I'm in tight with a demon called Deception
It's alright he's a treating me quite well
I'm in tight with a demon called Deception
He's right beside me when I fail

To whisper words like brother nothin' here is any good
See the birds they're a dropping like a star Wormwood
And all I wanted was a little patch of green
We were peasants and the cotton was our king

And in the fields till I sing a prisoner's song
Well Deception whistles right along
Right along

Charlie sang for a pocket full of pills
While Deception was a clickin' his high heels
We're in tight playing seven one night stands
And Deception made me as I am

As I am
As I am
As I am
As I am
I'm in tight
I'm in tight
I'm in tight

Truth is I'm in tight
I barely saw the light
Just as it kicked in
Something saved my skin
Something saved my skin


Lyrics submitted by Mopnugget

Demon Called Deception song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThis is one of my favorite Grant Lee Buffalo songs. To me the song personifies deception as a being of some sort, who tags along, enticing one to not believe in oneself, or demean oneself. The first 3 verses talking about a slave working in the cotton fields that sings along, seemingly content with the situation (or at least tolerating it). The 4th verse talks of 'Charlie' and his sex and drug obsession. I like the 'While Deception was a clickin' his high heels' part because it portrays the women (or men) that Charlie sleeps with are deceiving him into being this horrible creature. 'clicking his high heels' could mean that the man is sleeping with other men, or it is just the demon 'deception' (being a male demon of sorts) taking control of women to deceive him.

    I am not totally sure about the last part. What is the something that saved his skin? Realization that he can change? A higher power? Was he saved right before going to hell? I have no clue.
    meepowon August 16, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWormwood is a "great star" mentioned in the book of Revelation in the Bible. Apparently, this star will fall to Earth and cause tremendous bitterness and destruction. While many consider this an allusion to a meteorite striking Earth, others look at a much broader sense, such as a powerful being (Hitler?) or plague (drugs, sickness, war?) that will bring about the end of the world as we know it.

    The protagonist, Charlie, in this song realizes his demons, whether they be drugs ("pocket full of pills") or infidelity ("seven one-night stands"), and is content to be as he is. He's "in tight" with his demons, even though they could destroy his life like a Wormwood star. However, as stated in the last verse, something overcomes Charlie and saves him from his demise--he "barely saw the light." Perhaps this is Charlie finding religion or simply a better way of life.

    As stated in another post, Grant Lee Phillips stated this song is based on the life of Johnny Cash, at least tangentially. There are definite parallels to Cash's life, sowing his wild oats as a young man and finding solace in later life.

    So, while Phillips may have begun this song with an allusion to Johnny Cash's life, I think he's looking at a much larger picture--that we all have demons that can overtake our lives if we succumb to these pleasures. But Phillips hints that we don't need to take this path, as there is an alternative to a life filled with demons of deception.

    This is a great song from one of America's greatest artists.
    Heaveon June 06, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Commentin grant's own words: "this is a song based on a couple of chapters in an autobiography based on the life of johnny cash". [< black session (paris, september 10, 1993)]
    angelsflyon September 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentExcellent song, with a lot of truth to it. Deception is truly a demon, it can tear you apart if you are ignorant of it. I've never seen it worse than with a family member's struggle with drug addiction. No grip on reality whatsoever. I didn't know about the Johnny Cash inspiration, but it makes a lot of sense. As a side note, Wormwood is the devil apprentice in 'The Screwtape Letters' by CS Lewis, a book with a similar satirical tone.
    geebertoson March 06, 2012   Link

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