"Must I Paint You A Picture?" as written by and Billy Bragg....
It's bad timing and me
We find a lot of things out this way
And there's you
A little black cloud in a dress

The temptation
To take the precious things we have apart
To see how they work
Must be resisted for they never fit together again

If this is rain let it fall on me and drown me
If these are tears let them fall
Must I paint you a picture
About the way that I feel?

You know my love for you is strong, girl
You know my love for you is real
It took a short walk and a talk
To change the rules of engagement

While you searched frantically for reverse
And them claiming
That virtue never tested is no virtue at all
And so I lost my ignorance

And now the bells across the river chime out your name
I look across to them again
Must I paint you a picture
About the way that I feel?

You know my love for you is strong, girl
You know my love for you is real
All your friends said come down
It will never fly

And on that imperfect day
We threw it all away
Crisis after crisis
With such intensity

This would never happen if we lived by the sea
Most important decisions in life
Are made between two people in bed
I found that out at my expense

And when I see you
You just turn around and walk away like we never met
Oh we used to be so brave
I dreamt the world stopped turning as we climbed the hill

I dreamt impossible dreams that we were lovers still
Must I paint you a picture
About the way that I feel?
You know my love for you is strong, girl
You know my love for you is real [Repeat]


Lyrics submitted by Madame Me

"Must I Paint You a Picture?" as written by Billy Bragg

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

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Must I Paint You A Picture? song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • 0
    General Comment<3 AWESOME song.
    rushyon January 29, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song reminds me of a situation I'm in.

    I think obviously he is in love with this woman and wants to have sex with her and he is trying to tell her how much he loves her. I think they decide in the second verse either to have sex or not to have sex, but she still doesn't want to.
    Then, on the 'imperfect day', they have sex and it ruins what they have, and she will no longer be with him anymore.

    It's a very beautiful and sad song.
    Rachy_Con August 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't think this is a song about a relationship that isn't consummated, I think this is a break-up song. He's fallen in love with the "little black cloud in a dress" - she's obviously angry & unhappy when they're together now - & they have had sex - "most important decisions in life are made between two people in bed - I found that out at my expense" - but she doesn't love him & as the song goes on, she no longer even speaks with him - acts like they've never met.

    It's a heartbreaking song - he thinks he's not explaining himself well enough - even though he knows as much as he explains, he's "taking the precious thing that we have apart to see how it works" only to be unable to put it back together - he wonders if she would understand his love more if he painted her a picture (figuratively, of course - the phrase is usually used in sarcasm, not desperation).

    But of course it's over. There's really nothing he can do.
    vchamberlainon February 06, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree on the below thought of a former relationship.
    To me the song starts with them as a couple, then it comes the black cloud: she telling him she has been unfaithful - the tempation of breaking things...-
    As they walk and talk he realizes the situation so they break up even when she tries to reverse it, frantically, and THEN (not "them") arguing that "virtue never tested is no virtue at all"...
    Then it's "her version", talking of how different their lives would have been if they had gone somewhere else - or chased their dreams, in a way...
    They eventually split up and later, they turn around when they see each other, although he still dreams of them being lovers.

    I find this song specially touching, and there's that one verse I'm particullary fond of, "most important decisions in life are made between two people in bed". Beautiful.
    spac3b0yon April 12, 2013   Link

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