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Death Cab for Cutie - Crooked Teeth - Lyrics Meaning

This song is from the band's 2005 album, Plans. Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard spoke about this song during the band's taping of VH1's Storytellers saying that the central theme is about societal norms and how they can be deceptively destructive. Gibbard uses an example of this by describing the demise of a romantic relationship throughout the song. The reference to the willow tree unable to weep and the futility of leaving the state indicate false feelings and confinement. At the end of the first verse, Gibbard concedes that he knew the relationship would never work out because the foundation for his feelings was weak and destined for failure.

The underlying meaning of the verse is that the relationship was started with no real hope for success. This is probably because the two people in it felt trapped in their lives and may have found each other through some commiseration or connection with people in similar relationships. In the second verse, the singer is dire. He states that the imagery of "crooked teeth" on the skyline is like "the mouth of a man who was devouring us both". Here Gibbard indicates that the couple is in danger of being completely consumed by the weight of their hopeless situation.

As the song closes, Gibbard makes it known that the relationship cannot continue and closes by saying that you cannot make something from nothing and their relationship will never succeed based on that reasoning.

Meanings of other songs by Death Cab for Cutie:
I Will Possess Your Heart
You Are a Tourist