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Lyrics

(1)

I'm studying in spring
In caustic and lime (2)

You're supposed to do that

But I'm so sick 
Of Snow Patrol (3)
And where to find
Esso lubricant (4)
And mobile number (5) (6)

 

 

Notes

1. According to an article in Financial Times (thanks to Gaspop on the Fall online forum):

Another [song] is based on replies to a national survey introduced by David Cameron to find out what makes Britain unhappy. “There were people in Bradford going, ‘You can’t get mushy peas any more.’ ” He hoots with laughter. “Another answer was, ‘Snow Patrol being played on the radio.’ That would annoy me.” He hits the table, delighted by the banality of the responses. He leans forward, suddenly conspiratorial. “My intelligence is vast. You wouldn’t believe what people tell me.”

^ 

2. "A caustic called "caustic lime" is produced by burning limestone.

^

3. Snow Patrol are an alternative or indie rock band with members from Northern Ireland and Scotland. 

^

4. Esso is one of the brand names of ExxonMobile; in the US the "Esso" brand has been mostly supplanted by "Exxon"; according to Wikipedia, this happened in 1973, but I was only five then and I clearly remember Esso stations when I was a child, so the brand may have persisted a bit longer than that. "Esso" is a phonetic rendering of "SO," for Standard Oil."

^

5. Because of the Esso reference (see note 4) this is  probably a pun, and could also be rendered "Mobil number" (For Exxon Mobil; thanks to Doc for pointing this out).

^

6. Dan: From the Irish Independent, 13 July 2012:
 


Smith's cryptic oeuvre and scatter-shot approach to lyrics has frequently been compared to Thomas Pynchon. He downplays the literary merits of his writing, claiming to lift many of his lyrics directly from sources such as Teletext.

One recent song is based on a survey commissioned by UK Prime Minister David Cameron to establish what make English people unhappy.

"You had people writing in giving out about not being able to eat mushy peas any more," Smith cackles.

"Another one was, 'Snow Patrol on the radio annoys me'."

The end result is typical Smith; "I'm so sick of Snow Patrol, and where to find Esso lubricant and mobile number."

^

Comments (9)

John
  • 1. John | 01/08/2013
To my ear it's "encaustic in lime" or "encaustic and lime". Encaustic is a painting method. Lime is also a color.
acousmetre
  • 2. acousmetre (link) | 15/05/2014
While it seems the purpose of The Annotated Fall is to discuss lyrics, I can't help but take note of the mixing of this track.

There is no shortage of Fall songs that are produced or mixed in ways that violate the unspoken, or even spoken, rules of music studio recording. Here, the music faded down slightly when the vocals enter. This is a technique which is anathema to "good mixing technique": you want to make the vocals "pop out" of the mix without needing to reduce volume, or have the band re-arrange the song.

Dipping vocal volume was more accepted in the 1950s, before multi-track mixing became the norm. It could be MES is purposefully referencing earlier eras of music recording, which would rhyme with this song's "old man rant" form.
bzfgt
  • 3. bzfgt | 22/05/2014
"Here, the music faded down slightly when the vocals enter. This is a technique which is anathema to "good mixing technique": you want to make the vocals "pop out" of the mix without needing to reduce volume, or have the band re-arrange the song."

There's a particularly egregious example of this when MES enters on "Senior Twilight Stock Replacer," where the whole band including backing vocals drops way down behind him (HIS vocal does stick out but it wounds like crap).

And feel free to discuss any and all aspects of Fall songs here!
dannyno
  • 4. dannyno | 21/06/2015
This is Cameron's survey:
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/wellbeing/measuring-subjective-wellbeing-in-the-uk/investigation-of-subjective-well-being-data-from-the-ons-opinions-survey/initial-investigation-into-subjective-well-being-from-the-opinions-survey.html
Doc
  • 5. Doc | 24/03/2019
Surely it is Mobil number as in Exxon Mobil?
dannyno
  • 6. dannyno | 16/04/2019
Comment: #5: it's not obviously so, no.
bzfgt
  • 7. bzfgt (link) | 09/06/2019
I guess it would be a pun, in which case I'd think the primary meaning/spelling would be "mobile"
joincey
  • 8. joincey | 12/08/2020
Does anyone know why he picked on Snow Patrol ? Any particular reason?
dannyno
  • 9. dannyno | 15/03/2021
Comment #8 - it's just a comment lifted from another source, see notes.

Also:

From the Irish Independent, 13 July 2012:


Smith's cryptic oeuvre and scatter-shot approach to lyrics has frequently been compared to Thomas Pynchon. He downplays the literary merits of his writing, claiming to lift many of his lyrics directly from sources such as Teletext.

One recent song is based on a survey commissioned by UK Prime Minister David Cameron to establish what make English people unhappy.

"You had people writing in giving out about not being able to eat mushy peas any more," Smith cackles.

"Another one was, 'Snow Patrol on the radio annoys me'."

The end result is typical Smith; "I'm so sick of Snow Patrol, and where to find Esso lubricant and mobile number."


Source: https://thefall.org/news/pics/2012-07-13_irish-independent.pdf

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