Lyrical interpretation assistance filter.
February 4, 2020 10:03 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone shine a light on this line from a song?

Restorations 2018 album 'LP5000' has become one of my most loved things in recent years, there is a song "Eye" which contains the verse:

As we’re halfway out of the ocean
Wondering where we parked the car
A plane dips lower, towing a banner that said:
“What did you do between the wars?”
My selfish soul was screaming as I dropped you off at the airport
You smiled and called me stupid
Evaporating on the other side of the line

Does anyone have any idea if "What did you do between the wars?" is supposed to mean something, I have Googled without much success. Or is the randomness of the banner the actual point?
posted by Cosine to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
Best answer: I wonder if it's a play on the propaganda poster that asks, Daddy, what did you do in the Great War?

-- To say, perhaps, not "You're selfish and cowardly if you don't take part in the war," but "Did you do enough to take advantage of a time when we weren't at war?"
posted by Jeanne at 11:24 AM on February 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: "Between the wars" could refer to the period between 1918-1939, or The Interwar Period.

On the other hand, in the modern age of the Forever War, the line almost becomes absurd/surreal, since there is no between to speak of at all. Looking at the rest of the lyrics of the song, I'm inclined to the latter.
posted by jquinby at 11:38 AM on February 4, 2020 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: I love both answers.

Yes, the idea that they may not have taken advantage of the peace while they had it is really good, as is the more twisty interpretation from jquinby. Both feel right in their own way.
posted by Cosine at 11:56 AM on February 4, 2020

Perhaps they know of Billy Bragg's song from the eighties, Between the Wars?
posted by thatwhichfalls at 1:23 PM on February 4, 2020 [2 favorites]

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