Ordinary language is all right.
One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.
In contrast "Ellen and Ben" is musically steady and comfortable, with the repeated outburts from Travis in the chorus, "whyyyyyyy". Lyrically it's still ambivalent and confused, but trying to confront that confusion more stably by just laying out the facts and trying to relate them to the narrator's life (the model planes bit). That doesn't mean any more answers are found than in "Other Side".
And I guess musically though it's more steady, there's still the appropriate measure of ambivalence about the future, as the song just keeps going, more or less, until it's time to end: the confusion and ambivalence are reflected in the way that the song continues on steadily just like we do when we aren't sure what else to do.
"the other side" in "The Other Side" is not a mystical or spiritual thing, but an uncertain thing. So the music is tumultuous, maybe suiting the range of fears we have in the face of uncertainties about our future lives, and our futures with our loved ones.
"there are days when a warm look from a strange face will make me forget my name"
My favorite part near the end of "Time Bomb" is the whiny noise (a guitar I think). It sounds like it's veering back and forth, wavering, sort of woozily.
And remember, "keyed up".
I can't sing in the right range to "Time Bomb" either, but I'm well aware of that fact. Probably because "Time Bomb" is more chorusy - and anthemic??
And now the exuberance I feel when "Following Through" starts is still unbelievable. So much happens in the first 3 seconds!
I have trouble singing this in the right range too.
I couldn't tell you what the lyrics are about even in the most general sense; I forget between listenings that the chorus goes "I can do it anywhere with anyone at anytime don't you forget/this is my life and it's going to be good, don't you know", which might at least give me a sense that they're defiantly standing up for the narrator's right to happiness and autonomy or something like that.
Still the lyrics are important, though.
As in other songs the "yeah"s in "Automatic" do not appear on the lyric sheet.
In "Secret Curse" the lyrics are arranged like this:
anonymous hex on flavorless food and terrible sex
a day of no rhythm a night of no rest
and I do not know what sin I have not confessed
terrible blight I'm deafened by sound and blinded by light
caught when I flee and beat when I fight and I'm cocky when wrong
and timid when right and I don't know what crimes have yet to come to light
but it's getting worse
indelible mark, tired at noon, wired at dark
a terrible bite, but never a bark, I don't know what else I can do
And on the first two verses "secret curse" goes right with the following lines, rhythmically speaking, but for the third verse "but it's getting worse" is said with the previous verse's lines, so that there's a slight irregularity. Or in other words something to thwart expectations and make things more interesting.