The images in the pre-choruses — first

But now my take-out food is growing cold
And the candle’s burned a hole in the floor
And I’m still waiting for the ring of the phone

Since when do prog-metal showboats talk about take-out food, even after selling out? And the candle melodramatically burning a hole in the floor, presumably knocked over in anger or carelessness, left there in distraction and apathy — this would be a gem from Stephin Merritt. Then

But tonight I’ll sit here tending the fire
And pace the floor one hundred times in an hour
And check the voice-mail for a message you’ve called

Like he’s too tired to even rhyme anymore. But it works by forcing even more attention on the words and details — yes, the flame comes up again; the nervous pacing (I do that too! Even waiting for the bus!) with the specific number ‘one hundred’ enunciated and emphasized as the melody climbs; the specific reference to voice mail, even more impersonal and abstract in a way than an answering machine with which one can at least hold a tape in one’s hand.

And the piece concludes with his own amusingly, pathetically awkward voice mail message: “Sorry, I miss you. It’s starting to hit me like . . . uh, . . . um, a 2-ton . . . uh . . . a . . . heavy thing”.

All held afloat by a pageant of infectious twinned leads, ringing suspended chords, spiraling arpeggios, and falsetto harmonies — these fops’ poppest move became their most meaningful. Too bad it got buried by that Pink Floyd crap from the same album.