"If You're Feeling Sinister" as written by and Martin/murdoch/colburn/cooke/geddes/jackson/campbe....
Anthony walked to his death because he thought he'd never feel this way again
If he goes back to the house then things would go from bad to worse, what could he do?
He wants to remember things exactly as he left them on that funny day
And if there is something else beyond, he isn't scared because
It's bound to be less boring than today
It's bound to be less boring than tomorrow

Hilary walked to her death because she couldn't think of anything to say
Everybody thought that she was boring, so they never listened anyway
Nobody was really saying anything of interest, she fell asleep
She was into S&M and bible studies
Not everyone's cup of tea she would admit to me
Her cup of tea, she would admit to no one
Her cup of tea, she would admit to me
Oh but her cup of tea, she would admit to no one

Hilary went to the Catholic Church because she wanted information
The vicar, or whatever, took her to one side and gave her confirmation
Saint Theresa's calling her, the church up on the hill is looking lovely
But it doesn't interest, the only things she wants to know is
How and why and when and where to go
How and why and when and where to follow
How and why and when and where to go
How and why and when and where to follow

But if you are feeling sinister
Go off and see a minister
He'll try in vain to take away the pain of being a hopeless unbeliever

When she got back, her spirituality was thrown into confusion
So she got a special deal on renting
From the man at Rediffusion
"Look at me! I'm on TV
It makes up for the shortcomings of being poor
Now I'm in a million pieces", picked up for deliberation
By the people listening at home
By the people watching on the telly
By the people listening at home
By the people watching on the telly

But if you are feeling sinister
Go off and see a minister
He'll try in vain to take away the pain of being a hopeless unbeliever
But if you are feeling sinister
Go off and see a minister
Chances are you'll probably feel better
If you stayed and played with yourself


Lyrics submitted by ReActor, edited by mdznr, fathousefly

"If You're Feeling Sinister" as written by Isobel Campbell Christopher Geddes

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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If You're Feeling Sinister song meanings
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34 Comments

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  • +7
    General CommentThis song is very interesting...

    I agree with one of the pp that this song is not sang in chronological order.

    Here is my interpretation...

    There are two people who reallly haven't gotten far enough in their lives yet to find out who they really are. Instead of embarking on that journey they both look for outward sources of self rather than looking inward. In the end they both commit suicide because you can't find faith in anything if you don't have faith in yourself.

    Anthony, a young boy (possibly from Lord Anthony) has no idea who he really is, and one day has an experience that makes him feel alive. Fearing that he'll never have that feeling again he commits suicide.

    Hillary a young girl with no direction goes to a Catholic Church for guildance. She's overwhelmed by the religion and can't find herself the one place she thought to be sacred; reason being because she didn't actually do that work to learn who she was, she depended on the church to tell her. She ends up on some shotty tv show and kills herself shortly after.
    erinoftheyearon March 08, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think the meaning is that there's no hope in religion, that it's a farce. Anthony gets no help, he ends up killing himself, and Hillary receives no answers.
    The ending summarizes it perfectly (But if you are feeling sinister, go off and see a minister, chances are you'll probably feel better, if you stayed and played with yourself).
    IBTG81on December 10, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Comment1. I'm aware that one or more members of B&S used to be Catholic but gave up formal religion. The second part of this song might be about disillusionment with the Catholic church.

    2. >Saint Theresa's calling her.
    Considering Hilary's passion for S&M, this reference brings to mind the sculpture by Bernini - 'Ecstasy of St Theresa' - in which the Saint appears to be having an orgasm while an angel pierces her with a golden arrow. This is what the St Theresa had to say about the affair: "I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron's point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it."

    3.>So she got a special deal on renting from the man at Rediffusion. "Look at me! I'm on TV!"
    Rediffusion owns the British channel iTV which hosts Big Brother in the UK: in the song Hilary must have participated in this reality show. Again links in to verse two: Nobody was really saying anything of interest... sounds like Big Brother to me!
    crazylittlethingon February 15, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think this is a beautiful song, the lyrical content is amazing, but he really knows how to ruin it. the melody is lovely and the beginning of the lyrics are great, but in the end it just goes downhill. other than that i love it.
    shedidalotofacid829on July 05, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI realized only today that the second verse can be read as the last one chronologically. Formally, it echoes the first verse. But Hilary walks to her death after she goes to the Catholic Church (where she gains her interest in Bible studies, which she's unable to reconcile with her interest in S&M). She leaves the Church confused about her spirituality. The man at Rediffusion does nothing to help. She then, like Anthony, walks to her death.

    Or, you can read her walking to her death as metaphor for her going to the Catholic Church in the first place. Though it seems to me that she'd be interested in Bible studies after the priest confirmed her.
    adjamesonon August 24, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt looks like Hilary was looking to religion for guidance, and found nothing but more confusion.
    LockeColeon December 23, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo me, this song is about two people, Hilary who tries to find herself through spirituality or believing in God and Saints or a minister or a pretty church. Ultimately, these beliefs don't help her, only she can give herself meaning. Apparently she doesn't realize her own potential because she, like Anthony kills herself. It seems clear to me that the song is saying that having outer (church) faith does no good unless you have inner (self) faith.
    mcooneyon January 24, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti love the parallel between the (ancient) catholic tradition and the (modern) televangelism... i would say that its that they both distance salvation into a series of acts rather than the real intimacy suggested earlier by the juxtapositioning of S&M and bible study (cf. Song of Songs, sorta). (what are the little old ladies thinking, now!)
    anzbeckson December 10, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment4. >if there is something else beyond, he isn't scared because it's bound to be less boring than today.

    Interpretation: Anthony feels that even if he commits suicide and winds up in hell for it, he'd still be better off than in an ordinary life after this particular day.
    crazylittlethingon February 16, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe way I listen to the song is that Anthony and Hillary are simply parallel stories. They both felt like boring people, and both have killed themselves.

    But the author's comment is (obviously) on religion. He tells Hilliary's story. In sum, she "was into S&M and bible studies" (which I have found to be a funny line!). She's also depressed though, and doesn't find her hope in the church... which leads to the AWESOME last line: Chances are, you'll probably feel better if you stayed and played with yourself.

    Suicide is such a touchy subject but this song makes such an impression on me. One of the best in my book.
    trypticsoyagaron April 16, 2009   Link

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