Flightless Bird, American Mouth Meaning

Yesterday, I stayed awake until past midnight even though I know I still have to wake up at 4:00 in the morning to get ready for work. I decided to listen to one of my favorite songs, Flightless Bird, American Mouth just to make me fall asleep. The melody has just the right blend that I needed. But then, instead of making me fall asleep, I stayed awake for another hour or so because I was so drawn into the lyrics that I replayed the song a dozen times more. At one point, I thought these lyrics didn’t make sense at all.

fbam(Photo not mine)


I was so intrigued that I asked google.There are numerous interpretations and many have voiced out their opinion about the song’s meaning as well. This song also became popular when included in the Original Soundtrack of the Twilight Saga. I admit, I came across this song because of Twilight. I thought before, the song was not appropriate for the movie. But as I thought to myself last night, it fit the movie, basically the love between Edward and Bella, well. But I also imagined another great love story which could be made with this song.

So generally, I would say that the song’s meaning reflects on the romantic point of view.

The lyrics talk about love that is tragic, can also be unrequited love at first, especially when we look at the first stanza.

I was a quick-wit boy
Diving too deep for coins
All of your street light eyes
Wide on my plastic toys
Then when the cops closed the fair
I cut my long baby hair
Stole me a dog-eared map
And called for you everywhere

It pictures out young, mad love, and the struggles one has to do in order make them selves worthy for the one they look up to. Some of us might feel unworthy for the person that we love for the reason that we look up to them like they are standing on the pedestal even if they are not. And in order to be worthy for that person, to make them happy, we make things, some unimaginable. Edward was a vampire, immortal yet he felt he was dangerous to Bella who was human. It was a struggle for him to control his Vampire-ness in front of Bella. But because of his great feeling he had for her, he showed her (even though forbidden) that his skin sparkles under the sun, that he can read people’s minds (except Bella’s) and that he was in love with her being human.

Take for example the famous Jay Gatsby (F.Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby), who was in love with the very beautiful Daisy Buchanan. He was hardworking as a boy (quick-wit boy diving too deep for coins) madly in love with Daisy. The line All of your street light eyes Wide on my plastic toys, suggests how he saw Daisy as a very beautiful woman he would marry someday. But because he was not rich at that time, Daisy chose to marry the wealthy Tom Buchanan. The struggles that he had until he acquired his wealth was when he lost his innocence, committed crime (cut my long baby hair) and became The Great Gatsby he is yet known.

Have I found you?
Flightless bird, jealous, weeping
Or lost you?
American mouth
Big pill looming

The chorus basically just interprets the heart’s musings towards the person. Have I found you? Like, Am I already worthy for you? Can you also say that you are in love with me too? Or not? These are only musings and never direct expressions (or lost you American Mouth..Big pill looming). The revelations are yet to come.

But why Flightless Bird? Bella was human. Even though Edward thought  he was not good for her, still Bella was a mere girl living in a cold town where nothing is special, except that there also lived a family of vampires who have supernatural powers who don’t age. Even though Daisy was really beautiful, she was shallow and careless and loved only material things. Another great love story I would illustrate is that between Holly Golightly and Paul Varjak (from Breakfast at Tiffany’s). Holly is Paul’s  great love, and even though she was very beautiful, she was a wreck, she was a prostitute. Paul nevertheless was not immediately able to express his love for her (American Mouth, Big pill looming).

Now I’m a fat house cat
Nursing my sore blunt tongue
Watching the warm poison rats
Curl through the wide fence cracks
Pissing on magazine photos
Those fishing lures thrown in the cold and clean
Blood of Christ mountain stream

The second stanza talks about when the boy then turned into the man he tried himself to be for that flightless bird (now I’m a fat house cat nursing my sore blunt tongue). But that was not at all glorious. The time came when the Volturi appeared in the picture, enforcing rules and yet feasting on humans in secrecy (Watching the warm poison rats curl through the wide fence racks). The Great Gatsby acquired his wealth by selling illegal stuff and participating in crime. He holds lavish banquets and parties for the wealthy people of New York just to lure Daisy into coming to his mansion. And he intends to continue his dirty work until he gets his ultimate goal – Daisy (those fishing lures thrown through in the cold and clean, Blood of Christ mountain stream).

So that’s my own interpretation of the song. I feel so guilty making this one of my favorite songs just because of the melody and not paying attention to the lyrics. I could imagine Gatsby  singing this song I want to cry.



4 thoughts on “Flightless Bird, American Mouth Meaning

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