: Another Green World :

Album cover

Sky Saw

All the clouds turn to words
All the words float in sequence
No one knows what they mean
Everyone just ignores them

[sung simultaneously]
Mau Mau starter ching ching da da
Daughter daughter dumpling data
Pack and pick the ping-pong starter
Carter Carter go get Carter
Open stick and delphic doldrums
Open click and quantum data.

Alternative hearing:

All the clouds turn to words == all thoughts turn to words (-- Andrew Thomas)


Get Carter: The title of a film starring Michael Caine.

Richard Poynor notes that the main lyric is almost a manifesto for Eno's lyrics after this point: "Since everyone just ignores the words anyway, says Eno, it makes no difference if they are meaningless", as indeed the counterpointed lyrics are: they are alliterative rather than semantic in construction. Eno was apparently inspired by a number of sources: the phonetic poetry of Hugo Ball and Kurt Schwitters, as well as Hilaire Belloc's 'Tarantella'. Hugo Ball wrote the poem 'I Zimbra' which was set to music by Eno and David Byrne and recorded on the album Fear of Music by Talking Heads. -- Craig Clark (quoting More Dark Than Shark)

St. Elmo's Fire

Brown Eyes and I were tired
We had walked and we had scrambled
Through the moors and through the briars
Through the endless blue meanders
In the blue August moon
In the cool August moon

Over the nights and through the fires
We went surging down the wires
Through the towns and on the highways
Through the storms in all their thundering
In the blue August moon
In the cool August moon

Then we rested in a desert
Where the bones were white as teeth, son
And we saw St. Elmo's Fire
Splitting ions in the ether
In the blue August moon
In the cool August moon

Alternative hearings:

In the blue August moon == In the cool August moon (-- R Carlberg) == in the glue, all this glue (-- Andrew Thomas)

Well we rested == Then we rested (-- R Carlberg)

Where the bones were white as teeth, son (-- Doug Stalnaker ) == Where the bones were white as tinsel (-- Lisa Carrico) == Where the bones as white as tungsten (-- Feralkid7) == Where the bones were white as teeth, sir == Where the bones were white as tea cups (-- John Spokus)

How about: "Where the bones were white as gypsum" What do you say. (-- Alec Midgley)


In the Science Museum, South Kensington, London, there is an electrical generator which is activated for the benefit of observers at 14h00 each day. According to Russell Mills, Eno based Robert Fripp's guitar solo on the action of this generator. -- Craig Clark (quoting More Dark Than Shark)

"...on 'St. Elmo's Fire' I had this idea and said to Fripp, 'Do you know what a Wimshurst machine is?' It's a device for generating very high voltages which then leap between the two poles, and it has a certain erratic contour, and I said, 'You have to imagine a guitar line that has that, very fast and unpredictable.' And he played that part which to me was very Wimshurst indeed." (-- Brian Eno, interviewed by Lester Bangs for Musician in 1979)

Blue moon: A rare event -- the phrase "once in a blue moon" refers to something that seldom if ever happens.

I'll Come Running (To Tie Your Shoe)

Dedicated to Ritva Saarikko's shoes and Ian MacDonald's polish

I'll find a place somewhere in the corner
I'm gonna waste the rest of my days
Just watching patiently from the window
Just waiting, seasons change, some day, oh oh,
My dreams will pull you through that garden gate

I want to be the wandering sailor
We're silhouettes by the light of the moon
I sit playing solitaire by the window
Just waiting, seasons change, ah hah, you'll see
Some day these dreams will pull you through my door

And I'll come running to tie your shoe
I'll come running to tie your shoe
I'll come running to tie your shoe
I'll come running to tie your shoe

Oh, oh oh-oh-oho-oho-oho-oho-oho-o-o-o
Oh, oh oh-oh-oho-oho-oho-oho-oho-o-o-o
I'll come running to tie your shoe I'll come running to tie your shoe I'll come running to tie your shoe I'll come running to tie your shoe

Alternative hearings:

My dreams will pull you through that garden gate == My dreams will pour you through that garden gate (-- R Carlberg)

One day these dreams [second stanza] == Some day these dreams (-- R Carlberg)

Some day these dreams will pull you through my door == someday these STRINGS will pull you through my door." [i.e., shoestrings. I hope this was helpful.] (-- K Morris)


I may be wrong here, but I think Ritva Saarikko did the back cover photograph for Another Green World. - Craig Clark

Ritva was Eno's girlfriend at the time. In 1997 the EnoWeb's correspondent met the woman she gave her sewing-kit to when she returned to Finland. Ian MacDonald was (and is) a rock journalist. He recently published his highly acclaimed history of The Beatles, Revolution In The Head. He didn't like The Drop though.

A performance of this song by Eno and The Winkies on Top Gear/BBC Radio London in 1974, which appeared on the CD entitled Dali's Car, has different lyrics for the first two verses:

I'll find a place somewhere on the carpet
I'm gonna waste the rest of my days
Do all the dreadful things you might ask me
Can't get too light as an ashtray.

I want to be your silver service
I want to be your smallest room
Ans when you have to keep an engagement
Just leave me here, I'll wait in the gloom.

Alternative hearing for reference: Can't get too light as an ashtray == Can't get through life as an ashtray (-- Tom) == Condemned to life as an ashtray (-- Dave Matthews)

I want to be your silver service == I want to be your Silver Surfer (-- RGB)

Alternative hearing for reference: I want to be your smallest room == I want to be your smallest broom (-- Dave Matthews)

Reference for reference: Smallest room = a euphemism for toilet, lavatory, loo, cloakroom, bathroom, john

Golden Hours

The passage of time is flicking dimly upon the screen;
I can't see the lines I used to think I could read between.
Perhaps my brains have turned to sand.

Oh me oh my, I think it's been an eternity.
You'd be surprised at my degree of uncertainty.
How can moments go so slow?

Several times I've seen the evening slide away.
Watching the signs taking over from the fading day.
Perhaps my brains are old and scrambled ...

Several times I've seen the evening slide away.
Watching the signs taking over from the fading day.
Changing water into wine...

Several times I've seen the evening slide away.
Watching the signs taking over from the fading day.
Putting grapes back on the vine...

[Sung simultaneously to last two verses]
Who could believe what a poor set of eyes can show you?
Who would believe what an innocent voice could do?
Never a silence, always a face at the door

Who would believe what a poor set of ears can tell you?
Who would believe what a weak pair of hands can do?
Never a silence, always a foot in the door.

Alternate hearings:

I guess this sort of counts in the "misheard lyrics" deptartment. the NYC indie band Ida cover "Golden Hours" on their studio album "ten small paces" (simple machines) as well as on the just-released limited-run "Live at Carnegie Hall, The Album." This was how i frst heard the music of Eno, in fact. the band is worth checking out because they're excellent, but of particular note to Eno fans would be these lyrics, over the end of "Golden Hours":

can't believe what a great pair of pants can say
can't believe what a weak pair of pants can say

I have no idea if this is an intentional mistake or not. I assume it is because the band are very intelligent and often crack jokes. (-- aaron tieger)


"I regard this song as to be about the precious and rare moments of privacy." -- Russell Mills (More Dark Than Shark)

The title is a play on the deviant sex practice of urinating on your partner. This is called "golden showers."(-- R Carlberg)

Everything Merges With the Night

Rosalie, I've been waiting all evening
Possibly years, I don't know.
Counting the passing hours
Everything merges with the night.

I stand on the beach, giving out descriptions
Different for everyone I see.
Since I just can't remember
Longer than last September.

Santiago, under the volcano,
Floats like a cushion on the sea.
Yet I can never sleep here
Everything ponders in the night.

Rosalie, we've been talking all summer
Picking the straw from our clothes.
See how the breeze has softened
Everything pauses in the night.

Alternative hearings:

I always thought it said "giving out this scripture. . ." and not "giving out descriptions." My reading lent the song a more ascetic quality to me and seemed paradoxical in that a scripture would change for each recipient. (-- Travis Stansel)

If I could add an alternative hearing to Everything Merges With the Night... I believe that "Everything ponders in the night" from the third verse is actually "Everything wanders in the night." Also, I've wondered in listening to this song whether the first line of the third verse "Santiago, under the volcano" might not be a reference to Malcolm Lowry's novel 'Under the Volcano' -- one of the more formidable portrayals of alcoholism in print. (-- Paul Bonner)


"Giving out descriptions/ Different for everyone I see" encapsulates Brian's goal of creating artworks which change from moment to moment. As a student he exhibited paintings which were distorted by water flowing over them; he creates installations where musical notes, sounds and lights join together in different combinations, and SSEYO Koan Generative Music allows him to create music files which are non-identical every time they are played. (--Tom)


The title "Another Green World" lends itself to literally thousands of anagrams. Some of the more interesting ones are: "Orange Netherworld," "Rare Wrong Note Held," "Reward Gentle Honor" and "Wrong Hole Rend Tear" (oops!) (-- R Carlberg)

"...the sound always suggests what kind of melody it should be. So it's always sound first and then the line afterwards. That's why I enjoy working with complicated equipment, because I can just set up a chain of things, like a lot of my things are started just with a rhythm box, but I feed it through so many things that what comes out often sounds very complex and rich, and as soon as I hear a sound it always suggests a mood to me. Now, most sounds that you get easily suggest moods that aren't very interesting; or have already been well-explored. But working this way, I often find that I'll get pictures. I'll say, 'This reminds me of . . . ,'; like 'In Dark Trees' on Another Green World : I can remember how that started and I can remember very clearly the image that I had which was this image of a dark, inky blue forest with moss hanging off and you could hear horses off in the distance all the time, these horses kind of neighing, whinnying . . . "

"Was this an image from your personal experience?"

"No, it was just what the rhythm box suggested. You know, if you're in a forest the quality of the echo is very strange because echoes back off so many surfaces of all those trees that you get this strange itchy ricochet effect."

(-- Brian Eno, interviewed by Lester Bangs for Musician in 1979)

I don't think I'm inventing it retrospectively, but I think there were quite a few issues in there that are interesting to me. A very important one was the idea of removing the narrator as the centre of the music. I tried to do that in quite a few different ways: for instance on Another Green World there are 14 pieces of music, of which only five actually have a voice. Most people don't realise that that's the proportion - that was quite a bit of sleight of hand. People tend to think of that as a song record. But it isn't it's an instrumental record with the odd bit of vocal.

The songs are very conspicuously placed, though: you were still remembering the vocal several tracks after it had finished.

I was very interested at that time to see if there was a way of making music that still connected with one emotionally - of course it's easy to make music that doesn't connect emotionally, to fulfil any brief you want - but I wanted to make music that still had an emotional connection that didn't depend on a narrative or on a person. And a lot of the stuff I was doing, I think, was to do with the erosion of a single personality being at the centre of the music. I did that in lots of different ways, by sinking the voice in, or by singing nonsense, or, like on My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts, not using my own voice, but assembling other voices. All these were ways of giving the message: 'that isn't the important bit, necessarily'. That's only one part of the landscape. It's difficult to do that because if there's a voice there, you know that that's the part of the landscape people want to focus on, because we have such a history of it. It's particularly true of critics who will almost inevitably, if there are words, treat them as the content of the song.


On Another Green World there's one track which appears to have the very distant voices of children...

Yeah. It's a playground. I'd forgotten all about that.

It's very evocative, but also it performs the function of moving your perspective on the idea of a human presence. There's this horizon line, on which is placed distant and very poignant human sound. And that acts to focus the presence of the voice.

Yeah, I agree. This is a case of TS Eliot, where he said that the poem the reader reads may be better than that which the writer wrote! That's part of the game, to try to make things that can become better than what you thought you were doing. The flipside of what I was saying earlier about recognising that art can lose its value, is recognising also that it can multiply its value enormously, far beyond anything you ever did. It becomes autonomous, and can start to take on meanings and interpretations that really were not your own. Now, I was quite consciously at that time working with different ways to treat voices. That project was conscious, but the particular moves were more like, 'That sounds pretty good, I'll just leave that there.'

(-- Brian Eno, interviewed by Paul Schütze for The Wire, Issue 139, September 1995.)

wonder if anyone else noticed, on the original vinyl "another green world", that if you took the inside album sleeve (black, with the label hole cut out, as was common then) and laid it perfectly on the back side of the outer cover, another green world would appear in the center of the sleeve...... ( -- michael satterwaite)


Craig Clark, Jay Sachs, Phil Gyford, R Carlberg, Eduardo Villanueva and other nameless denizens of the alt.music.brian-eno newsgroup who worked together in 1995 to create the transcriptions on which the EnoWeb's lyrics pages are based.

The references are not intended to indicate the "meaning" of the lyrics -- it's well-known that Brian did not intend his lyrics to have a set meaning and often selected words for the way they sounded. The references may, however, suggest some of the reasons why some words or phrases got chosen rather than others.

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