Up the Wolves


 The Sunset Tree




the Mountain Goats



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Up the Wolves is the seventh song on the album The Sunset Tree. It also appears as the 34th song on the 2020 live album The Jordan Lake Sessions: Volumes 1 and 2. In 2014, it was featured in the AMC television series The Walking Dead, in its episode "Still".

Lyrics[edit | edit source]

There's bound to be a ghost at the back of your closet
No matter where you live
There'll always be a few things, maybe several things
That you're gonna find really difficult to forgive

There's gonna come a day when you'll feel better
You'll rise up free and easy on that day
And float from branch to branch, lighter than the air
Just when that day is coming 
Who can say?
Who can say?

Our mother has been absent
Ever since we founded Rome
But there's gonna be a party 
When the wolf comes home

We're gonna commandeer the local airwaves
To tell the neighbors what's been going on
And they will shake their heads
And wag their bony fingers
In all the wrong directions
And by daybreak we'll be gone

I'm gonna get myself in fighting trim
Scope out every angle of unfair advantage
I'm gonna bribe the officials
I'm gonna kill all the judges
It's gonna take you people years
To recover from all of the damage

Our mother has been absent
Ever since we founded Rome
But there's gonna be a party when the wolf comes home

Comments by John Darnielle About this Song[edit | edit source]

  • "I'm always trying to figure out what to say about this god damn song. Part of me wants to say look it's about revenge, but as soon as I say that... no, that's not quite it. Part of me wants to say it's about the satisfaction of not needing revenge... and I say no, that some new age stuff. I think it's a song about the moment in your quest for revenge when you learn to embrace the futility of it. The moment when you know that the thing you want is ridiculous and pompous and a terrible thing to want anyway. The direction in which you're headed is not the direction in which you want to go, yet you're going to head that way a while longer anyway cause that's just the kind of person you are." -- 2007-10-01 - Bowery Ballroom - New York, NY
  • "This is a song, when people talk about triumph over adversity, adversity sounds like sort of a faceless sort of a thing that you don't need to triumph over so much as get around. This is a song about triumph over the adversary." -- 2013-07-26 - Newport Folk Festival - Newport, RI

Things Referenced in this Song[edit | edit source]

  • The chorus alludes to the myth of Romulus and Remus, twins who were abandoned to die (albeit unwillingly) by their mother and nursed by a she-wolf (and the former of whom would later found Rome).
  • The title may also be a reference to the common punk rock phrase, "Up The Punx"

Live Shows this Song Was Played at[edit | edit source]

Videos of this Song[edit | edit source]

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