"Nails in My Feet" as written by and Neil Finn....
My life is a house
You crawl through the window
Slip across the floor and into the reception room
You enter the place of endless persuasion
Like a knock on the door
When there's ten or more things to do
Who is that calling?
You my companion
Run to the water on a burning beach
And it brings me relief
Pass through the walls
To find my intentions
Circle round in a strange hypnotic state
I look into space
There is no connection
A million points of light
And a conversation I can't face
Cast me off one day
To lose my inhibitions
Sit like a lap dog on a matron's knee
Wear the nails on your feet
I woke up the house
Stumbled in sideways
The lights went on and everybody screamed surprise
The savage review
It left me gasping
But it warms my heart to see that you can do it too
Total surrender
Your touch is so tender
Your skin is like water on a burning beach
And it brings me relief

Lyrics submitted by Madame Me

"Nails in My Feet" as written by Neil Mullane Finn


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Nails in My Feet song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentVery interesting song..Im amazed no one has looked further into this one...and its my name :D
    Obviously its about his(Neill Finns) life..Nails in his feet would most likely be his restrictions...He is being held down by something.
    Not exactly sure why the house metaphor, but the whole song is full of metaphors and non-literal phrases...anyone?
    I think at the end, he realises that there is more to his life then "inside the house" but really im just confusing myself...
    nails_in_my_feeton April 22, 2003   Link
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    General CommentThis seems to me to be about having a public life, and little privacy. Amongst all that, someone is there that you love, and that makes all the difference.
    I really love these lines:
    Total surrender
    Your touch is so tender
    Your skin is like water on a burning beach
    And it brings me relief
    Zubbyon June 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. I believe this song is about a one sided relationship where one person is always taking advantage of the one who is sacrificing (nails in your feet - Jesus reference?). The first two verses detail his selfishness and how he feels he doesn't have the capacity to change. But then in the third verse he dreams of changing (wear the nails in your feet) and rejoices when his companion gives as good as she gets ("warms my heart to see that you can do it too") when she finally stands up to him. He loves her but he's has limited ability to reciprocate.
    angryroboton May 27, 2007   Link
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    General CommentThe line "Nails in my Feet" was adopted when Neil bought a pair of garding shoes with fake nails in the end.

    People will probably read this and go "What the....!" but i'm sure it's true
    JasperBon July 12, 2009   Link
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    General CommentWell of course the name of this band is Crowded House and this tune, in my view their finest, is, I think, about the contrast between his usual life which is like a confusing, untidy, dream-like house which at times gets him down and what his girlfriend does for him which makes him lose his inhibitions and brings him "relief"!
    finnegan63on January 08, 2011   Link
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    General Commentwhere do I begin? I have to admit I wasnt aware of the other documented anecdotes surrounding this song (a backstage fight between Neil and Hess after a gig and someone being caught in flagrante - both touted as possible inspirations behind "the savage review"). Theres also Neil's famous Canadian TV explanation of it being about a pair of aerating sandals for his lawn, which I think in all honesty was a flippant throwaway line.

    Realistically? Taking the song and the video into account, although he has denied that there is a religious edge to the song, there is certainly a spiritual and very emotional element.

    "My life is a house/you crawl through the window/slip across the floor and into the reception room/you enter the place of endless persuasion/like a knock on the door when theres ten or more things to do"

    Suggests to me that his life is very... chaotic, perhaps, full of different things that lay on his mind and demand his attention. Someone has come into this picture who may not originally been part of the plan, but knew exactly how to sneak in, uninvited.. the knock on the door analogy is brilliant. If you're busy doing stuff and up to your a*** in alligators, the last thing you need is someone at the door. So, whoever it is, came into his life at the most inopportune moment.

    "Who is that calling/You, my companion/run to the water on a burning beach/and it brings me relief"

    Whether this means that whilst this other person who has sneaked in has got his attention and his companion is then calling him at the same time, adding to more pressure, I'm not sure. Not quite sure about the burning beach beyond the analogy of hot sand in beautiful weather and the refreshing coldness of the sea water as a contrast. Its a simile for something, but I'm damned if I can figure it.

    "Pass through the walls/find my intentions/circle round in a strange hypnotic state/I look into space/there is no connection/a million points of light and a conversation I cant face"

    Back to the mind being like a house...with this person moving from one part of his mind to the other where he cant shut it out any more. Look into space - maybe seeking some sort of inspiration, maybe divine intervention, give me a sign? I dont know... "there is no connection" - no rhyme or reason as to why this person has come around and is making such big waves in his mind.. "million points of light" - possible starry night on the burning beach? or a million interrogators lights (like anglepoise) focusing on him - "conversation I cant face" - something you know you have to say but cant ever find the right time to say it - the possible breakup of a relationship maybe when someone or something all consuming that disrupts the status quo comes along - certainly not his own marraige, they've been together since 82 - could be a songwriters 3rd person projection.

    "cast me off one day/to lose my inhibition/sit like a lapdog on a matrons knee with the nails in your feet"

    You can only find yourself and truly know yourself after you've been lost/cast off? And once you've found yourself and you're truly comfortable in your own skin, then the loss of inhibitions is a natural by product. The lapdog the matron, the nails... I can only guess that until he is cast off that he will always be in thrall to someone else with older viewpoints that he dare not contradict, maybe someone very religious, or dogmatic, or both, to the point where he has no voice of his own, his "matron" always speaks for him? Wild guess I know but the best I've got.

    "Woke up the house, stumbled in sideways/the lights came on and everybody screamed surprise/the savage review/it left me gasping/but it warms my heart to see that you can do it too"

    Woke up the house strikes me as self-realisation, that sort of blinding flash you get when the penny finally drops on what a dope you've been in a particular situation.Embarrassing and enlightening in equal measure. "Lights came on" means to me that those close to him knew that this personal journey had to be completed alone but that they were watching his back the whole time and are just glad to have him back "Savage review"...mmm.. Not sure. dont think it is literal - More inclined to think its a case of the person who stumbled in in verse 1 has proved to him that he/she hasnt been scared to take this journey themselves and show him the way.

    "total surrender/your touch is so tender/your skin is like water on a burning beach/and it brings me relief"

    An utterly gorgeous coda... whatever it is that came into his life in verse 1 he no longer views with suspicion following this enlightenment. Surrender/Tender may just be a rhyming device rather than meaning anything, although it is possible that its a third person projection that someone who was difficult to reach previously has now had that icy outer shell melted away by someone new? Big wild guess... "water on a burning beach", a reprise of the first verse where it was used, as a contrasting device... but interestingly here he makes the analogy that the other person's skin is like the refreshing, cooling soothing water, maybe meaning that he himself and his screwed up, too busy mind is the burning beach which he wanted to run to in verse 1? Either way this person has come into his or his subjects life uninvited and as the closing lines in the fade out indicate "in the back row and under the stars/the ceiling is my floor" - he or she has turned his life totally upside down, no matter where he is.

    It does kind of strike me as a spiritual or religious or even emotional/love awakening and rediscovery. I dont know whether it is in any way autobiographical - because bear in mind, in order to write this stuff down and turn it into a song, the thought has to be in your head in the first place and something put it there. Heaven knows what

    All I know is the man is a songwriting genious.
    stevehunt1on May 21, 2013   Link
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    General CommentI think the song might have a religious angle. What with 'nails in the feet' referring to Jesus, who had nails hammered into his feet when he was on the cross.

    But then again, the song seems more about family/relationships, so I'm not sure.

    Great song though!
    degree7on March 01, 2014   Link

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