40 Mark Strasse

Album: Port Of Morrow (2012)

Songfacts®:

  • Shins frontman James Mercer's father was in the Air Force and the lived in both England and Germany with his family in his youth. This nostalgic ballad is about a stretch near the US-run Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany where prostitutes solicited their trade. "I spent three years living in Germany as a kid," he explained to Spinner. "And it was right near Ramstein Air Force Base, which was a massive American military complex. And near there was a town called Kaiserslautern. And heading back to Ramstein there was a stretch the Americans called '40 Mark Strasse,' which is where young prostitutes would solicit. And I, as a kid, was told about this, and I asked, because these kids looked like the kids at the high school that was very near the elementary school that I went to, and I guess that that was the basis of that song, just my confusion about it and my curiosity, and when you're young and you just love girls and you don't exactly know why and all that. It was just a strange thing to learn about these kids. I mean, some of these girls I remember looking very young."

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