All your women things
All your frilly things
Scattered 'round my room
Right where you left them
When you left them
Scattered 'round my room

All your hardness
All your softness
And your mercy

All your bridges and bras
Your cotton
and gauze
All your buckles and straps
Releases and traps
All your screws
and false nails
Oriental winks
and Egyptian veils

Oh all of these things
I gathered them
And I made a dolly
I made a dolly
A spread-eagle dolly
Out of your frilly things

Why couldn't I have loved you
This tenderly
When you were here
In the flesh
So tenderly

How could I ignore
Your left breast
Your right breast

How could I ignore
Your hardness
Your softness
And your mercy

Well it's been seven years
And the thought of your name
Still makes me
Weak in the knees

How could I ignore
Your left breast
Your right breast


Lyrics submitted by ilse

All Your Women Things song meanings
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9 Comments

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  • +3
    General Commentsome scattered pieces can never be gathered again.
    sonicthreaton February 22, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSeven fucking years!
    saison February 22, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyeah, I feel the same way
    delialon May 20, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGod...this song makes Bill seem so creepy, especially the dolly part. Imagining him sitting around for seven years with this lady's stuff is really weird. And then he collects the stuff...for what purpose? Voodoo?
    milk_and_honeyon August 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm pretty sure it's meant to be symbolic.
    DubC4Lifeon September 05, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt is possible that the woman he is referring to is joanna newsom (they dated for a number of years way back when).

    joanna newsom's song "does not suffice" often seems to be the response to smog's "all your women things". they both describe the clothes left around his room. as well, on her songmeanings page, zortmuckerman commented that the lyrics to Does Not Suffice "seem like an interesting counterpoint that has Joanna picking up all her clothes and leaving him to be with himself."

    I have an image of Joanna's silky things casually strewn all over Bill Callahan's dark room which is really quite comedic. which is why I think it is symbolic more than it is literal. it makes sense that whoever this woman was, her memory would stay in his room.

    but, if it in fact Joanna Newsom and the Does Not Suffice theory is true, it is nice that she wrote him a response in the form of an equally heartbreaking song.
    backyon March 22, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti don't think this song is creepy (okay, well, it's a little creeping-sounding when he's saying he made the dolly. there are few ways in which a person above the age of five can use the word "dolly," and not sound a bit creepy).

    i don't care who the song's about. i like that it's been seven years, and just her name still affects him. maybe i just like my misery to last. people seem to get over things so fast ;) whenever i listen to this song, it makes me really sad -- just thinking of the way i didn't love, what i didn't notice, how i didn't appreciate enough... when i had the chance to. we never really do, i don't think.
    TheWrongGirlon March 06, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Why couldn't I have loved you
    This tenderly"

    -This- tenderly, as in: as tenderly as he's loving the doll. The 'spread-eagle dolly.' Just making sure it's clear to everyone else that he gathered her woman-things and made a 'sex doll,' if you will, out of it all.
    motorcycle_tower_666on April 26, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI've thought about this song for many years. It's one of the most heart-wrenching songs in Bill's discography as well as in general. My interpretation of it might be a little unorthodox but bear with me.

    There was always something unnerving about this. Of course it's about lost love, missing someone, recollecting on the former state of a household with that person in it followed by change and acceptance, longing, and reflecting. There are, however, abnormalities in it considering Bill's personality.

    The "women things" he's describing are incredibly ornate and incredibly "womanly". Bill comes off as a simple recluse, someone who wouldn't necessarily be involved with such a city girl as the woman he's describing. The haunting melody adds more of a sense of disconnect between the woman he misses and the memories of who she was. The particular line that I find jarring is

    "Oh all of these things
    I gathered them
    And I made a dolly
    I made a dolly
    A spread-eagle dolly
    Out of your frilly things"

    I'm torn between an interpretation here. Of course he could be referring to a physical or nonphysical shrine of this woman, or the "dolly" (a lifeless, adorned, spread-eagle thing) could be referring to a baseless romance (maybe a prostitute) Bill (or the narrator) is seeking solace in during his time of grief. This lifeless woman is no more than a dolly; a shell of what he once loved in the woman.

    "Why couldn't I have loved you
    This tenderly
    When you were here
    In the flesh
    So tenderly"

    He's wishing his purely sexual encounters with this new woman were as devout and passionate as his encounters with the previous woman. Ultimately the "women things" scattered around the room seem to be of or relating to lingerie or some fancy women's wear. The "false nails" mentioned just don't coincide with a woman Bill would be intimately involved with on a personal level. The women things scattered around the room remind him a former lover and the baseless sex he or the narrator is engaging in is only to supplement that feeling of loss.

    I'm sure most people who depart from a significant relationship can relate to this song/my interpretation. You try seeing other people but the artificial feeling of forced intimacy just reminds you of you past lover, year after long year.

    This, as I stated, is a very unorthodox interpretation but I have always found something unnerving about the song. If this is too much of a longshot, I still believe that this song is both brooding and beautiful.
    fflloowweerrsson November 19, 2013   Link

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