Song Obsession: Antonia

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I miss Motion City Soundtrack. I never paid that much attention to the Minnesota-based band when I was growing up, but several of their songs- notably “This Is For Real” and “Everything is Alright“- seemed to always be playing in the background noise of my life. Then, as time went by, I started to foster a deep appreciation for their classic happy music + sad lyrics collaborations, as well as the addictive quality of the Moog synthesizer.

Lately, I’ve been listening to their live versions of “It’s A Pleasure to Meet You” and “Lose Control,” two songs off their final album, but somehow that led into rifling through their entire discography…and becoming obsessed with a song called “Antonia.” Her name is never mentioned in the song itself, but the lyrics tell of a special woman with notable eccentricities, such as “she shaves her legs with Ginsu knives.” The Motion City Soundtrack AMA on Reddit, transcribed here, details the inspiration behind “Antonia:”

Who is the inspiration behind “Antonia”? Is it Lindsay?

I remember the day well when that idea came together. I recently spoke about it on the Voice and Verse podcast. To reiterate here, I was listening to Ben Folds, The Jesus And Mary Chain, and Tom Waits throughout the day. Somehow that was the magic formula. The chords and melody just popped into my head. I knew I wanted it to be a laundry list type of love song. I just imagined what kind of things I would like someone to sing to me, the kind of love song I would want to hear, and I wrote those things down. Yes, the song contains things about a bunch of people. The hardest thing was narrowing it down to all the lines that now exist in the song. Funny enough, some things have come true that weren’t when I originally wrote the words. -Justin.

  • Lyrics:

She makes a lot of abstract art
She haggles for the cheapest price
She never orders take out food before ten o’clock at night
She’s really into snowmobiles
She owns a lot of nice flashlights
She cares for all the stupid cats that never found their way home
She shaves her legs with Ginsu knives
She quotes a lot of Annie Hall
She misplaced her virginity back in 1995
She’s what’s keeping me alive
She’s the pizza of my eye
Without her near me I would not survive

It gets cold when she’s not around
I float until I sink and I’m swallowed up
It’s so cold when she’s not around
I wait for her to come home and tell me I’ll be fine

She’s always eating Captain Crunch
She sings a lot of Ben Folds Five
She’s scared to death of cobra snakes
Just like Indiana Jones
She tells the dumbest knock-knock jokes
She drinks a lot of Chardonnay
She hates the way I comb my hair
But she married me last June
She was the bride, I was the groom
I cried a lot and then we spooned
Without her in my life I would be doomed

It gets cold when she’s not around
I float until I sink and I’m swallowed up
It’s so cold when she’s not around
I wait for her to come home and tell me I’ll be fine
Tell me I’ll be fine

She loves the smell of Christmas trees
She sneezes when she sees bright lights
She fainted on the kitchen floor
When her father passed away
Our baby girl is due this May
And when the little lady grows up
I hope that she will be just like her mother

  • Original version

2008 never sounded so good. “Antonia” is the rare Motion City Soundtrack song that not only sounds happy, but contains generally happy lyrics. It’s a quirky love song, detailing the relationship between the narrator and his fascinating object of affection, accentuated by synths you can dance to. The narrator wants to be told he is fine, echoing “Everything is Alright” sentiments, while he reflects on all of the little things that make Antonia who she is.

  • Live version

This version just puts all of those passionate fans on display- they know these lyrics and they can’t wait to belt them alongside Justin. Justin himself reaches for that falsetto, and the entire band seems to be enjoying themselves as they go.

“Antonia” won’t get out of my head until the next song obsession comes along…and I’m in no hurry. Motion City Soundtrack, you’re welcome to return at any time.

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