Biomusicology
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists Lyrics


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Had we never come across the vastness of pavement
The barrenness of waves and the grayness of the sea
Never lost or ne'er been misguided
We'd have ne'er reached seas so shining

Or come from out of a hansom in Camden
To a bar in the basement
While all the while it rained
Or come around to the friendliest of faces
Handsomest in ugly places

Or come from out of the tunnels we dig in
To see that tunneling's not living
And working doesn't work
Or come to find that loving is labor
Labor's life and life's forever

Or come to see that keeping's not giving
You get what you've given
You get what you deserve
And in the midst of all of the action
Maybe only there found satisfaction

Chasing sea-foam dreams
Around another dirty old town
Parallel run streams
Toward the gray ocean from the green ground
'Oed und leer, das meer
But look beneath the glassy surface
All the songs you hear
Down there they have a purpose

All in all we cannot stop singing
we cannot start sinking
We swim until it ends




They may kill and we may be parted
But we will ne'er be broken hearted

Overall Meaning

The lyrics of Ted Leo and the Pharmacists' song "Biomusicology" talks about the experiences that shape a person's life. The song reflects on the various places the singer and his companions have visited or lived in, and how those experiences have made them who they are today. The song talks about the vastness of pavement, the barrenness of waves, the grayness of the sea, and how these landscapes shape our life's journey. The song also highlights the importance of experiences, both good and bad, as they shape our ideas and feelings.


The song's chorus highlights that life is labor, and labor is love, and that this never-ending cycle is what makes life worth living. The lyrics emphasize that we get what we deserve, and our actions have consequences. The song also celebrates the power of music in our lives, as it can lift our spirits during the difficult times. The song's final lines remind us that life may sometimes be challenging, but we must keep moving forward without losing hope.


Line by Line Meaning

Had we never come across the vastness of pavement
If we had never experienced the expansiveness of the city streets


The barrenness of waves and the grayness of the sea
Or the desolation of the ocean waters


Never lost or ne'er been misguided
If we had never felt aimless or off course


We'd have ne'er reached seas so shining
We wouldn't have found our way to brighter horizons


Or come from out of a hansom in Camden
If we hadn't emerged from a carriage in a particular part of London


To a bar in the basement
And entered a subterranean drinking establishment


While all the while it rained
During a downpour


Or come around to the friendliest of faces
If we hadn't encountered the warmest of people


Handsomest in ugly places
Especially in the most unattractive settings


Or come from out of the tunnels we dig in
If we hadn't emerged from the tunnels we've dug ourselves into


To see that tunneling's not living
To understand that merely existing within our self-made confines is not enough


And working doesn't work
Realizing that toiling constantly isn't necessarily productive


Or come to find that loving is labor
Discovering that devotion requires hard work and perseverance


Labor's life and life's forever
And that working towards something is essential to a fulfilling existence


Or come to see that keeping's not giving
Recognizing that holding onto things doesn't equate to generosity


You get what you've given
What you receive is directly related to what you put out


You get what you deserve
You receive what you are entitled to


And in the midst of all of the action
In the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life


Maybe only there found satisfaction
We may only find a sense of contentment there


Chasing sea-foam dreams
Pursuing lofty and ephemeral goals


Around another dirty old town
In another beaten-down urban locale


Parallel run streams
Two ideas or paths side-by-side


Toward the gray ocean from the green ground
Headed towards the bleak waters from vibrant land


'Oed und leer, das meer
'Desolate and empty, the sea'


But look beneath the glassy surface
But if we look deeper than what's on the surface


All the songs you hear
All the music you listen to


Down there they have a purpose
Their lyrics hold meaning and implications


All in all we cannot stop singing
All things considered, we can't stop expressing ourselves


We cannot start sinking
We can't afford to fail or give up


We swim until it ends
We keep going until we reach our destination


They may kill and we may be parted
We may be harmed or separated from those we love


But we will ne'er be broken hearted
But we will never let our spirits be crushed




Lyrics © O/B/O APRA AMCOS

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Comments from YouTube:

@mavohq

my dad put a bunch of songs including this one onto an mp3 player for me when i was really young, and i became really attached to this song in particular. i got it to work again after like, 8-10 years or so and i burst into tears when i heard this, depression and mental illness is kind of kicking my ass right now and it took me straight back to when i didn’t have to worry about any of that shit

@goinggoinggone535

Your life has meaning, even if you can't see it right now. You matter. If you haven't already, reach out to get help. Call the national suicide hotline if you're having suicidal thoughts: 1-800-273-8255 . You'll get through this :-)

@TimEKish

This whole album has such immense lyrical weight. it's one of those records I come back to every year or so and find something new that resonates with what's going on in my life at the time. 

And it usually helps me reflect and sort my shit out.

This is always be one of my top albums ever.

@cheesecake134

All in all, we cannot stop singin'. We cannot start sinkin'. We swim until it ends. Forget your Bible verses, your proverbs, inspirational quotes. THESE are the words you live by.

@abee9163

I think this is one of the best rock songs ever written, if I am being honest. The combination of elements is mind-blowing to me

@RoombaBoomba

"Had we never come across the vastness of pavement, the barrenness of waves, and the grayness of the sea, never lost and ne'er been misguided, we'd have ne'er reached seas so shining" Gets me every fucking time

@twentyflights

at this point in my life, i can't think of a more meaningful song on the planet, and i've heard a lot of songs old and new in my lifetime. it doesn't care when you were born; it doesn't care what religion you are or what you believe. it just cares that you're human.

@punchykoos1

Greatest Song of All Time

@oobaconbitsoo

Still is. In the right moment.

@cheesecake134

All the songs you hear down there, they have a purpose.

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