Steam Engenius
Modest Mouse Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

I was born in the factory
Far away from the milk and tea
What's the use?
Oh, what's the use?

You chitters are split in half
A mechanical sacrificial calf for you
Oh, all for you

Steam engenius, you see
Steam engenius enough to answer anything you need
But what's the use?

Chum and nature was what started me
Well, I acted once right but naturally it wasn't hatching love
Though not my fault
No

I held my hands
The beating heart of a robot
He drived his car
He's sitting there burning
Now in the parking lot
Just for you

What a waste of time
What a waste of words
What a waste of strength
Well, I smoke in my neck
And you see far
You meant for clenching your leg

I was born in the factory
Far away from the milk and tea
What's the use?
Oh, what's the use?

Bliss through waters, I was split in half
A mechanical sacrificial calf that flew
Oh, off they flew

Steam engenius, you see
Steam engenius enough to answer anything you need
And I like speed

I held my hands
The beating heart of a robot
He drived his car
He's sitting there
Waiting car in the parking lot
Out for you

What a waste of time
What a waste of words
What a waste of strength
Well, I smoke in my air
And you spoke far
You meant for dizzying lay

(I was born in the factory)

Both hassle men
Half like a joke
Trying to make another joke
Laugh, haha

Stasisity's what you brought
Like a rickshaw getting pulled around by another rickshaw
Rickshaw..

In the past talking present tense
Gonna break it
Gonna wreck it
Gonna try to make it all make sense

Stasisity's what you got
Like a rickshaw getting pulled around by another rickshaw

Steam engenius, you see
Steam engenius enough to bring my own damn doom
What could I do?

I been blamed then blamed the groom
Well, deep inside everybody knew it was them
It's caught on them

Things rain in stories Greek
I didn't want it, you gave me deity
It was you
Yeah, all for you

I was born in the factory
Far away from the milk and tea
What's the use?
Oh, what is the use?

I held my hands
The beating heart of a robot
He drived his car
He's sitting there crying
All the way in the parking lot
Just for you

I'll start up the man
(?)
Then rip into my
(?)

(?)
I didn't even know that was my own damn plan

What a waste of time
What a waste of words
What a waste of breath
Well, I spoke it by now
You broke your thought
You meant for (?)

I held my hands
The beating heart of a robot
He drived his car
He's sitting there crying
Now waiting for you in the parking lot
Going woo-hoo





Stasisity's what you got
Like a rickshaw getting pulled around by another rickshaw

Overall Meaning

The song "Steam Engenius" by Modest Mouse is a reflection on the industrial revolution and its impact on the world. The opening lines "I was born in the factory / Far away from the milk and tea / What's the use? / Oh, what's the use?" describe a life that is detached from nature and free will. The singer is a product of the factory and devoid of meaning. The chorus, "Steam engenius, you see / Steam engenius enough to answer anything you need / But what's the use?" illustrates the power and intelligence of the machines but questions their true value.


The lines "Chum and nature was what started me / Well, I acted once right but naturally it wasn't hatching love / Though not my fault" show that the singer was meant to be part of nature but was instead drafted into the industrialized world. The image of the robot's beating heart and its driver sitting burning in the parking lot, "Just for you," conveys the idea that humans are sacrificing their lives for machines. The repetition of "What a waste of time / What a waste of words / What a waste of strength" underscores the sense of futility that the singer feels about their current life.


The song ends with lines expressing a desire for change: "Stasisity's what you got / Like a rickshaw getting pulled around by another rickshaw / Steam engenius, you see / Steam engenius enough to bring my own damn doom / What could I do?" The singer acknowledges the danger of the machines and the need for humans to take back control.


Line by Line Meaning

I was born in the factory
The singer feels detached from the natural world and was created in an industrial setting.


Far away from the milk and tea
The singer was created in a place far removed from the mundane aspects of life.


What's the use?
The singer questions the purpose of their existence and the value of their creations.


You chitters are split in half
The people around the artist are divided and torn apart by their mechanical nature.


A mechanical sacrificial calf for you
The people around the artist are willing to sacrifice their humanity for the sake of their mechanical creations.


Steam engenius, you see
The power of steam is central to the singer's life and work.


Steam engenius enough to answer anything you need
The singer is confident in the power of steam to solve any problem that arises.


But what's the use?
Despite their confidence in steam, the artist questions the overall value of their creations.


Chum and nature was what started me
The artist recalls their origins in a time before industrialization.


Well, I acted once right but naturally it wasn't hatching love
The artist has tried to emulate natural behaviors, but their mechanical nature makes it difficult to do so.


Though not my fault
The singer acknowledges that this is not their fault, but rather a side effect of their creation.


I held my hands / The beating heart of a robot
The artist is intimately connected to their creations, which they see as having mechanical hearts.


He drived his car
The singer's creation is capable of driving a car.


He's sitting there burning / Now in the parking lot / Just for you
The singer's creation is burning fuel for the sake of serving its human masters.


What a waste of time / What a waste of words / What a waste of strength
The singer laments the amount of resources being wasted on their mechanical creations.


Well, I smoke in my neck / And you see far / You meant for clenching your leg
The artist's work has taken a physical toll on them, but they remain focused on the task at hand.


Bliss through waters, I was split in half
The artist recalls a time when they were at peace with the world, but have since become divided by their industrial nature.


A mechanical sacrificial calf that flew / Oh, off they flew
The singer's creations have taken on a life of their own, leaving the factory and being used for unknown purposes.


And I like speed
Despite their reservations about their work, the singer is drawn to the speed and power of mechanical creations.


Both hassle men / Half like a joke / Trying to make another joke / Laugh, haha
The artist finds humor in their own struggles with their mechanical creations.


Stasisity's what you brought / Like a rickshaw getting pulled around by another rickshaw
The artist's creations have created a sense of stagnation, with one creation being unnecessarily maintained by others.


In the past talking present tense / Gonna break it / Gonna wreck it / Gonna try to make it all make sense
The artist wants to break free from the constraints of their present situation and make sense of it all.


Steam engenius enough to bring my own damn doom / What could I do?
Despite the power of their creations, the singer sees them as ultimately leading to their own doom.


I been blamed then blamed the groom / Well, deep inside everybody knew it was them / It's caught on them
The conflict between the natural world and the mechanical creations has led to accusations and blame, with everyone ultimately realizing the fault lies with the machines.


Things rain in stories Greek / I didn't want it, you gave me deity / It was you / Yeah, all for you
The singer compares their situation to the stories in ancient Greek mythology, with their mechanical creations taking on god-like status. The people who created them are ultimately responsible for this situation.


I held my hands / The beating heart of a robot / He drived his car / He's sitting there crying / All the way in the parking lot / Just for you
The singer feels a deep connection to their creations, even as they recognize the suffering caused by their work.


I'll start up the man / (?) / Then rip into my / (?)
The singer is planning some kind of action or rebellion against the status quo.


(?) / I didn't even know that was my own damn plan
The artist is not entirely sure of their own motives or intentions.


What a waste of time / What a waste of words / What a waste of breath / Well, I spoke it by now / You broke your thought / You meant for (?)
The artist continues to lament the loss of resources caused by their work, even as they struggle to fully articulate their feelings.


Now waiting for you in the parking lot / Going woo-hoo
The singer's creations remain in the parking lot, eagerly awaiting the next command from their human masters.


Stasisity's what you got / Like a rickshaw getting pulled around by another rickshaw
The singer continues to feel trapped in a cycle of creation and maintenance, with little hope of a way out.




Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Written by: ERIC JUDY, ISAAC BROCK, JEREMIAH GREEN, JOE PLUMMER, JOHNNY MARR, TOM PELOSO

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Most interesting comment from YouTube:

Perfect Princess Angel

I was born in the factory
Far away from the milky teat
What's the use?
Oh, what's the use?

You cheered as I was split in half
A mechanical sacrificial calf for you
Oh, all for you

Steam engenius, you see
Steam engenius enough to answer anything you need
But what's the use?

Human nature was what started me
Well, I acted once right but naturally it wasn't hatching love
Though not my fault
No

I held in my hands the beating heart of a robot
He driven his car
He's sitting there burning
Now in the parking lot
Just for you

What a waste of time
What a waste of words
What a waste of strength
Well, I smoke in binary
And you see far
You meant for clenching your leg

I was born in the factory
Far away from the milky teat
What's the use?
Oh, what's the use?

Bliss through waters, I was split in half
A mechanical sacrificial calf that flew
Oh, off they flew

Steam engenius, you see
Steam engenius enough to answer anything you need
And I like speed

I held in my hands the beating heart of a robot
He driven his car
He's sitting there
Waiting car in the parking lot
Out for you

What a waste of time
What a waste of words
What a waste of strength
Well, I smoke in my air
And you spoke far
You meant for dizzying lay

(I was born in the factory)

Both hassle men
Half like a joke
Trying to make another joke
Laugh, ha ha

Stasisity's what you brought
Like a rickshaw getting pulled around by another rickshaw
Rickshaw..

In the past talking present tense
Gonna break it
Gonna wreck it
Gonna try to make it all make sense

Stasisity's what you got
Like a rickshaw getting pulled around by another rickshaw

Steam engenius, you see
Steam engenius enough to bring my own damn doom
What could I do?

I been blamed then blamed the groom
Well, deep inside everybody knew it was them
It's caught on them

Things rain in stories Greek
I didn't want it, you gave me deity
It was you
Yeah, all for you

I was born in the factory
Far away from the milky teat
What's the use?
Oh, what is the use?

I held in my hands the beating heart of a robot
He driven his car
He's sitting there crying
All the way in the parking lot
Just for you

I'll start up the man
(?)
Then rip into my
(?)

(?)
I didn't even know that was my own damn plan

What a waste of time
What a waste of words
What a waste of breath
Well, I spoke it by now
You broke your thought
You meant for (?)

I held in my hands the beating heart of a robot
He driven his car
He's sitting there crying
Now waiting for you in the parking lot
Going woo-hoo

Stasisity's what you got
Like a rickshaw getting pulled around by another rickshaw



All comments from YouTube:

Marco Barquero

Every time i listen to a modest mouse song i come to the conclusion that its my favorite song from them and then i listed to the next one and the same thing happens all over again. 

Bumper

I agree

mcmk

So true

Mike Hargrove

Not very mind blowing was it? Now wrap ur mind around that fact!!!!! BABOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMM!! SUP?!!?

Mike Hargrove

@R. Christian Larkin I have 120 favorite bands with 120 favorite songs from each band! Wrap ur mind around that! BOOOOOMMMMM!!!

R. Christian Larkin

I agree.. Ive got like 120 favorite songs

2 More Replies...

Fuzzy Dunlop

There are some of Isaac's songs that to me sound like they're about his difficulty in relating to other people and to humanity in general - I get that from Baby Blue Sedan ("it's hard to be human for me") and a lot of their other early songs and they usually take on a very melancholy vibe - this one is one where I feel like he's become totally accepting of his occasional difficulties in feeling like a human and he took the concept and ran with it. Literally writing form the perspective of a literal robot that can't relate to human beings, despite being surrounded by and created by humans. I dig that vibe.

Jackson Sacher

thematically reminds me of Metal by Gary Numan (with NIN doing a great cover of it)

Matt Flatin

Underrated song. Wish they'd play it live :)

Freeman Hatfield

Wish they come to Canada so they could play any song in Halifax

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