Line 'Em Up Lyrics - James Taylor

Review The Song (3)



I remember Richard Nixon back in '74
And the final scene at the White House door
And the staff lined up to say good-bye
Tiny tear in his shifty little eye
He said nobody knows me
Nobody understands
These little people were good to me
Oh I'm gonna shake some hands

CHORUS:
Somebody line 'em up
Line 'em all up
Line 'em up
Line 'em all up
Line 'em up
Line 'em all up
Line 'em up
Line 'em all up

At that time my heart was all broke
I looked like ashes and smelled like smoke
And I turned away from my loving kind
Try to leave my body and live in my mind
But it's much too much emotion
To hold it in your hand
They've got waves out on the ocean
They're gonna wear away the land

- Chorus -

Oh I've seen corn in Kansas
And I've seen picket fences
And certain cowboy dances
I've gone lining up for shows
I've been safely placed in rows
Sure I know how it goes

Another day goes by
Little time machine
I'm breaking my brain
Over what it might mean
Just to claim the time
And to turn away
To make today today

Who waits for you
Lonely tired old toad
It's your life laid out before you
Like the broken white line down the center of the doggone road

- Chorus -

Yeah, big moon landing
People all standing up
Smiles for the loved ones
They go walking on down the aisles
Each re-engages stepping into the sun
I watch them turn like pages
One by one by one

- Chorus -









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One of James Taylor's best | Reviewer: Steve Borrow | 2/12/2008


Dear Editor,

You kindly published an earlier review I prepared of this. One of your reader contacted me and provided further insight, which has enable me to make some necessary changes to the original. I submit this in place of the original piece, which I trust you will remove:-
* * *

This is one of James Taylor's best songs in this fan’s humble opinion, and that is really saying something given his amazing catalogue. Like all great songs, it can be appreciated on a multiplicity of levels. It begins with JT remembering the disgraced Richard Nixon leaving the White House after Watergate and acting out a ritual with his staff. We get to appreciate JT’s perspective on this from the second verse, where he reflects upon his own self destructive behaviour: turning away from his loving kind just as Nixon had done, and smoldering in the embers of the false path he’d taken at that time. Is it a commentary on hubris – the loss of humility that can ultimately devour you? The repetition of the words “line ‘em up” seems to be a commentary on regimentation: square dances, picket fences, straight fields of corn, and queues of people going through the motions without emotion, game playing in conformity and squandering the miraculous gift of life. JT observes a life emptied of real love and feeling, conditioned to follow a straight, dubious path, and never venturing far from that “broken white line in the middle of the road”. He asks rhetorically, “who waits for you, lonely tired old toad?” Well, we know the answer: a line of actors completing the media spectacle. The reference to the “big moon landing” is explained by JT when performing the song on One Man Band. It’s inspiration comes from a mass wedding of 30,000 couples conducted the Rev Sun Myung Moon at RFK Stadium, Washington, on 29 November 1997 as part of a world wide wedding of 3.6 million couples. JT extends the “moon” pun, observing that each couple re-engages stepping into the “sun”. A mass produced wedding of this character, where the participants are lined up debases their individuality, and reduces the vow of love and commitment to a mechanical production line. There is a concrete link here as well. Rev Sun Moon gained international media attention when he supported Nixon after the Watergate exposure, urging Americans to “forgive, love and unite”. He, too, became immersed in scandal. This is a brilliant and moving song, full of pathos, and presented with great ear appeal



One of James Taylor's best | Reviewer: Steve Borrow | 1/26/2008

This is one of James Taylor's best songs in this fan’s humble opinion, and that is really saying something given his amazing catalogue. Like all great songs, it can be appreciated on a multiplicity of levels. It begins with JT remembering the disgraced Richard Nixon leaving the White House after Watergate and acting out a ritual with his staff. We get to appreciate JT’s perspective on this from the second verse, where he reflects upon his own self destructive behaviour: turning away from his loving kind just as Nixon had done, and smoldering in the embers of the false path he’d taken at that time. Is it a commentary on hubris – the loss of humility that can ultimately devour you? The repetition of the words “line ‘em up” seems to be a commentary on regimentation: square dances, picket fences, straight fields of corn, and queues of people going through the motions without emotion, game playing in conformity and squandering the miraculous gift of life. JT observes a life emptied of real love and feeling, conditioned to follow a straight, dubious path, and never venturing far from that “broken white line in the middle of the road”. He asks rhetorically, “who waits for you, lonely tired old toad?” Well, we know the answer: a line of actors completing the media spectacle. The reference to the moon landing seems clear enough. This is another great contemporaneous event recalled by JT featuring real heroes who had completed their brave conquest of space and, unlike the toad, have loved ones awaiting their return as they step into sunlight. It is to be remembered that toads don’t like sunlight very much, which suggests that sunlight is JT’s metaphor for a truly successful life. A brilliant and moving song, full of pathos, and presented with great ear appeal.



great song | Reviewer: allison | 11/14/2006

This song is awsome, I just saw him in concert last night and he rocked this song!





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