"Animal Nitrate" was written by Bernard Butler and Brett Anderson....
Like his dad you know that he's had
Animal nitrate in mind
Oh in your council home he jumped on your bones
Now you're taking it time after time
Oh it turns you on on now he has gone
Oh what turns you on now your animal's gone?

Well he said he'd show you his bed
And the delights of the chemical smile
So in your broken home he broke all your bones
Now you're taking it time after time

Oh it turns you on on, now he has gone
Oh what turns you on now your animal's gone?

What does it take to turn you on, on,
Now he has gone?
Now you're over 21?
Now your animal's gone?
Animal, he was animal, an animal.


Lyrics submitted by Novartza

"Animal Nitrate" as written by Bernard Butler Brett Anderson

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Universal Music Publishing Group

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Animal Nitrate song meanings
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42 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentI've always thought this was about a gay relationship between an older man and an under-age man gone bad. Amyl nitrate, "over 21" etc all point to this. I shouldn't have said it was about being raped by his dad though - that line could just as easily mean that his father suspects that he's gay and (being a Suede song) thinks it sordid.

    Like all good songs though, this could mean anything to anyone and is, basically, about the more sordid aspects of working class life.
    pantomimehorseon July 19, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI absolutely LOVED this when I was 13 or 14, I thought it was sooo sexy. Oh, it turned me on, oh oh oh, etc. 15 or so years later though, and actually reading/comprehending the lyrics... jesus.
    artsluton July 31, 2009   Link
  • +3
    My OpinionI used to think its the only good song of them! I was really obssesed with it for about a month and thoughet it was somthing blur about sexuallity and being in a gay relationship, but then I red one of the interpetetion here said brett himself ment for a specific case of this father abused his kid who adventually couldn't get turned on by anyone else.. sadly, this interpetation ruined all my feelings for this amazing song! wish I'd never read it :(
    SheWason June 28, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentUps! sorry, I posted in the wrong song, my interpretation is for ''animal lover''
    Cy4nideon August 10, 2009   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningBrett Anderson wrote a lot of songs about Justine Frischmann (his ex-girlfriend who went off with Blur's Damon Albarn) but he tended to change the lyrics to make it sound like he is singing about a homosexual experience. This was probably to try and make it less obvious that was writing about Frischmann but also to emphasise his Bowie-influenced adrogyny, which helped give him more of an identity over other artists.
    pianomannickon April 16, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song's about rolls people take in sexual relationships. Some people discover they are submissive with certain partners and visa-versa.... The loss of the dominant partner can leave the more submissive party needing crueler and crueler partners to continue to feed their urge. The pattern formed by some abuse victims is definitley in there as well. It could easily be talking about a guy who was abused as child by the father or father figure and grew up to seek out abusive sexual partners.

    Dark and divine stuff from Brett and the boys.
    lateleighon December 15, 2010   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningSo many of you are not getting the point. This is not about abuse, but aftermath. The predator/animal is gone, and if you've been in that situation, the hard question is "what turns you on?" (now) and the irony is that you're no longer wanted, but you're not supposed to like being left alone. Something is supposed to turn you on, but it doesn't.
    wick6on December 31, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is about the drug amyl nitrate, aka butyl or isobutyl nitrate in the States, a drug available at "head shops" and used as an inhalant, commonly by the male gay community-- think of laughing gas that lasts for a minute (I read that somewhere!! I swear!!)
    jenwill2on May 01, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentamyl nitrate can also be obtained from sex shops and this song always reminds me of the seedier side of life, a great great song
    toxicgeekon July 22, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe line "Now you're over 21?" is significant in that, at the time of writing, it was the age of consent for gay male sex in the UK. So, it's largely about underage gay sex. Amyl Nitrate - poppers? Foul stuff, makes your ears go red and gives you a headache..
    Davroson June 18, 2003   Link

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