Newsom, Joanna - Baby Birch Lyrics




This is the song for Baby Birch
Oh I will never know you

And at the back of what we've done
There is that knowledge of you

Well I wish we could take every path
I could spend a hundred years adoring you

Yes, I wish we could take every path
because you know I hated to close the door on you

Do you remember staring up at the stars
So far away in their bulletproof cars?

When we heard the rushing, slow intake
Of the dark, dark water and the engine breaks

And I said, "How about them engine breaks?
And if I should die before I wake

Will you keep an eye on Baby Birch?
Because I'd hate to see her make the same mistake"

When it was dark, I called and you came
When it was dark, I saw shapes
When I see stars, I feel in your hand
And I see stars and I reel again

Well mercy me, I'll be goddamned
It's been a long, long time since I last saw you

And I have never known the plan
It's been a long, long time, how are you?

Your eyes are green, your hair is gold
Your hair is black, your eyes are blue

I closed the ranks, and I doubled back
But, you know I hated to close the doggone door on you

We take a walk along the dirty lake
Hear the goose cussing at me over her eggs
You poor little cousin, I don't want your dregs
A little baby fussing over my legs

There is a blacksmith and there is a shepherd and there is a butcher-boy
And there is a barber, who's cutting and cutting away at my only joy
I saw a rabbit as slick as a knife and as pale as a candlestick
And I had thought it'd be harder to do but I caught her, and skinned her quick
Held her there, kicking and mewling, upended, unspooling, unsung and blue
Told her, "Wherever you go, little runaway bunny, I will find you"
And then she ran as they're liable to do

Be at peace baby and be gone
Be at peace baby and be gone





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Newsom, Joanna Baby Birch Comments
  1. Morijah Oslund

    Cries and dies

  2. Rob B

    6:45 - 7:35 absolutely destroys me, some of the most violent and heartbreaking lines she's ever sung.

  3. barf in

    what do you think she means by "stars in their bulletproof cars"?

    M view

    I took it to mean stars are far away, out of reach and untouchable. Known for being beautiful, they can't be harmed.

    Maybe she is greatful something so precious can't be harmed? Or maybe i'm reading too much into it.

    barf in

    @M view As well as as implying famous people in cars that keep them safe from the common folk?

  4. Jessica Hart

    6:47 has me losing my mind, it is so beautiful

  5. C Kpdx

    A woman's exploration of the feelings that surround the decision to willfully choose the path of not becoming a mother. Beautiful song.

  6. scatman crothers

    we take a walk

  7. joe a

    I will never get over that outro...goddamn

  8. Violet Sweet

    music doesn't make me cry very often but i'm convinced half or more of newsom's discography has made me just sob at one point. it's like she has this very specific superpower, and it's to induce tears in people...

    addendum: a while ago this one hit me out of nowhere while i was on the bus so thanks for that, joanna

  9. Nevermind

    how can a human being just make this and drop it on the general public? this song is a miraculous communication of human emotion

  10. Michael Bravo

    it's been a long, long time. how are you?

    Bongo Baggins

    Still listening.

  11. Carlos Eduardo Mateus Rodrigues

    ok i held it until the "be at peace, baby, and be gone"

  12. freshly bleached ass

    amazing grace

  13. Jasmine Betancourt

    She got in a car accident and had to forcefully abort her twins. You know now. Stop guessing. Most of it is her reminiscing over her pregnancy.

    Growsomestrawbs

    Jasmine Betancourt source?

  14. Jasmine Betancourt

    I found you when you weren't mainstream, I'm torn between being happy for your success and having this many people trying to interpret what you're saying incorrectly.

    freshly bleached ass

    She still is not mainstream but whatever. Also, there’s nothing wrong with having more than one interpretation. There is not correct answer in art.

  15. Marigold Rosevelt

    Pure beauty.

  16. Jklomai

    Abortion

  17. joe a

    this song, along with this whole album, is timeless. timeless I tell you!

  18. Sheaker

    Why did she skinned the rabbit before letting him go? I'm not a native english speaker and I can't figure out what is going on in the last part of the lyrics.

    welcome2braggers

    She released its soul.

  19. broadwaymelody33

    My friend has PCOS and has been struggling to conceive for the past ten years, and she took a lot of comfort from this song. She interpreted the lyrics to herself, as her own body destroying any babies she could have possibly created. She’s also very pro-life. For me and a lot of other fans, I interpreted this to be about an abortion after a bitter end to a relationship. I love that this song can reach people with different beliefs and affect them the same way.

  20. Catman666

    worst feeling in the world is begging the world to enjoy joanna just as much as you do and being ignored. She's too incredible to be ignored you fools!

  21. Petra Sestan

    I sometimes feel like the only person in the universe who feels so stongly for this music. I understand thats not true, but sometimes it doesn't feel real, as though it is merely a dream, and in the end, it is just joanna's music and I.

  22. Jayme Horne

    From 5:49 to end is my favorite part. So powerful

  23. Devlin Baker

    Still listening... and crying

  24. K M

    I always thought this song was about an abortion, but I now think it's about ending a relationship and having to let go of the thoughts of the potential future that kept her in the relationship

    Ethan Rice

    It's hard to tell with Joanna.
    I don't know if there's a person in the world who fully can grasp the true nature of all the layers to her music. But the important thing is she communicates the mood, even if the specific circumstances are different for each person

  25. Connor 1967

    This bird is bright

  26. lizardpeoplepoetry

    this song is clearly about an abortion doctor who miscarries

  27. Arteee DG

    This song is so heart wrenching

  28. Ruby S

    lyk if u cri every tym

  29. Ruby S

    until 1:15 i didnt think it was about an abortion but this line makes it more clear. im crying anyway tho

    Kiyoko Hill

    Ruby S she also says “I’ll be goddamned.”

  30. Haven

    When the drum kicks in and she starts singing faster I always lose my shit and just start sobbing

    Dino Spumoni

    Sobbing is pretty much my typical reaction to Newsom. Only artist that I have that reaction to except for Beethoven.

  31. Rachel Cardwell

    Just my little piece to add to the miscarriage interpretation - I believe the part about the bunny is a reference to or inspired by Mary Toft, a woman in the 1700s who claimed to have given birth to a litter of stillborn rabbits. She had a miscarriage after her reported fascination with the sighting of a rabbit and in her grief concocted a plan to try to rise out of poverty and never want for anything again. Part of the reason why she lost her baby was because she was a servant and was forced to work in the fields even while pregnant. She even managed to convince even the king's physicians that she was giving birth to rabbit parts, but was later discovered and thrown into jail for five years and was never able to have the baby she longed for.

    Jackson Catlett

    Rachel Cardwell this could also tie into the song jackrabbits. “So I swung through here like a brace of jackrabbits with their necks all broke.”

    the sorting hat

    Jackson Catlett that's a bit scary don't you think?

    Jackson Catlett

    7th hokage this is coming from the same artist that wrote the line “I’ve never seen such a terrible room! Gilded with the gold teeth of women who loved you!”

  32. Spice World

    I grew up with Joanna. I was 9 when her first album came out. She has been a bigger influence on millennial song writers than she could ever get credit for and could well be the greatest song writer of the 2000's.

  33. bobby c

    "Be at peace, baby, and be gone" This line destroys me.

    Spencer

    It destroys me because my wife is gone. We had so much more life to live. Now all I can say is "Be at peace, baby, and be gone." As I'm stuck on this floating rock, alone, with all you lovely people.

    Shay Loking

    Spencer 😭💔😕

    Andrew H

    Reminds me of Toni Morrison's 'Beloved'

    008Invisibleman

    I know, every time she sings the second “be at peace baby and be gone” I cried like a broken dam... like you can hear the pain in Joanna’s voice and how she’s reluctant to let go of the memory of her child which she either lost through a miscarriage or an abortion, but in order to move on with her life she has to say goodbye to that memory 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭

  34. MermaidMidna

    No one quite speaks to me the way she does. I can listen to so many other artists and enjoy their music, but I always come back to Joanna whenever I don't know what I'm in the mood for. She fills my soul.

  35. Justin M

    for the people who don't think that think this is about losing a baby(either through abortion or miscarriage), how do you explain the similar part in the song right after this, "On A Good Day"?

    Gary Schmidt

    Also check out Baby's Breath by Bill Callahan – he and Joanna we're a couple before the release of both their albums

  36. Grant Bitman

    She should do a collaboration with her husband's band, The Lonely Island.

  37. Jack Nakagawa

    killer harp action

  38. Arctic_Phoenix

    this made me tear up a lil

  39. Sandy Mandy

    I like it

  40. uwicorn

    I love this song so much!!! It gets me so emotional

  41. Joshua

    What a great song. Always wondered though, is the tune inspired by something? it sounds very national anthem-ish to me. beautiful none the less.

    Sasha E Head

    +Feed My Ego I dont think she is regretting it all. I think it represents an incredible mix of intricate emotions and the word "regret" doesnt cut it. It's sad but it's bittersweet.

    maybe there's some regret in there but I dont think it's that simple.... birch trees represent new beginnings and hope in a lot of mythologies... I dunno. I just hate to see people simplify this song too much because especially at the 3:30 mark it becomes strangely upbeat. all of her songs have so many layers, this one is no different! :'D

    Feed My Ego

    Great analysis. I simplify my explanations because i don't wanna overload whoever is searching for the explanation. I want to give them the general idea and let them pick apart the layers themself.

    Joshua

    +Sasha E Head i think the upbeat section is important in interpreting this song! i took it as an internal dialogue of conflicting emotion. i don't think the song is necessary about abortion or miscarriage but instead the refusal to adopt a family member's unwanted child. The way the lyrics abruptly change from uplifting and positive to scathing and negative indicate either two different people discussing something or somebody debating internally their compartmentalization.

    Sasha E Head

    thats a good interpretation as well. Either way I believe it's about the bittersweetness of any of those scenarios-- for me, personally, with my abortion this song was the only thing that accurately portrayed the majority of the crazy emotions that were bombarding me at the time. Life is so intricate, any given scenario hardly ever has just *one* type of emotion. I think that works with both the miscarriage and the adoption interpretation. I especially like your idea of an internal debate-- rings so true for me in life and in general.

    darryl winter

    Absolutely, I still find it very difficult listening to this song, I have to think of it as a marker, every time I do listen to it, a marker to say you can think about this, embody all that it is, was, ever will be, and still be present, with this weight on you. And it can still be something beautiful in the resulting neutrality that comes from playing something over so many times you don't even know what way is up. The song is beautiful, the present is beautiful, keep moving.

  42. Blastoisie

    I never "got" joanna newsom until my late 20s and then one day it just clicked.

    esiotrot17

    Tim Gunn are you actually Tim Gunn?

    CoinBahd

    of course, who would lie on the internet

  43. broadwaymelody33

    I agree with all of your analyses of the song. I think it's awesome that one song can mean something different for a lot of people. : )

  44. Polly Anna Steiner

    There never has to be one meaning to a song. The point is how we infer the meaning and internalize it, for ourselves. Such is the beauty of all art and especially music. This song gives so much to me, as someone who has recently suffered a great loss. That is what I adore- Newsom comforts me, she can comfort you.

    Polly Anna Steiner

    That's so sweet, thanks Morgan. It's lucky you were around to share that.

  45. CharizardPants

    I honestly believe this song isn't about abortion, but a miscarriage or the untimely death of an infant, because she speaks about not seeing them for a while, and how she misses them. Another song she sings is similar.

    Blastoisie

    +CharizardPants if it is about an unwanted death of a child then i understand even more why this track affects me :(

    livvy malone

    +CharizardPants i completely agree

    susywithans

    I just studied that line again and was wondering the significance of two "g" colors and two "b" colors and it just dawned on me that she didn't know if it was a "g"irl or a "b"oy - like she was imaging both.

    Erica Lynne Ortiz

    I felt like the line "in the back of what we've done" talks about life since the loss of the life. I feel like it's a miscarriage and life after all the anticipation of what that life would be like. So, at the back of their minds, through life since the pregnancy ended, they've had the knowledge of this life and what could've been.

    M R

    Everyone will interpret this how they want to, but just want to point out that it's very common for women who have had abortions to regret it deeply and miss the baby they never had.

  46. Mundii B.

    this lovely lovely song is about an abortion-- how did i not realize this before!!

    008Invisibleman

    Yes, especially with that imagery of skinning the rabbit. I should’ve known it’s about being in the position of having to abort a baby.

  47. S. Nero

    My family is dealing with a huge loss, and this song is a little comfort to me.

    cole udall

    I know this is a year late, but I just read your comment and I almost broke into tears. It's so cool that people find comfort in music. Hope you're doing fine.

    the sorting hat

    Lemony Chagall it's 2018 now, I hope you'll fine now. I had one too but I think I could handle this one.

    Aaron Null

    A big hug for you.

  48. playlistener1

    baby bitch - thought she'd approach a ween song...   

    feeling kinda sorry for her - generally

    Gil Renard

    seriously, what?

    Diil Avery

    the people deserve an explanation, man..

    playlistener1

    ween   
    song 'baby bitch'  from  gold record 'chocolate and cheese'

    it was a freudian misreader...

    sorry guys - dunno how i lost my way to this here place...
     ...was looking for harp music.. found this sound..well..matter of taste..not mine..

    we have kate bush, and on the harp e.x. catrin finch and seckou keita deserve my respect...   bye now - i'm off

  49. Lisa Nicholson

    the more i listen to her metaphors the more they seem like plain statements. i can't imagine this being about anything other than choosing not to have a baby, and knowing it was the right thing but feeling a deep loss and sadness none the less. i think to read anything more into it is sort of pointless. she's being super direct. 

    xiang xa

    well . she has a baby now.. guess the sadness won

    Phryne Mnesarete

    @xiang xa don't say that. this song was released nearly ten years ago, she's a wealthy, famous, successful married woman now. maybe it's simply the right time for her to have a kid now and it wasn't the right time then.

    foolisnoteighteenyet

    isn't it about miscarriage?

    SoteriosXI

    "i think to read anything more into it is sort of pointless." Relax. People find different meaning in lyrics and that's fine. It's not "pointless". To boil everything down to one interpretation and call everything else pointless doesn't sound very fun or nice.

  50. tastycakey

    i always skip to 3:18 ! I just can't wait :)

    Mundii B.

    @tastycakey me too!!!!!!!!!!!! :'''')

  51. Florica Wolfe

    My interpretation is the death of the inner child as an adult in our society. Or the loss of our innocence as we grow up. 

  52. Turtleproof

    Never Not Be Sobbing Uncontrollably Again.  Step 1: listen to "Baby Birch."  Step 2: See title of tutorial.

  53. cyanidefaery

    I just played this to my very manly, very dude bro doesn't cry at anything or show feelings because he's a heterosexual manly man flat mate and he actually had a wobbly bottom lip and misty eyes. That is the power of Joanna newsom

    Saoirse Rosenstock

    oh man 😢

    Agent Hollands

    Did the whole room clap?

  54. JesiJean

    serious chills

  55. JesiJean

    Her music brings me to tears

  56. ASMR For Dogs

    A B Loop..

  57. Nate B

    I can't listen without crying.

  58. OhLawdyLawdy

    I actually think it is about both...the first half seems to be a miscarriage due to some accident...then she imagines all the different possibilities of her child with different colors of hair and eyes...but the last bit is definitely about an abortion...she talks about how she(whoever the song is about) perceives children as a nuisance (dregs)..then the barber(who were surgeons way back when) is performing the abortion...and the rabbit is referring to the fetus of the child.

  59. blithium

    Well, don't assume that the song is about Joanna. The writer is not necessarily, or usually, the speaker.

  60. punkypine

    Best song in the history of songs.

  61. alex mauriello

    Beauty at its finest.

  62. Devin O'shia

    No. This song is about a miscarriage she had when she was in a car accident while pregnant. "Heard the rushing of the slow intake, of the dark dark water and the engine breaks" Talking about the wreck, I saw a rabbit... And then she ran, as their liable to do" Drivers car was white, maybe? Referring to a legal situation though. Listen to the song again, you'll understand it (:

  63. Fionnghula Thell

    I think its about abortion, any abortion, she is railing the sadness of any and all babies that have died this way..

  64. Anaïs Bokanovsky

    This is a song for every woman who had to part from her baby without even knowing it, and who doesn't find the words to talk to him/her

  65. gia

    Nah son. I think the most gorgeous part is the hushed beginning.

  66. Turtleproof

    An incomparably beautiful song, no matter how many times I listen, such achingly sweet pacing and marvelous sounds.

  67. Melissa

    What a beautiful voice. I came to this song thinking it was about a her losing a child not by choice but it seems to be about abortion by choice. So sad.

  68. Danny

    I always picture the line " your eyes are green, your hair is gold, your hair is black, your eyes are blue" as an older woman who has passed away, meeting the child she never knew. And he is waiting for her.

  69. levitate64

    This was a Suggeted Track from Mojo Magazine.I heard it and it blew my mind.This girl is making real music.Fuck X Factor

  70. Danny

    @SherryGaryandTaylor Lol

  71. Empathe

    Really? Thanks for sharing. I never knew that, but it certainly helps to better understand the recurring references to rabbits.

  72. Turtleproof

    Be my guest. Send me some proofs of the book via this account. <3

  73. Turtleproof

    It's easier to like shabby things, enjoying nice things can lead to complex thoughts full of pain or joy. Shabby things come and go, never troubling us. Remember that one song on the radio, that one time? No one does.

  74. williamcarolinewc

    Whether it is about an abortion or a miscarriage, it is about the loss of the idea of a child. she gives that child she will not raise a name. and she sings it over and over again in this song. it's what makes it so sad. she is singing an existence that never was, or that only was in her mind. and that is, over and over again, when she sings it in this song. with all of the cruelty of that lack and what caused it. "be at peace, baby, and be gone."

  75. williamcarolinewc

    she's incredible in concert. i've seen her three times in paris, and that can't understand all the words, but they get it, too. such a hushed and accute attention she demands.

  76. Empathe

    Actually, I'd say that, rather than being about a miscarriage, it talks about an abortion--"I hated to close the door on you /...and there is a barber who is cutting and cutting away at my only joy". Beautiful way of expressing profound sadness.

  77. Joe Blow

    Birch, please!

  78. Sydney Sims

    why is she not more popular i really dont get it

  79. Alex Goodman

    I heffering love this song!!!! Even tho it's sad as all get out. Isnt' it about a miscarriage? It makes one wonder if it was hers or a friend's baby that was lost. If it was hers, I hope she gets another chance! She nad Andy'd have a cute baby!

  80. Mystical Presh

    I loooove joanna newsom shes my favorite artist! This is one of my faves, know every lyric! :)

  81. Jessicar

    When I thought I couldn't love Joanna enough, I hear this and love her more.

  82. ArchprophetMartin

    @LourdesBlueBlood I'd say forget about trying to find "literal" meanings in Joanna Newsom's songs, they're full of imagery and references, and often cryptic as fuck. Besides, the song gets nasty, so I doubt she'd want to go too much into the details of it...especially considering the way she uses metaphor. Example: for In California, she sings the line "sometimes I am so in love with you" and the final line of En Gallop is similarly blunt. Basically, when she wants to be literal, she is!

  83. ArchprophetMartin

    @TheSuggly I think the abortion is the more likely, because of the way she speaks to the goose - doesn't want it's dregs, doesn't want a baby fussing all over her legs (or thereabouts), and that final, fantastic verse: she talks about the barber cutting her only joy (barbers used to be surgeons, and the verse mentions blacksmiths etc; this is not modern day imagery), and then she sings of skinning the live rabbit violently, its guts unspooling while it shrieks. That's no miscarriage!

    Saoirse Rosenstock

    huh, that's interesting! I always thought it was like "i dont want your dregs"(i dont no damn gosling, relax! what I want is my little baby fussing on my legs---but she can't have that.")

  84. elfin

    For more than a year now, I have been absolutely unable to STAND this song. Not because it's bad, because it always, without fail, made me cry my eyes out. Tried listening to it again today and... wow, am I glad I did.

  85. Amelia Ruth

    I don't think it's abortion, I think it's a woman giving birth, and there is a risk either of her death or the baby, and in the end it is the baby

  86. TheSuggly

    I don't know why everyone thinks this is specifically about abortion. It could be about a miscarriage.

  87. FilmsareGreat

    i love Joanna Newsom Oh so much.

  88. k.l.m.319

    @omggabypwnzyou I agree completely. Oh God, this song hurts.

  89. Peter Kelly

    I don't cry. But my body is trying to remind me how to do it, throughout this song. Very beautiful

  90. MrNicolasz

    i wanna listen this song for hours and hours and hours....

  91. superfluousness321

    Easy I mean.

  92. superfluousness321

    This song definitely alludes to an abortion, and there are other clues in the album. Listen to Ease again near the end, and look up the legend of bloody mary worth.

  93. 21gramsofsoul

    As to the comments regarding abortion vs giving a child away...couldn't the song just as easily be about someone who has decided to never have a child? That's the thing about a great and personal song, people are able to take the "meaning", and ascribe their own experiences to it.

  94. MaryJo McCormic

    the abortion theory kinda makes sense. if you look at the lyrics of "sprout and the bean" and those. But I dont know..I still don't like the idea much. Any other interpretations?

  95. fatherkojak

    very good idea !

  96. MrCryptic55

    If Robin Pecknold opens for her she must be good

  97. Ryan Gee

    I go buck-wild whenever I hear the transition at 6:20. Omg i love it.
    It was the greatest thing ever when I heard it live.

  98. Emilie Dzwonar

    @omggabypwnzyou ME TOO! :o its sooo good.