What is the meaning of the “Lemon Tree” in a song written by …

  • This is an interesting question. The Lemon Tree song was written by a band formed in 1991. Coincidentally or not, it aligns with the dissolution of two major countries in that time: the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. The song was written by the Fool’s Garden band, which was a German band. That means that the people who wrote the song must have been living during the time of the Berlin Wall and witnessed its fall.

    Most people living in Germany were happy about the fall of the wall, but this song, however, presents a strange and interesting thought. It seems as if the protagonist in this song regrets the fall of the Soviet Union.

    Strange, right? But we can see this pretty clearly from analyzing the lyrics.

    The first portion of the song says, “I’m sittin’ here in the boring room

    It’s just another rainy Sunday afternoon

    I’m wasting my time

    I got nothin’ to do

    I’m hangin’ around

    I’m waitin’ for you

    But nothing ever happens and I wonder,”

    The protagonists is, for some reason, bored and wasting his time. “You” in this song is probably the Soviet Union. So this man is waiting for what he believes will come someday – the return of the great and mighty Soviet Union. But it never happens, and he wonders why.

    The next portion says, “I’m drivin’ around in my car

    I’m drivin’ too fast

    I’m drivin’ too far

    I’d like to change my point of

    I feel so lonely

    I’m waitin’ for you

    But nothing ever happens and I wonder,”

    Not sure what the car means, but he says he wants to change his point of. After the collapse in 1991, he feels lonely, waiting for his Soviet friends to return. But again, nothing happens, and he wonders why. Thus, he wants to change his point of, to deliver him from his anxiety.

    Then the chorus says, “I wonder how

    I wonder why

    Yesterday you told me ’bout the blue blue sky

    And all that I can see is just a yellow lemon tree

    I’m turnin’ my head up and down

    I’m turnin’, turnin’, turnin’, turnin’, turnin’ around

    And all that I can see is just another lemon tree,”

    So this is an interesting part. “Yesterday” can mean many things. But in this case, it probably means something that happened a long time ago that is still fresh in the protagonist’s memory. You may have heard someone say, “It feels like yesterday when…” etc. For this man, the USSR’s collapse feels just like yesterday. Once again, “you” means the Soviet Union. The Soviets told him about the “ideals” and “beauties” of Communism, representing the “blue sky,” but all that he can see now is a lemon tree. In Western culture, lemons usually mean something bitter, generally not a good thing. So the Soviets told him about their ideals, but no matter how much he looks around, trying to find them, all he finds is the bitter truth about Communism. He keeps looking, but all he can see is bitter truths.

    You see, Communism would work just fine as long as people don’t sin and as long as there are no greedy people on this planet. The reason why Communism failed is that when power was put in the hands of a single person, that person tended to be selfish, like all humans do when they gain power, and walked away from working for the people and approached working for his or her own good, not the common good.

    After this, it says, “I’m sittin’ here

    I miss the power

    I’d like to go out takin’ a shower

    But there’s a heavy cloud inside my head

    I feel so tired

    Put myself into bed

    Well, nothing ever happens and I wonder,”

    Once again he’s just sitting there. He misses the power, which can mean both electricity and political power. He may have been a supporter of the Soviet Union, and when they left Germany, he lost all his political gains and became what other people would call a traitor, someone no one wants to be around. That’s the heavy cloud inside his head, all that anxiety. This makes him tired. Like always, nothing happens, meaning the Soviet Union doesn’t return, and he wonders why. Toothpaste cannot be put back into the container, and in the same way, the USSR and Yugoslavia’s dissolutions cannot be reversed.

    Then the next part says, “Isolation is not good for me

    Isolation, I don’t want to sit on the lemon tree,”

    Isolation from his former Soviet allies is not good for him. It makes him viable to public shaming and “bullying”. He does not want to sit under the lemon tree, representing Communism, which he was told to be beautiful and worth fighting for, but the bitter truth about it is that it would only work in Heaven, not on this corrupt Earth.

    But then something changes. “I’m steppin’ around in the desert of joy

    Baby, anyhow I’ll get another toy

    And everything will happen and you wonder.”

    He is suddenly joyful. Here, he seems to forget all about his misery! He is stepping around in the desert, which may represent a sea of opportunities. He decides to forget about the Soviet Union get another “toy.” I am not sure what this means. But if he does, everything will happen, and his former Soviet allies will now be the ones who are wondering. This part is confusing and difficult to analyze.

    Then the song plunges back into the chorus. That’s about it. This is a very, very interesting song that presents a whole new thought. It also tells you that staying deep down in your misery is not good, it only wastes your time and brings nothing. Instead, you should move on, find new opportunities, and take them.

    Now, I do realize that my analysis of this song may be overexaggerated and that this song might not have such a deep and hidden meaning, but anyway, it is a possibility that should be considered.

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