“Useless Trinkets” reminds me of how silly it is to dwell on material things, because in the end you’ll end up a lifeless material thing too, and then what does it matter?
It’s a song about coming to terms with things that tie you down, and how at some point you have to accept that your dreams and your memories and your ideas are really the only things you need to keep.
But I guess more directly it’s about convincing yourself that things will be better if you leave (like move to another town), and a part of that is coming to see your surroundings as terrible and worth leaving anyway.
The chorus provokes another feeling for me, though, one of nostalgia. Sifting through old family photos and documents and such, it occurs to me that some of these people–my own family, generations ago–only exist in photos now. Nobody living today can really say much about them. Just names and photos. So when E sings “I know where I go I’m not afaid / To leave behind a place like this,” something about it makes me feel sad to think that after we’re gone, the flow of time quietly and meticulously wipes us from the record.