These Roads Don't Move

Album: One Fast Move or I'm Gone (2009)
  • songfacts ®
  • One Fast Move or I'm Gone is an album featuring 12 original songs composed and performed by Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard and Son Volt's Jay Farrar. The lyrics are based on the prose of Jack Kerouac's 1962 beatnik novel Big Sur about a writer's alcoholic abuse and nervous breakdown. The song cycle came about as a result of the two frontmen discovering a mutual appreciation for Kerouac's work while recording several songs for a feature-length documentary of the same name. Gibbard has written lyrics about Kerouac before; "Bixby Canyon Bridge," for instance, is rife with references to the Big Sur author's writing. This cruise through some of the nomadic Kerouac's imagery was the first track from the album to leak.
  • Farrar explained to Billboard magazine why he found it easier to adapt from Kerouac's words rather than putting his own ideas to music. He said: "It was much easier for two reasons. The first being there was a familiarity with Kerouac's work just from having read so many of his books over the years. Also there was this kid being let loose in a candy store element to the project when I first started getting into the writing. Secondarily, because I was using Jack's lyrics, words and lines from the text of Big Sur. I think it took away a degree of self-consciousness that's sometimes there when I'm writing my own stuff."
  • Kerouac wrote Big Sur while coming to grips with the fame garnered from his hit book On the Road and his heavy drug and alcohol use.
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Comments: 1

  • Kevin from Reading, PaThe title of this song appears in the novel as a quote from none other than Neal Cassady (a.k.a. Cody Pomeray in this novel). While navigating country roads at typical breakneck speed, Cody says the thing to remember when driving winding back roads is "these roads don't move, you're the one that moves." A perfect piece of typical Neal/Cody wisdom captured, as always, by the great Kerouac. Great line - great song.
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