"Ain't No Good" as written by and John Mccrea....
She's gonna hand you a red headed Gabriel
Coming from the bar in a plastic tie.
He's gonna swing from the Tree of Life.
He's gonna try to sell you on a great big lie.

But when you speak to her
Her eyes light up.
The music spills right into your cup.
The minstrels play and the waitress brings ice.

There are pies on a carousel.
Have a slice.
But watch out.
She ain't no good for you.

He's gonna spin like the tractor pull.
She'll sit back when he tells his tale.
He's gonna yell when he drinks his beer.
She'll sit back and drink ginger ale.

But when you speak to her,
Her eyes light up.
The music spills right into your cup.
It's so abrupt and it's so concise.

There are pies on a carousel.
Have a slice.
But watch out.
She ain't no good for you.

I say watch out.
She ain't no good for you.
She'd like to put you in her zoo,
Right between the canaries and the cockatoos.

She'll pull out your feathers
For her brand new hat,
And when she's done that
She'll feed you to her cat.

So watch out.
She ain't no good for you.
Watch out.
She ain't no good for you.

Watch out.
She ain't no good for you.


Lyrics submitted by Ice

"Ain't No Good" as written by John Mccrea

Lyrics © Cake - Stamen Music

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Ain't No Good song meanings
Add your thoughts

12 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +1
    My Interpretationwe are in a restaurant when the husband and wife sales team come in. They are selling catalogue merchandise, the red headed gabriel is an example. He is selling the pyramid scheme that invites you to join. She listens and entices men while he spins the yarn.
    nitedriveron July 12, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love the descriptions in this song!
    "The music spills right into your cup"
    =D
    Anyway, this song doesn't appear to be the most complicated in the world, but here's my take on it anyway:

    Guy and girl at a nice restraunt. Guy isn't all that likable, girl doesn't seem interested in him, but they might be involved. But when you (presumably you is a male) talk to the girl, she's suddenly very interested, and much happier talking to you than to the guy. She's tempting you, and it seems as if she'd like to dump this guy for you, but "Watch out, she ain't no good for you".

    So basically, my take on it is that it's about someone interested in a girl who's going out with someone else, but is obviously interested in the other guy. The girl is trouble, though, and only wants to use him and lose him, so to speak.

    Maybe I'm way off here, but nobody else has said anything, so I thought I'd give it a shot. ;)
    Immortal113on December 02, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOK first try here ppl...
    This song I feel like it was written on the road, and woman he's refering to is a young travelling woman, who's also very hot (but no class). Another guy who comes in drunk, and is obviously full of crap and on some drunkin rant and stars talking to her, politely listening for a while. After she finds out who they are (CAKE, on tour) she starts hitting on one of them, flirting, the like. But watch out...she ain't no good..and just wants them for money. (use him and lose him like Immortal113 said.)
    DotNon December 20, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti'm thinking it's about those attractive women who flirt with so many guys all the time and all the guys think that they're in love, but really the girl has no feelings for them at all. i know too many girls like that...

    oh and a great song. one of my faves on the album.
    tunasandwich77on March 04, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti agree with tuna, the lines:

    She'd like to put you in her zoo,
    Right between the canaries and the cockatoos.
    She'll pull out your feathers
    For her brand new hat,
    And when she's done that
    She'll feed you to her cat.

    sounds like a girl who uses and discards guys by taking their "feathers" and then "feeding them to her cat"
    khazidon July 31, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI took a more literal meaning to this song, I guess in hindsight I should of paid more attention to the 'red-headed gabriel' parts but this is how I got it.

    There is a girl who meets a guy and it seems like the perfect match and everything is going great until the guy actually gets to know this girl better and get more into a relationship (or married) and the girl isnt all as perfect as she seems, and then the guy tries to divorce and the girl takes him for everything (money) hes got, hence the bird part. I dunno thats what I got from this song, first comment I've done on this site btw :)
    Caerleanon May 11, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThink Genesis (the book) - red-headed Gabriel is a child - who is the product of men and women and often bring a message that is felt emotionally

    Woman and men are different fundamentally. I'm sure you noticed (many of you have written about it in your comments about this song).- RELAX (for God's sake) this isn't a hard irony.

    Did anyone hear bitter irony - I missed it if it was Implied. I inferred it was simply a CAKE-like examination of the process that repeats for us (hetero maybe, maybe not, I can't assume exclusively) in love & romance. It cones with an unavoidable crash course with that spiritual difference.

    Of course the imagery is amusing - but not bitter. Contrarily, its quite warm. It's part of the deal. Can't miss the romance - you speak to her and her eyes light up, The music spills right into your cup. But if that was illusive perhaps you saw the foundational images of the redheaded Gabriel and the Tree of Life. However narrowly or broadly you receive them they are well targeted at the top of the paper.

    This is a delightful song - of classic male perception. Men in love feel all this. The child and the romance all integral parts of a Tree of Life - a message from God perhaps but at least the immortality of love /romance. Rewards well worth the feeling at times that your being plucked and feed to her cat.

    What a scream - I laughed my ass off. Hey - Relax and enjoy the trumpet. This is a great light and (to me at least) inoffensive song about the nature of that fundamental relationship - insightful in my opinion.

    I think the point is that romance - the duality too, but good light, good music, and only intoxicating dangers.
    davon June 20, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have always thought of this song as being about a woman whos already spoken for, and you (A Single man) Hit it of with her. Whenver you say something funny (The Music spills right into your cup) as a womans laugh is music to the ears of the man. He seems to want to make a move, but "she aint no good"
    Quffon December 10, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationWhen I listen to this song, I imagine it is from the perspective of the celebrity musician - and the "pies in the carousel" refer to the female fans - flattering, eager, perhaps tempting, but "no good".

    I even wonder whether the verses describe three different types of women - and not all the same person?
    1. The eve-like ingenue - and the accompanying individual swinging in the tree of life trying to sell you on the great big lie I imagine to be the serpent. The red-headed gabriel she hands you could be the apple? Tempting, but disastrous.
    2. The damsel in distress - the girl stuck in nowhere-ville with the go-nowhere guy spinning like a tractor-pull. She's looking for a way out, and someone to save her.
    3. The celebrity groupie - the climber who's happy to show you off to her friends, use you to promote herself, and use your celebrity (feathers) to ascend another rung on the ladder? Then toss you aside for bigger game down the road...

    When "her eyes light up", the flattery is thrilling... When the "music spills right into your cup", it's very exciting. "So abrupt, and so concise" - I wondered whether this referred to the touring lifestyle? You breeze in and out of towns, and how that avails itself to easy one night stands?

    Who knows - that is just what I envision when I hear this song... Like a warning to keep some perspective and some distance from female fans.
    bigCAKEfanon June 09, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe red headed Gabriel part is the part people want to understand.

    I think we need to consider that Gabriel is an angel that serves as a messenger from G*d. Sounds like the girl in the song is "siccing" her Jesus Freak, plastic tie wearing boyfriend on the male third party in the song; the apelike boyfriend is trying to sell the great big Jesus Died For You lie. However, when the third party male speaks, the girl finds him interesting, she lights up. Nonetheless, if you get involved with her, she will just collect you. It won't be an exchange.
    alyss52608on June 16, 2015   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain