Counting Down the Hours
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists Lyrics


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Innocence it don't come easy, in a sense it never will
Accidents mean no one's guilty, ignorance means someone's killed
So I asked our Mr. Mellow how to get to where one's going
And he points to his survival, and he points me down the road

As I go on and on
Wondering if I've got a soul
Counting down the hours 'till it goes

On a dark wet night in April on a street in Jersey where
I went looking for some writing that I knew would not be there
And a punter from the Pelhams and the police in the rain,
Were concerned more with a car than with the fact the light had changed
But after listening all morning as I drove down 95
To a story of detaniees who were barely kept alive
I could deal with trying to process pigeons acting like they're doves
But not with interference from the powerlines above

As I go on and on
Wondering if I've got a soul
Counting down the hours 'till it goes

And oh precautions, yes precaution
But if you're playing with a gun, well you could kill someone
And in the dark it's hard to know a friend
But I'm not angry, I won't be forever angry

As I'm walking toward tomorrow with a rifle in my hand
And I'm thinking 'bout New England and I'm missing old Japan
And a mountain in California where a spring runs hot and cold
And if I told you I felt ageless, would you tell me I'm not old

As I go on and on
Wondering if I've got a soul
Counting down the hours 'till it goes
On and on




Wondering if I've got a soul
Counting down the hours 'till it goes

Overall Meaning

The opening lines of "Counting Down the Hours" by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists set the tone for an introspective song that ruminates on innocence, guilt, and the ultimate question of whether or not one has a soul. The verse starts with the idea that innocence is elusive, and that accidents do not necessarily equal guilt, but ignorance can lead to fatal consequences. The singer then seeks guidance from "Mr. Mellow," who teaches him that survival is the key to getting where he wants to go. This sets up the central conflict of the song: the search for meaning and purpose in a world where innocence is rare, and survival is the ultimate goal.


The second verse takes place on a dark, wet night in New Jersey, where the singer is searching for something intangible. The scene is set with vivid imagery, including a punter from the Pelhams and the police in the rain, and the fact that the light had changed. The singer then reflects on the words he'd heard earlier in the day about detainees who were barely kept alive, juxtaposing this with the relatively minor detail of pigeons acting like they're doves. The final lines of the verse convey a sense of frustration and powerlessness in the face of interference from power lines.


The final verse brings together several different threads from the previous verses, with the singer thinking about his past in New England and Japan, as well as the present moment where he carries a rifle in his hand. He reflects on the idea of feeling ageless, perhaps hinting at a sense of immortality, but ultimately acknowledges that his soul is something he can never truly know. The chorus repeats the same lines, emphasizing the idea of counting down the hours until his soul may depart.


Line by Line Meaning

Innocence it don't come easy, in a sense it never will
Being innocent is hard to come by and may never be achieved.


Accidents mean no one's guilty, ignorance means someone's killed
Nobody is to blame for accidents, but ignorance can lead to serious consequences.


So I asked our Mr. Mellow how to get to where one's going
I asked someone calm and collected how to reach my destination.


And he points to his survival, and he points me down the road
He tells me to focus on survival and sends me on my way.


On a dark wet night in April on a street in Jersey where
On a rainy night in April on a particular street in New Jersey,


I went looking for some writing that I knew would not be there
I searched for something that I was certain was not there.


And a punter from the Pelhams and the police in the rain,
I encountered a patron from the Pelhams and police officers in the rain.


Were concerned more with a car than with the fact the light had changed
They were more interested in the car than in the traffic signal that had changed.


But after listening all morning as I drove down 95
But after hearing stories all morning as I drove on Highway 95,


To a story of detainees who were barely kept alive
I learned about the mistreatment of prisoners who were barely kept alive.


I could deal with trying to process pigeons acting like they're doves
I could handle trying to understand how pigeons act like doves.


But not with interference from the powerlines above
However, I could not tolerate interference from the overhead powerlines.


And oh precautions, yes precaution
Oh, the need for caution and being careful.


But if you're playing with a gun, well you could kill someone
But if you handle a gun carelessly, you might accidentally kill someone.


And in the dark it's hard to know a friend
It is difficult to identify a friend in the darkness.


But I'm not angry, I won't be forever angry
However, I am not angry and will not remain angry forever.


As I'm walking toward tomorrow with a rifle in my hand
As I move forward with a rifle in hand towards the future,


And I'm thinking 'bout New England and I'm missing old Japan
And I'm reminiscing about New England while missing old Japan.


And a mountain in California where a spring runs hot and cold
And I remember a mountain in California with a natural spring that runs hot and cold.


And if I told you I felt ageless, would you tell me I'm not old
If I said I feel young forever, would you say I'm not old?


Wondering if I've got a soul
Questioning the existence of my soul.


Counting down the hours 'till it goes
Counting down the remaining time until my soul departs from me.




Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.
Written by: THEODORE F LEO

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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