"This Picture" as written by Brian Molko, Stefan Olsdal and Steven Hewitt....
I hold an image of the ashtray girl
As the cigarette burns on my chest
I wrote a poem that described her world
That put my friendship to the test
And late at night
Whilst on all fours
She used to watch me kiss the floor
What's wrong with this picture?
What's wrong with this picture?

Farewell the ashtray girl
Forbidden snowflake
Beware this troubled world
Watch out for earthquakes
Goodbye to open sores
To broken center floor
We know we miss her
We miss her picture

Sometimes it's faded
Disintegrated
For fear of growing old
Sometimes it's faded
Assassinated
For fear of growing old

Farewell the ashtray girl
Angelic fruitcake
Beware this troubled world
Control your intake
Goodbye to open sores
Goodbye and furthermore
We know we miss her
We miss her picture

Sometimes it's faded
Disintegrated
For fear of growing old
Sometimes it's faded
Assassinated
For fear of growing old

Hang on
Though we try
It's gone
Hang on
Though we try
It's gone

Sometimes it's faded
Disintegrated
For fear of growing old
Sometimes it's faded
Assassinated
For fear of growing old

You can't stop growing old [Repeats]


Lyrics submitted by rjbucs28

"This Picture" as written by Stefan Olsdal Brian Molko

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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This Picture song meanings
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55 Comments

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  • +4
    General Commentokay.. thought I'd just chip in my two-cents here...

    couple of things: remember the video? Sleeping with ghosts saw the "new look" brian molko, short hair and androgyny all-but abandoned... a large theme running through this entire album is a sense of change... (which oddly enough is amusingly followed with "remorse" in Meds)

    but... a few points of note:

    before placebo were placebo they went by the name "Ashtray Heart"

    Brian Molko was a fan of cross-dressing throughout placebo's early career.

    "Ashtray girl"? Anyone think this might just be him referring to his previous image, or younger self?

    Theme running through this song appears to be the things we do of a self-destructive nature to hold on to a vague feeling of youthfulness... then it ends on "can't stop growing old".

    Personally just think its an existentialistic pretentious (dont get me wrong, I LOVE pretentious) expression of a burnt-out artist finally forced to come-to-terms with hitting 30
    darkynton May 18, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentmy god. no one has commented on this? it's the epitome of poetry.

    if anyone knows the story behind this song, please tell me, especially the "farewell the ashtray girl" part.
    mourningthebestofmeon July 07, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI totally agree with the epitome of poetry, but just like you, I 'm left wandering and grasping in the dark. Can't help you, man.. but I do have a comment: I think it's "broken semaphores" instead of "broken centre floor" .. I could be wrong though
    Pinoon April 13, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentEhm, I think I might be able to help with "the cigarette burns on my chest" part. As I know Brian has had a serious drug problem, concretely with smack, and many of Placebo songs contain information (or more likely hidden suggestions) about heroin... All long-time users who smoke cigarettes must have done it at least once - to fall asleep with lighted cigarette in their hand. Some people do it permanently and have burns everywhere - in their sofas, t-shirts etc... and smack very much helps this situation to happen, much more than for ex. alcohol or other drugs. "Burns on my chest" then in my opinion refers to a certain period in his life when he maybe used to hang out with this girl and do smack... and it was very relaxed so they would sometimes fall asleep with their cigarettes in the hand... I don´t know, maybe it´s completely wrong, but this is what I picture in my head while listening to this song.
    zuz4nkaon June 26, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love this song. I wondered whether the song is about Brian himself. It looked like it was actually him dressed as the girl, hence why her face was obscured, and you can see she has short dark hair. At the end of the video too he turns her photo around and it looks like it's his face. So i think he's saying farewell to a part of himself for a while. He mentions fear of growing old, perhaps he thinks he's getting a bit too old for the dresses! Or perhaps it was during a time in which he was in a relationship with a woman and therefore hung up the dresses for a while, but at the same time he was thinking but why should i? - ie: "What's wrong with this picture" Just another interpretation....I love it though it's a great song.
    ashtray girlon January 07, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment[Of the cigarrette burns on my chest.] sounds more like it if you ask me..

    I pretty much LOVE this song.. to me, its about leaving a part of yourself behind. An aspect of your personality is fading and its sad because now you just arent yourself.

    This song just speaks to me.. Its amazing.
    Lannathepirateon April 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIncredible song.

    I've seen/heard Brian talking about it in a few places. I guess the cigarette burns part is about James Dean. I have an audio clip of him introducing the song at a concert, saying, "There's an old story that somebody told me once about James Dean. For those of you who don't know this yet, James Dean was gay. Yes, I'm sorry, it's true. He had a particular fetish where he liked to have cigarettes stubbed out on his chest. That's kind of an image that's always stayed with me, and part of the inspiration for this song."
    I hope that maybe helps a little. It kind of ties in with the "ashtray girl" part.
    tangston October 06, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think its about a woman being in control of the relationship, 'And late at night
    Whilst on all fours
    She used to watch me kiss the floor
    What's wrong with this picture?' its the person asking themselves why the other is the dominating one, and how the person does what the woman wants them to do, and has no idea. then 'farewell the ashtray girl' is when he finally breaks free, and its finally over.
    apc_243on November 08, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it starts out with a reflection of this girl. Maybe he wrote something about how he thought her mind worked and she didn't like it, or disagreed, so they split up...

    I agree with apc, there's definately some kind of dom/sub thing going on there, but, 'what's wrong with this picture' could also be referring to the fact that their sex life is so kinked. Dunno about that thought actually...

    She seems to have left his life, and the fact that she's a 'forbidden snowflake' seems to imply she's 'melted'. snow also has typical links with purity, innocence, etc.

    the open sores could be injuries inflicted during sex? some kind of masochistic thing? or bloodplay. broken semaphore could be confusion in their communications, which would link back in with 'put our friendship to the test'. They don't understand each other.

    Missing her picture could be that he misses the IDEA of her, and the whole faded disintegrated thing could be that he's forgetting exactly how it was. ON the other hand, fear of growing old suggests boredom with something... or he's disinterested in his current relationship cause its boring?

    Maybe he played with the whole BDSM thing because he was bored of plain ol' sex...

    Angelic fruitcake suggests that she was too much for him too handle. Too crazy when it came to kinky stuff that he had to let her go cause he couldnt keep up maybe. this is all speculation.

    It does seem to me like he tried to make a relationship with her work, maybe trying BDSM because she liked it and he wanted to keep her and their relationship interesting, (maybe also because he feels he's getting older and cant do things like that anymore) but he loses her in the end??

    I dunno.

    I'm also wondering if the fact that Placebo before it was Placebo was called Ashtray Heart has anything to do with it...
    Deadcjunkieon December 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love the chorus.
    nonnycrieson January 06, 2005   Link

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