Fall Out Boy: Bang the Doldrums Meaning
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Bang the Doldrums Lyrics
When you passed out.
I couldn't bring myself to call,
Except to call it quits.
Ex-friends till the end.
Better off as lovers,
And not the other way around.
Pete has said that the song is indeed about his love affair with bassist of my chemical romance Mikey Way during warped tour of summer 2005. The song was originally titled "Summer of like" which is what they referred to that summer as. Ill now go into decoding the lyrics.
"I wrote a goodbye note in lipstick on your arm when you passed out" This perhaps is the most confusing lyric that makes people believe that this story is about a hetero relationship. The truth is that Pete put this in to portray gender norms, he didnt intend on people knowing just who the song was about hence the name change.
"Best friends ex friends to the end" this part is contradicting, he considers them to be good friends but not. Perhaps this is him denying his love for Mikey. Its common for two in a homosexual or lesbian relationship to refer to themselves as "reeaally good friends"
"Better off as lovers not the other way around" could mean that they were amazing lovers, but not amazing friends. It could also be paying respect to their friendship, which ended along with their relationship.
"Come hell or high water when im feeling hot and wet" this could mean that when pete falls in love or wants someone, he often acts impulsively and something bad always happens.
"I cant commit to a thing be it heart or hospital" this line goes with the previous line. He falls so fast and hard but he can never stay in one place. He also says how its not just with love, its with everything. With hospital it could be referring to his depression, saying he doesnt have enough commitment to get better.
"I cast a spell over the west to make you think of me, the same way i think of you" this is ironic because in the begininng, mikey was starstrucked and clearly more into pete, but this line suggest that it changed when everything ended.
"This is a love song in my own way/ happily ever after below the waist" Pete has said multiple times that he is straight above the waist, this pays meaning to the song, stating that he had physical and sexual attraction to Mikey, but not emotional attraction which is what made their love story so unique and different.
I kind of agree that it's about two people who are great together, but can't ever keep it at the 'just friends' level. even though the guy really likes the girl, he "cant commit to a thing, be it heart or hospital" that could mean that every time she says something about wanting more commitment, he freaks and backs out, but after a while they have to get back together. The part of the song that says that they're "best friends, ex-friends to the end, but better off as lovers and not the other way around" could mean that they are great as a couple but as ex's they can't tolerate each other, but the attraction is still there so they become lovers again because staying broken up isn't good for either of them. I'm not really sure why "racing through the city, windows down in the back of yellow checkered cars(taxis, I'm assuming} was in there. it might be talking about the nature of their relationship (fast paced and kind of crazy and short sighted) which kind of gos with the line about their story ending "happily ever after below the waist". which makes me think that their relationship is based heavily on a strong sexual attraction. Referring again to why they can't stay just friends. ne other ideas? :)
anonymous Apr 15th, 2015 4:56pm report
i think "yellow checkered cars" references Pete's hometown of chicago, where he probably was flooded by the yellow taxi cabs he saw every day and is probably intensely nostalgic for a sense of home
therefore when this terrible thing happens to him (his gf cheating) he has to deal with it while in his "home" where he is most comfortable which makes it twice as bad since he has nowhere to escape the sadness he feels.
"i can't commit to a thing, be it heart or hospital" i think this also plays into the "hometown" essence and nostalgia because his heart would refer to the heart of the city and where his true self resides, where he can't even be without being reminded of the pain he feels, and hospital would refer to a, suicide attempt? the word commit made me think of suicide, though i think that was just worded carefully to give the image of suffering and deathly blues. there are hospitals in chicago of course, where he still can't reside peacefully after he's emitted due to his pain since he's still in his hometown. everywhere he goes he is reminded by the girl.
anonymous Sep 7th, 2014 9:15pm report
I always thought this was about Patrick and Pete... The chorus really confirmed it. I haven't heard of the whole thing with Mikey Way, but the whole part about "best friends" made me think of Patrick and Pete.
anonymous Nov 10th, 2011 11:52pm report
This song describes the way Pete Wentz felt towards Mikey Way during the Summer of Like (Warped Tour 2005)
anonymous Oct 26th, 2011 10:50am report
It's about Pete's one time romance with Mikey Way. End of story.
anonymous Jul 4th, 2011 7:18am report
It's about Mikey Way.
This is absolutely one of my favorites from fall out boy.. And I can relate because I believe this song is all about the boy having commitment issues, "best friends, ex friends till the end" I think it means yeah they are best friends originally but there's always something there to make them more then friends which is the ex friends till the end, "better off as lovers and not the other way around" means of course they are better off as lovers and not better off being just best friends who don't show the affection that they know is there.. He doesn't want more than just lovers part, he wants just the sex and no commitment. "you're wrong, we're all wrong" is what I think him just second guessing himself of if it's right or not. The grave stone thing is, of course them knowing it's going to end. And my fav is the end when he says "better off as you're wrong" which I could only guess cause I love happy endings is that he's happy saying it's better he's wrong and they could be more than banging buddies!
LissyGranger Aug 11th, 2010 8:55pm report
According to the song I think it's about two friends that deep inside want to be more than friends but they don't want to commit to anything. So their relationship is based on the sex (this is a love song in my own way, happily ever after below the waist). and the part that says "racing to the city windows down in the back of yellow checkered cars" refers to what? thank you
p/s: sorry for the gramatical mistakes, I'm argentinian
anonymous Dec 21st, 2009 12:07am report
I wrote a goodbye note in lipstick on your arm
When you passed out
[he broke it off, while she was unconscious, so he didn’t have to deal with talking about it]
I couldn't bring myself to call
Except to call it quits
[he couldn’t call, so he wrote the note, and called it quits]
Ex-friends till the end
[forever getting together, and breaking up]
Better off as lovers
And not the other way around
[they’re better off as lovers, but they can’t be friends]
Racing through the city
In the back of yellow checkered cars
[they meet at restaurant, but can’t stand talking, immediately catch a taxi back to the apartment]
Are we all wrong
[she said that they could last, but he doesn’t think so]
This city says...
Come hell or high water
Well I'm feeling hot and wet
I can't commit to a thing
Be it heart or hospital
[he has commitment issues (kind of like barney from how I met your mother)]
The tombstones were waiting
[the end date of the relationship was coming]
They were half-engraved
[it was half-way there, almost ended]
They knew it was over
Just didn't know the date
[they knew it was over, they just didn’t know when]
And I cast a spell over the west to make you think of me
The same way I think of you
[she likes him, but he doesn’t like her in that way, so he wants her to feel the same way as him]
This is a love song in my own way
Happily ever after below the waist
[it may seem like a love song, but its really not, and a happily ever after, but only for the sex part]
anonymous Feb 14th, 2009 2:16am report
Doldrums were a general sailor term, and thats why the yo-HO-ho, Whoooo-oohh-ohhh-oh part souns kinda like pirates. So the title is a pun, its the pirate thing, but also "Bang the Drums"
i must say, i love these interpretations. they all fit so much together. and when i think about it i say, oh... like i never thought of the songs that way. but i did have a feel that this song in particular was about him and a girl being in love. but its a great song. great to the point that i quote it to my girlfriend. haha. she loves fob
This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
anonymous Apr 6th, 2008 4:27pm report
I agree that this is a song about a serious relationship that is based on sexual attraction and both of them wanting to commit but never being able to. I understand the situation they are talking about. The boy and girl have love for each other but for whatever reason, they are not "in love" hence, the reason why they can never really commit totally to each other. They are like, friends with benefits; instead of "just friends" they are best friends that happen to really really like each other...a lot. And that's why the guy says that they "are better off as lovers" rather than friends. But when the one of them tries to take their relationship to the next level the other backs down and "calls it quits". I mean, they try the relationship thing but it just doesn't work because like I said before, one is in love and one just loves the other person if that makes sense, hence the lyrical line "cast a spell on the west so that you think of me the same way I think of you".Which can also be interpreted as the guy saying that he wishes that the girl thought of him as just a friend rather than something more because he's just not interested in commitment. And throughout the song they are asking themselves if they are wrong to be in the friends-not friends-lovers tango. Well, that's my two cents. Any other ideas?
anonymous Oct 21st, 2007 10:07am report
Ok, I think that the title says it all: Bang the Doldrums. Come on, doldrums are not instruments, if you didn't know...doldrum is like the blues. He's got the blues because his relationship ended bitterly. Now they can't be friends or lovers. Also, the whole "racing through the city, windows down" thing is because you roll the windows down because you need fresh air, right? Now you get it! They can't stand to be in the same car together, so they have to roll the windows down to release the tension. In addition, " in the back of yellow checkered cars" means they are in a taxi, becaue if they are in the BACK of a car, someone os obviously driving them. The relationship is over, so one of them is probably moving out or somthing, and the other is helping them with their stuff...? why are they both in the taxi? oh well. ^^ But yeah, the title says it all. Like playing the blues on your guitar when your depressed. Bang the doldrums, only the clever part is doldrum is an emotion. This only further proves that Pete Wentz is more than a poster boy; how many bands today have such intense lyrics, however confusing some may be?
anonymous Oct 3rd, 2007 10:20pm report
I think it's about him having a accadental one night stand w/ his friend so now the relationship is weird.
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