Song Analysis

Not Dying Today

Sunday 14 August 2011, by Cécile Desbrun

The song talks about Tori’s touring life with her crew and how that cheers her up no matter what. While most of the lyrics are quite straightforward, the song opens with a rather obtuse line about “a gambler and a cleaner and a puppeteer.” While a definitive meaning would be hard to define, it’s worth noting that the visualette for “Maybe California” includes footage of Tori with a puppeteer, so it might allude to something she experienced during the American Doll Posse World Tour.

Other parts of the song revolves around people’s definitions of Tori (“Neil is thrilled he can claim he’s mammalian/“But the bad news,” he said, “Girl, you’re a dandelion” ; “If they can’t prove I’m crazy/by noon I’ll be pushin’ up them daises/Tomorrow, with their Donut box they’ll say/“It’s sad she’s Brown Bread”), so these lines seem to address the fact Tori can’t control the way people see and judge her, whether it’s music critics, public opinion or other people she comes across.

I also like to think that the “sister take your paws off my ankle straps” refers to the incident that happened during the 2007 show in Slovakia, where Tori threw her designer shoes at a security guard who was disturbing her performance. She later told Popmatters that a girl tried to steal her shoes and that she told her, “Forget about it sister, I want them back!”

The song also includes the first Neil Gaiman reference in a long time, with the line “Neil is thrilled he can claim he’s mammalian/“But the bad news,” he said, “Girl, you’re a dandelion.” According to what Neil had said on his Twitter account back then, it was inspired by a discussion they had.