We Live Again
These withered hands Have dug for a dream Sifted through sand And leftover nightmares 5 Over the hill A desolate wind Turns shit to gold And blows my soul crazy The end 10 O the end We live again O I grow weary of the end O hungry days In the footsteps of fools 15 Gazing alone Through sex-painted windows Dredging the night Drunk libertines Stink like a colognes 20 From the newfangled wasteland The end O the end We live again O I grow weary of the end O I grow weary of the end 25 Love is a plague In a mix-match parade Where the castaways look so deranged When will the children learn To let their wildernesses burn 30 And love will be new never cold and vacant These withered hands Have dug for a dream Sifted through sand And leftover nightmares 35 The end Oh the end We live again Oh I grow weary of the end
Analysis: The poet (Beck) is tired of looking for a dream, going on through time, and trying to make sense of life. In an imaginary world he dreams of turning nothing into something, and it drives him crazy that this imaginary world is not reality. He says that if we die and come back to live again, then dying makes him feel weary. People starve themselves just to be like other people, and he feels he is the only one who has his own views. He watches the rest of the world through windows. He hates nighttime because of the people who drink (and consequently smell replusive) are around. Love, he says, is like the plague. It is an epidemic which causes people to match with the wrong partners. Those who arenít in love feel alienated. He wonders if people will learn to have passion in their lives and have meaningful relationships. He ends by repeating his expression of tiredness.
Danielle's analysis: I think this song is related to Beck's grandfather, Al Hansen, who died shortly before this song was written. Al was a strong influence in the fluxus art movement and was very close to Beck when he was young. Because it starts out saying "these withered hands", I think it's Al Hansen looking back on his life. He's looking through the good times and the bad times, trying to find something that never existed.
Lines 5-7 are also talking about his grandfather. I saw a clip of an interview with Al Hansen where he says "I make gold out of shit", speaking of his unique take on art. He would take trash and make sculptures out of it, like a decapitated rocking horse covered in cigarette butts. I think this verse is saying that his grandfather's art will always live on, and it's driving him crazy because his grandfather is gone. He knows he's gone for good and is tired of thinking about what the end really means.
In the next verse, Beck remembers the days when he lived with his grandfather in L.A. They didn't have much money and lived among fools. He felt lonely at night and therefore hated it. There were always drunk people everywhere who reeked of alcohol. What people thought of love wasn't real, and it caused problems because couples weren't right for each other. He wonders when people will set the example to their children that they should follow their heart and do what they're really passionate about. Then there will be a different kind of love that's real, and it isn't cold and empty.
Looking back, he sees that this love never existed. It was only a dream, and it makes him tired to think of what the end really means.