"Canary" as written by and Phair....
I learn my name
I write with a number two pencil
I work up to my potential
I earn my name
I come when called
I jump when you circle the cherry
I sing like a good canary
I come when called
I come, that's all

Send it up on fire
Death before dawn
Send it up on fire
Death before dawn

I clean the house
I put all your books in an order
I make up a colorful border
I clean my mouth
'Cause froth comes out

Send it up on fire
Death before dawn
Send it up on fire
Death before dawn


Lyrics submitted by ruben, edited by NeonFlow, Kyrakat, fish000000

"Canary" as written by

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Canary song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +3
    General Commenthate to break it to everyone. but a few of yall are missing some of the point. it is totally about "dry anger", bad relationships, frusteration etc. and other typically liz goodness,

    but its also about a man who doesn't know how to eat a girl out properly. seriously,

    "I jump when you circle the CHERRY,
    I SING like a good canary,
    I COME when called,
    I COME that's ALL."

    she's sick of faking it. of singing, when he does his pathetic thing on her.

    this dude needs to figure out how to get her off for real, among other things,

    loves it
    milkofwonderon December 29, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it's about a woman who always tries to make her husband happy but everything she does is wrong so she has a breakdown and burns the house or something down. I can't listen to this song alone it's too creepy I always skip it. Oh and thanks Kei I had never noticed the voice in the background but I can't make out what it is saying.
    rapunzelEEDon January 08, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTwisted reaction to unhappy marriage/relationship. Gorgeous but creepy; certainly not something I can listen to in the dark. Does anyone know what the man is saying very faintly in the background, starting at around the 30-second mark?
    Keion June 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Commentisnt this song on the thirteen soundtrack?
    squee_4_meon October 17, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt kind of makes me think of those murders where mothers with a dozen children and a controlling husband flip and murder their families. Perhaps a woman who sets her home on fire after going mad? Just a shot in the dark. It could mean anything.
    Vaingloryon January 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song isn't creepy! what're you talking about?

    anyway, it's about a relationship that is so boring and its making liz some kind of mindless freak.
    yo mamma!on May 09, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit's a creepy song. i always thought it was a murder ballad but further analysis and research says that the line actually goes "deaf before dumb", like it's not about female docility but actually about breaking through some ground. the verses are of this person being all docile and being caged like a canary and the chorus is saying "send it up on fire, deaf before dumb" like do it, just stop being a fucking canary, fly you freak, go crazy!!
    blair23on May 31, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyeah. i always knew it was about being all caged up but i thought it was death before dawn.
    but i heart it.
    yo mamma!on January 18, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti fucking love this song, it's one of the best on the album of exile, the piano bit is great. who the hell is talking in the background though? lol. I love the way she sings the first verse, 'I write with a number 2 pencil, I work up to my potential,' it's like dry anger.
    that_sullen_girlon July 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAre all of you blind? This song is about how Liz used to be a good girl and did everything exactly the way she was supposed to do them! It's about being the perfect child "and hating it," like she said so, herself. I don't understand what "I jump when you circle the cherry" means, I'll admit that much. But everything else makes perfect sense.
    jessieyon December 28, 2007   Link

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