Parallel or Together?
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists Lyrics


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We're caught in a landslide. -- The minutes come tumbling down,
and into an hour's time, within which a day's worth of work
must be planned out and pan out for every week to be worth
the weekends of downtime and months of ennui that kills
and years of resentment of everyone's contentment, and you
can't justify it, still.

Do-do-do-do-do.(x3)
Dow-dow-dow-dow-dow-dow.

I tell you my reasons, you don't tell me your inside jokes
until I've gone bitter on every word that you've spoken,
and all of your kind words, amounting to nought but a token
in all their inaction, will tumble away with the days
and nights of together, as we're really not "together" at all,
but "parallel."

Do-do-do-do-do.
Dow-dow-dow-dow-dow-dow.
Do-do-do-do-do.
Dow-dow-dow-dow-dow-dow.
Do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do.

Now I'm walking on downtown, in a town that is not my home,
and shopping for breakfast, to be eaten all alone,
and dreaming of houses, none of them that I own --
but that's not my provence -- that's not for what I am known.
So I gather around me all the little pieces of a song,
and fit them where they belong.

So go to your downtown, and bring what you've brought back home,
and you never should worry --
your hours will now be as long as the days that you hurried,
and months when it all seemed wrong, in all of the action,
will tumble away with the years, and parallel evenings,
and parallel tracks of our tears, and nights of together are where?

So I gather around me all the little pieces of a song,
and fit them where they belong.(x10)




Why-e-eye-e-eye-e-woah-oh-oh.
Why-e-eye-e-eye-woah-oh.

Overall Meaning

The song "Parallel or Together?" by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists explores themes of isolation and miscommunication in relationships. The first verse describes the anxiety and pressure of trying to balance work and leisure time, and feeling resentment towards others who seem content with their lives while the singer struggles. The repetition of "Do-do-do-do-do" and "Dow-dow-dow-dow-dow-dow" creates a sense of chaos and overwhelming emotions.


The second verse centers on a failing relationship, where the singer feels that their partner is withholding important information and that their kind words are empty gestures. The irony of spending time "together" while feeling "parallel" emphasizes the sense of distance and isolation between the two people. The chorus repeats the same melody but varies the lyrics, suggesting a search for meaning and purpose amidst feelings of alienation.


Line by Line Meaning

We're caught in a landslide.
The minutes come tumbling down, and time goes by quickly with work filling up the days, leaving only weekends for rest and months of boredom until resentfulness forms for others' happiness; it's hard to justify.


Do-do-do-do-do.(x3) Dow-dow-dow-dow-dow-dow.
Instrumental transition.


I tell you my reasons, you don't tell me your inside jokes until I've gone bitter on every word that you've spoken, and all of your kind words, amounting to nought but a token in all their inaction, will tumble away with the days and nights of together, as we're really not "together" at all, but "parallel."
Communication is one-sided and kindness is not enough to sustain a true connection; days and nights of being together will fade away as we're just existing in parallel without any real connection.


Do-do-do-do-do. Dow-dow-dow-dow-dow-dow. Do-do-do-do-do. Dow-dow-dow-dow-dow-dow. Do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do.
Instrumental transition.


Now I'm walking on downtown, in a town that is not my home, and shopping for breakfast, to be eaten all alone, and dreaming of houses, none of them that I own -- but that's not my provence -- that's not for what I am known. So I gather around me all the little pieces of a song, and fit them where they belong.
Feeling alone in a strange town and trying to make do with what's available while wishing for things that aren't yours to have; the artist gathers musical inspiration to make something out of their situation.


So go to your downtown, and bring what you've brought back home, and you never should worry -- your hours will now be as long as the days that you hurried, and months when it all seemed wrong, in all of the action, will tumble away with the years, and parallel evenings, and parallel tracks of our tears, and nights of together are where?
Take what you can from urban life and bring it home without worry; time will move as fast as the hectic life you lead until it all fades away and leaves only unfulfillment and parallel moments of sadness and unconnectedness.


So I gather around me all the little pieces of a song, and fit them where they belong.(x10) Why-e-eye-e-eye-e-woah-oh-oh. Why-e-eye-e-eye-woah-oh.
Instrumental ending with repeated lyrics about fitting the pieces of a song together.




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