Foo Fighters: Arlandria Meaning
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Song Released: 2011
A simple round of conversation.
Became a shameful equation.
I flipped to station to station.
Hey. Don't go and turn the other way.
Don't say there's nothing more to say.
Come on, hear me out.
A quote from the Alexandria Times:
“Arlandria is where my house was when I moved back to Virginia,” Grohl said in an interview on MTV’s website. “And like when Nirvana was super popular and things got really crazy, if it got too crazy, I’d go back to Virginia and just hang out with my buddies that I’d known since I was five … so I always go back to Virginia when things get too out of control, so it’s really about me hiding away from everybody.”
First off, I am a huge Dave Grohl fan and, obviously, a huge Foo Fighters fan.
Second, I am a native Arlingtonian and still reside in Northern Virginia (Falls Church).
I agree with the previous post that this is an homage to life in Northern Virginia (a sort of love/hate message to "Arlandria", which is slang for Arlington/Alexandria).
These comments are my interpretation alone and do not necessarily convey the feelings of Mr Grohl (although if Dave Grohl would like to elaborate, that would be greatly appreciated).
I think what Dave is trying to convey is his love/hate relationship with the "people" of Northern Virginia that try to claim him as one of their own.
I would like to review this line-by-line to better analyze his intent (Dave, please forgive me if I get this wrong and please correct me if you feel I have gone astray).
"Ain't that the way it always starts"
I believe that Dave is referring to the way that the "public" has defined him and refers to "I flipped you station to station" as to say that multiple radio/tv stations have defined "who" Dave is.
I love the following lyric: "Hey. Don't go and turn the other way. Don't say there's nothin more to say." To me, this is Dave saying that you need to look deeper at who he is and don't stick by the definition that you have provided for him (having seen some of his video, he is clearly a very dedicated, complex, committed (to his music and his family) professional).
I think the following lyric/chorus is key to what Dave is saying:
"You used to say I couldn't save you enough, so I've been saving it up, I started saving it up. And when you said I couldn't give you enough,I started giving you up, I started giving you up." The way I read this is that Dave heard that he wasn't representing the "people" of northern Virginia enough so he tried to "represent" Arlandria the best way that he knew how and when he was not recognized for his efforts, he gave up on trying.
I love "You are not me, Arlandria, Arlandria." It means to me that he is separating himself from Northern Virginia and stating that he is different than the "people" that are trying to define what he is.
Another great lyric is "I feel much better now. Use me up, spit me out,let me be your hand-me-down. Fame, fame, go away, come again some other day." This says to me that Dave has accepted that the "people" or possibly the "media" have used him for their gain and he knows that he can't change that.
I think the lyric that sticks the knife in the heart of the "people" that he is singing this to is "My sweet Virginia, I'm the same as I was in your arm. My sweet Virginia, I'm the same as I was in your heart." He is trying to say that he has not changed from the young man he was, so why is the state (Virginia) forsaking him for who he has always been.
anonymous Apr 19th, 2011 4:54pm report
Dave Grohl spent part of his childhood in the Alexandria, Virginia area, so I believe this is a dedication to his hometown. He is expressing his wants as a young adult to get out of the place, and the shame he references carried with him. Then as he gained fame and got away, he feels a desire to go back, telling te fame to go away. His softer references to Virginia in the song show an appriciation for the city, but the chrous constantly repeating "you are not me" shows the overpowering theme of escaping the place and not wanting it to define him.
anonymous May 24th, 2019 5:17am report
When rock and roll artists reference their momma's it melts my heart, and restores my love for humanity.
anonymous Apr 22nd, 2018 4:11pm report
Growing up in the adjacent neighborhood next to Dave’s (North Springfield) and graduating with him, I think he is dismayed with the changes there. They are not for the better. I think he reminisces of what it was to grow up in Springfield/Annandale and Alexandria. I think he is saying “I haven’t changed, embrace me for who I still am, but you (Springfield) are not the same. When I went back home I cried to see my childhood neighborhood and his be what it is now. All the houses have been added on to and are now what we call McMansions. But thoughts of home now live in our memories, not reality.
anonymous Apr 28th, 2017 4:48am report
to me it seems as though dave is referring to multiple situations in which the media\ road trips\ work stuff has gone to crazy for him to take and he feels like he is spinning out of control so he runs back home to his sweet virginia(mom and town) convincing himself that he did not change while the town that could be his "conscience" \the young kid inside is blaming him for changing (he repeats multiple times about the "blame" and the "fame" probably one led to the other). and it is actually a monolog conducted in front of a mirror in his childhood bedroom .
english is not my first language so i hope u understood what i ment
anonymous Jan 2nd, 2012 1:45am report
His mother is Virginia........he has always been close to his mother, but perhaps, now that he is married, he has "cut the cord" and may give some of the attention that he gave to his mother to his wife.......maybe he raises his kids different in some ways that he was raised. He is not angry, but want to reassure his mother that although he and his wife may do things differently, he still is her son.........."My sweet Virginia, I'm the same that I was in your arms" I think the "Arlandria" reference is not literal, but symbolizes his upbringing....his roots
anonymous Dec 4th, 2011 12:29am report
To me, it first sounded like this song was about a relationship, where one of them is trying to change the other. But the more she's nagging about what's wrong and what she wants to change about him, the more he wants to get away from that relationship. "When you said I couldn't give you enough , I started givin' you up, I started givin' you up."
Now, since english isn't my first language, it's likely that i've misunderstood some of the lyrics, but i feel like the part "Ain't that the way it always starts, A simple round of conversation, Became a shameful equation,
I flipped to station to station." is about how a fight starts, and how it eventually continues with that one or both starts nagging on eachother about things they do, that really isn't a big deal, but when they're both angry gets really big.
That's what I first thought listening to this song.
But then again, it's just a few parts of the song that fits into my theory and I really like the earlier theories, they definetly make more sense. But still, i can't get the thought of this song being about that sort of relationship out of my head.
anonymous Sep 17th, 2011 9:13am report
I find it hard to believe that someone as grounded in his hometown as Grohl would put it up on a lyric block to shoot it down. I think everyone appreciates from whence they come.
anonymous Jul 7th, 2011 7:57am report
Dig the sound...Don't dig too deep.
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