Education
Modest Mouse Lyrics


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Call it education
It was somewhere in between
You gave me some sound advice
But I wasn't listening

After we had capsized
I could tell you how you thought
Well, I'm not sure
But laid to rest on the city on the wall

Not quite conversation
It was somewhere in between
You said everything is taught
And I listened patiently

All this talking pony
Still monkies the whole time
We could not help from flinging shit
In our modern suits and ties

Our instincts, they were cringing
About how we lived our lives
It didn't seem we'd lived enough
To even get to die

All these diss distractions
So beautifully complex
Well, I loved life's surprises so much
I don't want to know what's happened

Stubborn shouting, said
"I don't do what you do"
I don't know
Could it really hear highly if you highly care?
And you don't
Stubborn beauty, stubborn beauty
I've been away

Hardly education
It was somewhere in between
Oh, I hit the roof but I had
Aimed for the ceiling

Hardly education
All them books I didn't
They just sat there on my shelf
Looking much smarter than me

Good old Nostradamus
He knew the whole damn time
That always being east from west
Someone is there fighting

Stubborn shouting, said
"I don't do what you do"
I don't know
Could it really hear highly if you highly care?
And you don't
Stubborn beauty, stubborn beauty
I've been away
Stubborn beauty, stubborn beauty
I don't know anyway
Stubborn beauty, stubborn beauty
I don't know
Could it really hear highly if you highly care?
And you don't
Stubborn beauty, stubborn beauty
Uh.. I fell away
Stubborn beauty, stubborn beauty
Oh, very well, then
Stubborn beauty, stubborn beauty
Oh, very well, then
Stubborn beauty, stubborn beauty
Oh, very well, then





Oh, very well, then

Overall Meaning

The song "Education" by Modest Mouse is filled with metaphors and analogies to describe the complex nature of society and human relationships. The song opens with the singer acknowledging that they were given some sound advice but weren't listening, describing a missed opportunity for personal growth that ended in failure ("after we had capsized"). The second verse describes a conversation "somewhere in between" where the singer listened patiently to someone talking about how everything is taught in life, but despite that, they couldn't escape their own primal instincts and tendencies to throw "shit" at each other even while wearing modern suits and ties.


The chorus repeats the phrase "stubborn beauty" several times, which could mean that the singer sees both themselves and their society as beautiful, but they're unwilling to change despite good advice or common sense. They describe their own lack of education and knowledge which leaves them feeling inferior to the books sitting on their shelf that look "much smarter" than they are. The bridge of the song brings up Nostradamus, who knew that someone is always fighting East from West, implying that conflict is inherent in society, and the final chorus ends with the singer admitting they've "fallen away" and don't know how to reconcile their stubbornness with their desire for personal growth.


Overall, "Education" is a commentary on the human condition, where people have the capacity to learn and grow but often choose not to or don't know how to. The song expresses feelings of frustration and helplessness towards society's flaws but still finds value in the complexities and surprises of life.


Line by Line Meaning

Call it education
Give it the title of learning or instruction


It was somewhere in between
It was not fully one thing or another


You gave me some sound advice
You offered some wise guidance


But I wasn't listening
But I was not paying attention


After we had capsized
After we had overturned


I could tell you how you thought
I could sense what you were thinking


Well, I'm not sure
However, I am uncertain


But laid to rest on the city on the wall
But settled in silence on the city's wall


Not quite conversation
Not exactly a talk


You said everything is taught
You claimed that all things are learned


And I listened patiently
And I heard you calmly and attentively


All this talking pony
All this nonsensical chatter


Still monkies the whole time
Still we act like monkeys


We could not help from flinging shit
We could not refrain from throwing insults


In our modern suits and ties
Despite our dignified appearance


Our instincts, they were cringing
Our gut feelings were recoiling


About how we lived our lives
About the way we were living


It didn't seem we'd lived enough
It did not seem like we had lived a full life


To even get to die
To even experience death


All these diss distractions
All these negative diversions


So beautifully complex
So artfully intricate


Well, I loved life's surprises so much
Well, I enjoyed the unexpectedness of life so greatly


I don't want to know what's happened
I do not want to know the outcome


Stubborn shouting, said
Unyielding yelling, declared


"I don't do what you do"
"I do not do what you do"


I don't know
I am unsure


Could it really hear highly if you highly care?
Does it truly matter if you care greatly?


And you don't
But you do not


Stubborn beauty, stubborn beauty
Determined attractiveness, determined attractiveness


I've been away
I have been gone


Hardly education
Barely learning


Oh, I hit the roof but I had
Oh, I was very angry but I did have


Aimed for the ceiling
Set my goals high


All them books I didn't
All those books that I did not read


They just sat there on my shelf
They just stayed on my bookshelf


Looking much smarter than me
Seeming much more intelligent than I


Good old Nostradamus
Ancient Nostradamus


He knew the whole damn time
He understood it all along


That always being east from west
That always being opposite directions


Someone is there fighting
Someone is there struggling


Uh.. I fell away
Uh.. I became distant


Oh, very well, then
Oh, alright, then




Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC
Written by: ERIC JUDY, ISAAC BROCK, JEREMIAH GREEN, JOHNNY MARR, TOM PELOSO

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Comments from YouTube:

Shadow Zone Productions

"Call it education, All those books I didn't read. They just sat there on my shelf lookin' much smarter than me.." Issac is such an amazing writer.

rabbiss

Sick bass line - and sick sound as well! I really love the way the bass is mixed on this record.

Nerdcore Meow

Criminally underrated

lmao duck me pls

Still criminally underrated

bytesdystemper

just thankful for how this song makes me feel... hence the true reason great people get together and make fun, intense, and of course educational music :)

haru63

All this dog and pony Still monkeys the whole time We could not help from flinging shit In our modern suits and ties - Favorite verse :)

Sharon Carroll

most under rated song ever

Michael Kennedy

Best song about the human experience, period, exclamation mark.

zach doll

I love the heavies laugh at the beginning

Pyroclasticataclysm

"you said everything YOU THOUGHT, and I listened patiently"

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