See America Right 1

Cover of See America Right Back of See America Right

Released: 2002
Label: 4AD

Liner notes

And where am I?
My whole house is burning down
and all I do is stand on the lawn
and gaze at the fire
that beautiful woman leaping
from the window in her bright dress
Gregory ORR, The Fire Hydrant 2

See America Right is a single from the album Tallahassee.

Table of contents

  1. See America Right
  2. New Chevrolet in Flames
  3. Design Your Own Container Garden

See America Right

See America Right is annotated with Tallahassee.

New Chevrolet in Flames 3

We were drinking Colorado Bulldogs 4
When inspiration struck
And we knew it was high time
For us to change our own luck

We cracked a couple Coca-Colas open
Mixed 'em up with vodka and some coffee liqueur 4
Poured in some cold milk raised our glasses high to old friends
My love for you is 98% pure

But the 2% that remains
Has fried the circuits in my brain

I got out my smoking jacket 5
You put on some fishnets and your smart black beret
We cut quite a figure in the mirror
And then we were on our way

Oh, would that you would kiss me
With the kisses of your mouth
'Cause your mouth is sweeter than wine 6, and has
A more complicated history than the American South 7

As the evening took us in
You could have popped the tension with a safety pin

We went down to Pete Brown's Chevrolet 8
'Cause Pete Brown can satisfy all your new car needs
We were nicely oiled by then
Our internal transponders picking up satellite feeds

From well-worn ancient places
Our eager young sales rep handed us the keys
We drove about three-quarters of a mile
All that's left for us now are moments like these

We parked behind the high school
Away from the light
And the flames climbed high into the night

Design Your Own Container Garden 9 10

I took to the highway
Went out to Pico - Crenshaw 11
Old friends, old friends

I took to the highway
The highway took to me
Like a second skin

Rolled around in the evening
Circling like a buzzard
Trouble in mind

Excavating the space we left behind

Yes, I took trinkets with me
Left them by the crater
Here ghosts, old ghosts

Smelled all the chlorine
I took the low road 12
Where the light was just right

Crawled around in the glowing
All-embracing wreckage
Sunburned and snowblind

Excavating the space we left behind


As usual, thanks to the amazing Caliclimber, whose excellent Flickr page provided the album art.

  1. See America Right, Jon Nall, retrieved June 27, 2013.


  1. Being a single from Tallahassee, an album about the Alpha couple, all of the songs on See America Right are considered to be part of the Alpha couple series

  2. Gregory Orr is an acclaimed American poet. This poem comes from his 1995 collection City of Salt. 

  3. New Chevrolet in Flames is also part of the informal series of Biblical references and informal series of outtakes

  4. A Colorado Bulldog is a trio cocktail made of vodka, Kahlúa, cream, and a small amount of Coca-Cola.  2

  5. As the name implies, a smoking jacket is a jacket for use while smoking; traditionally made of velvet or other leisurely materials. 

  6. A reference to the Song of Solomon 1:2, "Oh, that he would kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is more delightful than wine." Song of Solomon 1:2, Holman Christian Standard Bible, accessed July 10, 2013. 

  7. Tallahassee, the destination and final residence of the Alpha couple, is located within the American South, often but not always defined as being the states south of the Mason-Dixon line. Associated strongly with the Confederacy which rebelled against the Union during the Civil War, and correspondingly with a history of slavery, agriculture, State's rights, racial conflicts, and many other issues, Southern history is complex and still developing. 

  8. I have not found a real car dealership owned by or named after a Pete Brown. However, Pete Brown is an English poet to whom John may be paying an homage. 

  9. Design Your Own Container Garden is also part of the informal series of outtakes

  10. Design Your Own Container Garden was only available on the CD issue of See America Right. 

  11. West Pico Boulevard and Crenshaw Boulevard is an intersection in the Mid-City district of Central Los Angeles. Both Pico and Crenshaw are major streets connecting dense commercial areas to residential areas. 

  12. Potentially a reference to the traditional Scottish song The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond, which contains the chorus, "Oh, you'll take the high road / and I'll take the low road / And I'll get to Scotland before you".