Born Alone

Album: The Whole Love (2011)

Songfacts®:

  • This song starts as an up-tempo, insistent piece of power pop, before exploding into a thick, distorted wall of noise. Lyrically its a confession of sorts from a man who's been to the edge, and frontman Jeff Tweedy adapts a line from "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic" - "Mine eyes have seen the fury so flattered by fate."
  • During a Mojo magazine interview with Tweedy, it was suggested the song is saying, "Enjoy yourself: it's later than you think." Tweedy responded; "Don't all songs seem to be saying 'Enjoy yourself: it's later than you think.'"
  • When asked regarding the origins of this song, Tweedy explained to The Atlantic that he came up with the riffs, melody and chord progression whilst on vacation over the New Year in Mexico. He recorded it onto his phone and dug it up again whilst writing material at his home in Michigan. Not coming with anything for the lyrics, Tweedy opened up a book of American poetry, "and randomly turned to the Emily Dickinson pages, no one poem in particular." He took a lot of words, mainly verbs, "and put them against words that looked appealing to me from Whittier and other 1800s poetry."

    Tweedy concluded: "It's just looking at the words and writing a little poem trying to use as many of them as possible. If I'm lucky it all starts to settle meter-wise on the melody I have in my head, and then a certain amount of tweaking goes on to coax out a little more feeling. It's an exciting way to write, without trying to steer the ship in any one direction."

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