Ben Folds: Zak and Sara Meaning
Zak and Sara Lyrics
On a Peavey amp in 1984
While Zak without a c tried out some new guitars
Playing Sara-with-no-h's favourite song
(La da da da, la da da, la da da)
(La da da da, la da da, la da da)
anonymous Oct 18th 2014 report
Sara spelled without an 'h' was getting bored-
She was getting bored.
On a Peavey amp in 1984-
It was the 80's, before the technological music revolution.
While Zak without a 'c' tried out some new guitars
He was trying out new guitars.
playing sara with no 'h's favorite song-
He was playing her favorite song.
Often Sara would have spells where she lost time-
Sara either had a mental illness, or she was physic, which is the more likely choice.
She saw the future, she heard voices from inside
These voices were presumably telling her to write songs that were completely different from anything anyone had ever heard. Ever.
The kind of voices she would soon learn to deny-
Patience, young grasshopper. You shall soon see.
Because at home they got her smacked-
Sara and Zak(if they're brother and sister) grew up in an extremely abusive home.
Zak called his dad about layaway plans-
He called his dad. Presumably about layaway plans.
Sara told the friendly salesman that, you'll all die in your cars-
She's had all of this bottled anger inside her for so long, that she lets it out on the first person she sees, a friendly salesman.
And why's it gotta be dark? You're all living in a submarine-
Yeah. The anger thing.
She saw the lights she saw the pale English face-
I'm thinking that here she was looking into the future again and saw one of the most influential musicians of the techno music revolution.
Some strange machines repeating beats and thumping bass-
Amps. She saw the amps of the future.
Visions of pills that put you in a loving trance
Drugs, presumably X or weed.
That make it possible for all white boys to dance-
Yup. Definitely weed.
And when Zak finished Sara's song, Sara clapped-
She wasn't really meaning the clapping. It was fake clapping.
anonymous Aug 2nd 2011 report
Being psychic doesn't mean u are mentally ill! Some people have that ability but don't wan't to use it. I don't wanna know the future really!
anonymous Aug 1st 2011 report
Yeah that's bad thing to see into the future i don't wan't to know the future except for right now im going to see my friend north carolina lol
anonymous Jun 23rd 2011 report
The whole song takes place at the guitar shop. There is nothing in the song indicating that Zak and Sara are in love. In fact, they might be brother and sister (hence the missing letters in both their names). They would be quite young and that is why Zak calls his dad for a layaway plan on the new guitar he fancies. Sara can see the future. She sees the guitar salesman dying in his car. And she has a premonition of the rave scene still several years away. It is those premonitions that she has learned to supress in front of her parents or she will get a beating. I never got the thing about the submarine and the "asshole" reference. I have read that it is a reference to Zak Starkey, son of Ringo Starr (Yellow Submarine). Ben Folds played drums on a few tracks of a band Zak Starkey was in. Don't know how that ties in with the song.
anonymous Jan 28th 2009 report
I thought it was about a chick who has multiple personalities or something. Like Sara is a girl and when she loses time it's Zak taking over or something.
anonymous Mar 25th 2008 report
Zak and Sara are really in love, but their story is rather sad. Sara has an illness where she can see into the future and hear voices. They spend their time together playing guitar, and with their amps. One day, Zak and Sara (who lack intelligence sometimes because they are so into their love they do not see need for anything else) go to a store to make a purchase. They think they can make a simple purchase of an expensive item but realize they can't.
Zak calls his dad about a layaway while Sara lashes out at the salesman. She is angry and speaks of visions of the asshole salesman dying in his car. After her verbal attack, she's taken to the hospital. She hears machines making thumping noises and sees the pale English face of a doctor. She finally is put on a medication that makes her happy, that could make it possible for all white boys to dance.
The final lines of the song display that she is happy and finishes by listening to her favorite song played by Zak, which draws it to a happy ending, even though she is mentally ill. But once again, we see that they lack the intelligence to know what is going on and see the terribleness of the issue, as they end with happily listening to that song.
anonymous Jun 14th 2007 report
Holy crap people, she didn't go to hospital -
She is seeing "the future", where the "pale english face" is the dj at a club, where strange machines are producing thumping bass (techno/drum n bass), and people are taking ecstacy.
What hospital pills make it possible for "all white boys to dance"?
anonymous Apr 9th 2007 report
I imagine that Zak and Sara are a young couple very much enamored with one another. But Sara is schizophrenic (which explains her voices and visions)...the line about her being smacked is because her family doesn't understand her illness and thinks she just lies about things. Back to Zak and Sara as a couple; Zak's so in love he asks about a "lay-away" plan for an engagement ring (since they're young and can't really afford to buy a ring right out). However, before Zak can propose Sara has an extremely violent attack, in public, in a store (where she yells at the clerk about working on a submarine and other such incoherent ideas). Sara's put into a hospital (the machines with their beats are her heart monitors,etc. And the "englishmen's face" peering at her is her doctor). Zak, undeterred and still in love, visits Sara at the hospital and plays her favorite song in hopes it will revive her. He plays her song, and she claps, but she doesn't return to her normal state.
anonymous Mar 30th 2007 report
holy crap... listening to the song right now... and I gotta admit. my english listening skill are not existent, obviously. or I never did... but both of what you say makes sense to me! cheers!!
anonymous Dec 30th 2006 report
I personally think that this song is about two very unique people who found each other and fit perfectly hence Sara spelled with no "h" and Zak without a "c". She's sitting on an amp in a music store while he plays her favorite song showing even the old things still keep each other happy. She would have spells when she lost time....when people have mental disorders sch as schizophrenia they often don't realize the pace at which time is moving when they have "spells". They may hear voices or see the "future". She would ignore them because her family didn't want to beleive she was sick and would just smack her annd tell her to stop acting like that. Zak calls his dad about layaway to pay for some expensive amp he saw that he likes and as Zak is talking to the salesman about his purchase Sara has one of her spells and sees the "future telling him he's gonna die in his car "why's it gotta be dark" says she's not sure whats going on it's "dark" she can't really understand why this happens to her.
you're all living in a sumbmarine I think means she thinks they all are very sheltered and are away from so much just to be safe and screams assholes because they're probably taking her away for acting out and the next thing she sees is herself in a hospital probably a mental institution with machines to moniter her stats and pills to asist her in some way. Many medications often make you feel happy to make you easier to handle. but Zak still is there for her to make her happy by playing her favorite song.or maybe she only thought the whole thing and she was in the hospital the whole time. Who knows.
anonymous Nov 23rd 2006 report
I believe the song takes place as a bored Sara sits on an old amp at a store and watches Zak try out guitars. She cheers up when he plays her favorite song which seems to trigger her visions and/or transplant her to another place. Because he's inexperienced with large purchases, Zak consults with his dad as Sara shares her latest vision with the salesman, suggesting openness with strangers and that Zak knows of her talent. The playing must have resumed because her next vision is at the concert of her favorite song's artist, an Englishman, and the drugs present. This imagined scene might also be a hospital bed but I think this is less likely since "strange machines repeating beats and thumping base" and the "pale English face" don't fit with hospital equipment or likely doctors respectively. Zak finishes and, rather than be smacked for her unusual gift/curse, she claps for him because he indulged her and created a vision. Whether this vision's different from the ones she has normally, he gave her powerful vision period, or she just likes the song, I'm not sure.
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