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Meaning of the song ‘Turn’ by ‘The Wombats’

Released: 2018

At its core, “Turn” by The Wombats is a track that dives into the whirlwind of youthful recklessness, the allure of chaos in the everyday, and the intoxicating nature of someone’s unique quirks and flaws. It’s an ode to the notion that perfection might be overrated, and the real charm lies in the imperfections and the craziness of life and relationships.

The song kicks off with a vibrant metaphor, “I jump from thought to thought like a flea jumps to a light,” painting a picture of restless minds and the chaotic jumpiness of thoughts, unable to stay still. The analogy to giving “an aspirin the headache of its life” flips common usage on its head—instead of alleviating pain, it’s causing it, suggesting that perhaps the relationship or the speaker’s life is more complicated than it seems. The opening lines set the stage for a theme of embracing the chaos and the messiness, rather than seeking to tidy it up.

Watering plastic plants in the hope they will grow?” is a poignant lyric that captures futile efforts and perhaps unrecognized denial. Plastic plants, a symbol for things that are superficial or fake, can’t grow, no matter how much they’re watered. This could parallel a relationship where one puts in effort despite knowing deep down, it won’t change. The imagery of a smartphone getting smashed out of frustration after seeing a fleeting message suggests modern love’s transient, often frustrating, nature.

The song then shifts to a more upbeat and affectionate tone with “I like the way your brain works,” appreciating the subject’s mental gears, their attempts “to run with the wolf pack when your legs are tired,”—a metaphor for trying to keep up with the fast-paced, perhaps wild, aspects of life even when it’s challenging. There’s admiration for resilience and the authentic self, “the way you turn me inside and out,” suggesting a transformative influence that this person has on the speaker, an influence that is deeply cherished.

The refrain “I want to get college girl drunk tonight” echoes a desire to let loose, to forget the looming responsibilities and challenges (“No morning fears, no mountains to climb”). It romanticizes the notion of living in the moment to its fullest, with a somewhat bittersweet acknowledgment that “the best memories are the ones that we forget.” It’s a nostalgia for carefree moments, like “Listening to Drake at your best friends’ swimming pool,” which adds a layer of youthful nostalgia and the longing for simpler, wilder times.

Towards the end, “Baby, it’s the crazy I like” and “maybe it’s the bullshit I miss” reflect a genuine embrace of life’s chaotic aspects, and the imperfections in relationships that make them truly memorable and valuable. The “bullshit” and the “crazy” are not just tolerated but missed and cherished. “Screaming at the moon in black lipstick” is a vivid image of embracing one’s inner turmoil or rebellion, a celebration of what others might consider outlandish or unacceptable.

In “Turn” by The Wombats, there’s a powerful message about the beauty of embracing the chaos, the imperfections, and the messiness of life and love. It isn’t just a song; it’s a tribute to the whirlwind of experiences that shape us, the unpredictable nature of relationships, and the ineffable qualities that draw us to others. It assures that, amidst the chaos, “It won’t get better than this,” heralding a celebration of the present, no matter how messy or chaotic it might be.

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