"Karen" as written by and Matthew D. Berninger Bryce D. Dessner....
Karen, I'm not taking sides
I don't think I'll ever do that again
I'll end up winning and I won't know why
I'm really trying to shine here, I'm really trying
You're changing clothes and closing windows on me all the time

Well, whatever you do, listen, you better wait for me
No, I wouldn't go out alone into America
Whatever you do
Listen, you better wait for me
No, I wouldn't go out alone

Karen, we should call your father, maybe it's just a phase
He'll know the trick to get a wayward soul to change his ways
It's a common fetish for a doting man
to ballerina on the coffee table cock in hand

Well, whatever you do
Listen, you better wait for me
No, I wouldn't go out alone into America
Whatever you do
Listen, you better wait for me
No, I wouldn't go out alone

Without warm water in my head
All I see is black and white and red
I feel mechanical and thin
Hear me play my violin again
I'm living in the target's shoes
All I see is black and white and blue.
Idle, idle, idle, idle, protect the nest
Protect the title

Karen, put me in a chair, fuck me and make me a drink
I've lost direction, and I'm past my peak
I'm telling you this isn't me
No, this isn't me
Karen, believe me, you just haven't seen my good side yet

Well, whatever you do
Listen. you better wait for me
No, I wouldn't go out alone into America
Whatever you do
Listen, you better wait for me
No, I wouldn't go out alone

Without warm water in my head
All I see is black and white and red
I feel mechanical and thin
Hear me play my violin again
I'm living in the target's shoes
All I see is black and white and blue
Idle, idle, idle, idle, protect the nest
Protect the title

I must be me, I'm in my head
Black birds are circling my bed
I must be me, I must be me
Black feathers are falling on my feet
Idle, idle, idle, idle, protect the nest
Protect the title
Protect the title


Lyrics submitted by countzero

"Karen" as written by Matthew D. Berninger Bryce D. Dessner

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Karen song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +4
    General Comment"It's a common fetish for a doting man
    to ballerina on the coffee table cock in hand"

    The first few times I listened to this album these lines passed me by, then when I listened a bit closer I was like...did I just hear that! haha...I love the national for those moments, they have the whole package, music, atmosphere, emotion, crazy lyrical flourishes, great characters...

    can't wrap my head around this verse though!
    bennbon March 04, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentKaren is loosly based on Matt's girlfriend, Corrine. He just changed the name. She actually has a lot to do with the music that they write. Check it out.

    3ammagazine.com/buzzwordsblog/2006/06/…
    dplafcan25on July 04, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBeautiful song... The National is one of my favorite bands.
    Refineryon April 30, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentahh... me too. But i wish i knew who this Karen character was.
    midwesterneron February 10, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti WISH i WAS that Karen Character, so that i could have the members of The National perform a private concert for me.
    heatherheathenon April 13, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwell it's currently the lead singers girlfriend. :)
    tastygoats117on October 13, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentpretty remarkable stuff - looks like The National may soon be big - they deserve it, a great song
    cmckinleyon June 07, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti adore this song. it reminds me of my boy. i listened to it like 5 times this morning while i was driving.
    ghost loveon June 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song feels like instability.

    You can tell that the lead singer is pleading for his lover's company, while trying to deny the draw toward the outrageous. There's a pull back and forth; he can play the rock star, have his liaisons and act like a drunken oaf, but he's also actively denying his child-like behaviour and looking for ways to change it in order to grow into a suitable partner.

    Part of him kind of feels like all of his whining and lamenting over the subject is pointless; the third verse is sort of a giving up on the issue, where he's sick of arguing over who and what he is and just wants to numb his mind of it all.

    I'd say the final portion is significant, where he's full on accepting the fact that this is who he is, a rambunctious alcoholic who's depressed and tired of following the picket fence agenda.

    "Idle...protect the nest, protect the title." He isn't going anywhere by pretending to be a family man, but he cares about his lover and sees that his actions hurt her.

    I think a lot of us want something more out of the fairytales we've been fed, and this song is a perfect representation of that feeling.
    randydjackon May 27, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"I must be me, I'm in my head"

    I think this part of the monologue completely encapsulates a moment of self realization.
    Wilis_784on December 01, 2008   Link

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