"Black Cat" as written by and Nathan Wonnacott....
One, two, three, four
All the lonely nights I spend alone
Never 'round to love me
You're always gone
'Cause you're hangin' out

Breakin' the rules
Oh the man has come
Lookin' for you

You're a rebel now
Don't give a damn
Always carrying on
With the gang

I'm tryin' to tell ya boy
It's a mistake
You won't realize
'Til it's too late

Don't understand
Why you insist
On ways of living such a dangerous life
Time after time you stay away
And I just know that you're telling me lies

Black cat nine lives
Short days long nights
Livin' on the edge
Not afraid to die
Heart beat real strong
But not for long
Better watch your step
Or you're gonna die

You're so together boy
But just at a glance
You'll do anything
If given the chance

Scheming, plannin' lies
To get what you need
So full of promises
That you never keep

Don't you tell yourself
That it's okay
Sick and tired of
All of your games

And you want me to stay
(Aww) Better change
Makes no sense to me
Your crazy ways

Don't understand
Why you insist
On ways of living such a dangerous life
Time after time you stay away
And I just know that you're telling me lies

Not afraid to die

Black cat
Black cat
Short days long nights
Livin' on the edge
Don't understand
Why you insist
On ways of living such a dangerous life
Time after time you stay away
And I just know that you're telling me lies

Black cat nine lives
Short days long nights
Livin' on the edge
Not afraid to die
Heart beat real strong
But not for long
Better watch your step
Or you're gonna die

Black cat nine lives
Short days long nights
Livin' on the edge
Not afraid to die
Heart beat real strong
But not for long
Better watch your step
Or you're gonna die


Lyrics submitted by Madame Me

"Black Cat" as written by Janet Jackson

Lyrics © JANET JACKSON DBA BLACK ICE

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Black Cat song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • +1
    My InterpretationI never thought of it but this song could actually be about the consequences of drug use. Before the song starts there is an interlude in which Janet exclaims "Ain't no acid in this house". Acid seemed to be a popular drug in the 80s (when this song was coined). It was mainly a drug done by hippies.

    Janet is truly underrated as a songwriter. The lyrics to this song spell out the symptoms of someone who is addicted to drugs, someone who is in denial of their addiction, and the consequences of drugs. She also goes into depth about the whole concept of a drug addiction, "You're so together boy, but just at a glance, you'll do anything if given a chance..." illustrates the depths drug addicts will go to satisfy their craving, as well as the disguise addicts use to not want to see like they have an addiction, aka denial. Janet's use of metaphor in this song is amazing. The "cat" and "9 lives" is metaphoric for you only have a few times to keep taking a risk before it call comes to an end. "...you won't realize, til it's too late..." "...better watch your step or you're gonna die" Janet is such a lyrical genius, she should get more credit for her songwriting.

    "All the lonely nights I spend alone
    Never around to love me
    You're always gone
    Cause you're hangin out
    Breakin' the rules"

    These are the early signs of a someone who has a drug addiction. Breaking prior commitments such as spending some with a loved one.

    "Oh the man has come
    Looking for you"

    It is clear that "the man" mentioned is the drug dealer, or enabler if you will. The drug dealer is the biggest pusher man of a drug addiction. They know the addicted has a dependency on the drugs and will continue to sell the drugs to you to make his or her money.

    "You're a rebel now
    Don't give a damn
    Always carrying on
    With the gang"

    We all know that drugs will cause you to do some strange things. This is like the next stage of an addiction. The circle of people you surround yourself with are enablers as well. You hang out with people that are also into that lifestyle and if they're all doing drugs, then when you lay down with dogs....

    "I'm trying to tell you boy
    It's a mistake
    You won't realize
    Til it's too late"

    You're going to die basically. I bet River and Kurt didn't realise until they died... Here Janet is playing Captain Save-A-Hoe, but you can only lead a horse to water....

    "Don't understand
    Why you insist
    On ways of living such a dangerous life
    Time after time you stay away
    And I just know that you're telling me lies"

    Janet is trying to be the voice of reason here. Talking some sense into the person who is addicted. Call it an intervention so to say. It is here that the addicted person starts telling lies, which is sign of denial. The addict doesn't want to hurt the person or admit to having an addiction, but the truth is the truth. Janet knows what's going on, she knows the person is lying when they tell her they aren't doing drugs.

    "Black cat
    Nine lives
    Short days
    Long nights
    Livin on the edge
    Not afraid to die
    Heart beat
    Real strong
    But not
    For long
    Better watch your step"

    As previously stated, the cat and nine lives are metaphoric for the many times you have to try your luck before it all comes to an end.

    "You're so together boy
    But just at a glance
    You'll do anything
    If given a chance
    Scheming, plannin lies
    To get what you need
    So full of promises
    That you never keep"

    This right here is such a deep and powerful verse, and possibly the best verse in the entire song. Like I said, drug addicts will go to great lengths to quench their desires for drugs. If it means lying, stealing, cheating, etc., addicts will get their drugs by any means possible. Promising they're stop doing drugs but don't. Promise to get clean but don't. Promise to themselves but don't. The list goes on.

    "Don't you tell yourself
    That it's okay
    Sick and tired of
    All of your games
    And you want me to stay
    Better change
    Makes no sense to me
    Your crazy ways"

    Most people who are dealing with an addict have their boiling points. There's only so much therapy, talking, and time invested before someone reaching their breaking point. Right here Janet is realizing that you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink.

    It's songs like these why Janet's songwriting should be praise more. The music, or instrumentation if you will, of the song compliments the message of the music. They chose heavy metal because of the aggressiveness of the track. It's very "in your face", very aggressive, very demanding. There's also some vulnerability in the track specifically once Janet realizes you can't make the horse drink the water. Overall the song is pretty damn good and shouldn't be overlooked in Janet's catalog.

    Here's my link to my blog where I discuss it...bakersdefinition.blogspot.com/2011/10/…
    BuBear89on October 24, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commenta classic song. i believe this is about janet's first husband james, but i'm not sure.

    it is about being in a relationship with someone who looks for the thrills in life. he goes out at night trying to live it up by breaking the law. he lives by his own rules like a stray black cat.

    i believe the nine lives symbolize the risk of getting caught. everytime he does something illegal, he loses a life and the "man" gets ever closer to catching him. he probably lives for the adrenaline rush of almost getting caught. he may also partake in things that could get him killed literally if he's not careful (drugs, violence, etc.). all the while, she's convincing herself that she needs to get out of the relationship before things get carried away.
    mysticiston August 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti agree, James Debarge was reportedly into drugs and alchohol. These were things the Jackson family wasunfamiliar with, so i believe this song is directed towards janets first husband, to agree with mystcist.
    chantal_is_loveon August 14, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhat the hell does she say in the beginning? "aint no acid in this house!"
    brandonlivingstonon October 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYes, that's what she says. Presumably "the man" who have come by looking for him are the cops. "You're so together boy, but just at glance" suggest that he makes a good first impression but really he's a self-destructive fool.
    Letmeinon February 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJanet and her guys are rocking with this - it's
    like she determined to prove that her talent
    was all encompassing, that she could rock
    out in a major way - the guitarwork reminds
    me of Eddie Van Halen - also, I believe Janet
    sampled "Ventura Highway" in one of her
    songs, so she's pretty much musically diverse
    rockboy52on December 14, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJanet has been very open about this song. It is about drug abuse.
    vince10xon November 05, 2014   Link

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