1. bzfgt (link) | 11/08/2017
OK this is the most incomprehensible vocal yet
gizmoman
  • 2. gizmoman | 07/10/2017
The "HI Ho" backing vocals are of course a reference to Disney's Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs, the Dwarfs sing "Hi Ho Hi Ho it's off to work we go", they are singing "Hi Ho" in this song to taunt the poor jobless.
bzfgt
  • 3. bzfgt (link) | 18/11/2017
Yes, there is always something where once someone points it out I think, "Well. of course!" That you have be right about.

Isn't there "hey-ho" or something close to "hi ho" in another one of these? Now I can't remember, but I'm putting the album on now...
bzfgt
  • 4. bzfgt (link) | 18/11/2017
OK, Fol de Rol.
bzfgt
  • 5. bzfgt (link) | 18/11/2017
Crap, there is a hitch though--In don't hear anyone saying "Hi Ho!"
bzfgt
  • 6. bzfgt (link) | 18/11/2017
You must be thinking of Fol de Rol...
gizmoman
  • 7. gizmoman | 27/11/2017
No the "Hi Ho" is in "Jobless" The backing vocals start at 2 minutes 40 seconds in, they are very clear.
bzfgt
  • 8. bzfgt (link) | 02/12/2017
OK I can kind of hear it now you say that but to me it's far from "very clear," and I'm not sure that's what they're saying! Can we get more ears on this matter and confirm what is probably the case, that I'm half-deaf and gizmoman is right?
DP Mnculty
  • 9. DP Mnculty | 23/12/2017
listening to it now. Incomprehensible
gizmoman
  • 10. gizmoman | 29/12/2017
Maybe you have to be familiar with the original song, it's taken from the start of the heigh ho section of this medley, at 1min 20 secs.


This record was played regularly on british radio well into the 70's on such programs as junior choice, the younger members of the current band may not know it well but Mark certainly will, i'm not 100% sure on all Fall lyrics and references but i'm 100% sure on this one, listen again!
Ted
  • 11. Ted (link) | 08/01/2018
Could "elf on shelf" be a reference to the recent obnoxious Christmas tradition of having a stuffed elf on a shelf somewhere in the house to essentially report back to Santa on who's been naughty or nice. Based on a 2005 kids book, you could see it as a way to introduce the young'uns to a surveillance society.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Elf_on_the_Shelf
Ben C
  • 12. Ben C | 30/01/2018
This song make me think of that https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turpin_case
Another pre-cog song?
dannyno
  • 13. dannyno | 01/02/2018
"Another" pre-cog song?! Heh, sorry, skeptic here.

Anyway, yes, what makes you think of the Turpin Case, in particular?
bzfgt
  • 14. bzfgt (link) | 10/02/2018
Ted, I absolutely think "Elf on a Shelf" is a reference, I am amazed that I never put a note in as that is actually familiar to me and I always think of it here.
bzfgt
  • 15. bzfgt (link) | 10/02/2018
Gizmo, I know the original song quite well, I'm just having trouble hearing it on this one.
bzfgt
  • 16. bzfgt (link) | 10/02/2018
OK giz your "100 percent" is giving me a bad conscience. Can someone else please weigh in on this and maybe even settle the matter? I am still in DP McNulty's camp, alas...
bzfgt
  • 17. bzfgt (link) | 10/02/2018
OK maybe it's the power of suggestion but I do hear "Hi Ho" now, when concentrating. I am putting it in at least until someone objects.
bzfgt
  • 18. bzfgt (link) | 10/02/2018
OK but what else are the backing vocals saying? I can't make out the words or whether they're from the Disney song.
Grimo
  • 19. Grimo | 17/02/2018
1 His grin is L.../ His grin is Elf
2 (Shelf - sh = Elf. SH = Stephen Hanley?)
3 Eagles of Death Metal ... (backing vocals)
4 ... CD. Antipodian. Upside down.
5 Starving, She yells...
6 He works/writes down. In every town. Hes a nice man to have around
7 His grin is elf on shelf
bzfgt
  • 20. bzfgt (link) | 19/02/2018
I didn't find where all of that goes but some of it seems more accurate than we had.
deruntergeher
  • 21. deruntergeher | 25/02/2018
I think 'spouts' and 'spouse' alternate ie 'blond mother spouse' is wife who is (or acts like) a mother. I also think it's 'greenest elf' possibly meaning youngest child. The shelf references could be unmarried 'on the shelf', and 'on shelf with someone else' with a lodger or unmarried sibling ? Seems to be about family relationships and working from home perhaps. I also hear a 't' in 'marrows', wonder if it could be 'marottes' ?
Sean
  • 22. Sean | 26/02/2018
Not going to speculate on the relevance of this but Eagles of Death Metal headlined the Bataclan in Paris the night of the massacre in 2015 - they’re not a particularly remarkable group otherwise, so that would seem to be pertinent
dannyno
  • 23. dannyno | 04/03/2018
Comment #22, Sean: MES commented on this in the interview published in the September 2017 issue of Uncut magazine (quoted section p.56):


The centrepiece of New Facts... is the nine-minute “Couples Vs Jobless Mid-30s”, an unhinged multi-part suite that veers from lumbering rock grooves complete with manic laughter to sections of chanting and detuned Mellotron. “We went to a studio in Castleford, Yorkshire,” says Smith, explaining the song’s creation, “which funnily enough is where we did Your Future Our Clutter. It’s a big, fuck-off heavy metal studio. I left them in there for a week or so.”

You just left the group there and went away?

No, not off on holiday! Stuff like “Couples...”, that’s them having fun. So we got about seven songs out of it [at Castleford]. “Couples...” is like three or four of their tunes savaged! They were trying to do something about Eagles Of Death Metal, and about heavy metal groups. I said, “That’s not on”, because they were the group in Paris, weren’t they? So I changed it to all this. I enjoy it...."
dannyno
  • 24. dannyno | 04/03/2018
Pete Greenway, quoted p.57 of the same Uncut feature, Sept 2017:


“Couples Vs Jobless Mid-30s” was conceived in a hotel room. Mark came up with the idea to do this long, operatic thing with chanting, and we took him at his word and did it. A very odd song.
dannyno
  • 25. dannyno | 04/03/2018
And by the way, I agree with the "heigh ho" Disney/dwarves advocates above - definitely that kind of vibe.
bzfgt
  • 26. bzfgt (link) | 10/03/2018
Interesting as this seems to imply the band would be coming up with both music and subject matter or even lyrics, although diverted by MES in this case. Of course it could be an exception in this regard and thus imply nothing of significance...who knows?
Basmikel
  • 27. Basmikel | 13/06/2018
Agree on 21. I also hear Blonde mother spouse in most places, and it's "Couples" vs etc after all.
bzfgt
  • 28. bzfgt (link) | 15/07/2018
Crap, this will have to be resolved at some point. It's hard to tell.
quixto
  • 29. quixto | 25/08/2018
At 0:10 I have “And relevant in your later/snack scares”

At 0:29 I have “Running from/Run from/Mouton leg” It could also be “mutant leg” and I’m not really sure about any of it

At 0:48 one of MES’s voices says “At his comedown/His compulsive set year”

At 0:58 I think it is “Green jelly envy”

Starting at 1:28 I have “No, nevermore/Gargoyle legs and Droopy/C-quality/Massed degenerates” I think Droopy fits in with the Seven Dwarfs theme of the album (Heigh ho and such)

At 1:56 “Upwardly maintain prices”

At 2:18 I think it is “Mother-Spouse” instead of “mother spout”

Starting at 2:28 I have “Don’t forget/That/The fat/Look-alike in tears/Is relevant/To your latest snagged satin sock/Use” Not as sure about the end

At 3:44 it sounds like he says “He zipped through the EMZE/Continued [garbled]/CH stroke/[garbled]/CE/A tempogniard upside down” This sort of seems to me like MES is reading through a string of letters a la Junger Cloth. The tempongiard is just my best guess. Since the song is filled with puns I thought he might be making a reference to the upside down dagger that sometimes appears in text (indicating something to do with footnotes) while coining a new word connecting with the idea of tempo and percussion that forms one of the themes of the song. This is all a pet theory and admittedly pretty ridiculous.

At 5:19 I have “Der Dream/Gargoylers and drummers/Awkwardly dissent to Greek tale” It could also be “upwardly descend” “awkwardly descend” “upwardly dissent” etc.

At 7:10 One of MES’s voices says “Compulsive on the side/Like the 15 mare oats/Yolks/With Gene Kelly” I don’t know if there is a Mairzy Doats reference here, but it would fit in with the frequent wordplay

At 7:42 MES says “Herr Burgomann”
bzfgt
  • 30. bzfgt (link) | 01/09/2018
At 0:10 I have “And relevant in your later/snack scares”

Maybe 'relevant' but it's not clear. I definitely do not hear "snack scares."

At 0:29 I have “Running from/Run from/Mouton leg” It could also be “mutant leg” and I’m not really sure about any of it

Yes very very unclear.

At 0:48 one of MES’s voices says “At his comedown/His compulsive set year”

Pretty close, maybe maybe not that one word "set"

At 0:58 I think it is “Green jelly envy”

Or "and me," or something else. I put it in though.

Starting at 1:28 I have “No, nevermore/Gargoyle legs and Droopy/C-quality/

Maybe, maybe. "Gargoyle legs" seems closer than cab drivers. And rather than are, not sure, mostly it depends on what ensues. "C-quality" or "same quality"? I hear "seem quality." Seems wrong though so I went with yours.

"Massed degenerates”

I don't hear it. I don't think what's there is right, but I can't get to this. "Next" seems right, I don't hear "massed."

At 1:56 “Upwardly maintain prices”

I don't hear that. BT seems phonetically closer. I tentatively switched "rises" to "rancid," "rises" and "prices" are I think both wrong. That doesn't mean "rancid" is right. But it definitely ends with 'd'

At 2:18 I think it is “Mother-Spouse” instead of “mother spout”

We've switched back and forth between "spout" and "spouse" a few times now. The chief problem is he adds an 's' on a lot of words, so he basically pronounces those two words the same.

Starting at 2:28 I have “Don’t forget/That/The fat/Look-alike in tears/Is relevant/To your latest snagged satin sock/Use” Not as sure about the end

I still hear what I have more. Tough though.

At 3:44 it sounds like he says “He zipped through the EMZE/Continued [garbled]/CH stroke/[garbled]/CE/A tempogniard upside down” This sort of seems to me like MES is reading through a string of letters a la Junger Cloth. The tempongiard is just my best guess. Since the song is filled with puns I thought he might be making a reference to the upside down dagger that sometimes appears in text (indicating something to do with footnotes) while coining a new word connecting with the idea of tempo and percussion that forms one of the themes of the song. This is all a pet theory and admittedly pretty ridiculous.

At 5:19 I have “Der Dream/Gargoylers and drummers/Awkwardly dissent to Greek tale” It could also be “upwardly descend” “awkwardly descend” “upwardly dissent” etc.

Right having the same problems. I put "the dream" but it is very possibly "der dream," it just seems like it has to be extra certain to switch languages. I don't hear "Greek tale" at all, I hear "great terror."

At 7:10 One of MES’s voices says “Compulsive on the side/Like the 15 mare oats/Yolks/With Gene Kelly” I don’t know if there is a Mairzy Doats reference here, but it would fit in with the frequent wordplay

You're missing a syllable or two in there, it's hard to entangle. "Marrows" or "mare oats," it's hard to say which. "On the side" went in because I had nothing, but he swallows it so it's hard to say.

"Mare oats" I don't think as the vowel in the first word is "ah" rather than "ay." "Yolks" is where the syllable is missing, it sounds like "yah (ja?) volks."

At 7:42 MES says “Herr Burgomann”

Yes maybe but "overpriced" is wrong too, it sounds like "overcraxt"

I went with Burgomann but who knows? Fuck.

Thank you for this, and for including times, which saves a lot of work. Many of your suggestions I didn't take are still in play, this needs an overhaul.
dannyno
  • 31. dannyno | 14/12/2018
I'm hearing "Relevant in your later..." like quixto. Not sure what follows.
dannyno
  • 32. dannyno | 14/12/2018
"Next, they jet"

I'm hearing "Next, deject"

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