"Venus" as written by and Tom Verlaine....
It was a tight toy night, streets so bright
The world was so thin between my bones and skin
There stood another person who was a little surprised
To be face to face with a world so alive

How I fell (did you feel low?)
No (huh?)
I fell right into the arms of Venus De Milo

You know it's all like some new kind of drug
My senses are sharp and my hands are like gloves
Broadway looked so medieval
It seemed to flap, like little pages
And I fell sideways laughing
With a friend from many stages

How we felt (did you feel low?)
Not at all (huh?)
I fell right into the arms of Venus De Milo

Suddenly my eyes went so soft and shaky
I knew there was pain but pain is not aching
Then Richie, Richie said
"Hey man, let's dress up like cops, think of what we could do"
Something, something said "you better not"

And I fell (did you feel low?)
Nah (huh?)
I stood up, walked out of the arms of Venus De Milo

Lyrics submitted by exact

"Venus" as written by Tom Verlaine

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Venus song meanings
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  • +3
    My InterpretationYou know, I'm not sure that anyone here has this completely yet, so here are my thoughts. I may be reading too much into the lyrics, but if I'm not, this is a really excellent bit of poetry by Verlaine.

    Basically, I see this as a fleeting teenage romance / coming of age story. I get a lot of this from the refrain: "Falling into the arms of Venus de Milo." Venus is the god of love, so falling into her arms seems like a pretty obvious metaphor for falling in love. However--and this is where things get really cool--the statue Venus de Milo doesn't have arms. So I submit that this is actually a metaphor for falling in love when there's really nothing there.

    Sounds depressing, right? Well, not at all, actually. To the shock of the backup singers, the speaker did not "feel low" about this. In the end, he "stood up and walked out the arms" of Venus without much of a problem. So this failed romantic experience didn't hurt him really, and the tone of these lyrics is not bleak. But the experience did change him, as I think the verses show. This is also where the "coming of age" part comes in.

    The first two verses seem like a depiction of falling in love for the first time set against the grandeur of New York City. The world is alive, it's "thin" and waiting to be grasped, the feeling has a druglike effect, and it's all shared with another person. Sounds like a first love to me. But as we know from the chorus, this is going to come to an end soon. The statue has no arms.

    The third verse is the really interesting one here. I think the first two lines basically describe the relationship ending. Things change quickly. It hurts, but it doesn't really HURT. His heart doesn't really ache. And now, along comes "Richie." It seems probable that this is Richard Hell, but what really matters is that this is a good pal of the speaker. Richie wants to go out, hit the town, dress up like cops, have some fun. But something's holding the speaker back, namely the profundity of the emotional experience he has just had. He doesn't have the same taste for immature antics he once did. A turning point has been reached in his life, and he can't go back. He's just been in and out of the arms of Venus de Milo! How could he return to playing dress-up? So that's the coming of age bit.

    This is already a remarkable song. The guitar parts are ridiculously cool, as we always see in Television songs, Tom Verlaine just oozes swagger in his vocals, and the rhythm section is tight. But if I'm right about the lyrics, and I think there's a good chance I am, this song becomes almost transcendent. It's a relatable story, extremely well-told, with a brilliant central metaphor (the arms of Venus de Milo). Where did this come from? I'm just in awe.
    tyler11on December 31, 2014   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI went to Brighton today w. parents and a couple of mates. We were looking in an old record shop because I love vintage music and I was looking (in vain, sadly) for a New York Dolls CD. My Dad showed this to me and said, "Buy this. I think you'd like it. It's sort of Indie/Punk." I liked this description, took a risk and bought it. Listening to it for the first time now. Loved all so far, which is so unusual for me. It's incredible. Well, another band nobody else aged fourteen will have ever heard of. So annoying, the best bands were from the 70s/80s.
    Strangleron March 29, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAm I the only person who thinks this is a love song? I've never really thought about the venus de milo reference but the way he describes shakey and his hands like gloves. He seems to be describing some incredible feeling and the fact that he says it's like a new drug means surely it isn't about drugs. What he's describing to me perfectly describes the feeling of first realising you love someone and how amazing it feels. Even if that's not what it means it will always mean that to me.
    SuperstarTradesman.on October 16, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti read somewhere that the richie in the song was richard hell, who used to play bass in the band.

    i don't know what this song is about either but it sounds like a nice way to spend the evening.
    Boss Manon July 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentno comments for this song?? cmon!! it's easily the best song on marquee moon. anyway, i really have no idea what it's about. television lyrics aren't the easiest to understand.
    misirlouon June 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentno comments for this song?? cmon!! it's easily the best song on marquee moon. anyway, i really have no idea what it's about. television lyrics aren't the easiest to understand.
    misirlouon June 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is about Richard Hell and Tom Verlaine hanging out as kids. They were childhood friends and came to New York together..The irony of this song is it's beauty - " I fell right into the arms of Venus de Milo" - have you seen the statue? notice what she is missing??? So I guess he fell into nothing...
    bazmegon August 01, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI like how Tom pronounces the wrod 'Milo. I guess he says it so it rhymes with "feel low."
    timothyrealon September 23, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMega Top Notch stuff! WHO NEEDS THE STROKES, WHEN YOU HAVE TELEVISION!
    bkat004on January 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJust finished listening to this song, and it still moves me now as it did when I first heard it as an 8th. grader on UConn's college radio station. Now I've dated myself (whoops) but no matter...I was all of 13 (I think?) and was already disallusioned with top 40 and hard rock music that was what we middle schoolers supposedly loved rocking out to. Meanwhile one boring Sat. afternoon playing around with my stereo's radio dial, I latched onto a sound I heard on the left end of the dial that immediatly snapped on neurotransmitters I didn't know existed which radically altered my musical conciousness forever. Television's "Venus DeMilo" was and may always be part of that pivotal soundtrack along with the Ramones, the Fall, the Clash, Gang of Four, etc.
    Incidentally, I started chatting with this 20-something guy who works at the drugstore I shop at. One time, as he had his hair in dreads at the time, I had casually asked him if he was into reggae--was I totally surprised when he told he me, no, his favorite bands were completely old-school--Velvet Underground, the New York Dolls, *Television*... Talk about musical history repeating itself, while others his age who notice my Ramones shirt always ask, "Are they a *band*?" LOL
    pharmageekon March 18, 2006   Link

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