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Iron & Wine — Monkeys Uptown
Album: Kiss Each Other Clean
Avg rating:
6.6

Your rating:
Total ratings: 216









Released: 2011
Length: 3:42
Plays (last 30 days): 0
I knew you well, I know you best
A baby mouth denied the breast
A lazy bone, an eagle eye
Circling a city that's higher than the sky

And it's looking like you better do what they say
Those monkeys uptown who told you not to fuck around
Heaven's a name and the river is brown
With all the mud and the rain and never settles down
It never settles down

Your baby left you unimpressed
But no one likes a beggar slightly overdressed
Trouble comes in funky clothes
You can always find a razor lying in the road

And it's looking like you better do what they say
Those monkeys uptown who told you not to fuck around
Heaven's the name and the river is brown
With all the mud and the rain, it never settles down
It never settles down

I knew you well, I know you best
Everybody owes something to everybody else
Gabriel gave me some news to give to you
Maybe taking for granted, you'd nothing better to do

And it's looking like you better do what they say
Those monkeys uptown who told you not to fuck around
Heaven's the name and the river is brown
With all the mud and the rain, it never settles down
It never settles down
Comments (78)add comment
the past 2 slideshows made my afternoon!
Take this BS back to the 80's. 
It's sooo bad 
Hrmm... I feel like if you're going to edit the songs (which I kind of think you should be unwilling to do), they should be done in a much cleaner, less jarring way.  Which is probably impossible, so this is a redundant way of wishing you hadn't edited it at all. 
I see there's a whole debate going on below about censoring songs.  But I'd like to know why Bill thought it was necessary since it was his decision.  Clearly the artist wasn't throwing it in as a cheap ploy, and clearly the artist is one of Bill's favorites, so I trust the decision wasn't made lightly.  My problem is that the artist put it there for a reason, and the backwards masking pulls the listener out of the song.

So, Bill...  WTF? 

 
 jim1964 wrote:

If you get a chance go see him live and you'll hear a lot more variation in his music, especially if he has a band back up.
 
I'd like that — need to find a good way to be notified when artists I'm interested in are in town.
 jonnydreaming wrote:
I like Iron and Wine, but how many times can he make this song?  More variation in his music would be good.
 
If you get a chance go see him live and you'll hear a lot more variation in his music, especially if he has a band back up.
I like Iron and Wine, but how many times can he make this song?  More variation in his music would be good.
Sam Beam talks about his use of profanity at the 10:00 mark here: "I don't curse lightly in songs. It would be easy to throw stuff in there, but it wouldn't be the same."

And indeed, RP's copy of this song is ruined by the editing that someone has done to it.

I think, is "Monkeys Uptown" a euphemism for (government) monkeys up my butt...until (the time I can say fuck in public)they decide to fly out my ass?
 robco1 wrote:

{#Clap} The Chicago jury approves (at least this particular jurist).
 
Ditto that fucking sentiment from a different geographical segment.
I don`t necessarily think F*uck is a "bad" word . It has it`s appropriate value in the right time and place .
Now ,  mauve , is a word that should never , under any circumstances , pass the lips of any self respecting male human being . Ever . Imo .{#Snooty}

I do , however ,agree that excessive use of course language is a sure sign of the person using said course language to be "the common crutch of  conversational cripple" .
 fredriley wrote:

You're a moralist. People have been swearing for as long as there's been civilisation (the word f*ck goes back at least to Old English). It's life, and if you went into any working-class pub you'd hear 'naughty words' as a regular part of conversation. Perhaps in 'polite' middle-class circles you wouldn't, but that's their problem. Humans need to swear and curse, and that's as much a part of civilisation as passing the port to the left or antimacassars or telling polite lies ("oh, I do love your outfit, darling!") or class snobbery. It's free expression.

The number of songs on RP with 'naughty words' can be counted on the fingers of one hand, going by my experience. Instead of getting on your hobbyhorse and taking time to write green ink moralistic rants, just hit the mute key and wait for the next song. It's simple enough, and a lot quicker and better for the blood pressure. And the idea that you can have popular music without swearing is quite funny - it's like rock 'n' roll without sex and drugs.
 
{#Clap} The Chicago jury approves (at least this particular jurist).

 ziggytrix wrote:


It genuinely disturbs me that you equate public defecation (a genuine health hazard) with naughty words.

Uptight people give dirty words way too much power.

 
Very well put! You killed Geechee's analogy.... offenses caused by actual physical health hazards and four letter words that have been arbitrarily deemed offensive can't be fairly equated.


I woke up with this song stuck in my head.  Weird. Bill knows everything.

...iron and wine is what becomes of aged blood and lemonade...
Nice to see Iron & Wine grow up from the weepy folky stuff
One of the few concerts I have ever walked out was I&W, in 2009
So freakin boring, just emo folky crap

I am encouraged that with this CD Sam Beam has discovered the band know other sounds aside from just parroting his weepy ramblings...
goodbye RP for today... thanks to this fantastic song.
There's something about singing with a low and a high voice that confuses me. It's done before but somehow i cannot place it. I don't even know if i like it or not...

Damn, that's strange, like this song...

{#Stupid}
So........ A 3 or a 7? I'll stick to a 6 for now....
 linden wrote:
If words do mean something, then it is legitimate for people to object to coarse language. Our culture has assigned a coarse meaning to certain words. You can disagree, but that doesn't change the meaning, any more than wanting to call an "apple" a "banana" reassigns the meaning in the minds of listeners, or wanting to make a swear word out of the word "petunia" will catch on with other people.

If words don't mean anything (as in "why do we care about coarse language — they're just words"), then why casually use ones people deem coarse, when other words will do just as well and words don't mean anything anyway?

As to I&W, I assume that as an artist, he believes that words mean something, because they are his tools. I will also assume he opted for the coarse language purposely because it expresses his intended meaning, knowing that the coarseness would narrow the audience for his work. So good for him, whatever.

As for me and mine, coarse language in our household is punished by the offender having to put some of their own money into a jar, the proceeds of which are then used to buy toothpaste and toothbrushes for the local homeless shelter. My children will learn how to express themselves without dropping the f-bomb every other word — what they do after they leave my household is on them, but they will have the skills.
 

Well said and great idea. We'll be adopting the dollar-towards-cleaner-mouths concept.
If words do mean something, then it is legitimate for people to object to coarse language. Our culture has assigned a coarse meaning to certain words. You can disagree, but that doesn't change the meaning, any more than wanting to call an "apple" a "banana" reassigns the meaning in the minds of listeners, or wanting to make a swear word out of the word "petunia" will catch on with other people.

If words don't mean anything (as in "why do we care about coarse language — they're just words"), then why casually use ones people deem coarse, when other words will do just as well and words don't mean anything anyway?

As to I&W, I assume that as an artist, he believes that words mean something, because they are his tools. I will also assume he opted for the coarse language purposely because it expresses his intended meaning, knowing that the coarseness would narrow the audience for his work. So good for him, whatever.

As for me and mine, coarse language in our household is punished by the offender having to put some of their own money into a jar, the proceeds of which are then used to buy toothpaste and toothbrushes for the local homeless shelter. My children will learn how to express themselves without dropping the f-bomb every other word — what they do after they leave my household is on them, but they will have the skills.
I agree, let it go. Sadly, though (to me), I am misunderstood and would like to clear it up.  I am not a "moralist;" I am not taking a position. I only observe and posit a point of view to consider.  I am likely as immoral as the average RP listener, probably more so.  But the use of metaphors sometimes brings clarity, and perhaps it puts it into perspective to understand that historically, and culturally, using coarse language in public is considered as impolite as passing gas in public. It is verbal farting.  Not that I am personally offended; I really don't care how anyone chooses to present themself. I thought it might clarify "why" people are offended by public broadcast of dirty words, but I offended some, it seems, and apologize.   
 Geecheeboy wrote:
You guys that like to hear "fuck" in songs are the same ones who come up next to someone and fart.  Good one, huh?  Well everyone does it, everyone knows what a fart smells like, and it is a mark of polite and civilized society to not fart in public, nor take a dump in public, nor use "coarse" language in public.  I don't mind using "the F word" in private conversation any more than the next guy, but it is not appropriate to use it in public.  It's as childish as farting and laughing about it. And then to be indignant that people don't like your farts? I used to play RP outloud in my place of business but got blindsided by too many farts.  Like it or not, RP is public broadcast, not just for you in your private little room.  It surprises me that this one is cleaned up. 

  

Let it go. There are hundreds of thousands of words in the English language and we've decided that 6 or 7 are "bad"? Here's an idea, let's all just agree that those last .00000001% of the words are "A-OK" (or do you prefer "swell"?) and there would be one less inconsequential thing to discuss on the 24-hour news stations... Now, if we could just get past our fear of boobs.


 Geecheeboy wrote:
it is a mark of polite and civilized society to not fart in public, nor take a dump in public, nor use "coarse" language in public.
 

It genuinely disturbs me that you equate public defecation (a genuine health hazard) with naughty words.

Uptight people give dirty words way too much power.

 Geecheeboy wrote:
You guys that like to hear "fuck" in songs are the same ones who come up next to someone and fart.  Good one, huh?  Well everyone does it, everyone knows what a fart smells like, and it is a mark of polite and civilized society to not fart in public, nor take a dump in public, nor use "coarse" language in public.  I don't mind using "the F word" in private conversation any more than the next guy, but it is not appropriate to use it in public.  It's as childish as farting and laughing about it. And then to be indignant that people don't like your farts? I used to play RP outloud in my place of business but got blindsided by too many farts.  Like it or not, RP is public broadcast, not just for you in your private little room.  It surprises me that this one is cleaned up. 

 
why did the artist put it in the song? 

 Decoy wrote:
first impression:censorship = bad
second impression: still don't like I&W
 
third impression: it's just a word folks, it's only there to convey an idea

still don't like I&W...



(fuck) 
FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK!!!!!!!!

...there, i feel better.
 fredriley wrote:

 it's like rock 'n' roll without sex and drugs.
 

Or sex without drugs (as fart as USA is concerened).

 Geecheeboy wrote:
You guys that like to hear "fuck" in songs are the same ones who come up next to someone and fart.  Good one, huh?  Well everyone does it, everyone knows what a fart smells like, and it is a mark of polite and civilized society to not fart in public, nor take a dump in public, nor use "coarse" language in public.  I don't mind using "the F word" in private conversation any more than the next guy, but it is not appropriate to use it in public.  It's as childish as farting and laughing about it. And then to be indignant that people don't like your farts? I used to play RP outloud in my place of business but got blindsided by too many farts.  Like it or not, RP is public broadcast, not just for you in your private little room.  It surprises me that this one is cleaned up. 

 

...unbelievable, gee-gee boy!

What about hunting down kinds and injured civilians from helicopters?
Is it allowed to laugh about that one?
Incredible cover - great music!
 Geecheeboy wrote:
You guys that like to hear "fuck" in songs are the same ones who come up next to someone and fart.  Good one, huh?  Well everyone does it, everyone knows what a fart smells like, and it is a mark of polite and civilized society to not fart in public, nor take a dump in public, nor use "coarse" language in public.  I don't mind using "the F word" in private conversation any more than the next guy, but it is not appropriate to use it in public.  It's as childish as farting and laughing about it. And then to be indignant that people don't like your farts? I used to play RP outloud in my place of business but got blindsided by too many farts.  Like it or not, RP is public broadcast, not just for you in your private little room.  It surprises me that this one is cleaned up. 

 
You're a moralist. People have been swearing for as long as there's been civilisation (the word f*ck goes back at least to Old English). It's life, and if you went into any working-class pub you'd hear 'naughty words' as a regular part of conversation. Perhaps in 'polite' middle-class circles you wouldn't, but that's their problem. Humans need to swear and curse, and that's as much a part of civilisation as passing the port to the left or antimacassars or telling polite lies ("oh, I do love your outfit, darling!") or class snobbery. It's free expression.

The number of songs on RP with 'naughty words' can be counted on the fingers of one hand, going by my experience. Instead of getting on your hobbyhorse and taking time to write green ink moralistic rants, just hit the mute key and wait for the next song. It's simple enough, and a lot quicker and better for the blood pressure. And the idea that you can have popular music without swearing is quite funny - it's like rock 'n' roll without sex and drugs.


I have the distinct notion my previous comment got censored away!!!!
Put me in the "play the whole song or don't play it at all" crowd. This isn't broadcast radio. If the song as the artist recorded it isn't good enough for your audience, then just don't play it. Or at least have the honesty to mark it as censored in the song title.

I've never noticed censorship on RP before—is this a new policy? 
Iron and Whine? Meh.
 Geecheeboy wrote:
You guys that like to hear "fuck" in songs are the same ones who come up next to someone and fart.  Good one, huh?  Well everyone does it, everyone knows what a fart smells like, and it is a mark of polite and civilized society to not fart in public, nor take a dump in public, nor use "coarse" language in public.  I don't mind using "the F word" in private conversation any more than the next guy, but it is not appropriate to use it in public.  It's as childish as farting and laughing about it. And then to be indignant that people don't like your farts? I used to play RP outloud in my place of business but got blindsided by too many farts.  Like it or not, RP is public broadcast, not just for you in your private little room.  It surprises me that this one is cleaned up. 
 
I love to fart and laugh about it. I guess that makes me a 47 year old child in your book. Maybe one day you'll climb down out of your own ass. Until that day: F you.
Really like this song, but prefer the unedited version.
I really like this song, and the whole album, but I'm a sucker for I&W

I really don't care if he swears or not, and I don't particularly care that the song has been censored (in principle), but I don't like the way it is done, because I notice the drop-out every time it occurs and it ruins the song.  The first few times I thought I was having internet glitches.

I would prefer not to hear this version of this song for that reason.
If all you people that gave it an eight move to seven, then we would give the censor the middle finger with the rating graph :-)

You guys that like to hear "fuck" in songs are the same ones who come up next to someone and fart.  Good one, huh?  Well everyone does it, everyone knows what a fart smells like, and it is a mark of polite and civilized society to not fart in public, nor take a dump in public, nor use "coarse" language in public.  I don't mind using "the F word" in private conversation any more than the next guy, but it is not appropriate to use it in public.  It's as childish as farting and laughing about it. And then to be indignant that people don't like your farts? I used to play RP outloud in my place of business but got blindsided by too many farts.  Like it or not, RP is public broadcast, not just for you in your private little room.  It surprises me that this one is cleaned up. 

 rado wrote:So was the censored version uploaded, or was it censored by RP? Does RP play songs with the f word? I've listened plenty, but never really thought about it before {#Ask}
 

Yeah, what's up with the censoring of swear words in songs played on RP? Is it really necessary to do that on internet radio? I dunno, maybe it is because of FCC regulations... but it's disappointing and distracting.  

That totally sounds like John Paul Jones on the keys...
So was the censored version uploaded, or was it censored by RP? Does RP play songs with the f word? I've listened plenty, but never really thought about it before {#Ask}


An excellent album!

I never noticed about the F word, but really, that is ridiculous.
 ick wrote:
Censorship is a means to continue the pussification of the world.  Oh... it hurts our sensibilities!  Give us all a trophy because we participated!  Winning!  Sticks and stones may hurt my bones but words will likely kill me!

 

Sorry ick, not the pussification of the world, don`t worry. The pussification of the US! You have no problems anymore, you have issues. No old people but senior citizens, you have "homeless" people - problems, sorry issues licked. Lay back, relax. All turns out fine, just find the right words. No action required. And regarding censorship, no, sorry, no one wants to hear (read) my opinion about what is happening in the US currently. Learned from North Korea, uh? I am in the US since 1988 on a regular basis, working for US companies since 2003, I think I am allowed to have an opinion.
It`s not you ick, but you only scratched the surface. Listen to George Carlin...... 

It's interesting that most of the comments deal with the sensorship issue on this song and almost nothing else. So far the majority have been in favor of removing the sensorship or remove the whole song. Are they offended by a lack of profanity? I am certainly offended by "nanny culture" but I accept RP play list policy. I can always buy the song for myself it were that important.

Having said that I would like to see "profanity sensored version" in the title of the song. It is a little difficult to know in the case of some (live performances especially) if that was the was it was recorded or a post release alteration. I feel some may have down voted the song just for the sensor principal. That may be unfair since its not the original version. Might RP consider playing the unsensored version on another channel or late at night?


 BikeCoachDave wrote:
...another interesting thing (maybe just to me), is that this is the first song I have ever seen with nearly 100 ratings and nobody has given it a 10. Im in the 7 category and it looks like thats where the majority has it. This could be one of the most agreed upon ratings of any song on RP, as most seem to feel its a 7.
  Careful around BikeCoachDave, he is hyper-observant! Well done.

The same exact harmony relationship in EVERY song... how unimaginative can music get?
So is the F word censored on the actual album, or just in its public release?
another interesting thing (maybe just to me), is that this is the first song I have ever seen with nearly 100 ratings and nobody has given it a 10. Im in the 7 category and it looks like thats where the majority has it. This could be one of the most agreed upon ratings of any song on RP, as most seem to feel its a 7.

 vandal wrote:

Maybe the manner in which the "censorship" was implemented was purposeful - it has an obvious effect that almost underlines the redacted word. . . strengthening its effect. . . 

I saw Iron & Wine a few years ago at the Sasquatch Festival in the Gorge and they were magnificent!  
 
Bubbles would correct you by telling you it is the Samsquantch Festival. Either way, it sounds like fun! {#Sunny}

first impression:censorship = bad
second impression: still don't like I&W

Censorship is a means to continue the pussification of the world.  Oh... it hurts our sensibilities!  Give us all a trophy because we participated!  Winning!  Sticks and stones may hurt my bones but words will likely kill me!

It's just a word.  We've all heard it before, most of us have said it, and we're all just fine despite its use.
greengarden wrote:
If you feel the need to censor a song for your audience, I'd rather you didn't play it.
Well said, neighbor. As far as people who have children in their homes, the idea impacting the rest of us because of a choice you made should not even come up. I wouldn't use profanity in an elementary school, why would you seek to censor an adult media outlet?

Knowing it probably dominates this thread...

We're all adults here.  The impact of the censorship "effect" screws up the flow of the song.  Can we get this one right... it's a really nice song but that just ruins it for me. 

Maybe the manner in which the "censorship" was implemented was purposeful - it has an obvious effect that almost underlines the redacted word. . . strengthening its effect. . . 

I saw Iron & Wine a few years ago at the Sasquatch Festival in the Gorge and they were magnificent!  


This song is growing on me, but I'm not of a fan of the style of censorship.  It's a weird distorted noise that takes me out of the song. I'd rather it was just blanked out, but I don't know if blanking out just the word without affecting the music would be possible.
 AMH wrote:
One of the challenges of parenthood is dealing with profanities in songs.  One of my favorite songs is How Fucking Romantic by the Magnetic Fields.  I had to delete the song because I didn't want that song to pop-up for the whole house to hear. 

I would still listen to RP even if song's like this had fuck in them, but my small children would not and I would not listen at home.  Likewise, I think that the censorship is a consideration to public businesses that play RP. 
 
This was the conclusion I came to as well (emphasis mine).
 Shimmer wrote:
The editing really interferes with this song. Please replace with the full version.
 
Well, it worked for the Mumford boys!  Weren't those parents surprised!  I like this album because it's different form the other ones.

 greengarden wrote:
If you feel the need to censor a song for your audience, I'd rather you didn't play it.
 

Agreed.

I'm surprised the term "fuck around" requires censorship, considering it's a common slang on TV and in real life, and not a rude one at that.
If you feel the need to censor a song for your audience, I'd rather you didn't play it.
Nice segue. From Talking Heads with monkey on album cover to Monkeys Uptown. Interesting thought process.
One of the challenges of parenthood is dealing with profanities in songs.  One of my favorite songs is How Fucking Romantic by the Magnetic Fields.  I had to delete the song because I didn't want that song to pop-up for the whole house to hear. 

I would still listen to RP even if song's like this had fuck in them, but my small children would not and I would not listen at home.  Likewise, I think that the censorship is a consideration to public businesses that play RP. 
The edit is annoying, but to be honest, this isn't very good Iron and Wine anyway. Way too studio polished.
The editing really interferes with this song. Please replace with the full version.
Fuck...that's what's being edited. Really unnecessary. We're all adults. We can handle it.
 sirdroseph wrote:
I really like what he is doing now, moved in a whole new direction, dig it!{#Music}
 
I like this sound too! {#Cool}
SERIOUSLY? The edited version? Did I accidentally stumble onto RP Lite?
 SlinkyJ wrote:
...But why is RP playing this "clean" version? Sounds a little weird.
 
Yeah. Censored wtf.

I really like what he is doing now, moved in a whole new direction, dig it!{#Music}
...But why is RP playing this "clean" version? Sounds a little weird.
I'm a big I&W fan and was on the fence about buying this new album... finally did and it's really growing on me.
I seem to enjoy I&W best one song at a time. Whole albums of his end up being too much of the same thing. Liked the production of this new one.
 zair99 wrote:
Still not sure what to make of this new album...
 
Yep. Seems like the heavier the production, the less unique I&W's sound becomes.
 cohifi wrote:
I couldn't agree more that I too many 10s.  And 9s like this one!
 
My issue is the number of songs I end up rating a '7'. But I honestly do find a lot of song quite likeable rather than an 8 or a 6. For me, an 8 and above is something I will put on the Ipod and a 7 is on the fence to be placed in my personal heavy rotation.
Eh, its all good.

 idylwild wrote:
What is the source of that auditory blurring of the f-bomb? Is it from RP or is it on the recording from Iron and Wine themselves? I've never noticed that on RP before.
 
The blurring isn't on the album.  Well, not in the audio... for some reason it's ***'d in the liner notes.  Sam throws out the F-bomb a couple times on this album and I was kind of amused that it's sung but not printed.

The album's pretty good, by the way; not as excellent as Shepherd's Dog and a wide departure from his old stuff, but I'm particularly fond of Tree by the River

I couldn't agree more that I too many 10s.  And 9s like this one!
What is the source of that auditory blurring of the f-bomb? Is it from RP or is it on the recording from Iron and Wine themselves? I've never noticed that on RP before.
I like the song.   6.  
BTW, I'm making progress reducing all of my song ratings to a more realistic expression of my appraisals, accepting that 10 is the absolute top of the scale. I must have knocked half of my 10's down to 9's by now, and have made similar progress on other ratings. I am more satisfied with the outcome. For example, a "5" to me means a song is entirely decent, in the way that Wes Bentley used "entirely decent" to describe his staple product to Kevin Spacey in "American Beauty." So, a 6 rating, "pretty good," is fairly high praise for me these days. 

Edit: I just checked my own ratings list. I still have a ridiculous number of tens in there. This reappraisal thing is going to take a while. *sigh*
Still not sure what to make of this new album...
The constant harmony following the main melody is a nice touch. This song needs headphones to truly enjoy. Otherwise...it's rather 'background'.