what i understand from this song is that even though they have very strong emotions for each and they might love each other,("and there's this burning, like there's always been") they don't necessarily LIKE each other, and they don't get along.
by im saying "there's this burning, like there's always been" he's saying that he feels very strongly about her, but by him saying "i've never been so alone, and i've never been so alive" i think that he is stating that they cannot be together, she makes him feel hollow, but he realizes that this is a chance to start again, there are always second chances, no matter what may happen to her. "the surface is everything, but i could never do that, someone would see through that" might mean that they tried their best to put on a show that everything was okay, but it's clearly not, because he knows that once he leaves, it's "the last time we'll be friends again" , he knows that it either all or nothing with her... and he'd rather be alone than see her on the street with one of those awkward moments, so he goes home to where he is comfertable, just surfin, calmly. "i go home, to the coast, it starts to rain i paddle out on the water, alone, taste the salt and taste the pain i'm not thinking of you again"
he's trying to forget about her.
This song is definately about relationships and other hardships and stuff. But the one part that always gets to me is "I lift your head while they change the hospital sheets" and that part never made sense to me, until I got to thinking. I thought about my friend, who died about a year or so ago, we had a relationship as more than friends, and then just as friends, and it scared me, it scared me a lot. And that part reminds me of him. It is about a relationship that's there but they don't realize the feelings are still there, they as in the two people in the relationship, "and their is this burning ahhahhh, their is this burnniinngg ahhh!" You can see how he feels, and how he knows she feels about things he says and does. It's an awesome song...
I remember being in my poetry class during my second semester at college. We
had presentations going on, and I was so bored while this one group was
analyzing a boring poem, I analyzed Motorcycle Drive By instead of paying
attention. Hee hee. So here I go...
We start off with Stephan being in lower Chelsea. He already knows it's not
good and that he shouldn't be there, when he says "I don't know what I'm
doing in this city."
There's mention of the sun which, of course, burns. That could symbolize her
kinda being hot to the touch, hard to hold and dangerous to him. Either way,
I'm more interested about the fact that he sings "it crashed through the
window". We see the harshness of this because the sun usually shines through
windows. But, to him, it crashes.
There are signs of problems between the two when he sings "I'm sleeping on
the couch when I came to visit you". This is kinda obvious... It things were
well, he would not be sleeping on the couch, but in her bed.
"...that's when I knew that I could never have you, I knew that before you
did, still I'm the one that's stupid..." I think he's slowly realizing that
things aren't going well here. He thinks that this girl doesn't realize it,
but he does. Yes, he's stupid, because even though things are bad between
the two, he is still hanging around.
"And there's this burning, like there's always been..." We see the mention
of the burn again. Funny thing is, he claims that it's always been there, or
at least has been there for awhile now. So they've been having trouble for a
long time, possibly while she was in NY and he was in SF. "I've never been
so alone, and I've never been so alive." We see that this pains him and he
hates this, yet he feels free and alive. Why? I guess finally realizing that
things are through and admitting it to himself, which I guess he never did,
because he always hung around.
"Visions of you on a motorcycle drive by..." is Stephan looking back at past
times, where they were in love and carefree. And I take it he loved her
attitude on life, which could be what attracted him to her in the first
place, a person he too wanted to be. Kinda like the Vertical Horizon song:
she was everything inside of him that he wished he could be. Okay, I
sidetracked here. Back to the song... Hee hee. He's looking back at this,
and he's hoping she'll remember him and those good times, when he says, "I
hope you take a piece of me with you."
"And there are things I would like to do that you don't believe in..." Here
we see that she doesn't approve of Stephan's choices in life, maybe one of
the differences between the two that caused the distance between them. "I
would like to build something, but you'll never see it happen": here, it's
kinda interesting. You know when men love a woman, they build something for
'em? This could signify that he'd never build something for her because he
doesn't love her. Or, he could build something (in Stephan's case, make
music, write songs) but with her being gone, she'll never hear 'em.
"Where's the soul, I wanna know, NYC is evil..." He's basically talking
about the evils of NYC where the girl is at. "And this is the last time
we'll be friends again/I'll get over you and you'll wonder who I am." Here,
he is telling her that it's over. He's saying that he will get over her.
He's the one who hung around for so long, but he will move forward and when
he does, he'll be different man.
My fave part... "I've never been so alone, alone, and I've, and I've, I've
never been so alive...so alive..." The last "so alive" he sings is so full
of longing. It made me wonder, is he over her? He wants to be. He wants to
be strong, and claims to be alive, but it seems here by the way he sings, he
"I go home to the coast it starts to rain I paddle out on the water. Alone."
Pretty simple; he goes surfing. Note the "alone". He's still hurting. "Taste
the salt and taste the pain, I'm not thinking of you again": the pain is
still there (along with the taste of sea water in his mouth), and he's
trying to convice himself that he is getting over her. He's not. He can't.
"Summer dies and swells rise", summer is over. I mean, he spent the summer
with her and he came back home now. The summer is over. It's gone. She's
gone. Yet the swelling, which could signify the longing, is getting bigger
and bigger. "The sun goes down in my eyes, see this rolling wave, darkly
coming to take me home." We end the song with Stephan on the water. It
seems -- to me, anyway -- that he is trying to swim away, as far away as he
can, as if wanting to go back to her. But the waves are pulling him back
towards the shores of California. His home. Where he is supposed to be.