"The Emperor's New Clothes" as written by and Sinead / O'connor....
It seems like years since you held the baby
While I wrecked the bedroom
You said it was dangerous after Sunday
And I knew you loved me
He thinks I just became famous
And that's what messed me up
But he's wrong
How could I possibly know what I want
When I was only twenty-one?
And there's millions of people
To offer advice and say how I should be
But they're twisted and they will never be
Any influence on me
But you will always be
You will always be
If I treated you mean
I really didn't mean to
But you know how it is
And how a pregnancy can change you
I see plenty of clothes that I like
But I won't go anywhere nice for a while
All I want to do is just sit here
And write it all down and rest for a while
I can't bear to be in another city
One where you are not
I would return to nothing without you
If I'm your girlfriend or not
Maybe I was mean
But I really don't think so
You asked if I'm scared
And I said so
Everyone can see what's going on
They laugh 'cause they know they're untouchable
Not because what I said was wrong
Whatever it may bring
I will live by my own policies
I will sleep with a clear conscience
I will sleep in peace
Maybe it sounds mean
But I really don't think so
You asked for the truth and I told you
Through their own words
They will be exposed
They've got a severe case of
The emperor's new clothes
The emperor's new clothes
The emperor's new clothes
The emperor's new clothes


Lyrics submitted by ms_gurr, edited by bkat004, macaulfi

"The Emperor's New Clothes" as written by Patty Smyth Glenn Burtnick

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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The Emperor's New Clothes song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentSinéad talked about her hard experiences with fame + pregnancy at the same time on the beginning of her career and their consequences to her relationship with a special guy who she really loved. He was actually blaming her sudden fame for the deterioration of their romance. This song is surely an ask of excuses from her to him. Of course her very strong temperament contributed a lot for all the problems she had on those times... I think she was misunderstood by many people because of her aggressive posture, then they saw what they wanted to see, just like in the legend of 'The Emperor's New Clothes', where the king's subjects are convinced by his clever sewer that he's using wonderful new clothes, but he's naked indeed... Well, she talked what she thought and there's a price for being paid when you act at this way and I think she didn't know to deal with it very well.

    "They laugh `cause they know they're untouchable
    Not because what I said was wrong
    Whatever it may bring
    I will live by my own policies
    I will sleep with a clear conscience
    I will sleep in peace"

    She meant on these lines above many people tend so easily to judge&condemn other one on taking as base only his/her opinions just because these ones sound very controversial to their 'sensitive' ears, which are used to hear only harmless things. And people who just talks harmless things are untouchable indeed since nobody will attack them. But Sinéad dared to talk loud her opinions and she didn't change her mind only to be falsely beloved by other people...
    circusjuggleron September 28, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think the song has more to do with an unintended pregnancy, and how they decided to go about what to do and what were the ramifications of that choice. '...years since you held the baby' apparently means she had the baby and raised it on her own without the father's help. 'If I treated you/Maybe I was/Maybe it sounds mean sounds like the discussions between them of what to do about it, i.e. abortion or having the baby.

    'Everyone can see what's going on/They laugh cause they know they're untouchable not because what I said was wrong' I think is talking about their friends and who's side they're taking. Also, they talk/gossip about the issue while not having to deal with it themselves; it's all someone else's problem so they can laugh, point fingers, and pass rude and ridiculous comments about it amongst each other without fear because they are not the ones wrestling with the issue.

    Additionally, I'm not sure if this was a real life experience of Sinead's, but if it was: O'Conner is obviously most likely an Irish name or from Irish culture, which is fairly devout Roman Catholic if I'm not mistaken, creating more significance to be placed on the abortion dilemma; and her being a young woman in the music industry ('How could I possibly know what I want when I was only 21') might hint at the baby's father being an older man -- and possibly even a father figure of sorts -- whom she trusted to guide her through these types of situations, which would increase the impact it would have on an assumed young, innocent girl/woman she probably was at this time. It was probably the first sort of life changing event she had encountered up until this time. And how would an adolescent aspiring singer songwriter deal with her first big issue? 'All I want to do is just sit here and write it all down and rest for a while.' Also, a 21-year old aspiring singer's social circle is probably going to be filled with a lot of other late teen/early twenties wannabees looking for ways to gain fame at the expense of their competition, infinitely increasing the evil, bitchy, and remorseless ways they would go after and talk about someone else's misfortunes.

    The whole Emperor's New Clothes tie-in could just be to not believe everything you hear before making a judgment about something you may not know a lot about.

    So that's my story, and I'm sticking with it. God Speed.

    T.
    tmaguire18on May 31, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it is pretty self-explanatory after reading exactly what Hans Christian Andersen's short story, "Emperor's New Clothes" was about, and then re-reading the lyrics. The story is about 2 weavers that make the King a new outfit that is invisible only to people that are stupid or unworthy of their position, or so they say. The King cannot see the material but acts like he does so that they don't think he is unworthy of being King. He parades around with nothing on, thinking everyone can see his clothes.

    And then comparing that to the song's meaning - things are probably rocky in her relationship with a lot going on: her pregnancy, she's young and her sudden fame. People are talking about her, criticizing her, and saying things, maybe calling her things - people that don't really know her. All of these people that are talking about her "have a severe case of the Emperor's New Clothes", which is to say they are not worthy of saying anything to her and she is comfortable with herself and her actions and will "sleep with a clear conscious" and "sleep in peace", as well she should.
    macaulfion July 28, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat happened to this woman? She just disappeared...great voice, pretty face, talent. I like this song of hers. As good as the lyrics are I think the phrasing and her selection of notes/pitches are EXCELLENT on this track.
    Joedudeon August 09, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI am wondering since a very long time what it exactly means, and especially what the story about the emperor's new clothes is, because I don't know that story, so thanks a lot circusjuggler for the explanation!!


    This comment of you I don't really understand: "This song is surely an ask of excuses from her to him."
    Because I have always thought something quite different, because of the next lines in the song:

    "If I treated you mean
    I really didn't mean to
    But you know how it is
    And how a pregnancy can change you"

    "Maybe I was mean
    But I really don't think so
    You asked if I'm scared
    And I said so"

    "Maybe it sounds mean
    But I really don't think so
    You asked for the truth and I told you"

    She seems to be changing from apologising and asking for forgiveness, into saying that she didn't anything wrong, and stating that she wasn't mean at all. (the first time she says: if I was mean, and apologises, the second one she's doubting if she was mean, and the last one sounds to me like: I wasn't mean, I just answered your question)

    Anyone has an opinion on this??


    And only this little line I don't really get:
    "You said it was dangerous after Sunday
    And I knew you loved me"

    If someone can help me out on this?

    Really love this song btw, just like so many others of her... :D
    PutTheLightsOnon December 15, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the verse starting 'Everyone can see what's going on, they laugh because they know they're untouchable not because what I said was wrong' onwards for the rest of the song refers to a nasty spat between her then partner Fachtna O' Ceallaigh and U2. Fachtna was running U2's own label Mother Records but U2 sacked him when he publicly criticised them and Sinead took up the cudgel on behalf of Fachtna. U2 and Sinead patched things up soon after but Fachtna despises U2 and U2 aren;t fond of him either. Could be wrong but the timing is spot on.
    JuanKerron April 07, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with you T. I can't remember if this song was released before or after the Pope picture ripping incident on Saturday Night Live but I think she definitely has problems with the Catholic church. All the talk about them being exposed and hypocritical sure seems like a reference to the that.
    Pretty prophetic when you see what's going on with the church right now...
    sewanee06on April 01, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThrowing stones at glass houses when they live in them too...??
    emuInAmuumuuon June 08, 2012   Link

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