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there’s a shield around us tell me how is it you’ve found us

there’s a shield around us
it’s invisible & soundless
& we drink too much & fuck too soon
smoke cigarettes in rented rooms
we quit our jobs & shoot the moon
& cut our wrists & sleep til noon

there’s a shield around us
we’re invincible & boundless
& we’re on the run from I don’t know
we’re Patty Hearst & Squeaky Fromme
asleep on subways far from home
you’d think we’d never seen a comb

sent a letter to Mom & Dad
Mom & Dad the money’s running out
got a letter from Mom & Dad
they didn’t send me anything

there’s a shield around us
we are heady we are groundless
& we burn our friends & kill their names
build insecure & petty fames
& tattoo things that we believe
stars & skulls & hearts in half-sleeves

there’s a shield around us
tell me how is it you’ve found us
cause we hide our tracks & watch the ground
our footfalls they don’t make a sound
we’ve cursed the names of our hometowns
we’re compassless & nowhere bound

sent a letter to Mom & Dad
Mom & Dad the money’s running out
got a letter from Mom & Dad
I swear to God they don’t get me at all


Possibly my favourite Casiotone for the Painfully Alone song, and trust me that’s a very hard thing to say. Yes, there are catchier songs in his repetoire, songs that are happier sounding (musically, at least), but to me this song is so represntative of the times we live in as well as my personal view on things that I can’t help liking it a lot. It’s awesome from a musical standpoint too. Possibly Owen’s “hardest” song ever, and the way he sings it fits in with the song perfectly.

Someone posted a comment about the lyrics on songmeanings.net saying that it was a modern-day version of T.S. Eliot’s “The Hollow Men”. I certainly see the similarity.

While it could be said that both Eliot’s poem and the lyrics of this song deal with the whole world and society as a whole, my interpretation of the lyrics is on a much smaller scale — teenagers and young adults. Probably because I’m one myself, and I know and have met people that I am reminded of when I read the lyrics.

The numerous mentions of a “shield” in the context of the lyrics makes me instantly think of that imagined “invincibility” and needless risk-taking that a lot of teens (me including) have experienced at some point in their lives. Although, personally, I’m not much of a crazy risk-taker. Probably why I’m complaining that my life is so routine and boring.

It’s almost a song about being a teenager — self-destructive behaviour, rebellion, a distaste for “tradition” and things associated with our parents (we’ve cursed the names of our hometowns”)and the chaos/aimlessness that oftentimes besets the unfortunates that are clumped into the “teenage” category.

I’m not speaking entirely from personal experience, but I’ve known, met with and conversed with a lot of (fellow) teens that, for lack of a better term, fit the bill when it comes to the behaviour I mentioned.

In that context, the “shields” may also be seen as the barrier a lot of people erect around themselves in order to try and show that they’re “ok” and to avoid thoughts/influences that may make them doubt their course of action.

Of course, this is all observation and perhaps wildly inaccurate. Somehow, I don’t really think so though.

I should really be reading for my exams.

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – Young Shields

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