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(Cock-cock-cock.)
So don't give me respect don't give me a piece of your preciousness.
Flaunt all she's got in your old neighborhood,
I'm sure she'll make a few friends.
Even the rain bows down, let us pray as you cock-cock-cock your mane.
No cigarettes only peeled Havana's for you.
I can be cruel, I don't know why.
Why can't my bal-la-loon stay up in a perfectly windy sky?
I can be cruel, I don't know why, I don't know why.

Dance with the Sufis celebrate your top ten in the charts of pain. Nah...
Lover, brother, bogenvilla, my vine twists around your need.
Even the rain is sharp like today as you sh-sh-shock me sane.
No cigarettes only peeled Havana?s for you.
I can be cruel, I don't know why.
Why can't my bal-la-loon stay up in a perfectly windy sky?
I can be cruel, I don't know why, I don't know why.


Ah... ah ah... ah ah ah ah... ah ah...
Ah... ah ah... oh un oh ah... ah yes...
Ah... ah uh... mm ah ah ah... uh right...
Ah... ah oh... mm oh oh ah... ah- ah... ah.
Ah... ah oh... mm ah ah ah... ah ah... ah.
Ah... ah oh... uh un uh mm heh...


I can be cruel, but I don't know why.
Can't my bal-la-loon stay up in a perfectly windy sky?
I can be cruel, don't know why, don't know why... why... why...


Lyrics submitted by Novartza

Cruel song meanings
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19 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentAs with all Tori songs, there is a much deeper meaning than what's on the surface.

    To me, I see this as God talking to Tori when she demands to understand the miscarriage.

    The opening line says it for me "So don't give me respect don't give me a piece of your preciousness". God saying: "I don't give a shit if you respect me, I don't care how much whining you do, I am all-knowing, all-omnipotent and that's just the way it is. Don't act all penitent and beg me to take it back because I won't."

    The chorus is God even being more sarcastic:

    "I can be cruel, I don't know why"

    God says: "As with everyone else, I get my rocks off being an asshole for no reason sometimes"

    "Dance with the Sufis celebrate your top-ten in the charts of pain"

    God says: "Well, while you're carefree and celebrating your success, I'm going to throw a shitstorm your way to teach you a lesson."

    "Even the rain bows down, let us pray as you cock-cock-cock your mane; No cigarettes only rolled Havanas for you"

    God says: "I'm going to punish you for being full of yourself and I'm going to teach you a little humility. Even the rain and everything in nature shows me respect, but you just won't."

    Just my take on it.
    mikeygoestohollywoodon May 05, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"When you start talking to people who have that kind of loss, somebody piping up, going 'Well, the angels were there for us during this time.' Well, that's beautiful. But people have to understand that they're not there for everybody all the time. They get lost on the way. That's why in "Cruel", when I say, 'I don't know why' I really don't know why the angels aren't there for everybody, but they're not."

    merchantpierceon May 03, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think in this song she's talking about how other people react towards miscarriage. How some people will hear about it and try to top it, while others will be sympathetic, and how finally, some will entirely brush the incident off as "nothing."
    ninth_ladyon July 04, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is about feeling suicidal because the anti-female media makes you out to be a whore when they don't know shit. You hit the top 10 charts and suddenly they give you that inflated, bogus saccharine respect that they accord all artists. But, you still don't feel good. You feel like giving them all the finger and telling them all to burn in hell. Now, that you're the boss... now that you're the mafiosa smokin' $1000 Havannas instead of cheap ciagarettes.... now's the time to let 'em know whose boss. Be cruel, and let them figure out why.
    grelingon August 09, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"...i can be cruel..i dont know why"..we all can be cruel..when we just dont get the answers to our questions or the help we might need..from someone..as tori said.."angels"..we all have our special self intented angels..friends perhaps..and sometiemes..they just let us down.. "even the rain bows down.." what is it that lights our lifes and gives colour to it?..our loved ones....and when just let us down..we can get mean and cruel..bitterness is all we get left after dissapointment
    isobelon April 16, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song actually reminds me of my boyfriend's psycho ex girlfriend and her feelings toward me! after they broke up, she started encouraging him to hang out with me, even though she had only met me twice! -but after he and i started getting serious, she then became very hostile toward us and was accusing me of ruining the relationship even though they broke up before he and i had met! the point is, i have moved into his house, and i have become very good friends with his friends and the people in his neighbourhood, and i come see her projecting these lyrics: "Flaunt all she's got in your old neighborhood,
    I'm sure she'll make a few friends. " toward me, with her sarcasm. this lyric: "Lover, brother, bogenvilla, my vine twists around your need." makes me think of the way she got clingy with him in attemps to keep him in her life, and "I can be cruel" just describes her perfectly. if i didn't know who tori amos was, i would swear that this girl wrote this song for herself, and was leading a double life as a professional musician! the scary thing is, her name is Torrie!
    Miss Darkkon January 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm not completely sure what the song is about but to me, but the line 'Dance with the Sufis celebrate your top ten in the charts of pain. Nah...' she kinda laughs at the end of that line, i think she's mocking her own number 1 one in the charts 'professional widow' while all this personal heartache is going on in her life she's laughing at that fact that she's number 1, even in the charts of pain. That probably doesn't make any sense to anyone but me lol
    JanuaryGirl25on July 09, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song. It's kind of an empowerment song in my opinion. I get the impression she's talking to a guy, possibly an ex, and mocking him. Why? Because even she can be cruel... We all have a dark side, and sometimes it's good to let it out.
    missmeon July 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSo don't give me respect don't give me a piece of your preciousness.

    i absolutely love that line. there are a lot of people out there that think they are so fucking amazing and important. i think she is telling someone off. letting them know she doesn't need their approval or their respect. it's kind of an empowering song.. to me.
    kimilouwhoon August 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentas i see it, this is about a man, ex-lover , who is apparently adored by many, "even the rain bows down.." or has this attitude that is of superiority: " no cigarettes only peeled havanas for you." personally, does this speak subtly of her relationship with trent reznor? "celebrate your top ten in the charts of pain" elluding to nin? and while i've read that the relationship was not confirmed, the song "precious things" - contains a lyric "nine inch nails" that in context is not a direct reference, but... come on?
    carmenadrifton October 19, 2006   Link

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