"Heart-Shaped Box" as written by and Kurt Cobain....
She eyes me like a Pisces when I am weak
I've been locked inside your heart-shaped box for weeks
I've been drawn into your magnetar pit trap trap
I wish I could eat your cancer when you turn black

Hey!
Wait!
I've got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice
Hey!
Wait!
I've got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice
Hey!
Wait!
I've got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice, your advice

Meat-eating orchids forgive no one just yet
Cut myself on angel hair and baby's breath
Broken hymen of your Highness, I'm left back
Throw down your umbilical noose so I can climb right back

Hey!
Wait!
I've got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice
Hey!
Wait!
I've got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice
Hey!
Wait!
I've got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice, your advice

She eyes me like a Pisces when I am weak
I've been locked inside your heart-shaped box for weeks
I've been drawn into your magnetar pit trap trap
I wish I could eat your cancer when you turn black

Hey!
Wait!
I've got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice
Hey!
Wait!
I've got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice
Hey!
Wait!
I've got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice, your advice, your advice, your advice


Lyrics submitted by knate15

"Heart Shaped Box" as written by Kurt Cobain

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing

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Heart-Shaped Box song meanings
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  • +16
    My InterpretationHmmm... Well we all know Kurt was famous for having multiple complex meanings behind his lyrics. I dont think anybody except Kurt himself knows EXACTLY who or what his songs are about. But anyway, here's my guess:

    (This is all just my opinion)

    I really think Kurt lied about the song being completely about children with cancer. Just read the lyrics and you can figure that out... Im not saying the song isn't about that at all, I just dont think he wanted to give the whole meaning of the song away. However, since Pisces and Cancer are both zodiac signs, i think there might be something there. Im not sure exactly what, but i think maybe the "Cancer" in this song has multiple meanings only because there is another zodiac sign mentioned.

    Also, "Heart-shaped Box"? "MEAT-eating orchid"? one word... VAGINA... Go google some orchid pictures and you will find that some species of orchid very closely resemble the female reproductive gland. If you have ever heard of the vagina referred to as a "flower", it is because of the orchid's resemblence to it. As for heart-shaped box, a vagina spread open in a particular way can resemble the shape of a heart. Hence the line "locked inside your heart-shaped box for weeks".

    Just one more thing... I think "I was drawn into your magnet tar-pit trap" is a metaphor to represent the intensity of a "healthy" male's libido. For most men (including myself), it's almost impossible to say no to an attractive woman offering herself to you sexually. That's the "magnet"... As for the "tar-pit trap", tar is a substance similar to quicksand... Once your in, it's extemely difficult to get back out... You see where im going with this one right? If you dont... turn off your computer and go get a girlfriend... NOW
    TuskegeeBloodon March 03, 2009   Link
  • +13
    Song MeaningGreat ambiguous lyrics. It is about the manipulative ability of women who appear so soft, attractive and innocent on the outside, but then become bloodsuckers who suck the life out of a man. This is an evolutionary dilemma for men; they are attracted to, repulsed by and afraid of women all at the same time.
    RougeWoeon August 01, 2012   Link
  • +12
    General CommentThis song is about a woman using sex and he is powerless to say no. After sex, it's never happily ever after. It's something else to argue about, and instead of leaving, he's "in debt" to all the things she wants him to do or be, in order to continue the feeling he gets from her. She's telling him what he has to do to get in her good graces again. The "magnet" puts him in perpetual debt where he has to heed her "advice" (or whims). He dies a little everytime he goes through this, he cuts himself romancing her, then has intercourse and is "left black", dead. Throw down the umbilical noose you just killed him with, now let him climb back into the "relationship". The tar pit trap, he stays in this relationship and sets himself up to die again. The entire relationship is a heart-shaped box that he can't get out of. Forever in debt.
    bloodbringeron February 19, 2013   Link
  • +8
    My InterpretationI actually thought the song was about something entirely different from Courtney and the cancer child theory. A general interpretation I had was how love is really just a disguised prison that forces us to make bad decisions at times.

    "I've been locked inside your heart-shaped box for weeks"
    Love is represented as the heart-shaped box, but what's disturbing is that its not truly a heart. Its only a box which looks like a heart but whose true purpose isn't to feel (emotions) but to imprison. So perhaps there's truly no in the relationship he's singing about and he's beginning to realize that.

    The meat eating orchids could be showing how appealing something is, yet it uses its beauty in order to lure prey (like drugs)

    The magnet tar pit trap is showing how inevitable it would be for him to fall for this fake love, the heart shaped box. The magnet is drawing him into the tar pit, the tar keeps him from escaping, and the pit is used to show how dark it is where he's been trapped.

    I'm wondering if angel's hair and baby's breath are allusions to drugs because I do recall hearing about some sort of drug that had angel in its name. If so, I'm thinking about how perhaps this is what caused him to realize that the love wasn't real. The person that tells him that she loves him is also telling him to take these drugs, which seem so wonderful with such appealing names, but he knows how much they harm him once he "cuts" himself using them. Maybe at this point he thinks along the lines of "if she loved me, why would she want me to harm myself?"

    I'm not really sure about the hymen and the umbilical cord. My theory is that he hates how everything is so impure/tainted (broken hymen-loss of innocence) and perhaps wants to "climb back" to innocence, before he met fake love, drugs, and corruption.

    The priceless advice is sort of using sarcasm, or veiled anger. This guy is angry at all the horrors he's had to face because of his metaphorical imprisonment by the heart shaped box. He's angry at the pressure that was put on him to do things that should never have been done, to harm himself. He's also angry that he accepted that sort of advice. His new complaint is that he is forever in debt to this priceless advice, in other words, he's fucking pissed that he's been damaged, further corrupted, whatever it was that this shitty "advice" pressured him to do that left him with bad memories.
    daazninvazn131on May 03, 2012   Link
  • +8
    My InterpretationI'm not trying to insult anyone but you're all way off the mark here. This is obviously a song about Luke realizing what the dark side of the force is via his visions of Darth Vader. . .particularly his failure in the cave. Magnet tar pit trap is a direct reference to that cave. She eyes me like a Pisces is Obi Wan trying to keep the fact that Leia is Luke's twin sister out of his mind, because if he thinks about his sister, then she will be betrayed to their dark side. I've got a new complaint, forever in debt to your priceless advice is a jab at Luke's training with Yoda itself. He is too really too old to train and therefore his first instincts lead him to discount that training with sarcasm and narcissism. And broken hymen of your highness? That's obviously a reference to Queen Amadala, who died in childbirth. This has to be kept out of Luke's mind, or else he will succumb to the dark side! So, sorry Nirvana fans, Kurt was just trying to let us all know the dangers of the dark side with this one!
    yodaknowsallon September 24, 2013   Link
  • +6
    General CommentThis song is pretty simple and everyone is over analyzing it.

    Kurt was a Pisces, Courtney was a Cancer (astrologically and as a person).

    The heart shaped box was a box that Courtney had kept love poems in from Billy Corgan when the two had dated prior to Kurt (she was also a star f***er).

    Kurt used to tell Courtney "I'm forever in debt to your priceless advice" when they were arguing.

    and that's pretty much it.
    mojohandon July 29, 2012   Link
  • +5
    General CommentI know this has undoubtedly been pointed out before, but with a a listing of 500+ comments, it's obviously not even feasible to read through them all-- but rather than point out my interpretation, I'll point out some facts and you can take them to help shape your own opinion/interpretation of this song as well as all of their others...

    "Pisces" is a recurring theme/idea with Kurt Cobain, from interviews, to examples like this, in-song... even in his suicide note, he refers to himself as the "sad Pisces, Jesus man" (paraphrased).

    I suppose not everyone knows the correlation or importance of this astrology sign, especially in regards to how fitting it is of Kurt.

    Pisces, as an astrological sign, looks like this )-( roughly. It is said to be symbolic of duality or dichotomy; struggle between opposite forces, not unlike a yin-yang... especially in man and nature. It is two opposite facing half circles with a line binding them together. Also, in astrology, is a personality that stereotypically has trouble separating the good from the bad (and vice versa) in people/life/the world.

    Those two facts, alone are very profound in considering Kurt as known bipolar (mania/depression), his views on humanity (he was both intensely loving and overly caring and sensitive, while at the same time, he freely admits to others and even in his suicide note, that he had developed a "hatred for people in general").

    Without being redundant about this fact, I am constantly referring to his suicide note, known personality and what he and others have said of his views--

    He blames this hatred and misanthropy on the fact that people who are kind and trusting, empathetic are so quickly and easily taken advantage of by "bad people", really... his opposite. He expresses that he was terrified in having to witness his infant daughter (at the time) so innocent and naive and trusting in a world that was so ugly and self-interested. People "mistook his kindness for weakness" so to speak and maybe his kindness *was* his weakness... and to me makes his death all the more tragic-- it's tough to see good people go out of this world in such an untimely and unfortunate way... because of the metaphorical demons that they faced, both internal and external.

    Point I'm getting at is everything about Kurt's life from his mental illness to his views on humanity and everything in between was so polarized. I would say he was a classic borderline personality case as well, in all that I know... one signature trait of which was inability to see "middle ground"; they see things as "black or white" with no grey in between. Things are fully good or fully bad, etc. This is fundamentally different from "bipolar disorder", as one is physiological based, organic dysfunction, while the other is a disorder of the personality, developed usually through life experiences, etc... to say, bipolar disorder would be more "nature" and borderline personality disorder would be more "nurture" for you psychology types. And what better subject to study for someone interested in psychology than Kurt, huh? We all love him but we can all also agree he had a great deal of mental illness and psychological abnormality. A fascinating person.

    There's a second major point that I have... and Kurt mentions this in one of his most famous interviews, for one-- that he has always had a fascination, bordering on obsession with anatomy and especially with reproduction (and reproductive organs) and babies-- the whole concept of male vs. female and them combining to form something that was "50% of each of the individual persons".

    This can be seen all across the scope of his work. Just to skim the surface of their most well-known works:

    The cover of Nevermind = a naked baby
    Nevermind's, constant references with lyrics like "spring is here again, reproductive glands", "nature is a whore"; "one baby to another says"; "breed"... and that's just very cursory in pointing out a few on that album.

    Then a release named "Hormoaning"...

    Incesticide (sexual connotation)... which also brings up a third interesting observation of Kurt-- his support of feminism and even his own struggles with gender identity... "she should have been a son" and how he talked about how he considered at one point if he might be gay (though he decided he wasn't)... that's a whole new can of worms you can open.

    The cover of (and title) of In Utero... an anatomical model of a pregnant female and again, the references scattered throughout this song, alone-- babies, hymen, umbilical noose...

    None of those things I pointed out are expressly regarding this song, itself, but their works in general. And I don't mean to say that these sexual/baby/reproduction references are literal in meaning in the songs, obviously-- I'm merely pointing out the clear pattern and obsessive quality of Kurt around gender/sex/reproduction, as well as how everything seemingly had a dichotomy and bipolar type element to it-- to me it's totally fascinating and I just have come across these same parallels that probably any solid Nirvana fan already has, I'm sure.

    But maybe some of you haven't, and that's why I posted this. Hopefully some readers learned something new that they can go out and explore further. I could go on and on all day about aspects of him and the band's legacy, but I'll spare you all. Kurt, to me, was just a completely and endlessly fascinating person that we all can relate to-- which is one of the few things that made him such a legend and icon to so many!
    getdamnedon December 14, 2013   Link
  • +4
    General CommentNo offense, but you guys are all stupid. Kurts passion was in the way he wrote the music, and the way in which he SANG the vovals, not the vocals themselves. Kurt wanted you to listen to the music, and have your emotions provoked by that- the music. The lyrics, they were your's to make of them what you wanted. If Kurt was still alive, he'd be pretty pissed off about all these petty arguments. Oh yeah. Kurt and Courtney loved each other. Who cares what Love tells the press. She could tell them she's really a guy, but it wouldn't make her one would it? Kurt killed himself. He and i share a disorder called bipolar disorder, so i understood his head. Stop guessing as to every movement that Kurt made, and just listen to his music.
    Kadeon February 22, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Commentthis song was about courtney. at the beginning of their "relationship" she gave him a heart-shaped box with things in it.
    Butterfly_Babeon January 06, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentNow, to leave a comment about Nirvana. Even now, 8 years after he decided his death was his release from himself, i still put on my Nirvana songs. I still pick up my guitar and play along to all the songs i have obtained over the years. I still watch the video's i have of Kurt and Nirvana. Because the music that Nirvana created, manipulates my heart, and i love it. It's confusion. No matter what mood you are in, listen to Nirvana. Kurt was a creative genius, and no song is 'better' than any other. It's not that complicated. Each song is merely, a different sort of emotion. I'm going to bed. I'm tired. Goodnight.
    Kadeon February 22, 2002   Link

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