What does You're Crashing, But You're No Wave mean?

Search Login

Fall Out Boy: You're Crashing, But You're No Wave Meaning


No tags, suggest one.

Download "You're Crashing, But You're No Wave" on MP3:

Download MP3 from Amazon

You're Crashing, But You're No Wave Lyrics

The D.A. is dressed to the nines
In the mirror he practices all his lines
To his closing argument twelve hearts beat in favor
I'm guessing that he read the morning paper
The headline reads "the man hangs", but the jury doesn't



    click a star to vote
    May 5th, 2007 5:40pm report

    This song has some connections to the book To Kill A Mockingbird.
    The D.A. (dressed to the nines) practices his lines.
    "To the closing arguement 12 hearts beat in favor" (Scout, Jem, Calpurnia, Zeebo, Dill, Mrs. Robinson, Link Deas, Mr. Cunningham, Heck Tate, Dolphus Raymond, Miss Maudie, and Reverend Sykes.)

    The most important connections are:
    "They find the defendent guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty."
    And especially: "Unimpressed birds sing and die."

    The lesson of the book is about the mockingbird. How it only sings sweetly but people harm it anyway.


    click a star to vote
    Aug 31st, 2014 8:38pm report

    Some guy is on trial for murder. Case closed


    click a star to vote
    Jan 2nd, 2014 1:04pm report

    (Now, Pete Wentz claimed on his blog that this song was about Fred Hampton, Jr., and it very well may be. However, it can very easily be interpreted as being about To Kill a Mockingbird, especially the trial of Tom Robinson, to the point where I suspect that this is actually what the song is about. Let’s dissect this song, line by line.)

    "You're Crashing, But You're No Wave", by Fall Out Boy

    The D.A. is dressed to the nines
    In the mirror he practices all his lines

    This stanza is by far about Atticus Finch. He is the DA, defense attorney, ‘dressed to the nines’ because Scout always maintains, throughout the novel, that he is a well-dressed man, to the point where, when he is not so, it’s as if he is ‘stark naked’, according to Scout. ‘In the mirror he practices all his lines’ is about his eloquence, along with his brilliant defense of Tom Robinson and how well he must have practiced it before the trial, probably also reference to how little Mr. Gilmer practiced his--and yet he won.

    To his closing argument twelve hearts beat in favor

    Now, this line could be interpreted one of two ways. One: the jury, made up of whites, twelve whites, agrees with Atticus’ defense (especially his extremely strong closing argument), but finds him guilty anyway (as in the book), symbolizing how the racial prejudice overcomes their logic. Less likely, it could also be about the twelve people that truly are on Atticus’ side: Scout, Jem, Calpurnia, Zeebo, Dill, Mrs. Robinson, Link Deas, Mr. Cunningham, Heck Tate, Dolphus Raymond, Miss Maudie, and Reverend Sykes.

    I'm guessing that he read the morning paper
    The headline reads "the man hangs", but the jury doesn't--

    Atticus was an avid reader of the paper, as evidence many times in the book. It is telling him that no matter what, the headline will read ‘the man hangs’, or man guilty, whatever, even if the jury doesn’t think he’s truly guilty, as in the book. So not only is it a nod to his character, but to one of the biggest issues in the book as well.

    And everyone's looking for relief
    United States versus disbelief

    The people of the trial, and, more broadly, of the south, are ‘looking for relief’ because they are so afraid of the rapidly approaching truth that black people are equal. It’s them versus their ‘disbelief’ that whites and blacks can be equal. The ‘versus’ is also probably a nod to not only TR’s trial, but all of the people that went on trial and lost unjustly because of their race.

    Mothers cast tears on both sides of the aisle

    This is probably a reference to how the mothers on both sides--the blacks and the whites--are tearing up for Tom Robinson. Also, Scout references many times the babies ‘shushing up’, so this could be about that, too (casting their tears away).

    Clear your throat and face the world

    This may be about how when Mr. Gilmer cross-examines Tom and he’s ‘clearing his throat and facing the world’, namely, the whites. Mr. Gilmer makes him trip over his words and is mean to him, unlike Atticus was.

    The verdict falls like bachelors for bad luck girls
    Only breathing with the aid of denial.

    The only people the verdict shocks are Jem and Scout. This partway references the end of this part of the story (the jury is out for a while but finds him guilty). The second line is obvious, the only reason the jury finds him guilty is because of ‘the aid of denial’, denial of both Atticus’ flawless defense and Tom’s innocence, because of their racism.

    Case open, case shut,
    But you could pay to close it like a casket

    The minute the case is open, this case is shut, because it’s a black versus a white. You could practically pay to close it, you wouldn’t even have to, because it’s already decided. ‘Like a casket’ is a clever nod to Tom’s impending sentence, and his death because of said sentence.

    Baby boy can't lift his headache head
    Isn't it tragic? (Whoaaa-ooo)

    This is a little off topic--Mr. Raymond’s children can’t lift their heads because they’re ‘mixed’, and not only discrimination against them, but all African-Americans, is the real tragedy here. It’s kind of a cynical thing to say to the white people.

    He glances at his peers sitting seven to twelve stacked
    On one to six the gallery is hushed

    Now, these are some unclear terms here. I am not a legal expert. I assume this is just a nod to how they believe Tom is innocent but condemn him. Honestly, I don’t quite know.

    Boys in three pieces dream of grandstanding and bravado

    This probably references Atticus, and his dreams of how there’s the tiniest chance he might win the case, and how if he did, he’d be a legend among attorneys. However, since it says ‘boys’, it might also be about Jem/how much Jem looks up to Atticus, and later, the destruction of his faith in the American Justice System.

    The city sleeps in a cell notwithstanding what we all know

    ‘The city’ is probably just a pseudonym for Tom, and maybe how he represents the underrepresented African-Americans in Maycomb County. He sleeps in a cell before the appeal he never gets, even though we all know he’s innocent, and Mayella/Bob Ewell are the real criminals here.

    Hang on a rope or bated breath
    Whichever you prefer

    This is a grim nod to how Tom, Jem, Scout, Atticus, etc. all wait with bated breath for the jury’s decision, but know Tom will end up ‘on a rope’, essentially. ‘Whichever you prefer’ is an ironic line, since he doesn’t have a choice.

    And everyone's looking for relief

    (see first occurrence of this line)

    A bidding war for an old flame's grief

    This line is probably about Mayella and Tom, it could be about how they’re trying to cause her ‘old flame’, or Tom’s, grief. The ‘bidding war’ could also be a reference to how they’re both trying to pin the guilt on one another. (Even though, let’s be honest here, Atticus totally schooled Mayella in the courtroom.)

    The cause, the kid, the course, the charm, and the curse

    The cause: racism; the kid: Scout; the course: the course of the trial (?); the charm: Atticus’ charisma/the whites’ ‘charm’ (they can’t lose a case); the curse: African-Americans are doomed to lose their cases despite huge evidence to the contrary.

    Not a word that could make you comprehend

    Not a word of Atticus’ hugely convincing defense could make them comprehend the truth they don’t want to hear: Tom Robinson is innocent.

    Too well dressed for the witness stand

    This is probably an ironic nod to how both Tom and Mayella were badly dressed, or poor. No one well-dressed went to the witness stand.

    The press prays for whichever headline's worse

    The press, the white press, wants Tom to lose his case. They’re praying for it, so as not to upset the racial status quo.

    Case open, case shut,
    But you could pay to close it like a casket
    Baby boy can't lift his headache head
    Isn't it tragic? (Whoaaa-ooo)
    (see first occurrence of these lines)

    Fresh pressed suit and tie

    Atticus dresses perfectly. He also removes his tie, among other bits of clothing, during his closing argument.

    Unimpressed birds sing and die

    This is the most obvious nod to the book in the song. Tom, the mockingbird of our story, the one who never did anything but sing, a sin to kill, eventually dies in his prison escape attempt. He was unimpressed with Mayella’s advances, and it’s what kills him. He sang, nothing more, and he yet died for it. “Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember, it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”-Atticus Finch

    Can talk my way out of anything

    Atticus is an extraordinary lawyer, and can talk his way out of anything, it seems. Yet, what happens in the next line breaks that perfect record.

    The foreman reads the verdict
    "In the above entitled actions we find the defendant..."

    Tom was found guilty, and died before his appeal. This is essentially the end of the song.

    Case open, case shut,
    But you could pay to close it like a casket
    Baby boy can't lift his headache head
    Isn't it tragic?

    (see above dissection of these lines)


    Patrick Stump making noise.

    And that’s it. My way with words is not that of Atticus’, but I do think that this song is really about To Kill a Mockingbird. However, Pete Wentz is as articulate as Atticus Finch or Harper Lee, so it could be about whatever he wants, really.


    click a star to vote
    Aug 26th, 2011 8:30am report

    D.A. is district attorney, he's the prosecutor not the defense


    Michael Dunmyer
    click a star to vote
    Jun 12th, 2011 6:43pm report

    You guys are right about Fredrick Hampton jr. Look it up on wikipedia. It says how this song is based off it.


    click a star to vote
    May 2nd, 2011 5:30pm report

    I think it is about someone innocent was found guilty in a murder case he didn't commit. And everyone on the jury was sure he he did it. but in reality he didn't.


    click a star to vote
    Mar 14th, 2011 3:00pm report

    Fred Hampton, Jr. hadn't been born yet when his dad was killed. Don't mean to be a troll, but it could definitely change the story in the eyes of some of the viewers.


    click a star to vote
    Jun 5th, 2010 6:37pm report

    do ya get it now?


    click a star to vote
    Aug 2nd, 2009 8:29pm report

    The case is that of Fred Hampton Jr who was controversially convicted of arson. It happened during the protesting of the beating of rodney king by lapd officers. Fred Hampton Jr was a black panther who when he was young witnessed chicago police officers shoot his father in a police raid. It is believed that Hampton Jr was not responsible for the firebombing and was only chosen because of his ties to the black panthers.


    click a star to vote
    Jul 23rd, 2009 7:00pm report

    i simply think that this song is about a case that was tampered with.
    -"case open, case shut, but you could pay to close it like a casket"
    this, to me, means that if you have te right connections, and the proper amount of money, you could easily pay someone(or people) off to make the case go your way.
    everyone knws that this decision is not right, and the jury is in disbelief because they don't believe in what's hapening.
    -"the city sleeps in a cell notwithstanding what we all know"
    this could mean that everyone is sleeping in a cell of their own for the simple fact that this case is troubling them to a point where their minds are locked in a cell.


    click a star to vote
    Jul 8th, 2008 7:27pm report

    Can anyone tell me what it means for a jury to "hang"? I'm not old enough to have served on one.

    There are twelve people on a jury, right? That would explain "twelve hearts beat in favor". The D.A.'s closing argument, taken in part from the newspaper, is persuasive enough for all of the jurors to find the defendant guilty (guilty, guilty, guilty).

    What's a D.A. anyway?

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


    click a star to vote
    Apr 21st, 2008 4:28am report

    Some sort of crime happened and there is this huge trial and like it had to have been some sort of murder or something because the song talks about to mothers in different aisle crying. The dead and the murderer. In the end all rings out Guilty!!


    click a star to vote
    Dec 6th, 2007 12:39pm report

    It's actually about the trial of Fred Hampton, Jr.


    click a star to vote
    Aug 20th, 2007 8:39am report

    It's about some court case about a guy who was convicted of murdering someone but quite a lot of America believed he was innocent. I can't remember the name of the guy but its on wikepedia.


    click a star to vote
    Jun 24th, 2007 6:15am report

    Probably refers to saddam husein as he hangs and it says "the the man hangs but the jury doesn't" like the jury won't be prosecuted for finding the ex-leader of the country or it might be I'm not sure...

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


    click a star to vote
    Jun 17th, 2007 6:57pm report

    I think the song is about the war in Iraq and how Bush should be prosecuted. basically its how the trial would play out it it ever happened sadly it won't =[.

    The line a bidding war for an old flames grief is the reason we are fighting the war were in Iraq right now because the first president Bush had some unfinished business there...so now his son is out to finish it.

‹ prev 12

More Fall Out Boy song meanings »


Submit Your Interpretation

[ want a different song? ]

Just Posted

Most Girls yoyogirl
When She Cries anonymous
Most Girls anonymous
Gravedigger anonymous
Laura anonymous
Ten Feet Tall anonymous
Ciao Adios anonymous
Bed of Roses NanaAVR
How to Save a Life anonymous
Words (Between the Lines of Age) anonymous
School anonymous
Silvertongue anonymous
Here Without You anonymous
Awake and Alive anonymous
Somebody Else anonymous

Get a weekly email update

(We won't give out your email)

Latest Releases

Break My Heart
Hey Violet
Act Like You Don't
Brooke Eden
Fox On The Run
Eyes Closed
Jasmine Murray
Told You So
Virginia To Vegas