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The Mountain Goats - Amy aka Spent Gladiator - Lyrics Meaning

This song is a dedication to the late Amy Winehouse. It is the first track on the album Transcendental Youth that was released by the band in 2012. When the lead singer, John Darnielle learned of Amy's death, he penned this song as a tribute to her, but also as one to all of the "other Amy Winehouses" who suffered from similar diseases and disorders but did not experience her fame in life. This song is about doing what makes you happy and not letting the wills and desires of others dictate your direction in life. Darnielle makes this apparent from the very beginning as he sings, "Do every stupid thing that makes you feel alive". The lyrics are destructive for a reason. They are meant to wake the listener up and experience life on their terms.

In the second stanza Darnielle tells the listener to take the road less traveled and go "where the fire burns hot and bright". This means that the difficult path will prove to be the more rewarding one in the long run both mentally and spiritually. That path is usually not the conformist view, and by the end of the song Darnielle is telling his audience to protect themselves against that opposition, because they will attempt to change you, which may prove to be a more difficult path than a physically destructive one.

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