Doesn't mean that much to me to mean that much to you

Reply Wed 12 Jul, 2006 12:49 pm
I was listening to the soundtrack to The Wonder Boys the other day and remembered why I shouldn't. I like that song "Old Man" by Neil Young but the line posted in my topic just throws the whole song off. It makes me crazy. It plays through my head over and over and overoveroverover trying to figure out how it fits.

Now I've come to you begging for help. Doesn't this line sound like the ultimate brush off? The big go away and leave me alone? The quit following me around?

Please please explain it so I can put this idea out of my head and go back to enjoying what is otherwise a fine piece of music.

Thank you!

For those of you who don't know the song, here are the entire lyrics:

Neil Young---Old Man

Old man look at my life,
I'm a lot like you were.
Old man look at my life,
I'm a lot like you were.

Old man look at my life,
Twenty four and there's so much more
Live alone in a paradise
That makes me think of two.

Love lost, such a cost,
Give me things that don't get lost.
Like a coin that won't get tossed
Rolling home to you.

Old man take a look at my life I'm a lot like you
I need someone to love me the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes and you can tell that's true.

Lullabies, look in your eyes,
Run around the same old town.
Doesn't mean that much to me
To mean that much to you
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Reply Wed 12 Jul, 2006 12:55 pm
Yeah, seems like a 24-year-old is saying to his dad that he needs to live his own life (with his girlfriend/ wife), and if the old man/ dad wants to keep him close, well, too bad.

Something like that.
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Reply Wed 12 Jul, 2006 01:11 pm
Seems like you can only read it as meaning, "Yes, I mean a lot to you, but that's not important to me." That's all I can get out of it-- but that seems like it does fit with the rest of the song, doesn't it? I don't think I get your question about it... Confused
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Reply Wed 12 Jul, 2006 05:38 pm
I guess it just seems like such a lonely song and then here he is rejecting someone who he means a lot to. He wants "someone to love me" and he wants to be given things that "won't get tossed" but here he is rejecting and tossing.

I just think it's odd.

Or maybe I'm not getting the point of the song.

I always thought it must be about his dad too but reading around today I learned that he has said it was about some rancher that he knew.
Reply Wed 12 Jul, 2006 06:45 pm
Maybe he just wants to create his own experiences. We all do that at about that age, or even younger. Then when we get older, we reflect on our life experiences, and those we had with our families. You can ask Neil by contacting him at www.myspace.com. Maybe he'll reply, it's worth a try.
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b carvill
Reply Sat 17 Jun, 2017 04:46 pm
are u still contemplating this ??
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Reply Sat 17 Jun, 2017 07:55 pm
boomerang wrote:

I always thought it must be about his dad too but reading around today I learned that he has said it was about some rancher that he knew.

Thanks for bumping this thread, it's a good one.

I think all of Neil's songs sound lonely. It's just the quality of his voice.

Yeah, I had heard him say in an interview that he got the idea for the song from meeting the caretaker at a ranch he was buying at a young age. The guy asked him how it was that he had enough money to do all this, and Young replied "Just lucky I guess"

Keeping that in mind I don't hear the line in question as saying he's rejecting anyone. More like he's just taking things as they are. You get people to love you, things, or not. Like experiencing nirvana, no suffering, desire or sense of self.

On a practical level, maybe getting this piece of land didn't mean all that much to Young. However, to the caretaker it meant a lot that someone that was so young would have enough to buy that land.

So, not rejecting, but acknowledging everyone's needs/desires are different.

Reply Sat 17 Jun, 2017 08:05 pm
It's one of my favorite songs by him.
Reply Sat 17 Jun, 2017 09:35 pm
My favorite by him is "On This Harvest Moon."

To me, it speaks of a mature, as in age, love between 2 people.

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Reply Sun 18 Jun, 2017 03:08 am
Way back in 1970, I knew a bunch of hippies that hung around in a kind of loose tribe. There was one guy, who seemed kind of stupid to the 18-year-old me. An acid casualty for sure. Used to babble stuff in which "kinda like" occurred about every ten words or so. I flattered myself I was not like him. Anyhow, every time "Cripple Creek Ferry" came on he used to become very animated and sing along. Years later I rediscovered Neil Young and you know what? I started doing the same thing. I wish I could meet that guy again, because I think he had a kind of wisdom that I couldn't see at the time.
Reply Sun 18 Jun, 2017 03:52 am
centrox wrote:
There was one guy, who seemed kind of stupid to the 18-year-old me.

In 1970 I seriously fancied this guy's girlfriend, Z. Not only lusted after her, but thought she was sweet, kind of like the girl on the Happy Trails (Quicksilver Messenger Service) LP cover. Anyhow, I dared not try to win her away from him. I wasn't very good at that kind of thing, and I suspected I would feel like a heel if I tried, let alone if I succeeded. M and Z seemed like such a romantically right couple. Everyone talked of them as a couple. I met her in a pub in 1985, she was still pretty, but busy drinking as much strong (8%) lager in cans as she could get down her neck. She offered me some speed. "OK", I thought, "we all change in 15 years". I ventured to tell her how much I fancied her back in the day. "What?", she exclaimed. "why the hell didn't you tell me, then I could have ditched that drug-addled fool M?" Somehow my nostalgia and feeling of a missed might-have-been kind of ebbed away at that moment. Dodged a bullet more like.

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Reply Sun 18 Jun, 2017 06:41 am
I think neil young may be trying to tell his old man, whoever he is, that the two of them aren't as different as his old man may be making them out to be. It's like he's saying, "you know, I'm a lot like you were, just look at all this stuff we have in common."

I think the line you identified may be Young saying he's happy with who he is even if his old man isn't. He's not apologizing for who he is. Take him or leave him kinda thing.
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Reply Sun 18 Jun, 2017 09:33 am
Those are both excellent stories, Centrox. Thanks.
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Reply Tue 20 Jun, 2017 01:35 am
Old man look at my life,
I'm a lot like you were.
it's a loooog story..
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Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2020 05:06 pm
He's talking about his ranch he owns that the old man works on..., it doesn't mean that much to Neil Young because he takes it for granted yet it means a lot to the old man because he has never had or owned such in his life. 24 and there's so much more.....he's reflecting on all he had, fame and money has got him this.
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