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Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Power of "Powderfinger"

"Violet wastes energy chatting to Rose while she's rocking to Powderfinger"
Posted by Gary C. on Facebook

Apparently, the ad above is a real campaign by

Figure them as one you'll never figure...

Anywho, "Powderfinger" is one of Neil's most enduring and beloved songs in his vast catalog. Curiously omitted from his latest album A Treasure, the song "Powderfinger" was a setlist regular during the 1984-1985 International Harvesters tours.

We've always found the analysis of Neil Young lyrics to be quite fascinating.

And we're not the only ones. Of all the mail and comments that we receive here at Thrasher's Wheat, nothing compares with how frequently the topic of "Powderfinger" comes up. While many long time fans sort of roll their eyes at the subject, it seems that no other song so transfixes the more "casual" fan.

A quick recap. The definitive lyrics analysis of "Powderfinger" was done by Mark "Powderfinger" Klus way back in 1995 on the rust@fish server. Mark "Powderfinger"'s original analysis was quickly dissected and expanded.

But even today, the question of what does the song "Powderfinger" mean continues to be the source of endless theories.

So here's another take on "Powderfinger"...

From Shelter me from the Powder in the Finger by Phil T:
It's straight forward enough (to me)actually.

The visual imagery as described - the boat coming up the river, light's siren's, numbers - is obviously the boat belongs to some authority of some type - "when the first shot hit the dock, I saw it comin...." I take to be he sees the boats guns firing in a show of dominance by the people in the white boat, not a shot AT "22", I've always imagined him high up on a hill watching the boat getting closer and their shot he sees is as in them saying "we just destroyed the dock, what are YOU going to do to US"?

Well he aims his daddy's gun and he shoots back at them of course, and no matter WHAT the result of 22's shot the result is he gets killed immediately "then I saw black and my face splashed in the sky", black being the lights going out when you are shot in the head and your face splash in the sky is I think very literal - his face is in a hundred million pieces in the air, and is not something HE is seeing.

As to "shelter me from the powder and the finger". Well remember, he was simply left in charge as everyone but mom is gone, and it would have been nice if those I guess responsible for the white boats arrival were there to help do something about it, but instead it's him at 22, not wanting to have to defend it, but he does because he's the man and he was left in charge by the powers that be, and he's sorry because he is going to miss his sweetheart.

And "cover me in the thought that pulled the trigger" might refer more to his eulogy or to an inscription on his headstone and his thought that he is sorry he didn't defend well enough and to that it was his job at all. As noted above, "22" was never supposed to be in this situation and is why you'd never have figured he'd go in this manner......


Got a hunch on what "Powderfinger" is all about? Drop a comment below.


At 7/21/2011 04:41:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Powderfinger are an Australian band.

At 7/21/2011 07:52:00 AM, Blogger SONY said...

They tour with Dr. Drip!

At 7/21/2011 09:26:00 AM, Blogger Stringman said...

The Aussie band Powderfinger took their name from the Neil Young song.

At 7/21/2011 10:26:00 AM, Anonymous Andy said...

Yeah, I think the ad refers to the Australian band. They've got some okay songs

At 7/21/2011 11:36:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to be dark, but always thought that there was a suicide vibe to the song

At 7/21/2011 05:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't imagine granny listening to Powderfinger, unless we flash forward 20 years, and it good be any baby Boomer.

At 7/22/2011 03:45:00 PM, Anonymous zejt said...

How old are the words to Powderfinger if I'm not mistaken I saw these lyrics in The Archives Book. Any thoughts.


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