Great Lake Swimmers – “Moving, Shaking”

I can’t write, I can’t sing, I can’t play
My insides have been broken
My inspiration has flown away
And it’s hard to see all the little things

There’s a universe in a crack in the wall
Or an ant crawling across a broken tile
But it’s hard to see all the little things
When the big things get in the way

I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, I can’t think straight
I did not know it could be like this
Some things are better off being left alone
There are things that are best left unknown

Oh hands, don’t fail me now
They’re the only things I have left
Oh fingers, don’t let me down now
They’re the only things that I’ve got
Oh world come, come crashing down now
Oh hands don’t fail me now
Oh let me become deaf and mute to this
Oh hands don’t fail me now

I’m carrying my life in a cardboard box
I carry a bag on my back
I’m carrying my life in a cardboard box
I carry a bag on my back

Oh hands, don’t fail me now
They’re the only things that I’ve got
Oh fingers, don’t let me down now
Oh hands don’t fail me now
Oh elbows fall down around me
Oh hands don’t fail me now
Oh fingers don’t let me down now
Oh hands don’t fail me now

Credit to my friend Martin for contributing to my new feature about hands in music with the first song suggestion. And what a beautiful start we are off to.

This song by the Great Lake Swimmers is about the feeling of having lost all your powers. Your voice, your good humor, your appetite and your inspiration. And then it says “Oh hands, don’t fail me now, They’re the only things I have left.”, as a prayer in the hope of not losing your hands as well. The way I analyze this, the song is about how your hands are such a basic thing of you, how they are part of your instinct. Your hands really can’t be compared to any other physical part of you, they are unique in their importance to you. And if they fail you, then you really are on your own. How are you then supposed to do anything? Later the lyrics say “Oh let me become deaf and mute to this.” suggesting, that it would be worse to have your hands amputated than to become blind or deaf.

I did an anysis of the hands of Tony Dekker, lead singer of Great Lake Swimmers, earlier on this blog, that post can be read here. Back then I talked about how Tony sometimes looks like his hands give him pain when he plays guitar, something I think makes sense in terms of this song as well. As if he would have a reason to believe that his hands would fail him.

Click here to hear the song on YouTube, something you should do.

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