Twin Human Highway Flares


Full Force Galesburg




the Mountain Goats



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"Weekend in Western Illinois"

Twin Human Highway Flares is the eighth song on the album Full Force Galesburg.


You turned to me and asked me if I'd always be your boy
As we drove across the river into western Illinois
And on the railroad bridge, half a mile of solid steel
Wheels were spitting out sparks, scraping at the rails
Wind in your hair all right
Sunset spilling through the rear window
Your white t-shirt hugging your shoulders, beaded with sweat
On the day that I become so forgetful
That all of this melts away
I will burn all the calendars that counted the years down to
Such a worthless day

As we walked across the parking lot toward the motel office
We were walking with a benediction on us
Light was everywhere, the building stood against the sky
Like a monument to desperation two floors high
A mile and a half from the river
We went back to the car to get our overnight bags
Sunset spilling through your earrings all over your body
When we shut the motel room door behind us, we knew we'd hit the motherlode
On the day that I forget you, I hope my heart explodes

Comments by John Darnielle About this SongEdit

  • "This was the first love song I ever wrote for my wife, before she was my wife." -- 2005-07-02 - Old American Can Factory - Brooklyn, NY
  • "There are two people in this song — or three, if you count the highway, which I generally do. They look a lot like me and the woman who would later become my wife, driving from Chicago to northern Iowa on a summer day. Only I don't think that ever happened. I know we never had any '50s road movie conversations like the one that opens the song. We weren't, at the point in time when this song would have had to've taken place for it to be true, using overnight bags. We had suitcases. And there wasn't enough backstory between us for buildings to appear as "monument[s] of desperation." But the picture I get in my head, or got in my head when I was writing it in a Grinnell apartment circa 1996, was of my girlfriend and I heading a little ways west and digging in for a long life together. I think it's almost a symbolic scene for me in that way. On one tour we opened the set with it quite a few times, and I enjoyed it more and more each night. The characters in this song aren't keeping secrets from you; anything they don't tell you just isn't any of your business." -- "My Five Favorite Mountain Goats Characters -- eMusic article

Things Referenced in this SongEdit

Live Shows this Song Was Played atEdit

Videos of this SongEdit

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