"Cardinal Song" as written by and Bryan Devendorf Scott Devendorf....
never look her in the eyes
never tell the truth
if she knows your paper
you know she'll have to burn you

never tell the one you want that you do
save it for the deathbed
when you know you kept her wanting you

and do everything she'd never do

fall asleep with stranger's wives
the wild wives of unknown men
good for you, you've just become
just another one of them

never say you miss her
never say a word

and do everything she'd never do

don't let her see your cardinal eyes
don't let her see your cardinal eyes

let her treat you like a criminal
so you can treat her like a priest
girls forgive my human mind
girls forgive me one more time

never tell the one you love that you do
save it for the deathbed

and do everything she'd never do

don't let her see your cardinal eyes
don't let her see your cardinal eyes

jesus christ you have confused me
cornered, wasted, blessed and used me
forgive me girls i am confused
stiff and pissed and lost and loose

jesus christ you have confused me
cornered, wasted, blessed and used me
forgive me girls i am confused
stiff and pissed and lost and loose


Lyrics submitted by SomethingClever

"Cardinal Song" as written by Bryan Devendorf Aaron Dessner

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Cardinal Song song meanings
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35 Comments

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  • +10
    General CommentCardinals (the bird) mate for life. I think that this song is kind of about the "principle of least interest." The party least interested in a relationship has the most power.
    "If she knows you're paper, you know she'll have to burn you."
    If she figures out how much he really loves her, he fears that she'll lose interest in him. I've experienced this myself. By acting cold, distant and selfish, he's insuring that she'll stay around.
    A really sad but beautiful song.
    ghosttrainhoboon July 18, 2008   Link
  • +6
    General Comment"don't let her see your cardinal eyes"

    Cardinal is also a shade of red (where the bird gets the name from), so you could have cardinal eyes from crying or being upset.
    Tom Selleckon October 20, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Commentending of this song is so good.
    themoralbankon August 27, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Commentisn't it "don't let her see your cardinal lie" ?
    yanquiUXOon September 05, 2007   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI think that instead of 'cardinal eyes', it's 'cardinal lines'. The Cardinal Lines are north, south, east, and west. By not showing your cardinal lines, you're not showing your direction or your layout. You're not letting anyone map you.
    lpsdrcnson February 20, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Commenthere's my take - the person of this song put themselves out there for the one they love. told them how much they meant all the time and really went for it. she ends up leaving him and this song is the opposite of how he went about things and he offers "advice" on how to keep the one you love (dont tell the person you care, cheat on her, etc.). it's a very cynical song. as twisted as it is though, you see this a lot with relationships and couples. playing games, in it for the chase, playing hard to get, etc. Cardinal refers to direction and "don't let her see your cardinal eyes" means don't let her see all those things on your mind. If she knows your cardinal direction, she knows exactly where you're at and where you're going. by revealing everything about yourself, he feels you will drive that special person away. in the end, he's confused and angry as to why so many people and relationships work like this. it doesn't make sense.
    njs1243on January 16, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI guess lyrics
    "never look her in the eyes
    never tell the truth
    if she knows your paper
    you know she'll have to burn you

    never tell the one you want that you do
    save it for the deathbed
    when you know you kept her wanting you"

    tells that there is always the one "leader" in relationships" and the one who depends. like victim. And you should never tell the person how much do you love her not to become this one who is leaded
    fakeaheartattackon February 17, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe sad truth
    faxek2fon December 31, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthardly sexist. its about a lie. how is that sexist.
    aniseon September 16, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthere's my take - the person of this song put themselves out there for the one they love. told them how much they meant all the time and really went for it. she ends up leaving him and this song is the opposite of how he went about things and he offers "advice" on how to keep the one you love (dont tell the person you care, cheat on her, etc.). it's a very cynical song. as twisted as it is though, you see this a lot with relationships and couples. playing games, in it for the chase, playing hard to get, etc. Cardinal refers to direction and "don't let her see your cardinal eyes" means don't let her see all those things on your mind. If she knows your cardinal direction, she knows exactly where you're at and where you're going. by revealing everything about yourself, he feels you will drive that special person away. in the end, he's confused and angry as to why so many people and relationships work like this. it doesn't make sense.
    njs1243on January 16, 2008   Link

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