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‘Are you from England or somethin’?’ 

Already critically heralded as one of the top independent records of the year, (they played it on NPR’s All Things Considered and everything), Picaresque is a certain smash among the indie intellectual set and those in-the-know paralegals who decorate their coffee tables with untouched issues of the New Yorker. But for those of us who might have scored low marks on our SAT verbal, or, say, enjoy an occasional tan, we’ve hired a team of linguists and scholars to translate Meloy’s tales recounting the “tragedy of the human experience” into handy, everyday English.


He sings: While behind their coach-and-fours ride the wives of the King of Moors and the veiled young virgin, the Prince’s betrothed.

He means: Behind the car, there are a bunch of the black dude’s bitches, and a virgin who is going to get nailed by Prince.

He sings: I fell on the playing field, the work of an errant heel.

He means: I’m not good at football. I’m a clumsy sissy.

He sings: Would I could afford to buy my love a fine robe made of gold and silk Arabian thread but she is dead and gone and lying in a pine grove.

He means: I can’t buy my girl any new clothes, because I’m broke and she’s dead.

He sings: But here in our hovel we fuse like a family, but I will not mourn for you, so take off your makeup and pocket your pills away.

He means: Our apartment stinks. You wear too much make up. Get off the drugs.

He sings: In a bathroom stall off the National Mall how we kissed so sweetly. How could I refuse a favor or two for a tryst in the greenery?

He means: Let’s get freaky in the mall bathroom. I will get freaky outside in the bushes.

He sings: Sixteen military wives: 32 softly focused brightly colored eyes. Staring at the natural tan of 32 gently clutching wrinkled little hands. Seventeen company men: out of which only 12 will make it back again. Sergeant sends a letter to five military wives as tears rip from 10 little eyes.

He means: One little, two little, three little Indians …

He sings: Your starboard flank abeam, I was getting my muskets clean when came this rumbling from beneath the ocean shook the sky went black and the captain quailed.

He means: Fllllllsssssspphhhhpaaaahhh …

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