SOTW April 19, 2010 - 'Paper Dolls'

Post messages about Ellis Paul's music, CDs, lyrics, etc. here.

Moderator: Moderator

Richard + Jela
Posts: 1534
Joined: Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:56 pm
Location: West Sussex, England

SOTW April 19, 2010 - 'Paper Dolls'

Postby Richard + Jela » Mon Apr 19, 2010 1:01 pm

Paper Dolls

All the people at the party left you
sitting at the table all alone
You can hear their voices
chatter through confetti
You're alone

Light... Breaks...through You
All the paper dolls,
They're still holding hands
Gives... Love... to You
Their mouths are speaking language
You Don't understand
You're alone

The cab ride through
the city's bright with lights
You float above the pavement to the night
You're gone

Light... Breaks.... Through You
From where you ride
the shadows dance along
Gives....Love... to you
That's the sound it makes
when everything goes wrong
What if I was stronger
Why so why so sad?
Just look at all you have
What if I had stayed a little longer
All you need is the strength (faith) to believe to get through

From your window sill
the city makes you dizzy
And you wonder why the hurt
still hurts so bad
So many lives, but not one here to hold yours.
You're alone

Ellis Paul (SESAC)
Kristian Bush Dirkpit Music (BMI)

When the call went out for volunteers to lead the SOTW threads I immediately put myself forward for this one. It is my absolute favourite from the CD and I’m not sure what that says about me because it is (I think) so different from the other songs on the CD and indeed from EP’s more literal style of song writing.

I first heard ‘Paper Dolls’ when it was still a work in progress, on ‘MySpace’ - it was made available for about a week or two, no longer and we recorded it so I’ve been listening to it since I think 2007? Maybe 2008? I had/have no idea what it was/is about but I just like the (ethereal) sound and feel of the song. This is also unusual for me as I’m a ‘lyrics lady’ rather than a ‘sound and feel’ lady when it comes to songs – witness my adoration of people who have quirky/rough/untuneful (is that a proper word?) voices.

The two voices, Ellis and Kristian, work so well together; I confess that Sugarland’s material doesn’t do it for me but here, I love Kristian Bush’s voice; in fact it made me delve back into his ‘Billy Pilgrim’ days but that didn’t hit the spot either.

I really don’t know what the song is about and it’s one of those where I think I prefer not to know. It’s so abstract, I imagine it means different things to different people and maybe different things even to an individual listening depending upon their emotional state at the time.

Love it!


Posts: 3768
Joined: Wed Jun 21, 2006 9:44 pm
Location: Philadelphia

Re: SOTW April 19th 'Paper Dolls'

Postby paddyinthepub » Tue Apr 20, 2010 9:43 am

"Still I cry, over these strings, the sentimental case of things.."

John Gorka

To me this song is about loss. Aloneness. Separation from a time gone by when love seemed as though it would be around forever. It's a reflection of that love, of those times. We were fortunate enough to be in attendance at the House Concert in Pittsburgh when Ellis called Karen up to sing the counter vocal to Paper Dolls. The song was still new to me and I have to admit not one of my faves then. That all changed after I heard them singing it. I wept. I think I understood the song like never before. I see Ellis has another Club Cafe date in Pittsburgh this summer. Perhaps we'll be lucky enough to get another intimate show at Karen's that weekend. One can only hope. Great song! Great SOTW lead, Jela.
"once we're inside, it's a carnival ride" ~ ellis paul

Posts: 552
Joined: Tue Oct 31, 2006 8:12 am
Location: Norwell, Massachusetts

Re: SOTW April 19th 'Paper Dolls'

Postby monicar » Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:28 am

I too recorded this from MySpace and have been listening to it for quite a while. I find it very haunting, but beautiful.

Monica R.

User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 4446
Joined: Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:12 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: SOTW April 19th 'Paper Dolls'

Postby KarenZ » Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:45 am

Thanks everyone for your postings. Paddy, my house concert was such a special time for me - thanks for the reminder of just how special it was. :) Looks like the weekend that the upcoming Club Cafe show is scheduled for is already booked up, so I guess there won't be a second house concert this time 'round. But hopefully there will be other opportunities. Hope to see you and Pam in Pittsburgh.

I've listened to "paper dolls" countless times - many of those times were repeated listens. There was a period of time when I just couldn't get enough of it. (What a surprise!) :o For the longest time I had difficulty figuring out which voice (Ellis or Kristian) was singing which lines when they join forces on the 2nd and 3rd chorus. But when I finally figured it out, I loved being Kristian. ;)

I love the lines:

"All the paper dolls, they're still holding hands
Their mouths are speaking language you don't understand"

No doubt we've all been at a party or in a group when we've felt alone....but maybe the aloneness was our own doing....maybe you have to take a risk sometimes or step out in faith.....especially in life....if you want to understand the language being spoken. That's what the song says to me. It's about choices.

"Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world's greatest soprano. Not everyone can be the artist. There have to be those who witness the art, who love and appreciate what they have been privileged to see." -- Ann Patchett in Bel Canto.

Posts: 1019
Joined: Wed Aug 09, 2006 7:50 pm

Re: SOTW April 19th 'Paper Dolls'

Postby Patti » Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:05 pm

I never did quite get this song.. it sounds hauntingly pretty but couldn 't figure it out.. but reading your comments help.. whenever I say the title I think of Marc Cohn's song.. Paper Walls.. and that upbeat tempo song gets in my head!!

Karen I'm sure if I heard you singing on it I would have a completely different opinion 8) What a special memory for you...

This is what Ellis said about it.

Paper Dolls" was written for a New Year's Eve wallflower whole alone at a party in a big city. New Year's Eve can be a lonely holiday. Kristian Bush is in a duet with me here, and the voices flow like two different streams of thought- One motherly on the outside offering comfort and one internally having doubt, "All the people at the party left you/ sitting at the table all alone/ you can hear their voices chatter through confetti/ you're alone"
"Embrace what you have in common, celebrate what sets you apart" Ellis Paul

Return to “Breakin' Through the Radio”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests