Here are some details about the lyrics. I think I began with the first line, "an animal looks at concrete." I found myself wondering, what might an animal think, seeing this world people made, so different from the world its species evolved in? (Plus I just liked the sound and idea of the phrase.) Anyway, the situation is simple: A summer evening, and here's a dog looking quizzically (as dogs sometimes do) at the driveway of a house. Next to it, a bright orange garden hose (a bit of a vogue in the late seventies and early eighties) has been left out on the lawn overnight: where it's been disturbed, we can see that the grass beneath its former location has browned slightly. Inside the house, someone's watching bowling on TV. A little later, the family car - one of those late seventies station wagons with the fake wood paneling - pulls out of the driveway, off to grab burgers at a fast food restaurant.

The second verse is about mining and metallurgy, that ever-popular pop-song perennial. Somewhere in there I decided I should stop just describing things, and take the perspective of the minerals as they're transformed into metal - the reverse of abstracting the normal and everyday: personalizing the somewhat exotic (unless you work in a steel plant, I suppose). So I asked, how do you think the minerals feel? Well, we all want to think everyone's happy in their work, so I switched into first person and spoke, from the perspective of the newly forged metal as it bathes in its cooling baths and is stamped into the forms that will eventually be used to construct the grill at that fast-food restaurant.


Here are the actual words:

An animal looks at concrete
Orange rubber turns grass brown
Blue light from plastic boxes
Spheroids knock things down
Metal boxes with metal wood
Plastic seats and rubber wheels
Rolls to obtain prefab flesh
Seared on stainless steel

Rocks are treated violently
So internal structures flow
Pressures force a change in form
Low frequency waves glow
Water gas jumps as they cool
How do you think they feel?
Everyone smiles as we're stamped
Happy painless steel

(I can explain the subject-verb mismatch in the first verse, honest.)