Mister Rode

Lyrics

(1)

I got a name I got a say (2)
I got a name I got a say
I got a name I got a say 

And:
It just came and then it stopped
It just came and then it stopped 

I got a look translucent
I got a look translucent face  (3)
My mirror dissolves every day (4)

I got a name I got a face
I got a name I got a say
I gotta show medical doors
All wang doctors all tryna… 

It came in tricolours with headband
Its summers were all in a day
They had a name they had a face
They had a name they had a say
They had a say! 

Said going downtown
They had a name
They got a say 

It came in tricolours each day
When I’d seen it show today
When I’d seen those swinging doors
No rich door… 

Gimme just don’t
Come round and lemon freshness
The lemon freshness
The lemon freshness 

I gotta show medical doors
All right
Gonna kill 

I got a name I got a say
I got a name I got a say
I got a name I got a say
I got a name I got a say 

I got a name 

I got a name I got a say
I gotta show a barrel of doors
I gotta walk I got around
I get a seat I got a name 

It just came and then it stopped
It just came and then it stopped
Then it stopped

It just came and then it stopped
I got a name I got a say
I got a name I got a say 
It’s taking off 

It said and took off
I got a name I got a face

Notes

1. There is a race horse named "Mister Rode."

^

2. It may be "I gotta say," but below "they had a say," so I went with "got a say." I suspect that it is "I got a name I gotta say," though, the name being Mister Rode. However, on it least one life version, MES sings "I got a name I gotta trace." There are doubtlessly mistakes in the lyrics as I've transcribed them, which I hope will get mostly ironed out in the coming days, as more people get ahold of the album.

^

3.Antoine kicks and deals:

John Cooper Clarke, "I Married A Monster From Outer Space":
"each time I see her translucent face
I remember the monster from outer space"

^

4. From "Calendar": "Your mirrors are dissolving today." The line is vaguely reminiscent of the Grateful Dead classic "Dark Star":

Mirror shatters
in formless reflections
of matter

Glass hand dissolving
to ice petal flowers
revolving

The Dead are an unlikely reference point for MES; still, some have pointed out a musical similarity between "Mr. Rode" and the jam section to "New Potato Caboose," from Anthem of the Sun. I am skeptical that any of this is intentional, but it's worth considering.

Otherwise, talk of dissolving mirrors seems like generic psychedelia, and it wouldn't surprise me if connections can be drawn in other places.

^

More Information

Comments (17)

Rik
  • 1. Rik | 09/12/2013

After second "translucent face"

It's..."my mirror dissolves every day"

Grimo
  • 2. Grimo | 21/12/2013

No vistas (?) for No rich door?

bzfgt
  • 3. bzfgt | 02/02/2014

I'm very unsure about that, Grimo, but no less so than what I had, so I switched it since it fits slightly better. The lyrics are hard to transcribe because he says very counter-intuitive things. I just changed "I bang on the doors" to " a barrel of doors," which is obviously less likely semantically but I can't hear "bang" any more. And "I gotta show medical doors" is said enough times that I am kind of confident it's correct, but it doesn't really make much sense. I don't mind him saying things the brain doesn't want to fill in the gaps of because of their oddness--in fact it's one of the cool things about the Fall--but I wish he'd enunciate them more clearly sometimes. I mean, you can slur "baby I love you" but you should pronounce "I got a look translucent face" a little more clearly for the sake of the transcriber.

bzfgt
  • 4. bzfgt | 15/02/2014

I went back to "rich door" after listening to the vinyl version.

bzfgt
  • 5. bzfgt | 15/02/2014

Yes, Rik, that is better.

harleyr
  • 6. harleyr | 15/02/2014

An Ode to Mr R?

bzfgt
  • 7. bzfgt | 16/02/2014

Maybe; who's Mr. R?

harleyr
  • 8. harleyr | 11/03/2014

Not sure, but it would at least fit in with the rest of the Remainderer EP (Remainder R, Rememberence R, Mister R). I'm speculating that Smith was playing around with titles and put R and Ode together to get Rode.

SlightlyDislocated
  • 9. SlightlyDislocated | 28/03/2014

As he is a passenger, or traveller, Mister Rode's name is entirely appropriate.

The lyrics are a meditation on identity and anonymity, from the perspectives of, first, a passenger at a subway or commuter rail station, second, a patient about to be wheeled into surgery in a hospital, and third, a soul boarding an airplane and experiencing its subsequent takeoff.

At the subway station, as the train arrives, our protagonist sees his "translucent face" reflected in the windows of the train as it slows to a stop (and, through his translucent image, he sees the faces of the anonymous passengers inside the train--thus the "mirror" that "dissolves every day". The chorus asserts identity in the context of that most anonymizing of modern activities, packing onto a train, with all the awkward glance-avoiding etiquette that accompanies it.

In the second vignette, the protagonist observes that he has "gotta show medical doors", which tidily sets the scene--he is going to be wheeled into some part of a hospital. He muses over: his distrust of "wank doctors", the "tricolours seen every day"(?), "summers all in a day" (a line possibly filched from the Ray Bradbury short story "All Summer in a Day") and hospital disinfectant, among other things.

His anxiety growing, he mordantly observes that, rich or poor, all go through the same swinging doors. As he slips into full-blown anesthesia/paranoia, he encourages the doctors toward their putative (in his paranoid estimation) task: "gotta kill!"

(The chorus of this verse serves a different purpose--to have a name and a matching face in this environment is reassuring, as it lessens the chance of having a leg sawed off when one should have had one's tonsils removed instead. OTOH, one indeed has a name when it is attached by a tag to one's toe as well.)

In the final tableaux, passengers are boarding a "barrel of doors" that also has wings--an intercontinental jet. Our protagonist has "a name and a seat", and negotiates his way down the aisles until he arrives at his appointed place.

The final lyric, "It's taking off, it said, and took off" is accompanied by a swelling instrumental run-up that starts cheese-ily enough with childlike puttering noises provided by Eleni's keyboard, but then gains a Mancabilly intensity that has an oddly transcendent quality (which could be said to be a quality obtained by the song in general).

At the very beginning of Mister Rode, the melody starts with a descending four-note figure (by itself on the promo/vinyl version, behind "I got a face" on the digital) that is strongly reminiscent of church bells ringing changes. (It seems familiar--I poked around the internet, listening to the changes rung at various churches in hopes of stumbling on it, but no such luck.) Gradually, that figure transforms (via a tacked-on inversion) into something raga-like, aided by Peter Greenway's sinuous, sitar-ish voicing and phrasing, ranged against twin drummers playing loopy, shambolic complementary patterns.

Church bells? Changes? Perhaps.
But at the least, MES here revisits the weighty topics of existence and mortality and seems to be, if not entirely reconciled to the latter, at least somewhat accommodated to it.

Mark
  • 10. Mark | 30/06/2014

@SlightlyDislocated: As a church bellringer, I can say that in my experience the four-note riff doesn't obviously mimic any obvious changes that we ring. That's not to say that you couldn't reproduce it if you had bells of the appropriate notes, but it's not common in my 25-ish years experience.

Wrayx8
  • 11. Wrayx8 | 22/12/2015

I'm getting Lance Armstrong's downfall from this. Yellow, tricolors, people "having a say." Seems around the same time. Wish I had a bit more to go on.

Antoine
  • 12. Antoine | 01/02/2017

For what it's worth, Cooper Clarke I Married A Monster From Outer Space:
"each time I see her translucent face
I remember the monster from outer space"

bzfgt
  • 13. bzfgt | 11/02/2017

It's worth a note, that's what its worth!

harleyr
  • 14. harleyr | 17/02/2017

RØDE is a brand of microphone. Another case of naming a song after a piece of performing equipment (cf Hot Cake guitar pedals)?

bzfgt
  • 15. bzfgt (link) | 18/05/2017

"I gotta show medical doors"...

DO we know this? I always think "I gotta show medical card," which makes sense but I don't know that he says it. But just now the first one sounded like "medical code." Anyone want to put ears on it?

harleyr
  • 16. harleyr | 22/05/2017

(following on from previous comment) if you have a say you might use a microphone to say it.

dannyno
  • 17. dannyno | 23/05/2017

Comment #15: he doesn't pronounce the whole word properly, does he? Shocking behaviour. I don't think it's "doors", "code" or "card" would be preferable, but I'm also not hearing a "c" sound...

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