"Cold Blue Steel And Sweet Fire" as written by and Joni Mitchell....
Cold blue steel out of money
One eye for the beat police
Sweet fire calling
"You can't deny me
Now you know what you need"
Underneath the jungle gym
Hollow-grey-fire-escape-thief
Looking for sweet fire
Shadow of Lady Release
"Come with me
I know the way" she says
"It's down, down, down the dark ladder
Do you want to contact somebody first
Leave someone a letter
You can come now
Or you can come later"

A wristwatch, a ring, a downstairs screamer
Edgy-black cracks of the sky
"Pin-cushion-prick-
Fix this poor bad dreamer!"
"Money" cold shadows reply
Pawnshops crisscrossed and padlocked
Corridors spit on prayers and pleas
Sparks fly up from sweet fire
Black soot of Lady Release
"Come with me
I know the way" she says
"It's down, down, down the dark ladder
Do you wanna contact somebody first
Does it really matter
If you come now
Or if you come on later?"

Red water in the bathroom sink
Fever and the scum brown bowl
Blue Steel still begging
But it's indistinct
Someone's hi-fi drumming Jelly Roll
Concrete concentration camp
Bashing in veins for peace
Cold blue steel and sweet fire
Fall into Lady Release
"Come with me I know the way" she says
"It's down, down, down the dark ladder
Do you wanna contact somebody first
I mean what does it really matter
You're gonna come now
Or you're gonna come later"


Lyrics submitted by ruben

"Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire" as written by Joni Mitchell

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Crazy Crow Music / Siquomb Music Publishing

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Cold Blue Steel And Sweet Fire song meanings
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21 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentI think it's about the bittersweet seduction of heroin addiction. Cold blue steel is the needle, sweet fire the junk. "Black soot of lady release" refers to 'cooking' the heroin in a spoon over a flame (the spoon gets sooty),lady release is the orgasmic pleasure of the drug taking effect.
    Another outstandig lyric from the master!
    Zubbyon June 16, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song didn't mean much before I used, but after using for awhile – It hit me and I understood (completely). I interpreted the cold blue steel to be the needle and the sweet fire -- the fire under the spoon to cook up with. I was around 20 when I began using – that’s when I discovered pawn shops. I’d never had a need before that. Money is necessary to get that sweet relief. I am somewhat amazed that Joni wrote this song without actually being an addict. I guess that’s part of her innate ability to experience how others perceive things.
    grumman53on October 18, 2013   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationCold Blue Steel is a gun. Sweet Fire is heroin addiction. Lady Release can be both death and the heroin high. Down the Dark Ladder is death, the ultimate outcome. Sweet Fire leads the Junkie through playgrounds and slums using the lure of Lady Release. The Junkie uses Cold Blue Steel in burglaries and robberies so Sweet Fire will bring Lady Release. Either Cold Blue Steel or Sweet Fire can take the Junkie Down the Dark Ladder by suicide, violent death or overdose. This is too often the way heroin addiction ends. Further dark symbols in this song reference the squalor, sickness and desperation of the Junkie's world. It is easy to let Joni's lyrics and music transport you through this nightmare. Further explanation would be redundant. Joni is a treasure! I love you Joni. Here's to you! May your Father Time never be unkind.
    Baronmindon May 29, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Commentis sweet fire a prostitute or perhaps blue steel's lover?
    pumkinhedon December 02, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentcold blue steal is a gun and sweet fire is death. a song about suicide. great artist!
    no1knowson December 18, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAh, thanks no1knows...this song makes sense to me now...I loved the music but hadn't really listened to the lyrics...and everyone knows how sometimes you can't understand what she's saying...I ended up thinking it was about like...some strange lesbian affair in grade school...But now I see that you're right. Only, wrong about one thing, cold blue steel is a gun, but sweet fire would be just that...the gunshot, gunfire, and Lady Release is death.
    CyrkinPrideon September 01, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentanother possible take on this song is that it is about heroin addiction
    toxicwasteon January 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis was my favorite song off the album; I loved the funky blues creeping into folk-pure (at the time!) Joni... yeah, I've always understood it as the gun and the heroin habit... ("bashing in veins for peace" sort of nails it).
    LaMaMaon March 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah, this song is DEFINITELY about heroin addiction. Cold blue steel (the needles) and Sweet Fire (the please that you get from it).

    A gun and suicide??? Really? That was the furthest thing from my mind. Though herion addiction is not a typical Joni Mitchell subject, suicide is even less typical.
    threearmedmanon January 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentShe wrote this song for her friend James Taylor after his bout with heroin addiction (His song Fire and Rain is was written for a friend he met there). I'm sure during the time it was written Joni had a lot of friends and collaborators who were into heroin. That was the drug of the time. I love her descriptions in this song.. they are so ugly and harsh, and yet the song is so beautiful. Cold blue steel is a needle and sweet fire is heroin.
    Skilletteon August 29, 2007   Link

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