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Jack Names The Planets is a song by Ash, released in 1995 both on their album Trailer and on the Angus soundtrack. It's 3:12 long.

Meaning:

The song's very hard to understand. Many parts of it, especially the title and chorus, just don't seem to make sense unless you've read The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub. The title of the song is the title of a chapter from The Talisman, though the chapter of the book has nothing to do with Jack actually giving names to planets. The chapter title is when he is being interrogated by a man who wants Jack to admit that they've met before, and as he and his thugs torture the boy, he asks over and over "Where have we met?" Finally, desperate to do anything besides tell the man the truth, Jack screams the first thing that comes into his head; "Saturn! Uranus! Mercury! Somewhere in the asteroid belt! Io! Ganymede! Dei-". A far cry from "Jack names the planets after you."

Other lines that seem to refer to The Talisman include:

  • "We were walking, walking in two worlds" - this refers to the ability of The Talisman's protagonist, Jack Sawyer, to travel between our world and The Territories, a fantastic world inextricably connected to ours.
  • "In the gardens of sunlight home" - this refers to the Sunlight Home, a prison-like reformatory where delinquent teenagers farm the land and are indoctrinated with televangelist-style Christianity. The founder of the Home, Reverend "Sunlight" Gardener, is the man who questions Jack in the chapter that gives the song its title.
  • "Bad children on the phone" - Sunlight Gardener was constantly talking about bad children, how "all boys are bad, it's axiomatic". Also, one of Jack's pursuers managed to call him on the phone several times, despite not knowing Jack's exact location. This line is not an explicit reference to the book, but it reminds me of those two facts.
  • "My mother's dying, I've got to go home" - The reason Jack is on the run is that he has to cross the United States (and thus simultaneously cross The Territories) in order to save his mother from cancer by acquiring a particular item - the titular talisman - and saving the life of the Queen of the Territories, whose life is connected to his mother's.

Despite all the above, the song still doesn't make sense to me. It seems to be a love song, but there is no love story in The Talisman, not even any love interest for Jack at all. I suppose the best explanation is the the song's writer(s) took inspiration from the book, taking a few of the aspects and phrases that struck their fancy, and wrote a whole new story around them.

Lyrics:

Before the song starts, there are two voices speaking, with fake-sounding accents, possibly supposed to be Russian. The second voice is saying the things in parentheses while the first is talking. It's hard to tell what the planet-name they're discussing is, it's something like "New Vennep", "New Fennep", "New Venneh", or "New Fenneh". Below I've spelled it two different ways because it sounds differently to me when each voice says it. I don't understand the meaning or relevance of this short conversation at all.

First Voice:
Ah, the, the next point is very important. (Yeah.)
About the name of your song, cause we're very surprised. (Yeah, right.)
That you called it Jack Names The Planet and not Jack Names The Planet New Vennep, cause that's a good name for a planet.

Second Voice:
The center of the universe is planet New Fennep.

We were walking, walking in two worlds
In the gardens of sunlight home
Bad children on the phone
Withheld me to withhold you
I said I'd kiss you, if you want
You've got things back to front
I got a letter, I sent it back
I didn't like it, having what you had

Jack names the planets after you
Jack names the planets after you
Jack names the planets after you, you

When I turned, you had gone away
So I didn't skip upon that day
Morose feeling, small mind
Don't touch its face, you might like its kind
I said I'd kiss you, if you want
You've got things back to front
Don't mind your spelling, it ain't so bad
Things like that, they never made me quite so mad as you

Jack names the planets after you
Jack names the planets after you
Jack names the planets after you, you

Jack names the planets after you
Jack names the planets after you
Jack names the planets after you, you

I wish you'd come back, everything's ready for you
You are welcome, if you plan to
You come walking, and you know where
You've got to understand, that you've got to care
I said I'd kiss you if you want
You've got things back to front
My mother's dying, I've got to go home
But there's more, you wont be solely on your own now

Jack names the planets after you
Jack names the planets after you
Jack names the planets after you, you, you, you, you, you, you, you

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