What does Montezuma mean?

Fleet Foxes: Montezuma Meaning

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Album cover for Montezuma album cover

Montezuma Lyrics

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  1. anonymous
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    May 17th !⃝

    I can't explain the music itself nor the lyrics as they aren't mine. However, I feel feel them. I don't see a literal trajectory here. I feel regret before it's inevitable arrival. Regardless of choices ,integrity etc life ages and takes I feel that it's neither a lament nor a confession seeking absolution,
    Gold and dust are tangible like all matter. Choices and the consequences of free will matter more.
    At least to me.

  2. anonymous
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    Sep 14th 2019 !⃝

    I think that this song is definitely about growing older and being concerned about decisions that have kept you from starting a family and the future prospect of dying childless.

    The initial stanza sets the scene: Now I am older than my mother and father when they had their daughter. What does that say about me?

    He goes on to ruminate about passing on unconditional love (the love of a parent for his child) just for himself and his own desires (wealth, fame, sexual gratification, independence, freedom - he's a rock star, after all).

    The chorus "Oh man that I used to be, oh man, oh my, oh me" is really thinking about his past mistakes. Surely many good women fell in love with him, but he could not commit to a life with them.

    He then thinks about the inevitability of death. Both the slave and the empress must die, so what really matters? What matters is whether your children are there with you at the end or whether you're alone.

    So take my golden teeth (better to have "real" teeth), and his golden chain
    (which ties him to his current life) and bury it with your dowry (the promise of the family he does not have) and bury it with his name (the surname that dies with the childless).

    The insertion of "Montezuma to Tripoli" in the final refrain is a direct allusion to the Marine Corps Hymn that begins "From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli...."

    He feels kinship to the Marines who chose to serve their country and died childless, but he has no noble ideal nor higher need that vouchsafes his choice. He is contrasting the man that he was to those men, and finding himself wanting. Titling the song Montezuma points out that this contrast is the crux of the song's meaning.

  3. anonymous
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    Apr 13th 2012 !⃝

    i think that it is about death. everyone is sad, the wife throwing her life into his grave....... she dies too when he goes......... etc.

  4. anonymous
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    Jun 25th 2011 !⃝

    I think that the song is talking about the process of growing up and that he is at the moment when you realize that you have grown up completely. He then looks back on childhood and how he has changed. In the second verse it seems as if he realizes that death is approaching him sooner because he knows that those steps are next in his life. He has grown and now he has to die. He looks back on his possessions and what truly matters to him because nothing but what truly matters matters when death is approaching. He then looks back on his life toward childhood and is satisfied with the life he had led. That's what it means to me atleast.

  5. anonymous
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    Jun 21st 2011 !⃝

    I think what the author is talking about is the time in your life when you decide whether you want to have children or not. There seems to be a couple hints that he feels that if he didn't procreate, what would his life really have been about. Great song regardless of the meaning.

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