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I had seven faces
Thought I knew which one to wear
But I'm sick of spending these lonely nights
Training myself not to care
The subway is a porno
Pavements they are a mess
I know you've supported me for a long time
Somehow I'm not impressed

But New York cares (got to be some more change in my life)
New York cares (got to be some more change in my life)
New York cares (got to be some more change in my life)
New York cares (got to be some more change in my life)

Subway she is a porno
And the pavements they are a mess
I know you've supported me for a long time
Somehow I'm not impressed

It's up to me now, turn on the bright lights
It's up to me now, turn on the bright lights

But New York cares (got to be some more change in my life)
New York cares (got to be some more change in my life)
New York cares (got to be some more change in my life)
New York cares (got to be some more change in my life)

It's up to me now, turn on the bright lights
Oh, it's up to me now, turn on the bright lights


Lyrics submitted by toadtws, edited by erm2135, TheBronze

NYC song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentNYC- ahh what a city!

    'the subway is a porno, the pavements are a mess'- If you live NY, and ride the subway, then you know everyone's favorite pastime on the train is 'people watching'-even though you know you shouldn't stare, you still do. And when you get caught doing it.. you feel a bit embarassed. Almost like watchin porn.. you know you really shouldn't be doing it.. but you continue to watch anyway... you see strange things in the subway.. people, bums, life. Its like a whole other world.. as for the pavements.. they literally are a mess.. but they are also strewn with broken dreams of people who come to this great city to make it big, or study art, or just to make it. Basically, the song to me is about struggle and pleasure the city bring. You have to be a special breed to live and breathe NYC.. this song does just that. Ultimately its YOU who makes or breaks you.. the CITY is your comfort. Thats having love for NYC.
    queensgirl417on April 27, 2006   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI don't think that "subway she is a porno" refers to any sort of disgust, dirt, grime, or state of being that people may find repulsing, or even attractive on the opposite side of the spectrum. I believe it implies that the subway is a window of sorts into the soul of the city. There in the subway, you see New York, naked, bare of its clothes. You see its variations, not simply its cold depressing nature, you see it all.
    The next line, "the pavements they are a mess" may refer to the physical dirt of the city, much more so than the previous line would...

    All in all, there's something about that city you just can't put your finger on...this song for me at least, seems to hit close to that feeling.
    xuin39on March 05, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General CommentYeah, they may sound a bit like Joy Division but is that a bad thing? It's not as though they're a direct rip-off either, it's just a similarity. I think Interpol sounds pretty fucking good. Turn on the Bright Lights is one of my favorite CDs this year.
    debaser121on September 12, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentTo understant Interpol, you have to be really high and/or tripping (mushroom tea is most effective). Interpol contrasts their lyrics and their music. The lyrics tend to be "depressing" of sorts, but the music emphasizes the internal beauty of life. The whole CD takes you on a ride.

    This particular song is very moving. The lyrics are a bit sad in the beginning("I'm sick of spending these lonely nights training myself not to care"). I think its about thinking you've reached something in your life, only to figure out that you don't like what you've reached at all. Then you're just stuck with a dirty subway. The speaker goes through it in his mind, and realizes that he has to achieve something better, or take his life in a new direction. This epiphany is represented in the beautiful music solo, and then the lyrics "It's up to me now turn on the bright lights ".

    I think this is one of the easiest song on the CD to understand. The others are much more difficult and open to interpretation.
    GoldenXon September 17, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAs regards "Subway is a porno", porn is like a fake type of intimacy. It takes sex, the most intimate you could ever be with someone, and makes it distant. The illusion of intimacy, like. For some people, by choice or whatever, porn is the closest thing to real intimacy. So its linked to being on a subway packed full of people and yet still feeling lonely as hell. You're surrounded by people but its only a fake type of intimacy, like porn. "Subway SHE is a porno" I think isn't calling the subway female but more saying a relationship in his life has no real intimacy. Being with someone and still feeling lonely. I read an interview with paul banks once who said he wrote it at a time when he was working maybe 80 hours a week, had no time for any real relationships and was very lonely.
    Autopiloton April 15, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentsuch a great song, for such a great new band!
    superdaveyon August 25, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commenttry listening to the music itself and you'll realize that the only real joy division-interpol parallel is the vocals

    anyway, i love interpol, but honestly, their lyrics don't seem to mean much
    torelianon April 18, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is great. I'm also confused about the subway being a porno...I love the lines "It's up to me now, turn on the bright lights." Kind of makes me feel like everything's in my hands, and it's for me to decide what will happen.

    I love his voice. It's so nonchalant.
    stoppretendingon May 05, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwhen it says a subway is a porno... its referring to all the things that go down in the subway... such as prostitutes. transexuals. and whatever else.
    dmb2135on April 10, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHere is what Paul Said: "There was a poster on the subway-- there's an organization called New York Cares-- and at the time I was working at a magazine, and I was working literally 80 hours a week and then going to rehearsal, and I had some fucked up shit with my family as well. So I was just kind of bogged down by things and I was pretty depressed, actually. It was wintertime, which kills me. I think I'm one of those people that responds to the seasons."
    JeffKaos71on December 03, 2004   Link

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