Small crimes
Smiles stretched on
old trees
Strike your match so
Watch the crooked
smoke rise
Empty prayers to
Just a mask of
blue sky
Look away to

Small crimes
Kick the dog for
Leave you old self
Watch in coldest
Tell the world what

Ever turns you on is fine
with me as long as
Matches don't get wet
Warm winds calling me a
coward make me smile
They can't convince
me now
Burned prayers turn me
on to nowhere sick
and empty
I don't feel so bad
Ever turns around again
says to me softly
Start the fire now
Small crimes sever
used-up old
Freedoms not so great
All fears burn up

They said hold on to the
stairway railing
Meaning everything
is meaning
Something makes it hard
to keep track
Hold on found me
tangled forest
Growing got my
dryest summer
Small crimes held my
match box tightly

Lyrics submitted by ruben, edited by Sharpster7

Small Crimes song meanings
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  • +1
    General Comment2:41 is my favorite part of any song. I love how this song lurks.
    Droopon February 04, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think, simply, it's about an arsonist. The lyrics are very self explanatory.
    vicmal2112on June 16, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always felt this song was a renunciation of all religion, taking form in the burning of a bible or two. Sure it's probably not all that in-depth of an interpretation, but I've always though Failure was a fairly obvious band, lyrically. Don't get me wrong, they are my absolute favorite band of all time, that doesn't depend on how cryptic they are. This song was awesomely well timed when I was getting into them. A long ode to feeling anger toward religion without the usual intended to shock statements of the Nine Inch Manson types.
    SpooktheHerdon April 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmore than refusal of religion this song to me seems like professing your religious devotion in a completyely wrong waay to, as in this case, an arson feels that his way to get closer to God is by sacrificing other's lives or what those people live for, to fire.

    the part:
    "Tell the world what

    Ever turns you on is fine
    with me as long as
    Matches don't get wet"

    to me sounds like it's saying that this guy would do anything to please you
    i think that more than the world, this 'you' is God,
    which is kind of like saying
    god, as long as you don't take away my matches,(my will and sole purpose to live and exist in this cold world) i will do literally anything to satisfy your wishes.
    Anjiruon December 30, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCalifornia forest fires. Whatever turns you on.
    Sharpster7on June 02, 2014   Link
  • -1
    General CommentThe guy happily burns the trees (smiles stretched on old trees, strike your match so lightly, watch the crooked smoke rise). The reason probably religious (empty prayers to heaven), maybe getting god's attention because it seems he's talking to god most of the time. The next part (burned prayers turn me
    on - to nowhere, sick and empty, I don't feel so bad) is I think saying he goes back and forth on how he feels about what he's doing. The entire last verse basically says he's thinking about Christianity and the 'stairway', but then remembers the forest and is ready to burn again. The whole forest thing is probably a huge metaphor to something, but I'm not sure what. The 'winds' that are calling him a coward might be people or something else telling him to stop, but that's about everything I can gather. I'm also curious as to if these lyrics are talking about the same thing as the original ones, when the song was titled Small Bird. The demo version is on Essentials, I'd like some further opinions on that. But that's all just my take on the lyrics.
    mcbasedcolinon March 14, 2015   Link

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