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Taking Back Sunday: New American Classic Meaning


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New American Classic Lyrics

"We've got to get better."
I said, "It's all in your head."
We could live through these letters
Or forget it all together.
See the months they don't matter.
It's the days I can't take
When the hours move to minutes and I'm seconds...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    May 31st 2007 report

    I think this song is about a couple being physically separated, which in turn causes emotional separation. The author doesn't want to let go of his love for this girl, even though he already knows in his heart that its over. His response of "its all in your head" to her concern that their relationship is shaky ("we've got to get better") confirms his initial denial. The months "don't matter", because its difficult to "feel" time in months, as we usually only focus on how we are on a day to day basis- and he finds that with every passing moment he is "seconds away" from the truth (realising they can't stay like this). So he pleads with her to "just ask the question, come untie the knot, say you won't care": because he doesn't have the strength to end it himself. ("untie the knot" being a play on words of the marriage metaphore of "tying the knot", meaning to undo the bond they promised). ending it would mean it would be like nothing happened ("as if we forgot") and he feels that would be a shame after all their memories, time, etc, so they "avoid" breaking up but he feels its "one thing I can do nothing about" even though he still loves her because they're on different paths now, chasing different dreams and the lack of physical presence results in their attraction to each other fading. Sorry this was so long winded! I just really relate to this song and wanted to get out what I feel about it.. x


    #2 top rated interpretation:
    I know
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    Jul 31st 2005 report

    This song has different meanings...You can take it as someone moving from a person they love or as a break up. To me it means that you love someone but they don't love you but you think maybe they might, or if they dont you would rather still talk to them because he says "just ask the question, come untie the knot" and "you try to avoid it but there's not a doubt and there's one thing I can do nothing about".


    #3 top rated interpretation:
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    Aug 12th 2005 report

    I think this song is about a couple that used to love each other, but things fell apart. Now the man is still thinking about the girl but knows he can't go back and there's nothing he can do to change it.

    "Theres one thing I can do nothing about" he's thinking about her and wants more than just a friendship or none at all, but he doesn't get a reaction because there's no attraction between them anymore.

    I'd say that pretty much sums up the song. I love TBS and this is one of their greatest songs.... I dedicated it to my ex after we broke up and starting patching togetether a shaky new friendship.

  4. anonymous
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    Jul 25th 2014 report

    I think this song is about divorce 'untie the knot' and that living through the letters is referencing both vows and the way that long term couples tend to say 'I love you' out of habit more than with feeling.

    I think it also supports the title considering the rate of divorce in the US thus it's a 'classic' since so many people can relate.

    And 'the one thing I can do nothing about' is a dual reference as to 1) how you can't force yourself to love someone and 2) it only takes one person to want a divorce to make it happen.

  5. anonymous
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    Sep 13th 2011 report

    I think this song's about a relationship that's died, but they're still in the relationship, and just distract themselves with their own personal lives and dreams and ignore their wilting relationship ("try to avoid it") but time just moves so slowly between them (in a bad way) so "there's not a doubt" and there's nothing to be done about it. So ultimately, to me, it becomes about divorce. Since the divorce rate is over 50% in the U.S, it's the "New American Classic" rather than a classic love song. When people get married, they "tie the knot," and here, he's singing "come untie the knot."

  6. anonymous
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    Jun 28th 2011 report

    Ii think its about a guy who has been away for a while so he can't wait until they are together again. But the spark is gone he tells her to just ask the question meanin 'you wanna just be friends?' That way they can retrace their steps and try to make it work. He still loves her so he wants to hear her say that she don't care so he knows it won't break her heart to start over. He also says he wants to know he can go back to her. But there's one thing he can do nothing about. Meaning he can't make her love him like he loves her<3

  7. anonymous
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    Jun 28th 2011 report

    When I was younger I thought the guy was counting down the seconds untill he could c her again. But wasn't sure if she would still be there. He might be a marine or somethin so they talk thru letters

  8. anonymous
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    Feb 1st 2010 report

    I think its a song a bout a girl and guy that fell passionately in love but not deeply into a forever love. Now they realize that it was mostly physical and want to retrace the steps to the time before they did so as to not feel the pain of admitting that its over. The could stay together living through their dreams and their old love letters but not really be happy. So they could be like so many old married couples that just continue or they could stop - as if they forgot.

    The one thing he can do nothing about would be the child they have or a child they lost together.

    Beautiful sad song - love the harmony

    That's what I think.

  9. anonymous
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    Dec 6th 2009 report

    I think this song is about Romeo and Juliet. It is a classic, which could be referring to the title. Romeo and Juliet were avoiding telling anybody about tying the knot. When it is talking about time, Romeo and Juliet is a book based on a couple of days, but it makes everything drag on like an eternity. Then again it would have been easier if Juliet said she didn't care about Romeo. This is a sucky meaning, but I just had to read that story, and it has ties to a lot of songs.

  10. anonymous
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    Nov 9th 2009 report

    the one thing he can do nothing about is the physical distance between them. Long distance relationships never work out

  11. burgerpatty909
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    Apr 26th 2009 report

    in my research,in 2nd stanza is the meaningful but i make it short...a couple that already broke up bcoz of a problem(i dont know the problem)..even they not together,they want it forever..they love each other but they suffered too much they imagine..even they want it back,there's no way to bring it back..

    dats ol.

  12. rennayd
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    Mar 8th 2009 report

    i think that this song is about 2 people who are in love with each other but one of them is about to die. the problem is they cant be together because the other is going to die.
    the line "You've got to get better, its all in your head" introduces us to the sickness
    "we could live through these letters or forget it altogether" shows us that they could communitcate through one way letters once their lover has died or they could just forget that it ever happened.
    the talking about time represents how much time he has left.
    "im just seconds away"

    during the chorus when he talks about untieing the knot i think he means letting go. saying she doesnt care is her way of coping with his death, and the line
    "you try to avoid it, but there's not a doubt
    and there's one thing i can do nothing about" shows that he is going to die and although they try to avoid it, its going to happen.

    "chasing our dreams is just a distraction
    i want to remember what i know that i can't go back"
    these 2 lines represent that she has tried to distract herself from his death, and she wants to go back to when he was better, but cant.

    for some reason... i want this to be the first song my husband and i dance to at our wedding.. i think it is a beautiful song!

  13. anonymous
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    Apr 16th 2008 report

    It's about "Brokeback Mountain".

    Think about it.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  14. anonymous
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    Oct 23rd 2007 report

    Ummm...i don't know what the whole song is about but I think that the "when all that you need is just a reaction, its too much to ask for when there's no attraction any more" part means that they want a reaction, like sparks, they want to feel something for each other and they want it too work, but its not going to because there's just no attraction.

  15. anonymous
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    Jul 28th 2006 report

    I think it's pretty simple. It's a guy that's friends (or a little more) with a girl that lives far away (we could live through these letters) but he thinks he should be closer if he's to ask her out or anything (or forget it all together)(just ask the question, come untie the knot) I think the line its the months that don't matter.... Are self explanitory

  16. lion_lily
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    Jun 21st 2006 report

    I think that the "chasing our dreams is just a distraction" part means that...like they feel like the dreams that they had for the relaionship are just distracting them from everything else.

  17. anonymous
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    May 24th 2006 report

    It is about the loss of love but I think that the love fell apart because of a single party... meaning that one of the lovers chose there dream over their love "chasing our dreams is just a distraction" maybe seeing the mistake to late the misguided lover trys to go back to the old love but there is not attraction.. retrace the steps. Start over. The misguided lover wants to talk to the other but cannot pull self to do so. maybe fear or rejection. but there is one thing they can't live without.

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